Halloween is in the rearview and there’s more than just a chill in the air here in NYC and the Northeast; it’s happening folks
A Season OF FIRSTS
So many of us really look forward to this time of year, reconnecting with family and friends through our holiday traditions. For families with new babies, this will be a season of many “firsts” with an extra sense of renewal. There is much to anticipate, preparations to make and with a new baby comes a few new considerations.
When traveling long distances with your new baby it’s important to remember to give yourself rest breaks for feedings and diaper checks. With newborns (babies under 30 days of age) it’s important to not exceed 90 minutes of driving without a break. You want to be well versed on the installation and proper use of your chosen infant car seat.
If you’re flying, be sure to familiarize yourself with TSA traveling with breast milk or formula. In fact, print out the rules and have them with you just in case. Remember that feeding during take-off and landing can help your baby ease the discomfort of air pressure changes.
Holiday parties are a major part of the season and the opportunity for families to introduce the new baby to the world. If your baby is a newborn, try to limit the amount of time they spend in small crowded spaces. Better to bring the baby out for a general introduction then back to a more private space where small groups of family and friends can have a bit more time with your newborn - after washing their hands thoroughly and swearing a solemn oath on pain of extreme bodily harm that they do not have a cold or flu. I’m sure the shudder-inducing image of your constantly sniffling cousin or uncle just popped into your mind!
DRINKING AND BREASTFEEDING
With all that out of the way, it’s time to get on with what we do most of at these events, eating and drinking.
In my homeland of Trinidad and Tobago, and indeed much of the Caribbean we look forward to drinking Sorrel and Ponche de Creme. The former is a drink made from a flower in the hibiscus family with spices like clove and allspice depending on the family recipe and particular country. The latter is similar in look to egg nog and they both usually have a very generous amount of that very West Indian secret sauce (drum roll please) Rum! Whatever your libation of choice go ahead and enjoy it... in moderation.
If you’re breastfeeding, try to time your tipple for after a feeding. Only a small amount of the alcohol in your blood gets into your milk so there is no need to pump and dump, just HONESTLY assess your level of tipsy and wait until you are sober enough to drive to feed your baby or pump. If you find yourself on the kitchen counter slurring the words to Santa Baby, definitely skip the feeding and use the pumped milk that you smartly set aside before the party, then just wait until you are completely sober and probably hungover to resume breastfeeding.
Eating and Breastfeeding
At the dinner table, it’s time to enjoy all the specialities of the season some of which you had to avoid when you were pregnant at the last holiday gathering. Things are easier here as there are only three ingredients to scrupulously avoid if you are breastfeeding, parsley, sage and mint.
This is due to their effect on your milk supply. Avoid the mint candy canes and peppermint coffee drinks. Ask your host if the stuffing or the poultry is seasoned with parsley and sage and minimize how much of those herbs you actually eat or push it off to the side. If you can, ask your relatives to skip those ingredients if at all possible or if they are truly kind or really, really love you, (looking at you GrandMum/Auntie) make a bit of the whatever it is you have been craving, without the parsley or sage.
Breastfeeding in Comfort
With all the changes and adjustments in your typical routine with your baby, you may delay or skip a "feeding" by using pumped or expressed milk. Be sure to pump or hand express instead (or as soon as you can/ remember) this will help to avoid later discomfort, clogs and mastitis. In addition, avoid tight garments that may constrain your breasts.
There are comfortable bras that are supportive without the agony of an underwire. I have helped in the design process of the one HERE.
So there you have it, just a few adjustments for the season, and with your new baby here finally, it’s shaping up to be a memorable one! Enjoy yourself, your baby, and the wonderful (no politics!) time with friends and family. I wish you all the very best for the season and the coming New Year in 2020!