Holidays come with a lot of joy and sometimes a lot of stress. During this most wonderful time of the year, we start to see more clogged ducts and mastitis. Why? Usually due to stress and a change in schedules, which can result in missed feedings. So, what can we do to make breastfeeding during the holidays a bit easier?
1. Listen to your body! If your body is telling you to slow down, listen and do just that.
2. Keep a somewhat normal feeding schedule! You can pull out that trusty feeding app or set alarms on your phone to ensure that feedings don’t get missed.
3. Feed where you are comfortable! Whether that means uncovering your breast in the middle of the room or finding a quiet space all to yourself and your baby, do what makes you feel comfortable and relaxed.
4. Take advantage of the extra help! Take a minute and enjoy a glass of wine while your hands are free. It’s amazing what a little “me” time can do as far as recharging your body and soul.
5. And finally, let others' opinions on your breastfeeding journey fly right out the window! It’s your and your baby’s journey, and no one else's, period.
Holiday Breastfeeding Myths
Myth: Peppermint will decrease my milk supply.
Fact: Having peppermint in moderation will not affect supply. Drinking quarts of peppermint tea might be another story.
Myth: If you drink alcohol, you have to pump and dump.
Fact: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PUMP AND DUMP! Do not, I repeat, do not waste that liquid gold. However, planning ahead is always a good idea! Having a standard-sized drink, aka one cocktail, glass of wine or a beer, is completely fine.
Remember that alcohol in breastmilk rises and falls with your blood alcohol levels whether or not you’re pumping. So timing that drink shortly before or during a feeding gives your body time to metabolize the alcohol prior to the next feeding.
However, if you find yourself a couple of drinks in, you should probably pump that milk and freeze it for a future milk bath. And finally whether or not you're pumping, there always needs to be an adult who is not intoxicated to care for a baby.
Enjoy the holidays and the time spent with family and friends! After all, this time only comes once a year, and there is something so magical about it.
Kelsey, RN, BSN, IBCLC