It is the worst thing that could happen on an overseas trip with a PKU baby and it happened to us. We were going to run out of PKU baby formula.
I spent four weeks preparing for our massive around-the-world-with-a-baby holiday. (See our tips about Preparing for a Flight with a Baby.) I was so aware of Charlotte’s bottle and food routines and had thought that I had figured out her supplement requirements and allowed extra to spare. What I did not factor in was the change of climate!
Our first destination on our trip was to my families’ homes in Utah. I grew up there and so of course I knew that the climate was dry (it’s a desert after all) but I didn’t think it would affect Charlotte so much. The dry air combined with air conditioning made her so thirsty that she nearly doubled the number of bottles she was consuming.
The other issue we had was the jet lag. It took a good week for her to adjust to the change in time. She has always been a good sleeper and she was good at staying asleep throughout the night on our trip, but she would wake several times in the night for bottle and/or a nappy change. Her body took longer to adjust than her sleep patterns.
I did a PKU formula calculation the morning we were to leave my parent’s home to go onto the second leg of the trip to New York City when panic struck! Given the amount we had left, we would run out of the formula half way through the trip in Germany.
The first thing we did was to ask my husband’s parents if they would be able to get PKU baby formula locally in Germany. (They both come from medical fields and have contacts that could help.) They came back and said that they could only find the older children’s PKU supplements in a package that would cost roughly 800 Euros each!
The second thing we did was contact the local metabolic clinic at the children’s hospital. I had done some research before we left and knew that the main PKU clinic for the area was in Salt Lake City. Luckily for us, they were able to help!
They were able to supply us with 8 new tins of PKU baby formula that they had left over and were going to throw out! We ran over and met with the dietician within the hour and had enough to last us the rest of the trip. We were beyond grateful and sent flowers and post cards back to her from other cities on our trip.
We were so incredibly lucky and blessed. It shows you just how important it is to be prepared and find out where the local metabolic clinics are just in case something like this does happen. It also shows you how small the international PKU community really is.