Holiday Breastfeeding Tips

2011.12 Xmas 4A

The holidays are such a fun time, but they also bring their share of stress too.  Taking care of a breastfeeding baby can add to an already long to-do-list, especially if your baby is very young or you have older children to care as well.  Below are a few tips from LLL of Longmont to help make the holidays with a nursling easier. 

  • Don't forget to nurse the baby.  This sounds like a silly reminder, but with shopping, big family dinners, presents to wrap, and parties, sometimes it’s easy to forget to nurse (or pump).  If you’re not careful, your baby may wean early, especially when bottles are being given in place of nursing.  
  • Make sure you eat well!  There are so many yummy treats to be found around the holidays, but make sure you’re making healthy choices too.  Sweets and starchy foods can lead to yeast infections of the breast.  Don’t forget to drink plenty of water too.  
  • Take care of yourself.  Staying up late to wrap presents and clean the house for guests may catch up to you in the long run.  Being overtired and rundown can even cause breast infections.  Try to nap when the baby naps, at least through the holiday season.  
  • Wear comfy clothes that are easy to nurse in.  Squeezing into the perfect dress with a slightly small, pre-pregnancy bra can put lots of pressure on the breast leading to plugged ducts.  Even pressure from a baby carrier can cause plugged ducts.  If your holiday outfit isn’t easy to nurse in, feedings may be stretched out, leading to engorgement and infections.  
  • Plan around baby’s day.  Scheduled events and outings around your baby’s nap and bedtime schedule.   Even one missed nap can leave you with a cranky baby, adding to holiday stress or making an event less than fun.  Don’t be afraid to sneak off to a quiet room or leave early - your baby’s need come first.  
  • Delegate, delegate, delegate!  Rather than making a huge family meal this year, do a potluck.  Shop online for gifts.  Consider hiring a teen neighbor to wrap represent or run a few errands for you.  Having someone else watch the baby can lead to missed hunger cues and a super hungry/fussy baby.  It’s better to delegate tasks and focus on baby rather than having someone watch the baby for you.  If you do hire a sitter, make sure they know what hunger cues to look for so they can bring baby to you to nurse.  If baby will receive a bottle while you’re apart, make sure your caregiver knows about paced bottle feeding, and be sure to pump milk to keep your supply up.  
  • ASK FOR HELP!  Last but most important - ask for help!  If at any time you’re having questions, concerns, or issues with breastfeeding, please seek help right away.  La Leche League Leaders are available over the holidays as well as many lactation consultants.  


© LLL of Longmont 2018
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