Presumably there are just as many reflux dads as there are reflux moms. On a day-to-day basis, I tend to hear from many more reflux moms. I know the dads are out there but I get the feeling most of them lurk and do not leave a message. The reflux dads I talk with share the same concerns and often have the same questions: Will the reflux get better? What are the treatment options? How do we get our baby to sleep at night?
Sometimes a father will contact me because he is the only one with a free hand to type a message or dial the phone. Finding information and support on the web is a great contribution and very time consuming. It can take a great deal of research to sort through all of the information and parent forums on the web to find the answer to a specific question or concern. A few months ago, I received an email from a father in India. We exchanged several emails about home care, medications and diet. I was quite surprised when he called me on my direct line one day. While I had provided all of the information he needed, there were several important topics that required a good old fashioned phone conversation. We talked parent-to-parent about deeper concerns: Does infant reflux signal a serious life long problem? Do reflux babies stop breathing when they choke? As we comfort and rock our ailing babies day after day, mothers and fathers often think of the scary what-ifs. He was relieved to find out that most babies out grow reflux with no long term problems or serious complications.
A few dads really roll up their sleeves and get involved in the care of their refluxer by becoming the primary care taker. It can be a daunting task to find daycare for a high-need baby or toddler. At the same time, it can be overwhelming to stay home. I wonder how dads find support when the web is flooded with mom-to-mom support.
Reflux affects the entire family and often brings added stress and anxiety. I hope the reflux dads reading this will make their voices heard whether it is during a fleeting conversation with your spouse between crying spells or by participating in an on line chat or forum. Perhaps a few dads will join the PAGER Association support network by becoming a trained parent volunteer or hosting a dad’s forum. And just in case you have not been recognized or acknowledged for your role, may I offer a word of thanks for all you do to help your refluxer feel better.