I have been pregnant or breastfeeding for most of the last six years. During this time I have breastfed through a lot of holidays! My son was born in December, and I decided to host Christmas dinner at my house two weeks after his birth.
These experiences have helped me figure out how to make breastfeeding a baby around friends, family, and holiday events easier and more comfortable for both myself & baby. I used to find breastfeeding around groups of people intimidating, but with a little preparation it can be enjoyable.
Here are my tips for breastfeeding through the holidays:
1. Let your friends and family know ahead of time that you are breastfeeding. I found when people knew what to expect it made me feel more comfortable. If you need a private space or would like one, ask ahead of time or when you arrive.
2. If you are hosting an event ask for help from close friends and family. When I hosted a holiday dinner after the birth of my son I had a lot of help from immediate family to get through it.
3. Dress to make it effortless to breastfeed confidently. I always recommend a good nursing bra like this one by Bravado Designs, and a breastfeeding friendly shirt or dress. Wearing flattering clothing which makes breastfeeding easier always gives me a boost of confidence. I love Figure 8 for all of my breastfeeding wardrobe items. They have a huge selection of stylish breastfeeding tops and dresses. I am wearing the Ava 3/4 Sleeve Wrap Maternity & Nursing Dress by Mothers en Vogue here.
4. Bring a breastfeeding cover or blanket if you like to use one. I find a good top is enough for me but some women will feel more comfortable with a cover. I do always carry a light swaddling blanket when breastfeeding for every-thing from covering my baby, to cleaning up spit up.
5. Take plenty of breaks to feed your baby and make sure your baby is not getting over stimulated. Remember to keep yourself hydrated and fed too.
6. If relatives or other guests offer to feed your baby tell them you are breastfeeding. No other explanation needs to be given.
7. Wear your baby in a sling or baby carrier if possible. I have found that having a great hands free baby carrier made it easier for me to move around, eat, and socialize when attending events with a baby. Babies also seem to sleep the best when connected to mom and having my baby asleep on me meant more time to enjoy myself. Babies can get overwhelmed during events and being close to you will keep your baby calm and well fed.
Remember to have fun and enjoy the holiday season with your baby! Some of my best memories of this time of year involve my children being little babies and breastfeeding. It’s a special time and there is nothing better than a snuggling baby to enjoy during this time of year.