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 hasn’t breastfed all day or maybe even all weekend....Holiday weaning can happen on vacation, around birthdays or other special events, and even when you’re moving.... Any time baby and mother are busy and distracted, holiday weaning may occur.According to this month's New Beginnings magazine, small babies are particularly prone to this. I'm probably supposed to look at Margaret and see a child who probably won't fall victim to this, but I don't.
A week ago, we went to a baby blessing for our nephew. Margaret nursed fine during church; it's an environment she's used to nursing in. However at the gathering afterward, she was just too busy to nurse. She didn't want to stop playing and so I got a little bit engorged. This has happened before on outings. When I went to the Great Basin Fiber Arts Festival with her, she barely nursed all day. She makes up for it at night, and I don't normally have supply issues, but the idea of longer trips where she'll be distracted all the time concerns me.
Will Margaret be too distracted to remember to nurse? How will I deal with the engorgement by the end of the day?
When I discussed it with one of my friends who is also an LLL leader, she asked me, "Are you going to be bedsharing on your trips?" Yes, bedsharing has made it really easy to travel with her. She'll probably end up forgetting to nurse in the day and making up for it at night. I keep telling myself that's what'll happen and it'll be ok. I don't want to wean her yet. She's still too small and this isn't exactly the best time of year to wean; she needs the antibodies as cold and flu season rages on. In fact, I had a terrible cold all this weekend and Margaret has shown no signs of it (thank goodness!). Go go gadget magical breast antibodies!
On the LLL of Sandy link, they list a lot of things you can do to prevent holiday weaning. Essentially: don't do too much, ask for help with planning parties and doing decorations and cooking, be with your baby as much as possible. Good ideas. And I think just being aware of the idea of holiday weaning can help you be more aware of how often you're nursing. If you do start to notice your baby going on a holiday nursing strike, try enticing your baby back to the breast as you would with any nursing strike: skin to skin contact, warm baths, taking a vacation from everything else and being with your baby, etc (see the link for more ideas).