- Your bags are packed.
- You have some fun new Christmas traditions in store.
- Your festive pajamas are ready to make your in-laws swoon.
Plus, this year you have a new baby to show off for the first time. Your family can’t wait to snuggle her, and you can’t wait to use two hands to eat a nice, warm meal.
Twelve hours later, you find yourself sitting in the middle of your cousin’s living room staring at your baby in Aunt Myrtle’s arms. He’s starting to whimper and you know his tiny tummy is rumbling, even if Aunt Myrtle’s insists he’s fine, and your breasts are painfully hard lumps of coal.
With all the excitement building up to this moment, it didn’t even occur to you that nursing might be difficult during this holiday visit.
The Trick to Successfully Nursing
Your Baby Away from Home
How did we get here in this nursing limbo? Breastfeeding has finally gotten a lot easier at home because…
- You and your baby have the perfect schedule.
- Nursing your baby meets your needs too.
- Your baby’s nursing temperament allows her to relax, since there’s no one
reaching for your baby the moment she stops sucking.
But now you are traveling for the holidays, visiting friends and family who are just dying to see what a cute little pumpkin she is, (because she really is just that cute) and breastfeeding feels like it’s falling apart. You feel like a newbie again.
How exactly do you enjoy your holiday visits and attend to your baby’s nursing needs at the same time?
Well, here’s the good news. The trick to successfully nursing your baby away from home is to establish healthy boundaries and developing a nursing plan that lets you kindly share what you and your baby need to others.
Trust me on this: a little foresight will make nursing through the holiday celebrations as smooth as the homemade whip cream on pumpkin pie. Here’s how to get started.
Nurse Your Baby Travel Tip #1:
Find Your Nursing Space
Once you arrive at Aunt Myrtle’s house for the family Christmas shindig, pull her aside (or whoever the host may be) and let her know that you need a quiet place to nurse. Make sure she knows what you need and how often you may need to use the space. Take a quick tour around the house together and find your nursing space.
Must-Have Items for Your Nursing Space
Keep these nursing must-haves in mind as you’re looking for the best place:
- A Door: You and your baby need privacy. A place to relax and take your time nursing. You do not want Uncle Fred barging in on your nursing session looking for his glass of eggnog. A door with a lock, of course, is the best option!
- A Comfy Chair: Make sure your nursing space has a chair, couch or bed you feel comfortable nursing on. It may not be what you have at home, but you don’t want to be stuck nursing in a metal fold-up chair either.
- Enough Distance: Try your best to find a nursing space that is removed from the festivities. You and your baby will not be happy hearing loud shouts and squeals from family in the next room as they play Mad Gab.
By the way, if you don’t have a breast pump yet, this website will help you get a free high-quality breast pump to take with you.
Give yourself the time to plan ahead so that you’re not frantically looking for a nook or cranny of the house to nurse in while holding a crying, hungry baby.
Once you’ve found your nursing space, you can rejoin the fun holiday activities knowing exactly where you will go when it’s time to nurse your sweet babe!
Nurse Your Baby Travel Tip #2:
Make a List, Check It Twice
In addition to the piles of baby items you already packed for grandma’s, you must also make your nursing accessories a priority.
Think about bringing just the necessary items you will need to make each nursing session a success. And don’t forget to throw in that cute but comfortable nursing top to help you nurse discreetly too! Try these perfect, easy-to-pack nursing travel accessories:
- Easy Travel Nursing Pillow: Bring this nursing pillow anywhere and fold it up when you’re done. It’s perfect for packing.
- Pocket-size Travel Sound Machine: Use this to help keep your nursing sessions calm and relaxing for both you and your baby.
- Perfect Nursing Cover: Comfortable and convenient for nursing anywhere, and this one can double as a car seat cover.
- Classy Nursing Sign: Kindly keep guests out of your nursing space until you’re finished.
- Simple Nursing Bag: The perfect travel-sized bag to fit all your nursing needs.
These travel-nursing accessories will give you everything you will need to feed your baby stress-free while visiting family. Keep your nursing accessories together in your nursing space so that you don’t need to haul everything with you at a hungry-baby moments’ notice!
Nurse Your Baby Travel Tip #3:
You And Your Baby Come First
That’s right! I give you permission to be a little selfish. Of course, everyone’s excited to see you and the baby, but you still need to pay attention to your baby’s nursing needs no matter how many people want to play with her.
The best way to help you and your baby successfully hang out with relatives while still having great nursing sessions is to:
- Own your time. Let family know that you and the baby are happy to play for the next 45 minutes (or however long until the next time you nurse) so that they can expect you to excuse yourself at that time.
- Be kind and assertive. Remind them often that your baby is having so much fun that he may get tired or cranky sooner than usual, therefore you might need to excuse yourself sooner.
- Assure them you’ll be back. Give friends and family a gentle nursing warning of 10 minutes or less before you will need to leave the room. Be sure to remind family on your way out that you and your baby look forward to joining the family fun again soon!
As a certified lactation consultant of more than 6 years, Kelly knows just how intense the holidays can be for nursing moms and has some wise thoughts to share:
“Let friends and family dote over your baby, but keep her close.The holidays can be a difficult time for some mamas, where the hustle and bustle of the holiday season may interfere with feeding. Consider babywearing, where it will allow you to watch for feeding cues, and also keep well meaning friends and family at a comfortable distance.” -Kelly Saviatko, IBCLC,RLC
Now you can make nursing a priority without the guilt and feel confident in your schedule with your baby, while friends and family still get to enjoy holiday snuggles with her!
Nurse Your Baby Travel Tip #4:
Let Your Baby Lead
All of a sudden, after several hours of hanging out with relatives, your normally happy baby seems unusually irritable and clingy. The only thing that seems to be helping him is nursing more frequently.
This is very normal and to be expected from your little one.
After your sweet baby spends an extended amount of time being shuffled from one super fun Aunt to one super fun grandma all night long, be prepared to follow your baby’s cues because he may need:
- Extra comfort nursing sessions that might last longer than usual.
- Intentional time with just you, away from people, to play or snuggle.
- Frequent naps and earlier bedtimes to accommodate for the long days and lack of normal routine.
Your baby’s schedule and needs can change at a moment’s notice. And that can be hard for you and your relatives. The overstimulation can be hard on your baby when he’s not used to it. Take it easy and follow your baby’s lead.
I Give to You…
A Stress-Free Nursing Holiday!
The holidays can be extra fun but also extra stressful for a nursing mom on the road visiting family and friends!
But now you know just what to do to make it stress-free for everyone:
- Find your nursing space when you arrive at your destination.
- Bring everything you need to make nursing an enjoyable experience.
- Put you and your baby first at all times.
- Follow your baby’s cues.
It only takes a little extra planning to ensure that you and your baby’s nursing sessions are a success no matter where you celebrate this season.
And then, before you know it, you’ll be chasing an adventurous toddler around the Christmas tree next year!
Have You Read These Yet?
- How to Exercise With Your Kids Constantly Underfoot
- Everything a New Mama Warrior Needs to Know About Baby Care
- How to Use Infant Probiotics to Soothe Your Colicky Baby
- Absolutely Everything You Need to Know About Baby Swaddles
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Lauren, along with her husband, loves the crazy life of keeping up with their 2 girls and twin boys. While she tries to get them to eat their vegetables, meals often end up including pasta or chicken nuggets. She believes that imperfect and messy homes are the product of memories being made (at least that’s what she tells herself whenever cleaning fails). She loves her yoga pants almost as much as her coffee…almost. But best of all she loves to encourage fellow moms on their journey through motherhood. Learn more about Lauren here.