Managing Holiday Stress + Breastfeeding

November 22, 2013

While the holiday season is supposed to be a time for reconnecting with loved ones, creating magical memories, and savoring some quality time at home, it can also mean unneeded stress. Between entertaining, gift-giving, traveling to see family, and other obligations, it’s no mystery as to why lots of people get frazzled during this busy time. Even “good stress,” which can be triggered by positive life events such as the arrival of a new baby, can cause you to feel overwhelmed. No matter what the holidays bring, you can pause to remember what’s important, take a deep breath, and remind yourself to live one day at a time.

Don’t Let Criticism Get to You

Of course, it’s easier said than done. But if you feel as if you’re under more scrutiny for the choices you make regarding your own unique breastfeeding journey, remember that it can be easy for well-meaning friends and family to come off as unintentionally critical. Especially for new parents, unsolicited advice can be overwhelming (not to mention irritating), but keep your head up and remember that your parenting decisions are yours and yours alone to make. You may even have an opportunity to educate others on the many benefits of breastfeeding, if you so choose. Whether you explain your choices with calm reasoning or come back with a witty remark, choose a response that suits you. Above all else, trust that you’re doing what’s best for your baby – no matter what anyone says.

Stay on Schedule

Holidays, almost by definition, mean that routines get disrupted and time seems to slip away, but that doesn’t mean your feeding or pumping schedule has to fall by the wayside. If you find yourself in a group where everyone wants to meet and hold your new little one, you may find it helpful to set alarms or reminders in your phone and insist on sticking to your feeding schedule. Think about where you can nurse or pump at relatives’ homes and ask about space ahead of time if possible. If you feel comfortable, you can also reach out and ask for help from family – it’s a win-win because you can take a little time to yourself, and family members have a chance to get to know their newest relative.

Both stress and missing feedings can contribute to low supply issues, so these tips can help more than just your peace of mind. Also remember to stay hydrated and don’t rush feedings – focus on the joy of the season and the beautiful bond you share with your little one.

How do you manage breastfeeding during the holiday season? Share your tips in the comments below.

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