What is holiday weaning?
Holiday weaning is when a baby weans due to the distraction and celebration of a holiday or other special event. There may be visitors from out of town or maybe you and your family are on vacation. Either way, there’s plenty of people, attention, and distraction to keep mother and baby apart. Next thing you know, baby/child hasn’t breastfed all day or maybe even all weekend.
Does holiday weaning have to happen during a holiday?
No. Holiday weaning can happen on vacation, around birthdays or other special events, and even when you’re moving. If a mother travels for business or grandma visits, baby’s/child’s routine may get disturbed, and weaning may happen. Any time baby and mother are busy and distracted, holiday weaning may occur. Holiday weaning is a chameleon that can be very sneaky. Many mothers have never even heard of holiday weaning and don’t know that it can happen in the blink of an eye. Mothers are surprised that their breastfeeding relationship could be so fragile that a few days of extra activity could cause weaning. They also might be skeptical that visiting family and friends may interfere with their breastfeeding.
How do you approach the holidays with your breastfeeding baby/child?
Remember that holidays for many first-time mothers will be very different with a little one. You often still want to do all of the same activities that you did the previous year. You want to spend a day baking with your friends and family, yet they haven’t planned how to accomplish this with a little one who still needs to nurse every couple of hours and needs your attention and presence. You want to attend parties, ceremonies, and feasts, some of which seem to last a whole month. But then haven’t given thought yet as to the difference in your lives since giving birth.
• Let friends and family members know that you cherish your breastfeeding relationship. Don’t present it as a problem. For example, when aunts or grandmothers want to help, give them a task—not the baby or child.
• When family members ask to feed the baby/child, tell them, “Thank you, but I’m breastfeeding,” and smile.
• Use a sling or other carrier to keep baby/child close.
• Work around nap times and other times when baby/child is sleeping.
• Avoid long car and plane trips if possible. If it’s unavoidable, make sure to take plenty of time for nursing breaks.
• Choose clothing that provides easy access to the breast for your little one.
• Shop for gifts online or from catalogues. Keep “real life” shopping trips short or take plenty of breaks to breastfeed and meet the needs of your child.