Holidays Strike, Make Them Suck!

When you read my post title, you may envision a mob of retail workers refusing to work post turkey dinner. I don't blame anyone for protesting against having to peel out of sweatpants and brave the butt end of holiday consumerism at it's finest. As Thanksgiving weekend draws to a close, it reminds me of another type of striking that sits closer to the chest... literally.

A Nursing Strike is a refusal to breastfeed by a baby who is not otherwise ready to wean. There are a number of reasons a baby may begin to decline nursing including, but not limited to: mouth pain from teething; ear infection; stuffiness from illness or allergies; changes in milk due to medication, foods or pregnancy; change in daily routine.

For this post, I will focus on how a change in routine may disrupt your breastfeeding relationship. This is post could be many pages long on the subject but for brevity sake, and yours, I'll offer some helpful hints for avoiding the boob ban.

Holidays are a busy time of year- especially for new Parents. Everyone wants to visit with the new babe, and we as proud Mamas and Papas are keen to show off our sweet bundle. As we bustle about from party to party, travel home for the holidays, or host our own festivities routines become secondary to pleasing those around us. Perhaps baby's nighttime ritual is rushed, we decide to nurse baby in a different position for modesty or bottlefeed in an attempt to ease stress and let Great Aunt Hettie feed the baby.

Babies, though we may not always recognize it, enjoy consistency. They are constantly learning through understanding patterns of behavior. They are not exempt from becoming distracted by the holidays which may result in overstimulation and fussiness. Babies are also intuitive and can pick up on anxiety from parents. To avoid additional stress around the holidays for both you and baby, here are some helpful hints.

Remember that you have a new normal. Perhaps party crawling now interferes with baby's routine, and that's just fine. Find other ways to enjoy the holidays other than rushing from place to place.

Protect the nap schedule, for the both of you. If baby sleeps at certain times, schedule outings around that time. Sleeping when baby sleeps can help you feel more relaxed and prepared to take on the holidays.

Find a relaxing place to nurse, and use it as homebase. Many of us need a protected sanctuary to get away from it all. Finding a quiet spot to nurse, or even to regroup away from eyes and noise can help baby and mom stay connected. It also is a wonderful way to dodge unwanted advice.

Babywearing keeps baby close and out of other's hands. It's also a great way to nurse.

Your Partner is an Ally and Advocate Share your needs and expectations with your Partner explicitly and ask that he or she help you to establish boundaries with friends and family. For instance, if the baby is giving feeding cues, Partner brings the baby to Mama no matter who is holding her. Remember, by the time the baby is crying, she has already exhausted her cues and is frustrated. Getting a calm baby on the breast is much easier for all than latching on a ravenous anxious babe.

Learn to Say No This is a great word to learn early in Parenthood. If you feel that a task is too daunting or you simply prefer not to do something, offer an alternative or share that you're in a new phase in life and prefer not to do whatever is requested.

Keep your friends close, and your PITAs far Enjoy the holidays with those whom you love most and you can be yourself around. You have ten other months to deal with pains in the ass, and if you must in this holiday season, perhaps request a trust friend be your blocker from said annoyance.

Attend LLL meetings This is the perfect time of year to meet fellow nursing Mamas and learn from Leaders who have experience in nursing their own children. Visit for schedules and locations

Revel in Your Awesomeness For many this is a time of renewal, birth and love. You have just experienced this in your own right. Take pride in your new family and know that your instincts are right and you have greater insight into your baby than anyone else on Earth.