Breastfeeding during the Holidays!
Updated: Nov 11, 2020
The one time of year I always see an increase in breastfeeding issues is November - January!
The holidays are a joyful time to see family and friends but it is also a time when our normal routines are really off! We are traveling, visiting, eating, engaging in fun activities and seeing a lot of people we may not see very often.
Did you ever go to an unfamiliar place with your baby and suddenly they are clingy, crying, or just want to nurse constantly? You aren't imagining this, babies are smart! When they are in an unfamiliar environment or around a lot of noise they go back to their safe place, the place they feel a sense of calm and reassurance. Crying may increase because they are actually trying to block out unwanted stimulation.
“Babies breastfeed to reconnect when they are overwhelmed.”
It is very common for babies to nurse as soon as they get to a new place because they are in an unfamiliar environment, it is loud and scary! Be prepared for this possibility. Make others aware you may need to go to a quiet place shortly after arriving at your destination. If you have anxiety about this, call the host of the gathering and ask if there is a room that you can use while you are there. Let them know what your needs are before you arrive. People genuinely want to help more often than not, but many just don't know how, it is perfectly acceptable to make your needs known. . ⚞5⚟ things you can do to prevent clogged ducts and mastitis around the holidays:
🍂Say NO. It's okay to say "no" to people holding your baby. It's okay to say "no" when other people offer to feed your baby. Often times when baby gets passed around they feed less frequently which can cause breast discomfort and possibly result in clogged ducts. Encourage family to pass baby back to you when baby gets fussy or cries. This is a great time to teach everyone those early signs of hunger!
🍂It's okay to follow YOUR routine. Arrive when it is best for you, leave when your overwhelmed and work around baby's routine instead of forcing baby on to someone else's schedule. This may be a hard conversation to have with family and friends but really weigh the impact it will have on you and your baby. Setting boundaries can be hard but not impossible. Find an ally to speak with you at gatherings so you have someone else on your team.
🍂 Feed frequently! Decreased feeding can result in breast discomfort and low milk supply. The more often milk is removed the less likely you will be to develop breast discomfort. Hand expression or a hand pump can be a convenient and quick way to remove milk if a feed is delayed. It is normal to get distracted and not realize time has passed, setting an alarm to remember to breastfeed may be helpful!
🍂Wear your baby to prevent exposure to germs but also keep them close so they feed more often. Being worn is comforting to babies, they feel safe and content when they are close to you. Baby wearing is a LIFE SAVER. This will meet your babies' needs to be held and allow you to respond to them quickly. Those who want to visit with baby can sit next to you to interact with baby.
🍂Stay hydrated, make sure you are taking time to eat (remember your burning up to 500 calories from breastfeeding) and try to limit your activities, which can lead to fatigue, exhaustion or a disruption in milk supply or feeding. Babies are a perfect excuse to SLOW. DOWN. Take it easy, go to another room if either of you is overwhelmed.
Comment and tell me what your struggles have been around the holidays or what has worked for you!