Holiday planning can be stressful, especially for new mothers ! The hustle and bustle and family gatherings, while festive and fun, can leave new mothers exhausted and frustrated. There is even a phenomenon called "holiday weaning" because breastfeeding mothers can get so stressed out trying to accomplish their holiday "to do" list that breastfeeding rhythms get interrupted.
Here are a few tips to help make the holidays work while breastfeeding.
1. Agree with family and friends to limit gift giving. A great way to do this is to "draw names." Write everyone's name on a piece of paper, and put them in a basket. Everyone picks a name and prepares a special gift for one person. This limits the stress, saves money and gives the giver more time to make the one gift extra special.
2. Lower your expectations around holiday decorating. Allow other family members to decorate the tree while you direct operations from your rocking chair. The tree may not look the way you had planned, but you may really enjoy your "nursing tree" ! Take photos to remember the moment.
3. Take shorter shopping trips and take along your baby. That way you can nurse if need be. Feed before you leave the house, so that baby has a "full tank" which will give you more time to shop. Be sure to bring a blanket to cover up if you are shy. And bring a long a cool bottle of water for yourself.
4. If you are invited to an office party, for example, where children are not usually included, consider bringing your baby and wearing her in a sling.
5. Wearing your baby in a sling can also be helpful if you prefer that your baby not be held by lots of people at holiday parties. This is especially good advice during cold and flu seasons.
6. Don't get stressed about cooking for holiday parties. Explain to family and friends that you are breastfeeding and that you need help. One great way to ease the burden on everyone is to ask everyone to bring a dish or two to share and make it a "pot luck" event. This usually results in everyone getting to show off their newest recipe and lots of delicious food is enjoyed by all.