Thursday, November 15, 2012

Stress Free Holiday Breastfeeding

OK, when I first saw the topic of Breastfeeding and Holiday challenges I thought I would have nothing to write about.  But when I thought about it I came up with several challenges:
1.      Traveling by car or plane
2.      Disrupted schedule from travel, activities, or obligations
3.      Nursing with many more people present than usual
5.      Dealing with the family’s opinions related to breastfeeding

Together these could feel overwhelming.  The week after Thanksgiving the breastfeeding blog hop is focusing on road trips while breastfeeding.   I’m a little worried about this being after Thanksgiving and how many people will be traveling before Turkey day.  I’m thinking about posting that topic early next week.  If you want me to get this done next week leave me a comment.  I wrote about alcohol and breastfeeding here.  So today I will give some ideas about disrupted schedules, extra people, and the family’s opinion.

Depending on your baby and your family these three issues could feel like nothing or being causing plenty of anxiety.   I am going to assume that if they feel like nothing, you already have it covered and don’t need any tips J  Maybe you can list your own tips in the comments section.

It seems like the holidays are so busy for all of us.  From getting the house clean and ready for the holidays, extra cooking, parties, buying or making presents, and travel it can be hard to keep the usual routine.  All of us do better with routine, but especially little ones who do not understand why all of a sudden everything is different.  Some babies (like some adults) don’t mind and go with the flow easily.  Others have a very difficult time tolerating it.  

If your baby (or toddler) does not do changes in routine well, keep this in mind when creating your holiday schedule.  Yes, you may need to sit down and look at how many things you want to do and how they stack up against the usual routine.  Decide how much you and baby can handle.  Discuss it with those who will be making plans for you, like your husband or extended family.  Maybe this year the whole family does less or at different times.  Or do less cooking or more cooking ahead of time.  ListPlanit’s Holiday ePlanner may be a good resource for making these plans. That is what I am using this year.  Keep in mind that many older babies can get busy and forget to nurse just like we do.  They typically make up for it during the night.  Making up for feedings at night works great for me, but might not for you.  So plan accordingly.

Another solution is to use a pumped bottle of breast milk for a feeding or two.  Family members are likely to really want to help you feed baby and having a few pumped bottles of breast milk will give you a lot of flexibility. 

Now, as far as nursing in public or in front of more people goes, think about your comfort level.  Do you have a nursing cover? If not check out Nicki’s Diapers.  She has some great ones starting at $15. 
I personally have never been one to leave the room and nurse all alone, but nursing could be an excuse to escape from the chaos if you want.  I have nursing bras and shirts and a nursing cover so I can nurse easily without making a scene.  With my first baby I practiced latching in front of a mirror so I could learn to latch with minimal display of skin.  

Another idea is a sling or wrap baby carrier.  With some practice you can nurse while up and about and  having the use of at least one hand.  Very important during the holiday busyness.  Many stores carry baby carriers. I’ve seen a Moby wrap at Target. Nicki’s Diapers also has an assortment of baby carriers.  Personally I have a Moby wrap and a ring sling.  I don’t usually have to use a nursing cover when using one of these, because they help keep things covered.

So, planning and nursing gear solves most Holiday problems, but not the family’s opinions.  There is a whole variety of different issues here, from not being supportive of breastfeeding in general, to thinking your baby is too old to breastfeed.  Some people will state their opinions and others will just give you looks.  I am definitely not an expert on this area, but I think making sure that you and your husband are on the same page helps.  Talking to each other about the kinds of things that may come up ahead of time may help you to feel supported during the holidays.  You may want to think about how to nicely explain your position.  Finally, remember, you are the parent.  Decide with your spouse what is best for your family and relax.  You don’t have to defend or prove yourself.

What are your tips??

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