Lower your personal expectations
Your friend who just had a baby may cook dinner every night from scratch, keep her house clean and still find time watch ‘Loose Women’, but that doesn’t mean that you should be able to manage all these tasks. You have a baby with GOR (infant reflux) and that changes everything.
Let your house and other chores go while you learn how to make your baby comfortable. It’s important that you are calm, well rested, and as stress free as possible. Harbouring unrealistic expectations of yourself will not benefit you or your baby.
Communicate Needs with Immediate Family Members
As with any baby’s arrival, it’s important that you communicate your feelings and needs, especially with spouses or other children in the house. Although children will pick up on your ‘down’ days, knowing the reasons behind it for them, makes it far more acceptable in their minds and perhaps may even trigger their own interest in helping out. It’s hard when you have other young children to cope with as well as a new baby and reflux. Take every opportunity for help that comes your way and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Mothers in particular are emotionally hardwired to respond to a baby’s cry. As such, mothers may be stressed, exhausted, hormonal and not at all themselves. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and frustrated but it’s important to communicate those feelings to your immediate family. This is a time of upheaval for the entire household and it’s difficult for everyone. Open communication can help prevent future feelings of guilt or resentment.
I lost count of the times people have said “You’ll look back on this time and wonder what all the fuss was about”. I know I will remember every reflux flare our daughter suffered in the early days and the sinking feeling when you have to change baby for the 5th time before lunch. The crying (me and baby!) All the photos of our daughter in baby grows all day, as the number of outfit changes we had led to buying the simplest clothes, with the least amount of fussy bits!
What’s important is that when I needed to talk about how I felt, how frustrated I felt; I made myself communicate with the people around me and I am pretty sure it helped to avoid postnatal depression and keep my overall mindset focused.
Reflux in Babies is physically uncomfortable. The baby craves nurturing even more than other babies do. Hold your baby close to you so they can breathe in your smells. Rocking, swaying and swinging are all very comforting. Stimulation, including laughing and crying, can trigger reflux episodes.
Keep a calm environment that is as soothing as possible. Try using a quiet, comforting voice, even if everything around you is loud and manic with other children running around. Babies often sense emotional discord so if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or angry, try to find someone to hand the baby to or stop and take a moment, making sure baby is in a safe place for a few minutes. Don’t repress your personal feelings though, it’s important to discuss them with your partner or family members at an appropriate time.
Preserve your health
Right now it is especially important for you to sleep as much as possible, eat well and stay healthy. Be sure to get some gentle form of exercise if you can – even a walk out once of twice a week is beneficial. Perhaps now is not a good time to start that diet, if it means extra food preparation time – keep things simple and look after yourself.