Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Holiday Weaning

What is holiday weaning?
From here, which is taken from here:

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).


  1. I have actually noticed this in the last few months with Leo(8mo.) Even this weekend we were at my parents and he was too distracted to nurse. He did make up for it at night and one time at dinner, I put a blanket over him and he nursed long enough to keep me from getting too engorged. You could just go to a private room to nurse instead of in front of everybody and there would be less to distract her. I have found this to help with Bella and Leo

  2. I hadn't even thought about this topic! Thanks for sharing. I guess I am not as concerned about Bug weaning because...in all honesty, I am totally ready to wean him (although I am so stubborn that I will keep nursing him until he weans, because I believe in Child Led Weaning). But, I do think of the antibody benefits (I call my milk "magic mommy milk" all the time!) and I think of how easy it is to get him to sleep...most of the time. I guess I have really mixed feelings about nursing him still. I want to, but I don't want to. And the fact that I am unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant is not helping the matter.

  3. Great post! This is why Gabriel weaned I know. It was hard, and I couldn't get him to go back--but we had a bazillion other complications too I suppose. I've been thinking about this as the holidays approach. We'll have family here for Thanksgiving and then we'll travel for Christmas.
    I plan on bedsharing, offering breast frequently and lots of babywearing. Hopefully that will keep us nursing right along. :)

  4. Good to know! December, especially THIS December, is a really busy time for us! Starting the last week of November we've got Daddy's birthday, moving, my birthday, MiniDork's birthday, Christmas, our wedding anniversary, and New Year's! Yikes!

  5. Fabulous post and so good for the super moms who try to do it all around the holidays. I say if you've got a new baby or more than one small child let someone else to do the hosting and cooking!

  6. I forgot to mention this, but for me, if I do too much, my body forces me to slow down with a nice bout of mastitis. It's better to slow down before you get a fever and feel like you've been hit by a truck!

  7. Michael has been prone to being too distracted to nurse ever since he was born. So whenever we are somewhere that is exciting for him or people are over at our house, and it's been a while since he's nursed, I will take him into a quiet place (preferably dimmed), so he can focus on nursing. I do wait until I think he is hungry or thirsty enough for it, though, or else it might not work. I feel that these quiet times are important for keeping him from getting overstimulated.

  8. When my older kids reached age 4.5 with no apparent end in sight to weaning, I decided I no longer believed in child led weaning! Sometimes I wish my life was more exciting, but I am glad that we aren't busy and don't have problems like holiday weaning. We'll visit my parents, but it will be not too different than usual and won't be more than a day. Even the times my baby has been away from me for 1.5-2 days, he's resumed nursing as normal when he gets home. The challenge will be how to deal with nursing when he visits his dad for 2-6 weeks!

    (I saw your comment on SeriouslySoBlessed. I'm one of those women who had to arrange 'babysitting' with STBXH if I wanted to do anything!)


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