Breastfeeding tips for Christmas to ensure you have a relaxing time.
Screenshot image above from our Pinterest board where you can find full photo credits.
If you're currently planning your Christmas gatherings with relatives and friends then the prospect of fitting everyone into your schedule could pose a challenge - especially if you're exclusively breastfeeding and meeting the demands of your baby.
Here are 10 top tips to help you enjoy the holidays:
1. Go easy on yourself. You are a new mother and whether this is your first or subsequent child, both you and baby are in the early days of bonding and establishing your baby’s needs & routines. It’s a learning curve and the goalposts are constantly moving as your baby develops. Try to relax and go with the flow of what your baby needs however time consuming you may find it. Everything and everyone else can wait. Don’t stress if things don’t go to plan, no one who matters will mind.
2. Don't over schedule yourself. Christmas is a sociable busy time of year and you may feel pressured to catch up with friends and family who have the extra holiday time off work. Plan in advance which gatherings you wish to prioritise (without over scheduling yourself) and turn down 'surplus' invites with a promise to catch up in the new year when you feel ready.
3. Wear something stylish and comfortable to feed in. Whether or not you’re self conscious about breastfeeding in front of others, our chic breastfeeding dresses and tops make it easy and discreet to feed on the go. They are comfy for travelling in and the festive red looks fabulous with very little styling effort. Above all, the flattering fit will boost your self confidence and free you from worrying about what others think of your post natal body. Our Pinterest boards and Blogs are full of easy styling ideas for the party season ahead.
4. Plan your travel. If you are making the journey to relatives for a festive gathering, try and plan around your baby’s needs. Pre plan you journey so that you leave just after a feed and during your baby’s nap time. This should ensure you have a peaceful journey and make it to your destination before the next feed. Where possible limit your travelling time to a couple of hours. If you’re going further afield, plan your route to stop at the nicer service stations for some timely feeds & nappy changing. Lastly, build in extra travelling time to compensate for traffic jams or unscheduled stops.
5. Baby’s routine. Babies do tend to like their routines and gradually settle into patterns of feeding, sleeping and playing. However travelling, new faces and new noises may prove distracting to your baby and throw routines out of whack. Don’t pressure yourself to maintain routines during festivities. However if relaxing your schedule leaves you with an unsettled tetchy baby, try your best to keep the routines in place within the limitations of where you are. Explain the routines to those you're visiting and see if they can plan accordingly so you don’t find yourselves out of sync.
6. Make use of the extra hands. Give yourself a little respite from seeing to all your baby’s needs and make use of all the extra hands ready and willing to dote on your baby. Get Daddy to change nappies, ask Grandad to push baby to sleep in the pram, see if Grandma will dress baby in a clean set of clothes or settle baby safely on Great Nana’s lap for a cuddle… It’s quite likely they are desperate to get involved and will welcome the responsibilities bestowed upon them. Use those moments to see to your own needs before your baby needs another feed.
7. Create your own nursing nest. Whilst you may feel comfortable to breastfeed in front of family or friends, the extra noise may prove distracting for your baby to feed well. Find yourself a comfy chair in a quiet room or tucked in a corner where you can leave a nursing bag at your disposal. Include some spare baby clothes, nappies, wipes, nappy rash cream, muslin cloths, nipple cream, fresh breast pads, a small bottle of water, some small sealed snacks and some form of light entertainment like a book, tablet or mobile phone. Don’t feel left out or cast aside, simply enjoy the quiet bonding time and come back to the gathering refreshed and rested. The Oxytonin hormone that is released whilst breastfeeding should help you feel relaxed and rejuvenated.
8. Unsolicited advice. Having lots of noise and new faces may unsettle your baby and if you feel under criticism from well meaning relatives, make an excuse to slip away for a few moments. Take some deep breaths to calm down & centre yourself. They’re only trying to help and whilst there’s always opportunity to learn from experienced mothers, their advice may seem insensitive or inappropriate to you. Explain how you feel to your husband or someone close and have them shield you from unsolicited advice.
9. Hosting a party. If the thought of travelling far and wide seems too much for you with a new baby, why not suggest relatives & friends come to you. Give guests some firm open-house times to limit the disruption and don’t go overboard with preparations. Have your husband/partner set out shop bought nibbles and drinks on a table for guests to help themselves. Use disposable plates, cups and napkins for an easy post party clean up. Allow guests to bring some home baked goodies to the party if they offer. Whilst it’s easy to get carried away with hosting the perfect party, you’ve already got your hands full without over taxing yourself with party prep stress with a baby in tow. After all, the party is for you to enjoy too!
10. Party on! If you're heading out to enjoy a party with or without your baby, have a look at our blog posts on drinking whilst breastfeeding over the holidays and enjoy yourself! Our style blogs will help you dress for the festivities.