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I know how hard it is going out with an infant with reflux because I have been there! Taking care of a baby with reflux is hard work. Nobody will appreciate how hard it is unless they too have had an infant with reflux. So the most important thing is to not feel pressured into going out. If you are comfortable and happy staying at home then do it.
However, there will come a time when you are fed up with being at home and will want to go out. These are ways to still be able to socialise and go out with infant reflux. The best thing I did was to take a survival kit everywhere so I could deal with any reflux situation.
Check out this practical guide for dealing with sleep, weaning, leaving the house and helping your baby to improve their symptoms.
1. Always take a pile of muslins
This was the one thing I would never leave the house without. Use them to cover your clothes when you are holding the baby in case they vomit on you. It is so much easier than having to change your clothes and your baby’s clothes multiple times a day. They are easier to wash and dry than piles of clothes too. Muslins are also great for covering the floor before you put the baby down, covering car seats, pushchairs, cots, Moses baskets and anywhere else you put your baby down. I really like the Aden + Anais muslins as they are large and really good quality, they wash well and last a long time.
2. Invite people to visit you
Sometimes it is just so much easier to be in your own home where you don’t need to worry if you have stains on your clothes! Invite family and friends to visit you for a drink and a chat. Let the children play together without having to worry about your baby vomiting or eating something that will make their symptoms worse.
3. Go to a friend’s house
Go to a friend or family member’s house where you feel relaxed. You don’t want to constantly be worried about your baby vomiting on the carpet or sofa. So go to places where they understand that your baby has reflux and will help you by holding your baby and giving you a break. Take plenty of muslins with you and your reflux survival kit and you will be fine.
4. Find a few relaxed places near to home
Look for places you can visit that aren’t too far from home. Then if you have any big vomiting disasters you haven’t got too far to go to deal with it. Find places with a relaxed atmosphere where you won’t feel awkward or uncomfortable if you baby vomits everywhere. Garden centres or coffee shops that have relaxed areas to have a hot drink, soft play is easy if your baby is that bit older or play parks are great.
5. Join local baby groups
Local baby groups are great places to meet other parents who have infants who are suffering from reflux or colic. This gives you an opportunity to feel normal and to share advice and tips. I found it a great relief to have other parents in similar situations and to be reassured that it does get better. We also went to the local library for reading and music sessions, baby and toddler groups and soft play sessions. Just remember to take your reflux survival kit with you and enjoy some adult conversation.
6. Use an Infant carrier
I found that this was the easiest way to take my baby out when her reflux was bad. The car seat and pushchair put pressure on her tummy and made her uncomfortable. She was too flat lying down in her pram which made her reflux symptoms worse. She was much happier being carried upright in her carrier. We used the Babybjorn Carrier and I found it comfy to wear and easy to clean!
7. Use a car seat cover
Avoid putting your baby in the car seat straight after feeding them. Give them time for their feed to digest and this will prevent them from vomiting as much. To make it easier to keep the car clean try covering the car seat with a cover or large muslin.
8. Make an Infant Reflux Survival Kit
This was the most important thing that I did. I took my infant reflux kit with me everywhere even just on the school run. As soon as I got home I made sure to refill anything I had used so I didn’t run out of anything. I used a Pacapod bag to throw everything into so I had a portable nappy changing bag to take to the changing area or bathroom.
Infant Reflux Survival Kit:
- Bibs – I always carry lots of bibs and replace them often. This means I have to change my baby’s outfit less often and it keeps her neck and chin dry even though she is vomiting frequently.
- Several large muslins – has a lot of great uses!
- A change of clothes for baby – I keep these inside a disposable bag to keep them clean. I can then use the bag to put the dirty clothes in.
- Spare baby vest – I always carry an extra vest as there have been occasions when my baby has vomited al lot and needed another change of clothes. So I put her in a clean, dry vest to travel home. If it is cold I cover her with a large muslin or swaddle.
- Clean top for you or a cardigan you can use to cover up any stains
- Pack of baby wipes – needed to clean everything
- More nappies than you will need in case of accidents or vomiting that soaks through the clothes. I buy in bulk and then I always have plenty in my stockpile.
- Barrier cream
- Nappy cream – this one works fast, it’s the only one we use
- Disposable nappy bags are great for putting in dirty clothes as well as nappies. I buy these in bulk too.
- Light blanket or swaddle
- Hand sanitiser
- Comforter for if the baby is in pain or upset
- Pacifier as this can help with the pain of reflux. I used a silicone strap to stop it getting lost and it doubled up as a teether.
Even though it can be hard going out with an infant with reflux it is really worth it. I always felt much better for getting out and talking with other parents. Just remember to take your reflux survival kit and build a network of people and places that will support you through this tough time. It really won’t last forever even though it sometimes feels like it!