A common theme for questions this time of year concerns combining breastfeeding and the busy holidays, so we asked Wendy, a lactation consultant and the creator of the 16 Minute Club to pull together a short list of tips on breastfeeding over the holidays that we can all benefit from.
Tis the season to be merry, but it can be hard to get in the festive mood when there is so much to do. The holiday season may bring up some breastfeeding challenges, but these tips will help you and your baby survive the festivities.
Avoid Low Supply Triggers:
The holiday season can be quite stressful and full of sugary treats. It is important to not let stress interfere with your diet or milk supply. Avoid putting too many things on your to-do list this season so that you will not feel the need to do a million errands with a nursing baby. Instead, give yourself more grace this year, knowing that a stress-free holiday may not make your in-laws happy, but it will be the best thing for your health and your baby. Also, it is wise to avoid too much caffeine and sugar. Both can add to your stress levels and also trigger a supply dip.
Some holiday foods are also linked to lower milk supply, such as peppermint, spearmint, and parsley. Decongestants, such as Sudafed, and menthol cough drops can also affect your milk supply. Many Christmas dinners can be heavy on the garlic, and while it won’t lower your milk supply, your little one may not enjoy the taste as much as you do.
This may be the perfect year to try online shopping for all of your holiday gifts. Not only will online shopping (Amazon prime has free shipping!)save you time, but you can do it topless while nursing your sweet little one. Some grocery stores even have online shopping options, as well. If you must go to the mall this season, remember to plan your trips around your baby’s nap and feeding schedules. It is much easier to shop when you have a happy and fed baby then getting stuck in line with a full cart of items when your baby needs to be fed. Also, try to shop at stores that offer a nice sitting room for nursing moms. This will give you a quiet place to nurse and relax while out and about.
Handling Rude Comments:
The holidays are a social time, which means you might find yourself nursing your baby in front of family members or co-workers at a holiday party. Rude comments are bound to happen, but don’t let them get you angry. Instead, just answer the rude comment with a fact on breastfeeding and move the conversation on. Sometimes well-meaning friends will want you to just give the baby formula so you can share a drink with them, or perhaps your older aunt think breastfeeding on demand is spoiling your baby. Getting angry will only make matters worse. In some cases, it is easier to just find a quiet room to nurse in to avoid off-handed comments all together (plus, who doesn’t need a break from their family members during gatherings).
Watching the Holiday Spirits:
It’s that special time of the year, and it is only natural to want an adult drink, especially after a stressful week. The good news is that you can indulge in one holiday drink. However, wait until after your little one’s nighttime feeding so that there is plenty of time for the alcohol to leave your system before it is time to nurse again. Also check out some ideas from on for tasty holiday mocktails. It is also important to stay hydrated with water and use a MilkScreen test strip if you are unsure about your milk quality.
Don’t let the holiday stress make you think that formula is the way to go. As a breastfeeding mama, you are giving your baby the rich nutrients he needs to stay healthy this holiday season. Plus, you will never have to remember to bring bottles along when your baby’s food supply is attached to you.