The holidays reminds me of fun at Grandma’s house: playing with cousins, building with Tinker Toys, sledding so long that our mittens (and fingers!) were frozen solid, and decorating cookies. These sweet memories have a special place in my heart.
The holidays with tube fed children should be equally memorable. In a time of year that seems to be focused on food (chocolate in stocking, decorating cookies, and of course the big family dinner) it may feel like it is impossible to have a “normal” holiday. However, simple modifications can make all the difference for your little one. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Take the focus off of food. Traditionally, we pack the holiday season with tasty treats. Instead of focusing on edible gifts, try other small toys and unique gifts. Stuff your stockings with hair ties, coupons for a special date with mommy/daddy, craft projects, and toy cars. These small trinkets allow the fun to continue long past when the snacks are devoured.
- It helps to notify the family members who may not know all the details of the health situation, this way there are no awkward questions or pressure about “just try to eat a little mashed potato”. Understanding and compassionate family and friends can really help support caregivers during holiday dinners when they do have more insight on the situation.
- Enjoy nature. Bundle up in warm clothes and head out with friends and family. Sledding, hiking, building snowmen and having snowball fights are all a blast, especially with friends! Just remember to secure the feeding tube so that your child can enjoy the fun without harm to the tube; an emergency run to the hospital puts a damper on snow fun.
- Pack an emergency kit. Don’t forget that winter weather may trap you in at Grandma’s house. Pack plenty of formula and supplies: syringes, gauze, tape, extensions, etc. Don’t forget your pump and charger (and a backup, if you have it!), a backup feeding tube, feeding bags and a gravity bag (in case heavy snow comes and the power fails).
- Have fun! It’s okay to create new family traditions and memories without feeling like you are abandoning tradition. Incorporating more going and doing instead of giving and receiving is great! The holidays is not about the gifts or food, it’s about bringing family close, loving others and celebrating the season