Nursing Through The Holidays
The holiday season is here, and with it comes visitors, celebrations, and increased busyness. This time of year can be filled with joy and laughter, but it can also be filled with stress and anxiety. If you are in a season of parenting that includes breastfeeding, you may be concerned that all of this additional activity could affect the nursing relationship and routine you’ve worked hard to establish over the previous weeks or months.
Time is precious, so we at New Beginnings will keep it short and sweet. Read on to hear from parents who have breastfed through the holidays and want to offer encouragement and practical tips. (For the rest of the conversation, click on this link to take you to the original post on the New Beginnings Facebook page.) At the end of this post, we’ve included a few links with additional information and inspiration to help you through the holidays.
Slow down. Make a point to include nursing sessions no matter what is going on. Those are two of the main ideas shared by parents.
“Take lots of breaks, let things go, enjoy that first big holiday with your baby. Be careful not to go too long between nursings; don’t let other people tell you how often baby should be nursing. Enjoy the holidays from a comfy nursing chair,” suggested JoAnn B.
That comfy nursing chair mentioned by JoAnn B? Settle in and let others take care of the holiday tasks while you focus on baby.
Susan L. said, “Let others do all the work. That can be their gift to you.”
“It’s ok to turn down some events, or stay shorter than you would pre-nursing baby,” Angela B. added.
It seems that everyone wants to hold the baby, but you don’t have to “share” your little one just because an aunt or cousin wants some baby snuggles. In the past, many parents have said that having a breastfed baby is actually a great excuse during the holidays because you can just let that family member know your little needs to be with you to nurse. And, with an increase in illnesses such as RSV, you may feel less hesitant to let others know you want to keep baby close to you.
“Don’t be pressured into passing your baby around or feel like you have to delay feedings just to spare others’ feelings of uncomfortableness at the idea of breastfeeding,” said Melody W. “No need to put unnecessary pressure on yourself or let others rob you of your holiday joy!”
Jaclyn C. offered a bit of advice that you may have heard before if you’re familiar with La Leche League:
“Pass the gravy not the baby! Babywearing can help, too.”
While it can often feel uncomfortable to refuse the good intentions of family and friends, Lara J. encouraged and reassured parents that you should do what’s best for you and your little one, even if others may temporarily feel “put out.”
“Do what works for you and your baby! I needed to be more deliberate about making a quiet time and space for nursing since baby would get more distracted, and mastitis was a real risk for me. If you have family that hasn’t been there or has forgotten, they may be a little flustered by how much time you and baby need for nursing. Parent confidently! You know what you and baby need. Educating family can sometimes be helpful too, but it’s okay for them to think you’re being ‘selfish’ for a bit (you’re definitely not)!”
- Holidays With Baby: Staying Connected: lllusa.org/holidays-with-baby-staying-connected/
- Traveling With A Breastfed Baby: lllusa.org/traveling-with-a-breastfed-baby/
- Babywearing: www.llli.org/breastfeeding-info/baby-wearing/
- Responding To Criticism: www.llli.org/breastfeeding-info/responding-to-criticism/
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