Holidays With Little Ones, A Conversation With La Leche League Leaders

As holidays approach, many breastfeeding families may wonder how the season will unfold with their nursling. Grandparents and relatives may wish for a way to support the little ones and their parents through the coming months. After a recent conversation with La Leche League USA Leader volunteers, we compiled some of their best tips for enjoying the holidays with a new baby in the family.

If you’re traveling for the holidays, plan to make plenty of stops for nursing. Sasha B. suggested, “Nurse the baby right before you arrive at your destination. Even if you have to stop at a store and go plop on the couch in the furniture section. Having a recently nursed baby will keep you both more relaxed.”

Amy N. offered the following tips for traveling with a nursing little one. “We usually traveled between three to four hours for the holidays, and we always made sure to add in extra travel time so we wouldn’t end up feeling rushed or arriving later than we were expected. We usually had to stop several times for nursing or potty or cuddle breaks. We also always seemed to experience a “blow out” diaper situation that required a complete outfit change. Planning ahead for stops helped make our time on the road less stressful for both parents and little ones.”

Kelley T. shared that “Nursing may seem like it adds to the chaos of travel during the holidays, but the opposite is true for me. There’s nothing like nursing for calming a baby on a plane (or on a long car trip). If you’re exposed to illness, your milk will help protect your baby. It’s also a great opportunity, if you’re comfortable, to be an ambassador for breastfeeding without saying a word – when people see you and how well it’s working, it makes an impression.”

Lll meme with text Pass the gravy, not the babyThere is certainly a lot of excitement when bringing a new baby to a family function. Many parents and babies may find a time where they feel overwhelmed, and nursing offers a great opportunity to take a moment of peace.

Kelley T. experienced this with her baby. She said, “It is nice to have an excuse to step back from the busyness of gatherings and have a moment together to nurse – whether I’m the one who needs a moment of quiet, or the baby is. Nursing and cosleeping help mitigate the disruption to bedtime routines that comes with the season. When so much else is different, nursing provides some stability for our little ones and keeps all of us in a better mood. So I guess my tip is: if you’re thinking of weaning, consider doing it after the holidays!”

Cara F. echoed this sentiment. She says, “I actually found it easier to go into a quiet space to nurse. Otherwise, my nursling would get so overwhelmed and distracted that it wouldn’t be a good nursing session and I’d start to get engorged.”

Some parents find that nursing during family functions feels empowering, too. Breastfeeding without interruption, even in public, is important during the holidays.

Another tip to keep nursing going through the hustle of the holiday season is to ensure you’re still nursing often. Cara F. shared that with her babies “night nursing became important for my supply, baby’s calories, and our reconnection.”

Some parents may feel uneasy about letting others hold their baby. Sasha B. said that if you do decide to pass along your baby to be held by an eager relative, it would be a “good idea to have your baby’s nursing needs recently met.”

Babywearing can also be an excellent strategy for keeping your baby close during family gatherings. Katrina K. shared, “When I kept my baby in any type of carrier, my family never asked to hold the baby. It kept my babies close and allowed them to nurse whenever they wanted.”

Cara F. shared her experiences for those who may find themselves at a religious service this season. “Some friends gave us good advice to sit in the front row of any religious service. We discovered it’s a good way to keep our children engaged and teach them about what’s going on in the service. I also discovered I can nurse easily this way. Over the last 10 years nursing three children in various churches, I have yet to get negative criticism.”

Do what you can to enjoy the season and make precious memories with your family. Patti G. encourages families to “do the things that feel comfortable, good, and satisfying for you as the parent. You don’t have to do everything or even the usual things. Find a way to create your own flow, so that you can be at ease, and then your children will follow.”

We hope these tips help families feel prepared and empowered to head into the holiday season with your little one. Wishing quiet travels, peaceful family gatherings, and a wonderful season to all of you.

For more information about traveling with your nursing baby, visit

Please send your story ideas to Kylie at [email protected].

Supporting Breastfeeding Families–Today, Tomorrow, Always

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