It’s the season where life just gets a little busier, Christmas shopping, preparation, socialising, and catching up with friends and family. If you are a breastfeeding mum whether in the early days or further down the road getting a balance seems at times just tough.
Here are a few tips to help you navigate the busy few weeks before Christmas so that you can experience the joy of the festivities with your little one…
- Plan your list and day before you set out of the door. Window shopping with a baby is near impossible, between navigating the pram around the busy stores and getting those disapproving looks when you accidentally knock a display. Knowing where you need to go and where the cafes are for a quiet stop off will help you through your day.
- Your Evening Meal –Before you leave think about what is on the table tonight. Plan a casserole or curry that can be left to slow cook whilst you are out, or plan a take away. The last thing you will want to do is start cooking when you get in.
- Baby Bag – plan for lots of pit stops, sometimes the changing areas can be a little busy. Pack a bottle or two of water for you too.
- Snacks and nibbles – A few healthy snack bars, for you and toddlers in your changing bag means less time queuing at the cafés’. Power snacks on the go!
- Consider a Baby Sling – Whilst it will help you to be more hands free you will still need to have your changing bag, purse and if you plan on gift shopping, you will still need to carry those bags. Look after your back, your breastmilk hormones will still be influencing the flexibility of your joints.
- Feeding Out and About – Wear nursing friendly clothing, dress in layers and have a spare top in your bag – this makes it easier to nurse.
- Find a Quiet Area –The hustle and bustle of a busy shopping centre café can possibly lead you to be a little more apprehensive and your baby to do a bit more feeding gymnastics as they mop up all that’s going on around them. Find a quiet café to stop, rest and feed.
- Use Expressed Milk – Some mums prefer to have the option of expressed milk in a bottle – that’s completely ok, either way baby is getting mummy’s own breastmilk.
- Time out for toddlers – Some shopping centres have a small play area for energetic toddlers to let off some steam, get out of the pram, these will be busy venues so you do have to have eyes in the back of your head as they run around.
- Leaving Baby at home – Christmas shopping without your baby may be possible but again you will need to plan, depending how long you want apart. Build up a supply of expressed milk for your partner or family/friend to give whilst away. Try a test drive a few weeks before, only for a few hours. Feed before you leave and if you are nursing every 2-4 hours and you are away all day pack your breastpump or be prepared to hand express as your need to empty the breasts will still happen, the last thing you need is engorgement and mastitis. A manual pump is ideal and easy to use. Have with you a large scarf and you can find a quiet corner to pump with your friends and family over a brew.
- Home again – Phew, all done! Time to recharge. You will be tired and so will your baby whether he has been with you or at home. It’s normal for your little one to cluster feed and be a little fussy – they can sense the tiredness, they want to be close and near to you, catch up on long cuddles and feeds. Enjoy your supper that you have planned and put your feet up.
Finally, be realistic in what you can achieve, enjoy the Christmas shopping, school fairs and plays, delegate some Christmas festivities to your friends and family. Whilst you may want to choose and decorate your Christmas tree – your children and partner will have great fun doing it together whilst you sit back, put your feet up and supervise from the comfort of the sofa and nurse your baby. Sioned x