Why not breastfeed during the holiday season? New mothers, like everyone else, run extra errands, attend more celebrations, and travel to see friends and relatives. These activities, on the other hand, may alter daily breastfeeding routines. Babies, for example, may sleep less at night and nap longer during travel times. The opportunity to hold and give bottles to the baby may be prized by loving relatives and friends, resulting in fewer opportunities to breastfeed. Here’s some tips:
Avoid ‘red-eye‘ travel (As it is often difficult to sleep on airplanes, these flights can cause fatigue, insomnia and red eyes, hence the name), which may appear to be more convenient because the baby sleeps more at night. Mom, on the other hand, is unlikely to sleep well during the journey, putting her at risk for daytime exhaustion, mastitis, low supply, and clogged ducts. It’s best to leave extra time for travel so that mom can take breaks for breastfeeding, rest, and proper nutrition.
Mom requires nutritious foods and plenty of fluids.
The stress of the holidays, combined with the sharing of holiday treats, can lead to empty-calorie snacking. Mom will feel her best if she eats well-balanced meals on a regular basis.
Keep an eye out for herbs that can cause a decrease in milk supply.
Sage, peppermint oil, and parsley are used to flavor a variety of holiday foods. If taken in excess, these can deplete the supply.
Encourage Mom to Stick to Her Infant Feeding Schedule.
Breastfeeding is only a brief period in a mother’s life. Concentrating on the baby and breastfeeding protects her supply and keeps her baby healthy, especially during these times of increased germ exposure from relatives and friends.
Illness in both the mother and the child.
When Mom isn’t feeling well, she may notice a decrease in her supply. When babies and toddlers are sick, they are less likely to breastfeed, which can lead to engorgement, plugs, mastitis, and a decrease in supply. Rest and nap while the child is sleeping if possible, and pump if necessary to keep the supply going until regular feedings resume.
During the cold and flu season, mothers should be aware of how common over-the-counter medications can affect their supply. Please take a look at our handout. When at all possible, stay away from decongestants like pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine. Excessive diphenhydramine (Benadryl) use can also reduce milk production.
Mom Requires a Break
Mom needs to accept the fact that she can’t do everything! Breastfeeding and having a new baby are both excellent reasons to relax and limit your activities. Mom can tell her relatives that her lactation consultant advised her to rest, stay at home, and avoid excessive travel.