“This is the season to be jolly, la la la, la la, la la!”. This is how the song goes!
The Holiday period is a combination of excitement, social occasions and work. The Christmas shopping and the parties can take a toll on breastfeeding mothers. Babies need to breastfeed frequently for the milk supply to be produced by the mother.
Our communities are isolated and even the ones close to small towns offer very little choice in term of Christmas gifts. Many of us travel to Quebec City, Montreal and Ottawa during the Christmas season. Families that can afford to travel together do bring their children with them but most often than not, shopping trips mean children are left at home with a caregiver. Breastfeeding moms will sometimes take breast pumps with them to relieve some of the discomfort of not breastfeeding during a period of time but their shopping schedule rarely allows for breaks. There are risks to doing this: abrupt weaning can cause mastitis and abscess and the baby might not be willing to return to the breast after a few days of bottle feeding.
Partying is also part of this season. Mothers sometimes choose to skip breastfeeds to give a bottle of artificial baby milk (formula) instead. Note that the first 6 to 8 weeks is a period during which the milk supply balances itself to the baby’s needs and is extremely fragile; missed breastfeeds can lead to a big enough decrease in breastmilk to slowly lead to early weaning (weaning before you reached the goal set for yourself). If you are missing feeds because you want to drink alcohol, remember to make sure your baby is well taken care of before doing this. Remember that as soon as you do not feel the effects of the alcohol, you can breastfeed again. Some prefer to look at the MotherRisk table to see how many hours to wait for a “O” amount of alcohol in their breastmilk.
Creebreastfeeding.com publishes posts each year at Christmas and some other bloggers also published interesting reads. Here are some links that can help the breastfeeding mother during the Christmas season:
After the Holiday Recipe for the Breastfeeding mother by creebreastfeeding.com
2013 A Word of Advice at Christmas Time by creebreastfeeding.com
Avoiding Holiday Weaning y Native Mothering
Creebreastfeeding.com wishes you all a wonderful Holiday Season!