How not to stop breastfeeding when you don’t want to quit.
Breastfeeding your baby is going marvellously well. The holiday season is here and you are excited not only to show off your new baby to everyone at the gatherings you’ve been invited to, but also to ensure your little one participates in the traditions you grew up with. This will include lots of baking, shopping, wrapping gifts, and decorating. It can be exhausting just thinking about it!
With all these activities going on, you may find you are starting to delay feeding your baby, relying perhaps on a baby swing to distract him, or using a babysitter more frequently and bottle-feeding your pumped milk. As a consequence, your milk supply decreases and your baby may even go on a nursing strike! Mistakenly, you may think she must be ready to wean.
So how do you prevent your baby from weaning in the holidays?
A mother who is aware of these pitfalls may choose options that are likely to preserve the nursing relationship and which will help her avoid “holiday weaning.” These may include having a caregiver lend a hand while you bake, decorate, wrap or whatever. If you are close by to breastfeed your baby, there will be no need for any bottles! And that’s also the reason why, of course, you are to bring your baby along to the parties, even buying a special outfit for him to wear! One mom I know bought a baby tuxedo for a wedding and was able to make use of it for holiday parties too. Her baby was fussed over by everyone, and not one person complained about his presence. Wear your baby in a sling and he may sleep through much of the event.
If you use a baby carrier your baby can accompany you on shopping trips. Or bring a trusted caregiver to help carry either him or the packages. The extra arms will surely come in useful. Teens are a good bet and often appreciate the opportunity to gain some real hands on childcare experience, and may even help you for free.
Wear your baby in a sling and he may sleep through much of the event.
A mother may invite friends with babies over to have a gift-wrapping party. Here you can all wrap presents and tend to your babies’ needs, perhaps even save money by sharing supplies. If a group of friends held a cookie exchange, each participant could cut down on the amount of baking she does, leaving each with more quality family time.
Great gifts with great designs from Praeclarus now on Redbubble!
Shopping, baking, cooking and caring for a baby can often leave a mother feeling stressed. During these somewhat harried days, it may be hard to carve out enough breastfeeding time to reconnect with your baby but lying down with a nursling for a nap will rejuvenate you both and keep that special bond alive!
If your family lives out of town, you may need to travel far away for a holiday. It is important to plan how you and baby will have sufficient time to continue your breastfeeding relationship. Schedule plenty of nursing stops. In advance, scope out spots en route where a nursing couple may stop and breastfeed safely.
Sometimes well-meaning family will not support your breastfeeding in their presence. Discuss this aspect of your holiday in advance, so no one is surprised or compromised. After all, holidays are supposed to be about family, and the littlest member’s needs are paramount!
While holiday traditions are special, most happen every year, and the prudent mother knows that her baby’s nursing season only occurs once in a lifetime so will make every effort to maintain it.
Ken Tackett’s images make great gifts on mugs and other merchandise.
Dee Russell is a retired LLL Leader and lives in Honeoye Falls, NY, USA. She is mother to Holly, Janette, Daniel, and wife to Frank.