Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tips for Breastfeeding Through the Holidays

By Sherri Hedberg, IBCLC

The holidays are a joyful time, but they also bring their share of stress. When you add a nursing baby to the list of things to do, especially if this is your first holiday with your new baby, it can bring some special challenges. Below are some tips that may help!

1. Don't forget to nurse the baby. This may sound like a very funny statement, but it is not uncommon. With all the extra activity, both mom and baby may get distracted and miss an occasional nursing. Especially when traveling, you need to be sure that your baby isn't going too long between nursings. The reason that this is important is that it can increase your risk for getting a plugged duct or a breast infection. So, try to stay as close as possible to your regular nursing pattern.

2. Mom, eat well! Those holiday treats may look yummy, but be sure that you eat a meal first! You do not have to follow a strict diet to breastfeed, but you still need good food for energy! Also, be sure that you are drinking plenty of fluids and watch your caffeine intake. If you decide to partake in some holiday cheer, a drink or two will not harm your nursing baby.

3. Rest. . . Make sure that you are getting your sleep! We already know that we can survive on a couple hours sleep from the newborn days - but staying up to wrap presents may not be a good choice. If you can nap with your baby during the day, take advantage of it.

4. Watch your baby's cues. If he becomes fussy, sneak away to a quiet room for some mommy-time. If you are in a new place and your baby is having problems relaxing, consider taking a warm bath or shower together.

5. Plan around your baby's naptimes. Now that you are a mom, your family must take priority when planning holiday events. With a little preparation, you can participate in the fun - and with a happy and rested baby.

6. If you notice any problem with breastfeeding, call for help quickly. If you are away from home, call the La Leche League hotline number. 1-800-LA-LECHE LLL Leaders staff this phone line 24 hours a day - even during the holidays.

7. Have fun and enjoy your baby!