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Holidays With Baby: Staying Connected

Dad drawing with his toddler daughter on his lap, in front of christmas treeTravel. Out-of-town visitors. Unwelcome advice or opinions. Busy days away from home. The distractions of the holidays can lead to fewer nursing sessions and less time at the breast. This can mean a lower milk supply and sometimes even nursing strikes or premature weaning. Here are some tips from other parents about how to keep baby nursing and connected even during the busiest time of the year.

“I enjoyed the ‘excuse’ of sneaking away during family holiday events to nurse my newborn. It’s not that I didn’t want to or couldn’t nurse in front of everyone, but it was nice to get some peace and quiet in a the middle of the ruckus and focus on our newest gift.” Chrissy Fleishman, Maryland

“If you enjoy cooking large meals during the holidays, enlist help! Spread prep over multiple days, ask others to bring a dish or jump in to chop veggies or stir a pot. Going in with the mindset that you will take breaks to nurse can help you feel less tired and less stressed.” Jameil, La Leche League of Grier Heights, Charlotte, North Carolina

“Baby wearing is an easy and comfortable way to get around grabby relatives. ‘Oh, sorry, this is the only way baby stays calm in loud places.’ Nobody enjoys baby screaming at a party. Babywearing keeps baby happy, quiets clamoring relatives, and keeps Mama Bear from having to come out growling.” Mia, Southwest Michigan

“All three of my children have fall birthdays, so I did holidays with small babies three times! It’s hard to resist allowing family to ‘take the baby for a few minutes’ but using a wrap and keeping baby close helped make sure baby was nursing enough so my milk production didn’t tank.” Jaci McCaskell Kulish, Moorhead, Minnesota

“Ask your family what is the most cherished moment or tradition for them, and then do only those few things. Spend the rest of the holidays lounging as a family!” Jean, Virginia

“Switching to gift bags from the dollar store instead of wrapping paper and ribbons was a real time saver for us. Since the bags can be reused from year to year, it’s more economical and ecological, too.”  Debbi Heffern, LLL of Creve Coeur St. Louis

“Cooking an entire holiday dinner on my own was exhausting! I welcomed the excuse to nurse my baby during meal prep and cooking. I could relax on the couch and put up my feet. Just be sure to turn down the heat for anything on the stovetop! If someone wants to help, the best thing they can do is take over for a bit in the kitchen while you rest and nurse the baby.” Amanda, La Leche League of Eastern Cincinnati and Clermont County

“I was nervous about nursing my toddler in front of my out-of-town relatives, so I made the mistake of encouraging weaning right before Christmas. I spent Christmas Day with a sick and cranky toddler trying to get him to nurse for relief, which didn’t work. If I had to do it over, I would have probably waited until at least after the New Year!” Rebecca H. McCormick, Fairfax City, Virginia

“I feel that my usual breastfeeding pattern can get interrupted even with a six- or 10-month-old during the holidays or family visits. Everyone wants to play with baby and you are busy entertaining. It’s easy to miss cues or go extra long between feeding. I am going to try to focus more on this and offer to breastfeed more!” Anna, North Carolina

“The holidays can be overwhelming or bring up a lot of emotions for us. Be unapologetic about protecting your and your children’s space. If doing something or being around someone does not serve you, rethink doing it. Put your and your family’s happiness and mental/emotional wellness first.” Cristina Toff, La Leche League of Jersey City/Hoboken

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