The holidays are the busiest season of the year. There are many parties, family functions, shopping, decorating, cooking, school programs, not to mentions birthdays. Some lucky people like me happen to have their mom, dad, brother, husband and niece’s birthday all in December. So if you are like me, double the parties, shopping, family functions etc.
This is all pretty exciting and stressful at the same time. For a breastfeeding mother, all these situations can disrupt their breastfeeding routine, leading to delayed feedings and depletion of stored breastmilk without pumping sessions to replace it, therefore causing the baby to develop a preference for the bottle instead of the breast which may have a low milk supply due to infrequent feedings. It’s a vicious cycle; remember, breastmilk production is based on milk removal. If the milk isn’t removed by the baby or a breastpump, the supply gets low and will eventually dry up.
Things that you can do to alleviate this:
You and your partner should make sure that everybody knows you’re breastfeeding and how important it is for your family.
Start your holiday planning early, perhaps a few months in advance. Take advantage of online shopping and the multiple discounts that are offered. By shopping online, you won’t have to deal with lines, traffic, finding a babysitter if baby isn’t going with you, etc.
If you are hosting the party, delegate the tasks. Make a list of things that need to be done and assign a name to them. You may want to follow traditions, but sometimes spicing up the traditions can save your breastfeeding relationship. Try to keep the menu short and sweet!
If you have the means, consider catering the food from your favorite restaurant or grocery store; after all, switching up the menu one year will not hurt anybody and can be a nice change.
Take advantage of your cellphone or smartphone. Set your alarm to go off around the time your baby might be getting hungry. I know it’s hard to know when that will happen as babies, especially the youngest ones, eat more frequently than the older ones, but at least this will guarantee you will not miss a feeding because family members were playing with the baby and the time flew by. Consider it a reminder, not a schedule.
Depending on the activity your baby was engaged in before feeding time, he might need some time to unwind and settle into a calmer stage. Take your baby into a quiet room at feeding time and snuggle with him to gently introduce him to the feeding time.
Use your sling during the family gathering so the baby has easy access to the breast and doesn’t miss a feeding.
If you want to keep your family traditions intact and if they are very elaborate, make sure you have a lot of help with the preparation process. I know sometimes it’s a bit difficult to transition from having no children to being a mother with a newborn baby, but be aware that holiday weaning can sneak up on you and your baby and cut your breastfeeding relationship short.