Breastfeeding during the party season

It’s here again - 3 weeks of Christmas shopping, finding the right dress, managing the crowds, Christmas nights out, afternoon with the girls and this is even before the Christmas dinner. How do you get through it with a breastfeeding new born!?

It’s tough at any time of year to get prepared for a few hours or a night away from your breastfeeding baby or toddler, but the Christmas festivities and hectic schedule may become a little challenging! Here are a few tips to get through it without the stress and ensure you all enjoy yourselves!
Breastfeeding during the party season

Let’s think about that party dress as a starting point going shopping at this time of year with a baby is a challenge, the escalators, shopping bags etc - so it may be worth planning a morning so that you can get a baby sitter, your mum or partner to have the baby for a few hours whilst you shop.

Feed before you go out and have some expressed milk to hand if little one wakes whilst you are out.

If you are exclusively breastfeeding you may find that you need to be home within 4-5 hours to feed lo again otherwise you may feel full and uncomfortable unless you plan to have a quick expression session either by hand or pump whilst you are out

If you are taking baby with you put plenty of coins in the parking meter as you will have to feed lo and also probably queue to find a seating area in a cafe if you want to grab a bite to eat. It’s useful to have some bottled water and snacks for you just in case you can’t get a table.

If you are looking for something special to wear - look online first - it takes some of the stress of trawling the shops and you can order a few sizes to see which one fits best.

When the night comes do think about the underwear - you will still need a good supporting bra and be a little cautious if you are thinking of buying new - the seams and underwire etc. occasionally the seams can stimulate the nipple area, and underwire may place pressure point on your sensitive milk ducts. The last thing you may want is half way through the night experiencing breast pain.

If little one is coming with you and you may be feeding separates may be a more practical option. Or an ideal dress would be a wrap over so that you can feed and you could accessorise to give it the party feeling with a glitzy pashmina.

Black is probably the most popular colour but it’s also practical too. If you unfortunately have a little milk leakage it’s not so obvious but to avoid it - take or wear a couple of bra pads.

Can’t find the right dress? Feeling a little post pregnancy weight blues? Remember your body shape has changed so that you were able to grow your baby and the extra weight you haven't shifted is being used as your breastfeeding stores.  Don't think of crash dieting as this will have an impact on your milk supply - you need an extra 500 calories a day to breastfeed which isn’t a lot. A sensible eating plan for the next few weeks will mean that you can have a lovely Christmas meal out without thinking too much of the consequences.

If you are a new mum 6-8 weeks wait before you think of doing some vigorous exercises until after your postnatal check - however you can increase your activity with walking with the pram building slowly your pace. But take it easy.

if you are a bit worried about the extra pounds the main Slimming groups have programmes that support breastfeeding mothers so maybe a new beginning in the new year, join a yoga class etc.

What about your hair? Many forums discuss whether you can have a colour done, whist you a breastfeeding. It is safe for you to perm or dye your hair whilst breastfeeding.  If it’s in the first few weeks after birth you may find that there is very little difference and this is because of the postnatal changes.

Being away from baby 

Well now you have your outfit let’s think about the event. If you are bringing baby that’s great, but if not you need to start planning now

Book your babysitter and give yourself a realistic time to be away from your baby. Some will say have a trial run so that you have a few hours away. If it doesn't go to plan don't let it put a damper on your party night - just be a little more flexible.

A few tips you could try… Feed just before you go out. Discuss with your baby sitter that you are not too concerned about his usual routine and a late bath or a ride in the car maybe a way of settling if all else fails.

Prepare your choice of alternative feeds if you think that you may be away for more than a few hours. You may find starting to express little and often a way of building a supply up so that your baby sitter has EBM available.

Alcohol and Breastfeeding

If this is your first night having a few drinks be a little cautious as your tolerance will be different to what it was before you were pregnant. Ideally go out with some food in your stomach and pace yourself. Have a jug of water on the table as you will still be making milk and this is thirsty work.

It takes 2 hours for a unit to be safely processed so if you have had a few glasses of wine it is best to wait at least 4 hours before you breastfeed you’re lo. If you are uncomfortable then hand express or use a pump, but it's advisable to discard this milk as alcohol does cross the blood milk barrier.

Enjoy your night out and remember if you need to phone or text to see if little one is ok then do it- you can enjoy your night better if you know everyone at home is fine

Tune in next week for tips on expressing and storing milk!