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Breastfeeding over the festive season

Breastfeeding over the festive season

Sometimes it feels like everything goes out the window at Christmas. What day is it? When did I last get dressed out of my pyjamas? What did I use to eat for breakfast before mince pies? So it’s hardly surprising that lots of breastfeeding mamas struggle to keep to a routine over the holidays. You might have nailed your feeding schedule all the way up until December, and then bam. Christmas parties, family get-togethers, and present buying get in the way. However, it’s important to try and stay on track with your breastfeeding, even at Christmas, so here are some tips to help you do that. 

Why routines are so mother pumping important

Over the holidays there are so many things that can get in the way of your normal routine, with people wanting to see you and everyone asking you to do things (why is your father-in-law not capable of peeling the potatoes himself?), but keeping to a regular breastfeeding and pumping schedule should still be a priority. The potatoes can wait. Here’s why. 

  • A regular breastfeeding schedule encourages a consistent, strong flow of breastmilk to match your baby’s needs.

  • Trust us, mastitis over the holidays is not what you want for Christmas. It’s when your breasts swell and become painful due to missed feeds and it can be more common over the festive period. Beware the common curse of ‘Christmastitis’.

  • Now don’t hold us to this, but it’s been suggested that babies are likely to sleep longer and more consistently if they adapt to a schedule. Just think how many times you could watch Love Actually if you had a bit of extra time on your hands. 

Er, I’m a bit busy? 

Whether it’s Christmas dinner, a work party, or watching The Holiday on repeat, the festive season is busy. But making your breastfeeding schedule a priority is essential if you don’t want you or your baby to suffer. 

  • Establish some regular feeding times a couple of weeks before things get busy. Then you can try and arrange your days around these times. For example, if you know your baby needs a feed at 9 am, 11 am and again at 3 pm, 11.30 am might be a good time to plan something. 

  • Condense big tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks. One that might take 3 hours doesn’t need to be attempted in one go. You can do it in 6 chunks of half an hour even. 

  • They’re probably just trying to be nice, but don’t listen to friends and family. They might try and pressure you into finishing that game of Monopoly or joining them on that Boxing Day walk, but if you gotta feed, you gotta feed. 

  • Remember that although a feeding schedule is important, you know your baby better than anyone and if they’re signalling that they need feeding, then go ahead and feed them. Don’t wait for your allocated time if you have a hungry baby on your hands. 

Preparation is key

You know what they say, fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Well, this is definitely true of keeping to your Christmas breastfeeding routine. The more prepared you are, the more likely you’ll be to stick to your plan. 

  • If you have a good supply of milk, you could express milk in advance. That way, friends and family will be able to help with bottle feeds and you can enjoy as many glasses of guilt-free Champagne as you want. 

  • Be open with your friends and family and let them know your plans for your feeding schedule. 

Is mulled wine on the menu? 

Deciding whether or not to drink alcohol while you’re breastfeeding is a choice that’s personal to each mama. Small amounts of alcohol are unlikely to have any negative effects on your baby, and the recommended amount is under 14 units per week, spread over a few days. 

If you can’t resist a glass of fizz over Christmas, a good suggestion is to wait 2-3 hours before feeding your baby. Expressing in advance of drinking alcohol is a good idea so that they can have a bottle, while you enjoy yours.

Have a very merry Christmas mama

Even with a clear-cut schedule, on-point planning, and the best will in the world, nothing will work if you don’t look after your own wellbeing. Christmas can be a stressful time of year, especially for new mamas, but try and enjoy your baby’s first Christmas, make the most of having extra pairs of hands around and take some time to relax. Midday baths with bubbles and candles are strongly encouraged.