Christmas is normally a time when breastfeeding peer supporters offer information and advice around how to survive the party season with a breastfeeding baby or toddler.
Whilst 2020 may have dashed our usual festive furores and you may be down-heartened at the prospect of Christmas without the family, here’s 5 reasons why Christmas 2020 may be a blessing in disguise for breastfeeding mums...
1 . Less Pressure to pass baby round
With the lack of visitors or trips to see those once-a-year catchup relatives, parents will be able to keep baby relatively close this Christmas, rather than the usual ‘pass the baby round like a present’ game new mothers often have to play. Whilst having loved ones holding the baby gives a break for mum, being passed around too many people would probably leave them grumpy / tired/ overstimulated which then makes boobing all the more stressful. So this year, bask in the comfort of your sofa / wrap / carrier safe in the knowledge that you can keep baby all to yourself for a tiny bit longer.
2. Decreased risk of mastitis
Through all the visitors, long car trips and just general festive busyness, mums often go longer between feeds at Christmas time, leaving their breasts fuller for longer. Plus as mentioned above, all the family members and friends getting a cuddle means mums can miss feeding cues (or get put off by those funny looks as below) so this increases the stress hormone and stops milk flowing as freely as it can, which in turn can block ducts and cause mastitis. So again, this Christmas, keep feeding as much as you need to and know you’re doing yourself good as well as your baby because no-one wants a hot painful boob whilst eating Christmas dinner!
3. You can still enjoy a drink with dinner
The age-old question that gets asked by many a new mum at this time of year is – do I have to pump and dump or can I even drink at Christmas? Most of the time this question gets asked in relation to Christmas parties with friends or work nights out, but this year there’s none of that! But yes – the answer has been and always has been – yes you can drink and no you don’t need to ‘pump and dump’ your milk. Whilst alcohol does pass freely into breastmilk and peaks around 30-60 minutes after you drink it and 60-90 minutes when taken with food, alcohol does leave the breastmilk at the same rate it leaves the bloodstream. This means you don’t need to express any milk to throw it away. It takes around 2-3 hours for a 54kg women to rid her body of the alcohol in one beer or wine – obviously the more units you drink the longer it will take.
Other factors to consider are your baby’s age (younger babies will need to feed more and have more immature livers than older babies), your weight (heavier people metabolise alcohol quicker) and how much alcohol you plan on drinking. Here’s some more information on the above from La Leche League.
So – If you want – celebrate being an amazing breastfeeding mama in 2020 by having a drink at Christmas!
4. Less funny looks from family members
Another common theme we find at Christmas is mums asking about how to deal with funny looks or comments from family members whilst you or they are visiting. We hear tales of mums having to sneak off upstairs to feed or prepare answers to well-meant questions from loved ones. But this Christmas families will be keeping in touch by zoom and Whatsapp so if you feel uncomfortable feeding on camera, place the camera at an angle where they can’t see baby, or even just opt for a Christmas morning phone call instead! Remember, if family members do make negative comments, being online is the perfect chance to send them links to educational resources and articles!
5. No need to find boob-friendly party clothes
Finally, the party clothes of Christmas 2020 is…well what we’ve been wearing all year really. So no need to worry about finding a ‘glam’ party frock that may not be totally boob friendly, kick out in your favourite loungewear or PJ’s, safe in the knowledge that what you’re wearing is the ‘in’ thing for this year.
So those are our top 5 reasons why a 2020 Christmas will be good for breastfeeding mamas….can you think of any others? Let us know!
Remember, if you need support this Christmas, the National Bf Helpline is available 365 days a week on 0300 100 0212 or message us on Facebook or head to our home page to speak to a BOOBS peer supporter via webchat from the 28th December.