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Over the last few years, holidays have taken on a different meaning and we weren’t all able to get together as much as we had in the past pre-pandemic. Now that we are opening up more and more, in-person gatherings are on the rise.
Whether it is to the family for a specific holiday or work-related parties that you may be invited to this season, you may have some more logistics and planning involved if you are a parent of a young one and especially if you recently welcomed a new baby and are chest/breastfeeding.
The holidays may seem daunting with the traveling, get-togethers and all else that surrounds the festive seasons. We have a few tips and tricks to getting through the holidays while still focusing on your baby and chest/breastfeeding.
When you welcome a new child, you soon realize you can’t do it all. And we are here to tell you, that is ok! You can decide how and when you celebrate your holidays. Feeding times can be a stressor for many parents with some worrying about when and where they will chest or breastfeed but also for the potential unsolicited feedback they may receive from friends or family. If a smaller, more manageable holiday is more suitable for you and your family, then you can start new traditions that celebrate your new addition. You can propose joining for the meal with a video chat or you can perhaps visit when there will be fewer distractions for your baby and disruptions to your routines.
If a smaller, more manageable holiday is more suitable for you and your family, then you can start new traditions that celebrate your new addition. You can propose joining for the meal with a video chat or you can perhaps visit when there will be fewer distractions for your baby and disruptions to your routines.
If you will be traveling to visit family or friends over the holidays, getting there can be challenging but there are some things you can do. If you are flying, opt for an aisle seat in a row that isn’t full. By choosing the aisle seat, you can have easier access to the lavatory should you need to change baby’s diaper mid-flight and if you need to get up with a fussy baby, you wont have to climb over your neighbors. If you wish for more privacy, choosing a window seat may be the best option for you. If you opt to purchase a seat for your baby, you would be able to use your car-seat to secure baby for the flight. If you will have baby on your lap, it works well as it offers baby easy feeding access.
Be sure to check TSA guidelines for bringing pumping or bottled milk through the security checkpoints especially if you are flying internationally. Feed and change baby right before you leave for the airport so you will have some wiggle room for getting to the airport, checking in and security. Many airports feature lactation spaces so you can check ahead of time on the airport websites to see if that is available to you.
Pressure when taking off and landing can affect anyone’s ears and babies are susceptible to this as well. Chest/breastfeeding at take-off and landing can help ease this pressure. Chewing snacks and drinking can do the similar thing for older children who are eating solids and not exclusively chest/breastfed.
If you are traveling by car, have someone sit in the back with baby so they can focus on the baby while the driver focuses on the road. If baby needs to feed while en route, this will make it easier for the baby to be fed while not breaking up your road trip and if it is you in back with baby and are breastfeeding, it will be easier to get baby in and out of their carseat when you safely stop for breaks. Be sure to take regular stops for stretching and to change baby’s diaper and if baby gets hungry or fussy en-route.
If baby is being fed human milk in a bottle, be sure to pump at regular intervals if you can so you can keep up your supply and ease any swelling. Having extra pump parts can be helpful in case you forget something at home or at your destination. Also, if your pump has a battery option, bring spares!
Once you are at your destination, be open with your needs whether that is access to a refrigerator or freezer for any milk you brought along for your trip (or that you pumped en-route) or where you can feed your baby that is a safe, clean and quiet space. If you are comfortable feeding in public, know that there may be some who aren’t quite sure how to react. Understand that this is common though it can be frustrating. Know that you are doing a great job for you and your baby. We never condone hiding away or being shamed while feeding. It can offer a nice break where you and baby can get out of the distraction and busyness that comes with holidays.
There are also some common holiday-related questions that we hear from parents around alcohol and breastfeeding and/or pumping. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), supports long-standing research-based recommendations from the Institute of Medicine about alcohol consumption while breastfeeding.
“Ingestion of alcoholic beverages should be minimized and limited to an occasional intake [of] no more than about 2 oz liquor, 8 oz wine, or 2 beers” and that the breastfeeding parent wait about 2 hours before nursing, to minimize the concentration of alcohol in her milk.” Note that “pumping and dumping” is not recommended as it does not rid the body of the alcohol faster than your body will process naturally.
We wish you the best for this holiday season and we are here for you with any chest/breastfeeding or baby-rearing questions. We are excited for our Holiday Essentials and Must-Haves including a collection curated specifically for Traveling Essentials for Chest/Breastfeeding Parents so check them out!