Ah, the holidays. That joyous time of the year when you gather around family and friends to celebrate, spend quality time, and eat all the things. I remember my first holiday season as a mother very fondly, minus one issue: breastfeeding. Apparently, breastfeeding around extended family members was a "problem," (something I still can't understand). Thankfully, I figured out a few tips to help you survive breastfeeding around family members during the holiday season, so the time you spend with those you love isn't tainted by a few opposing uncles or aunts or cousins or whoever that (for reasons unknown) have issues with a woman feeding her child with a part of her body.
I was breastfeeding my then-4-month-old son when we had our first Christmas with our respecting families. We split the holiday between my partner's parents, and my mother and her parents. It was truly incredible to essentially "introduce" our son to our extended family members, but I was exclusively breastfeeding at the time and not every single family member liked, understood, or felt the need to accommodate that decision. I was told there was no reason why I should still be breastfeeding a baby that was "so old." (Huh?) I was told there was no longer any benefit to breastfeeding a 4-month-old baby. (Say what?) And I listened to story after story about how, "Back in my day, no one breastfed their babies and everyone turned out just fine." It was exhausting. Every time I fed my son, I was met with resistance and urged to stop.
I learned a lot during that first holiday season, and I so badly wish I could go back and apply those hard-earned lessons so the exhausted, brand-new mom version of me could have skipped the constant judgment from family members. Alas, there's no way to go back in time. Not yet, anyway. So, I impart to you the tips I accumulated during those two weeks. If you're a breastfeeding mom and you're somewhat hesitant to feed your kid around family members this holiday season, read on. You're not alone, you shouldn't' feel alone, and you have every right to continue doing what you know is best for your baby (and you).