Everything you need to know about breastfeeding over Christmas and the festive season.
If you’re worried about the social side of the festive period, and how it might affect you and your baby, we’ve got the lowdown on breastfeeding over Christmas. The party season can be stressful enough without the added stress of what is best for your little one, so we’ve put together some top hints and tips to make sure everyone is happy this Christmas. The only breast you need to worry about? The turkey’s…
The key, as always, is in the preparation. In the run up to the big day, expressing milk and freezing it will make sure there is always a back-up plan. Do: put the extra pairs of hands to good use and ask family members to help out with feeds Don’t: forget to clearly label the frozen breast milk!
If you’re a stickler for routine, you may find the festive period calls for a bit more flexibility than usual. Your baby will pick up when you are stressed, so avoid the vicious circle and embrace the change in routine temporarily.
Breastfeeding and drinking
The age-old moral maze that many medical professionals struggle to agree on: whether or not it’s OK to drink whilst breast feeding. Despite the abundance of conflicting advice out there, ultimately you know yourself and your baby better than anyone.
Some healthcare advice recommends not to drink any alcohol at all until your baby is three months old whilst nursing as newborns have immature livers.
However, others agree you can enjoy a glass of wine or two without impacting your feeding, especially if you are consuming small amounts of alcohol (a 125ml glass is 1.5 units) with a meal. If possible, drinking straight after a feed is best as there will be enough time between feeds for your body to breakdown the alcohol.
Some breastfeeding mums opt for the ‘pump & dump’ technique, this is where you ditch the milk you produce after drinking. But your blood alcohol level will decline usually two to three hours after consumption of a serving of wine or beer.
If you do want to drink without worrying, expressing milk beforehand is a fail-safe way to ensure that your baby can feed. However, make sure that baby is happy drinking from the bottle by introducing bottle feeds in advance to avoid surprises. This will ensure helpers can take over a feed so that you can relax.
And if you want to avoid any issues but avoid the FOMO, non-alcoholic spirits have been all the rage this year, so you are sure to find a great dupe for your favourite tipple in your local supermarket. Try seedlip for an aromatic and bitter ‘NOgroni’.
Breastfeeding over Christmas: Food
Clare Byam-Cook, breastfeeding expert and author of Top Tips for Breastfeeding, outlines the dos and don’t’s when it comes to what you can east over Christmas while your breastfeeding.
Once your baby is born, it should be fine to eat all foods that you may have avoided during pregnancy. Most babies are not adversely affected by everyday foods, so although unlikely that your baby will react badly to anything you eat, you may consider temporarily excluding foods if you notice windy or colicky reactions in your baby up to six hours after eating a certain food.
Festive Food Tips
Some foods can change the taste of your breast milk, so again, assess from your baby’s reaction what they like or dislike
If you are watching your alcohol intake, and you are likely to have more than just one or two chocolate liqueurs like most of us do, be mindful that the alcoholic content in these can quickly add up. The same goes for caffeine in Christmas treats, bear in mind that it is a stimulant and this could be passed on to your baby making them a little less sleepy than usual if consumed in larger quantities.
Nuts, including peanut butter, are safe to eat and won’t put your baby at greater risk of a nut allergy. In fact, they can make a great energy-boosting snack!
What to Wear if You’re Breastfeeding Over Christmas
You’ll be the envy of any Christmas do with elasticated waistbands and loose clothing, regardless of the functional aspect they serve. Despite being practical, we have found some fun festive options which will make you feel in the party mood.
For discreet nursing and easy access to boob, try a wrap top or dress with some added sparkle for Christmas.
Starry Night Maternity Dress, now £55
We love this glittery star-print number from Seraphine. It has a discreet zip for nursing, super flattering shape and a hint of glitter for a festive night out.
Black Sparkle Maternity & Nursing Keyhole Dress, £59
This glam ‘sparkle keyhole’ dress from Jojo Maman Bébé is the perfect party season dress for both expectant and breastfeeding mums. It’s designed to fit during and after pregnancy, plus it comes with easy and discreet nursing access with feeding slits in the under layer.
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