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With Thanksgiving arriving next week that means that most of us will be visiting with or hosting family and friends. Being in a house full of people while breastfeeding can be stressful for some women whether it’s well-meaning yet unsolicited advice from your mother-in-law, making Uncle Joe uncomfortable, or just needing to get things done if you’re the host. Breastfeeding over the holidays may take some extra planning but it can be done with relative ease. These are my tips for holiday breastfeeding success.
Easier said than done, I know. Try not to let the hustle of the holidays cause you and baby to be stressed out. Your baby will be able to tell when you’re not quite yourself and may become fussy.
Stay on schedule
I am all about nursing on demand but after some time your baby becomes more predictable. Try to stay on the feeding schedule that is normal for your baby and if your baby’s schedule is thrown off by the change in his routine, pay attention to his feeding cues. Find a quiet place away from all of the noise and people and take a few minutes for yourself to nurse your baby.
Eat and stay hydrated
This is sometimes hard to do when you’re busy traveling and socializing but it’s very important for the nursing mom. Enjoy yourself but eat some healthy foods along with the gravy and pie. A glass of wine is okay while nursing but don’t forget to keep the water nearby.
Let others help
Especially if you’re the host, don’t be afraid to indulge family members and let them help you feed the baby. If your baby will take a bottle and is an established nurser then a feeding or two from a family member may be a welcome break.
Pump some milk beforehand and store it in the freezer so others can feed the baby while you cook or socialize. I always find a double electric breast pump to be the most efficient way to pump like the Closer to Nature Double Electric Breast Pump. If you don’t plan on pumping very often then a manual breast pump may be the right choice for you.
Ask for help
If you’re hosting don’t be afraid to make the meal potluck so you can spend more time with your baby than in the kitchen.
Find a quiet spot
If you’re visiting others be sure to find a private spot to nurse your baby beforehand so you aren’t scrambling to find one with a crying hungry baby.
Nod and smile
We all have that one family member or friend. The one who gives unwanted or ill-informed advice or the one who is uncomfortable with breastfeeding. The holidays are stressful enough so don’t let anyone get to you. Nod, smile, and kill them with kindness.
Most importantly, have fun. Catch up with the fam, enjoy a glass of wine, and put your feet up for a few minutes while grandma holds the baby.