One of the biggest shocks after having my non-IGE allergy baby, was the number of times he could vomit during in the night. Even held upright, he still had a pretty good vomjectory (allergy Mama slang for vomit trajectory). Sure, the quantities were smaller from the vertical position. The vomjectory, however? Well that could increase ten fold! A logistical nightmare when you’re sleep deprived and aiming to keep the number of bedding changes to the absolute minimum.
The Allergy Mama solution? Well, at first I tried the more “traditional” solutions aimed at stopping your mattress becoming wet. Plastic mattress protectors, bamboo mattress protectors, general use incontinence sheets. You name a type of under sheet, I probably tried it. Repeatedly, like I had gone insane (which with hindsight, perhaps I had!) because not once did it work. These items were ridiculous to dry or a stupendous ongoing expense (not to mention a heinous crime against the environment).
So, after an embarrassing number of weeks of brain malfunction and complete failure to learn from my mistakes, I realised that I was too exhausted to not find a better way.
After 3 cups of strong coffee and with a baby in the sling, I set about working out what I was trying to achieve. This was the list:
Keep the mattress dry.
Not have to change every single item of bedding for every vomit.
Disturb the baby’s sleep as little as possible while achieving the above.
And if at all humanly possible, not need to turn on the light.
The solution? Pretty simple really. First, I bought a red LED light. This offered enough visibility to manage the night tasks without causing unnecessary stimulation.
Next, I asked people for their old single bed duvets. They were going to be vomit catchers, no need for anything fancy. As long as each duvet was worn enough or a light enough tog to go in my washing machine, they were added to the pile at the end of the bed. Each night, I put a fresh duvet under the bed sheet of the bed I was going to sit on to hold my beloved sick bucket (er hem, I mean son) and chucked the duvet from the previous night in the wash. And repeated the procedure for the cot bed.
Then I raided the charity shops for towels. All sorts of colours and conditions of towel. My toddler still reminisces about “towel mountain” (the window sill high pile of towels that she used to love charging into and throwing around the room if I took my eye off her for even a second). I would lay 4-6 towels on top of one another on the bed sheet and tuck them securely under the side of the mattress. With each vomit, I would peel the top towel out from under the baby and go back to sleep. As I came to the last towel or when the baby next needed a feed (whichever came first), I would turn on the low light and replenish the towels. (This technique was pretty fool proof until the baby started rolling at which point, the risk of entanglement in the towels became a concern. A later blog post about milestone adjustments will cover sick-proofing for your vomoller (vomiting roller)).
And voila! It wasn’t perfect by any means, but my baby wasn’t constantly laid in vomit and I wasn’t awake for an hour after every sick. Win, win.
Xx Allergy Mama