While the holiday season is busy for everyone, it can be downright overwhelming when you are nursing a baby. These breastfeeding tips will help you breeze through the holidays with both a happy mom and a happy baby.
Breastfeeding Tip #1: Alcohol isn’t off-limits!
An occasional beer or glass of wine is compatible with breastfeeding. Toronto pediatrician Dr. Jack Newman sums it up well in this statement.
Reasonable alcohol intake should not be discouraged at all. As is the case with most drugs, very little alcohol comes out in the milk. The mother can take some alcohol and continue breastfeeding as she normally does. Prohibiting alcohol is another way we make life unnecessarily restrictive for breastfeeding mothers.
The level of alcohol in your milk peaks about an hour after drinking. To limit your baby’s exposure, nurse just before having a drink. You don’t have to pump and dump. As the alcohol is cleared from your bloodstream, the level in your milk will also go down. This article explains how it happens.
Want to read more about alcohol and breastfeeding? Read this article.
Breastfeeding Tip #2: There are no food restrictions.
Your older relatives may advise “Don’t eat that; it will make your baby gassy”. Years ago, breastfeeding women were handed a list of foods to avoid. Broccoli, beans, cabbage and spicy foods all made the list.We now know this is just an old wives’ tale. Many of those foods are staples in other countries, consumed by breastfeeding women without problems.
The foods you eat may flavor your milk. This, however, is thought to be an advantage. Your baby will be exposed to different tastes very early in life, potentially avoiding a picky eater later.
The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without chocolate. Good news! You don’t need to deprive yourself of this either. Moderate amounts of chocolate are not a problem. The relationship between chocolate and breastfeeding is well explained in this La Leche League article.
Breastfeeding Tip #3: Feed often during the day.
Babies who are held and played with by visitors, may become overstimulated and spend a good part of the the day sleeping. If your baby sleeps through day time feeds, he will make up for it by feeding frequently at night.
Trust your instincts. If you feel your baby has had enough of visitor’s arms, it is okay to reclaim your baby. Continue to feed in your normal pattern, at least every two or three hours if your baby is a newborn.
Breastfeeding Tip #4: Consider babywearing.
Mothers whose babies are held close will be more aware of early feeding cues. This leads to happier babies as there is no need to cry.
Some moms dread large get togethers during the cold and flu season. If you are feeling uncomfortable having baby handled by visitors, wear your baby in a wrap. People can say hello and admire your baby without touching.
Breastfeeding Tip #5: Keep your self-expectations in check.
Breastfeeding a young baby takes at least eight to twelve hours a day. This leaves little time for shopping, baking and entertaining. Be realistic in what you have time to do. Give gift cards, purchase baking, and consider ordering in.
Schedule a guilt-free rest day during the holidays. Simply stay in your pyjamas, watch movies and breastfeed on demand. Nap whenever baby does. This may become your favorite holiday tradition!
Best wishes as you celebrate the holidays with your new baby.
You may also enjoy reading: Baby’s First Christmas: Celebrate without Losing Your Sanity and 6 Tips for Surviving the Newborn Period.
About the authors:
Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.