10 Tips To Prevent Holiday Weaning
This post was written by Jessica Koski of Nested, LLC in Savannah, Georgia. She is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and birth and postpartum doula.
With all of the family oriented holidays just around the corner, I wanted to share with you, some tips on how to continue breastfeeding despite potential chaos.
Kris Nilson, IBCLC, says that “Holiday weaning is accidental weaning from the breast that can occur during the holidays.”
This might sound crazy at first, after all, you’ll have more down time right?
Well, actually, with everyone else wanting to get in some holiday baby-holding, you might be more prone to missing those early feeding cues, or be tempted to just hand Nana a bottle. Sometimes you may be busy, and other times you may be embarrassed to breastfeed in front of family members. All of this change can be overwhelming for both you and baby. If you skip or delay feedings at the breast, you are at risk of engorgement, clogged ducts, fatigue, change in supply, difficulty latching, and in some cases even mastitis. Before we get too worried though, here are some tips to help you along during these busy months!
Schedule plenty of nursing stops if you are traveling, as baby may sleep longer than usual between feedings during long trips.
Let family members and visiting friends do lots of cuddling instead of feeding your baby. Sitting or lying down to nurse will also give you more time to rest! Remember, your body is burning some extra calories (300-500 per day) so you will need this rest to recuperate.
If you decorate your house, ask your friends to help instead of doing it all yourself. You can direct operations from your rocking chair!
Take shorter shopping trips and bring along baby. If you’re shy about nursing in public, feed baby just before you leave, in the car or in dressing rooms. You can always bring along a nursing cover too!
Don’t forget to eat! You need to replenish yourself to keep up with the fast pace of holiday vacations. Fatigue can affect supply too!
If you’re faced with a “no kids please” party invitation, let the host know you would like to take the baby with you, as being apart from an infant can impact their breastfeeding. Most people are pretty understanding! You can use a cover here too, or even a baby carrier to remain discreet if you wish.
WEAR YOUR BABY! This is so useful when you have guests or you’re at a party. It helps to keep your baby from being passed around and becoming over stimulated. It also cuts down on germ exposure, and you’re much less likely to miss those feeding cues!
Keep a running list of chores on the refrigerator; you can point to it whenever someone offers to help.
Instead of cooking all of the meals yourself, ask guests to bring food contributions or help you cook at your place if they’re coming in from out of town.
Have your IBCLC’s phone number handy! We LOVE unexpected phone calls, and many of us are happy to help when you run into problems!
Happy Breastfeeding and Happy Holidays!
Jessica Hulderman, BS, IBCLC of
Nested, LLC Special “Thank You!” to Kris Nilson, IBCLC for being an amazing resource!