Jan Gambino Jan Gambino's Blog

GERD Baby Goes to High School

It is hard to believe but my “baby” with GERD is starting high school today. It seems like just yesterday she was a little baby struggling to eat, sleep and grow. I hardly remember the endless doctor’s appointments and sleepless nights during the reflux years. Isn’t it amazing how time softens the past?

Now she is the one who will struggle to wake up before the sun is up to go to high school. I never thought she would learn to sleep through the night when she was a toddler. Doctors and friends thought that rocking her to sleep and picking her up when she cried out during the night in pain would lead to bad habits and poor sleeping. Guess what? She sleeps in her own bed, in her own room. Maybe she didn’t sleep soundly as a baby but she sure caught on to it as a teenager!

I was sure she would go to the prom with a baggie of plain cheerios in her hand. The poor eating and slow growth from reflux that plagued her childhood are gone. She eats and drinks like an average teen (think: non stop) and has caught up in height and weight to the average range. Her growth chart had so many ups and downs, it looked like a map of the Rocky Mountains not a gently hill like my other kids. Year after year, the reflux treatments helped her to eat from all food groups and grow.

August used to be a time to worry about managing reflux at school. I would meet with the school staff and carefully prepare schedules and menus for school. All of those little snacks and sips of water at school added up to steady weight gain and increased attention for learning. At high school, the biggest decision she will have is whether to use a brown bag or her Vera Bradley lunch bag. She has learned along the way to respect her stomach and fill her lunch bag with easy to digest carbs, a baggie of carrots and some fruit. Luckily, her school allows students to carry water bottles to class and drink water during class, a real bonus when you are trying to manage reflux at school.

I am proud of her for overcoming the earlier struggles with reflux and mastering the art of eating and sleeping! Let’s hope she is ready to face calculus at 7:17am when the first period bell rings.

If you have a preschooler or elementary school aged child with GERD, be sure to check out my previous blogs about going to day care and school. There is also a blog about Best School Lunches. Good luck on the first day of school!


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