My first Christmas as a parent, I was a complete mess! Traveling with a baby is never easy (fair warning, it’s not so easy with a toddler either) and I worried about keeping my baby close and how I would feed her in front of my relatives. Would they say anything? Would they make me feel uncomfortable? Would they ask why she was STILL not taking a bottle?
So here are a few of my favorite tips about how to protect your breastfeeding relationship this season:
1) Make time to slow down and feed/snuggle with your baby. With everything going on, it can be harder to watch your baby for hunger cues. Make sure to slow down and take breaks, you don’t want to have to deal with engorgement or plugged ducts during the holidays!
2) Find a quiet place. Now I am all for nursing in public (NIP) but if you don’t feel comfortable you are less likely nurse when you and baby need to. Finding a quiet and calm place that you can both retreat to, without distraction, will help you to focus on nursing. Especially for older babies, lots of commotion or a new situation can be a distraction that can cause them to “pop on” and “pop off”. Trying to reduce the number of distractions may help save your sanity.
3) Ignore the advice. If you want to advocate for yourself and for breastfeeding, by all means go for it! But if you are just not in the mood to have to justify how you feed your child, you shouldn’t have to. A simple, “we appreciate your concern, but this is the way we’ve chosen to feed our baby” should suffice.
4) Babywear! Especially with a brand new baby, you probably don’t feel comfortable having EVERYONE pass the baby back and forth. So keep that baby tucked away and close to mama or daddy in a wrap, sling, or carrier. An added bonus: it’s much easier to see your baby’s feeding cues when they are close.
5) Pass on the peppermint. Peppermint can have a negative effect on your milk production, so limit the number of candy canes and peppermint cocoa.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or just enjoy spending time with your family I hope that this season is filled with joy and the people you love.
Are you worried about drinking and breastfeeding during the holidays? If you want to read more, check out this Facebook post from Dr Jack Newman, a leading expert on breastfeeding.