December 24, 2010 04:00 PM

Courtesy Best for Babes

The holiday season can be a busy and stressful time for everyone — and may lead to challenges for some nursing moms.

We spoke to Bettina Forbes, one of the founders of Best for Babes, an organization dedicated to creating a cultural shift in the way we view and support breastfeeding.

Below, Forbes shares her tricks and tips and answers your questions, helping you get your breastfeeding relationship through the holidays successfully. Please contribute your experiences in the comments!


This is the first time I’ll be nursing around my less-than-supportive relatives – what’s the best way to deal?

A big breastfeeding booby trap™ is relatives who are well-intentioned but utterly misinformed about nursing. Try to put them at ease by reminding them that breastfeeding is just like seatbelts and sunscreen — we know better now, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends it!

If your mother-in-law asks if you might be more comfortable nursing in the bathroom or a back room, just respond cheerfully, “Thanks for asking, but we’re most comfortable right here” and change the subject Remember you are a role-model for your younger siblings, cousins or nieces.

Can I enjoy a few drinks during the holidays even though I am nursing?

Yes, in moderation. There’s no reason not to enjoy holiday spirits as long as you don’t get drunk. If possible, time your drink for right after nursing. Alcohol leaves your milk at the same rate it leaves your blood. If you overdo it, feed your baby some pre-pumped milk (a freezer stash comes in handy). For more information, click here.

We’re flying to visit my family for the holidays — what are my rights as a breastfeeding mother in airports and on airplanes?

The key is to be prepared! Most airlines are accommodating, but keep a copy with you of the breastfeeding policy from each airline you’re flying, just in case (email customer service and ask for it).

Also, print out this pocket guide to state breastfeeding laws and very importantly, the latest TSA guidelines. The TSA puts pumped breastmilk in the same category as liquid medications and allows greater than 3 ounces to be carried on board, whether your baby is with you or not. Print and carry this page with you just in case. Not all officers are up on the latest — just ask Jenna Elfman!

Beyond knowing your rights, you’ll want to make sure you can be comfortable. Latch-friendly clothes like a nursing tank or a big shirt are a must! Practicing getting a latch in front of a mirror in a tight space ahead of time can also help. If you do things to prepare and make yourself comfortable, your baby will be, too!

My baby seems more fussy and I feel like my supply has dropped. What’s going on?

Holiday parties, shopping, and lots of relatives soothing the baby can throw off your breastfeeding groove. Plus, babies who are over-stimulated can show less interest in nursing. Postponing or missing a feeding signals your body to make less milk, and that can lead to unintentional weaning.

So, delegate and prioritize! Wear your baby in a sling or carrier to catch cues and stimulate nursing, and go to a quiet room with no distractions if your baby is fussy. Click here for more tips on avoiding holiday weaning.

Any last minute gift ideas for expecting or nursing moms?

We’re glad you asked! The best gift you can give an expecting mom or new mom is to boost her confidence and point her towards a great support group, breastfeeding class or lactation consultant.

Additionally, one of our limited edition, holiday fundraiser gift baskets includes everything she could want (at 60-65% off retail — what a deal!). All proceeds go towards helping Best for Babes beat the booby traps and cheer on, coach and celebrate all moms without pressure, judgment or guilt, whether they breastfeed two weeks, two months, two years or not at all!

Best for Babes wishes you happy holidays, and may your cups overfloweth with the joys of the season, babe!

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