Christmas time can be full of joy and fun, but it can also come with a lot of stress and worry! If you’re a breastfeeding mama you may be feeling particularly overwhelmed with concerns about feeding your little one amongst the hustle and bustle of family life and social festivities.
Lots of questions may be running through your head like ‘can I have a drink and still breastfeed?’, ‘when will I find time to pump?’ or ‘what do I do if everyone wants to hold the baby?’. The added pressures that come with social gatherings, seeing lots of friends and family members plus food and gift preparation, it’s enough to make any breastfeeding mama want to retreat to their bedroom and come back in the new year when everything is a bit calmer! But the good news is, you can do Christmas on your own terms. It’s ok to prioritise yourself and your little one during the festive season.
It’s ok to prioritise yourself and your little one during the festive season.
7 tips for surviving Christmas when breastfeeding
We asked our boobingit mamas on Instagram what their top tips would be for coping during the busy festive season. Their advice and guidance will help you approach Christmas with calmness and confidence.
1. Pace yourself
You may think you can do it all in the run-up to Christmas but the reality is you’re not superhuman and something will likely have to give. If there is ever a time to give yourself grace, it’s at Christmas. To help prepare for and enjoy the festive season with your family, take a note of what our boobingit mamas have to say.
‘Plan plan plan and prep what you can in advance. Don’t expect to do too much.’ says Becky Palmer
‘Space presents out across the day/days so not to overstimulate.’ says Hannah Birch
2. Find a quiet place to feed
The suggestion to find a private space or room to go and feed came up time and again. It wasn’t suggested as a way to hide away or discreetly breastfeed, but more as an excuse to get away from the crowds and enjoy a moment of peace with your little one. This can help you both reconnect and spend quality time together amongst the hustle and bustle. Make a point of finding a safe and secure place to feed whether in your own home or visiting somewhere else.
‘If at a friend’s/family make sure there is a quiet room for feeding and down time.’ says Caroline
‘Try and find somewhere you can go and feed quietly if baby is getting overstimulated.’ says Megan Girvan
‘Have a quiet space where you can go to have time with your child so you can both calm down.’ says Fiona Moody from Basil Road Blog
‘Go to a quiet room to feed. I happily feed in front of family but if I need a break…it’s a great excuse!’ says Georgina Birley
3. Pass on the dishes (and don’t feel bad about it)
Let’s be honest, breastfeeding is a great (and noble!) excuse to get out of those mundane household chores like washing the dishes, vacuuming or doing food prep. After all, you’re feeding and nourishing your child during one of the busiest times of the year. It’s you who should be putting your feet up and resting whenever you can!
‘The ultimate get out if the washing up ‘sorry I think the baby needs feeding.’ says Madison Purr
4. It’s ok to say ‘no’ to things
At this time of year it’s ok to say no to some things – whether it’s saying no to going to a party or no to the baby being passed around every relative. Your life, your rules! If you don’t feel happy doing something, then you shouldn’t force yourself to do it.
”It’s ok to say no to visitors, no to other people when they want to hold your baby.’ says Enai Luj
‘Don’t feel obliged to play “pass the baby”, if baby needs feeding, take baby somewhere quiet.’ says Megan Conran-Turner
At this time of year it’s ok to say no to some things
5. Say ‘yes’ to people helping and bringing over food
Some people find it hard to accept help – including breastfeeding mamas! But if the people in your life are offering to help out then let them! It is the season of giving after all! Saying yes to help and support is not a sign of weakness. We all need to delegate sometimes.
‘Let people do everything for you and don’t feel guilty about it, they genuinely do want to help! says Laura Covill
‘Let visitors help while you enjoy the baby cuddles.’ says Enai Luj
6. You can still enjoy an alcoholic beverage
There is still so much confusion around whether or not it’s safe to drink alcohol and breastfeed. The Breastfeeding Network has a great factsheet about alcohol and breastfeeding which you can look up at your convenience. It states that ‘occasional, small amounts of alcohol’ may be appropriate, but to avoid regular or heavy drinking sessions.
‘You can have a drink if you want one! (Just don’t get sh*tfaced).’ says Rachel Silvester
7. Ignore Aunt Karen
Let’s be honest, we all have an Aunt Karen in our family. You know, the kind of relative who always thinks they know best about everything – including breastfeeding! They may think they’re giving great advice but the likelihood is they are spewing outdated advice which you should take with a pinch of salt!
‘Ignore Aunt Karen. Your baby isn’t too big or too old to be breastfed throughout the day!’ says Natty Bernasconi
‘Announce baby is having a growth spurt even if they’re not. People will not question you as much.’ says Megan Girvan
For more tips on how to deal with difficult family and friends during the festive period, read ‘Tis the season to keep on boobin’ by Emily Hardwicke.