Tips for Breastfeeding During the Holidays

BY AUTUMN WAKE, RN, BSN, IBCLC &

LAURA COOPER, BA, IBCLCOF

ADVANCED BREASTFEEDING SUPPORT OF LAS VEGAS

This truly is the best time of the year. And there’s nothing like experiencing it with your little ones. Yes, it can be a little stressful, especially if part of the busyness includes breastfeeding. But don’t sweat it. We have some no-stress tips for you.

Tips for Breastfeeding During the Holidays

It’s a given: Everyone loves babies and most everyone wants to hold a baby if given the chance. The holidays are the perfect time for this. However, when babies get passed around a lot or that warm snuggle with grandpa makes for a longer than usual nap, feedings and early feeding cues can sometimes get missed. This can lead to full breasts, which can have a negative effect on milk supply, or it can cause dreaded plugged ducts! The best thing to do to is give your family a heads up.

Make sure the friends and family you are spending time with know what feeding cues to look for and are aware that their cuddle may need to be interrupted to breastfeed. Offering bottles so others can “take a turn feeding the baby” is an extra step for the breastfeeder who will then have to pump. Parents of the baby can encourage others to bond with baby in other ways. Tummy time is one helpful idea. Even better? Changing diapers!

Feeling Left Out

Another concern that breastfeeders have around the holidays is feeling left out. Sometimes mom just wants to relax and unwind with a drink in hand. If you want to partake in a festive alcoholic beverage, go for it! The general rule of thumb is “if you’re too drunk to drive, you’re too drunk to feed your baby.” It’s true, very little alcohol actually gets into the milk. It’s generally suggested to wait about 2 hours after one standard drink before breastfeeding (CDC, 2018).

If you feel the need to pump during this time, you DO NOT need to dump the milk. You can save it and mix it with untainted milk, use it for a milk bath, or even put it on a diaper rash.

Anecdotally, certain foods can have a negative effect on milk production. Peppermint and Sage are two of those herbs, and they can be found a lot in our holiday favorites. No need to completely avoid. However, these are a couple of foods that when enjoying them in large quantities, can have a negative impact on supply for some lactating parents. That being said, have a candy cane but perhaps eating 10 in a row may not be a great idea, and ask grandma to go light on the sage in the turkey (Jacobson, 2007).

Alcohol | Breastfeeding | CDC. (2018, January 24). Retrieved October 15, 2019, from https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-special-circumstances/vaccinations-medications-drugs/alcohol.html. Jacobson, H. (2007). Mother food: a breastfeeding diet guide with lactogenic foods and herbs. Place of publication not identified: Rosalind Press.

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