6 Tips for Holiday Breastfeeding with Your Nursing Baby

holiday breastfeeding
Image via Flickr/ Quan Ha

If you’re breastfeeding, you know how much being your baby’s sole food sources impacts your life. You watch what you eat, watch what you drink, and are never more than a few hours from a feeding or pumping session. As the holidays approach, you might wonder what sort of special considerations you need to make to ensure breastfeeding success around the holidays. Check out the tips below to help you rock holiday breastfeeding with your baby!

Plan for relatives

The holidays often mean visiting with friends and relatives you don’t see on a regular basis. There might be people in your family who are less than supportive of breastfeeding. Maybe it’s the aunt who wonders if your baby is fussy because you don’t give her formula. Or the uncle who tells you to cover up. Or the sister-in-law who continually tries to sneak your baby table food. Either way, it’s helpful to plan ahead how you’ll handle them. Take a few minutes to think about what holiday breastfeeding challenges might come up and how you'll handle them.

Remember that you’re the mom

When nosy relatives start making declarations about what your baby should be eating or how and where you’re nursing, it’s helpful to remember this: Their opinions don’t matter. You are your baby’s mother. You’re the only one who gets to have an opinion on how, where, or when they're fed. If you’re on the receiving end of uncomfortable comments, consider using the following line: “I am the mother and I’m confident in my feeding decisions. I won’t talk about this with you anymore.”

Make sure you’ve got support

Before heading out to celebrate the holidays, make sure you’ve identified a support person. Whether it’s your partner, your mother, or your best friend, it's important to have someone who will mind your older kids while you nurse the baby. Or help you make sure no one is sneaking the baby food. Trust me, it will make it much easier to enjoy your holiday gatherings. 

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Understand how drinking impacts breast milk

There are a lot of myths about breastfeeding and drinking alcohol. But, by far the biggest myth is that you must pump and dump if you drink. While you shouldn’t ever nurse your baby while you are drunk, 1-2 drinks won’t likely cause your baby any harm. If you do happen to go out and drink enough to feel drunk, simply avoid feeding the baby until you’re no longer drunk. The only time you need to pump and dump is if you're drunk at the time you would normally feed your baby.

Be mindful of your health


While your baby will typically let you know (forcefully) when it’s time to eat, holiday travel, parties, and family obligations can sometimes get in the way of your normal nursing routine. When you get out of your nursing routine your supply can drop. Or you can end up with a clogged duct or even mastitis. Even when it means stepping away from friends or taking a break from festivities, staying on your normal routine is important for your health during holiday breastfeeding.

Don’t hesitate to use the baby as a break

I’ve been nursing my son in public since he was born. But there are still times when I prefer to take a few quiet minutes away to nurse him. If your baby is easily distracted or you just want a break, don’t hesitate to use your baby as an excuse to take a pause. 

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Good luck with your holiday breastfeeding, mamas!

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6 Tips for Holiday Breastfeeding with Your Nursing Baby

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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