Surviving the Holidays Breastfeeding
It was the end of August of 2013. My family celebrated my nephew’s 3rd birthday. I just had my first baby June 26th, about eight weeks prior. One may think by 8 weeks life is all good..back to normal again. For this new mom, I was still figuring out a lot.
I can remember the first family get together so easily! I was SOOOOO excited to get out of the house, see people, see people I loved! These get togethers were comforting all my life. However, they didn’t go like I fondly remembered… before I had a baby. I was eating dairy free due to my son’s cow’s milk sensitivity. To no one’s fault (but really my own) EVERYTHING served had dairy in it. Thank God for Aunt Barb’s veggie tray. Nursing mom’s get hangry! Anyone who knows me (or has been closely following along) knows I was still dealing with taming “the beast” of mastitis. And on top of realizing that I couldn’t eat much and didn’t feel great, I didn’t really spend much time with anyone I was so excited to see.
My milk supply was still spraying everywhere at each feed so I preferred to feed him in privacy. In a back room. Where I wouldn’t splash my conservative Uncle Ed. With just me and my baby. Who at that time fed all the time. So, my point, this get together I was SO excited for was NOTHING like I remembered or was hoping for. I actually ended up doing a lot of what I did at home. Except at home I had yummy cashew based non-dairy ice cream stashed.
I will give my mom credit. She came to the back room and kept me company. I love you, mom! (she probably doesn’t read these but that’s OK.)
I share that story because holidays can be hard! Getting together with family can be as stressful as it is amazing. You add a nursing child to the mix and it’s another piece of the puzzle to figure out!
10 tips for Surviving Nursing Through the Holiday!
- Nursing privately away from everyone? Want the quiet time? Go for it! But if you’re a new mom and getting out for one of the first times, don’t isolate yourself! Bring your cousin along with you to keep you company. OR nurse openly if comfortable. OR practice using your cover up ahead of time so you can stay and hang out! We got options, ladies!
- Does Uncle Mike roll his eyes at you for nursing your toddler? Give him my email. Flip him the birdie. OR more appropriately, to keep the holiday peace, do your best to have the right expectation going in. Some relatives are unaware or unsupportive of how breastfeeding works and the benefits. Kindly smile at their snarky remarks. A simple “I wish you didn’t feel uncomfortable” will do. ??♀️
- Traveling with breastmilk? TSA allows milk to be in your carry on (3-1-1 liquid exemption)! You also don’t need to be with your child to travel with breastmilk or formula. Both liquids may be screened – so ask them to put on gloves if handling. Your pump can be brought with you as a medical device, as well! Checkout TSA.gov for more info. ✈️
- Wherever you are staying – hotel or Aunt Linda’s, check for refrigerator & freezer availability ahead of time. Request a room with one if staying in a hotel. Even more detail oriented – request a room near the ice machine! Side note – breast milk storage bags can be great ice packs!
- Does your airport have a breastfeeding/pumping lounge? If not, bring a manual pump so you’re not outlet dependent. You can look ahead of time – > Here or Breastfeeding Lounge Locations by Mamava.
- Pack Sanitizer!!! Relatives will be touching your baby, airports are germy, definitely don’t forget the sanitizer! ?
- Plan ahead! Going to church? Getting together at a place outside of someone’s home? Think about nursing or pumping ahead of those events if possible. And talk to your partner about your needs. Maybe he is always on cleaning duty of bottle or pump parts. Or maybe he is always responsible for bringing your nursing cover up. Delegate and set expectations so it doesn’t fall ALL on you!
- Understand how much alcohol you can drink! My rule? If I feel even a bit tipsy -> I shouldn’t nurse. If I had a glass and feel completely fine -> I am OK with nursing. Let’s define glass. It is not my husband’s college version that “one beer” is a 32oz tall mug. It is ~8 ounces of beer or wine and 2oz hard liquor. Take into consideration amount, what type of alcohol, and how old baby or toddler is. Check out this link for more! ??
- Bring your baby wrap, carrier, or sling! This keeps your hands free, baby is happier, and little Jonny with the cold can’t get his hands on him or her!
- ENJOY YOURSELF – don’t forget what the holidays are all about. It is easy to be consumed in the hustle of mom life. Take a deep breath and focus on the good! ♥️
As always… questions? comments? Contact me! firstname.lastname@example.org