Between adult-only Christmas parties and pass-the-baby at family gatherings, mothers and babies tend to be separated more during this busy time. Since breastfeeding is supply-and-demand, less feedings will equal less milk, which may lead to a permanently lowered supply and more feedings with artificial milk. Sometimes you're so busy you may not even realize it's happening. Make sure that you pump or hand express milk every time your baby receives a bottle if you want to keep your milk supply steady.
2. Traveling= skipped feeds
Trying to hurry to make a flight, the embarrassment of feeding in public, and the way cars put babies to sleep can all add up to more time between feedings. There are plenty of times while traveling that it seems more convenient to pull out a pacifier or a bottle rather than a breast. But again, a full breast sends signals to a woman's brain to slow down on the milk production. It may not be obvious at first, but once the holidays are over you may find all those skipped feedings have lowered your milk supply. To avoid this, try to allow extra time while traveling for feedings. If you find your milk dwindling, spending more time skin-to-skin with your baby in a relaxed environment should work to quickly reverse it.
3. Confusion about alcohol
Parties and more time off of work should definitely mean time to relax for those of us who work hard at this whole adulting thing. Sometimes the messages we hear about alcohol and breastfeeding can be confusing, and some mothers skip feedings because they'd like a drink. Rest assured, once you're no longer feeling the effects of the alcohol you're safe to nurse your baby. No need to throw the milk away. For more about alcohol, you can read a previous article about it.
4. Stress, stress, and more stress!
Even though the holidays are fun and special, they usually come with stress as well, at least on some days. The hormones responsible for making milk just plain don't work as well when you're stressed. All the new places and people can make for very distractible babies, too, especially after about 4 months when they're noticing more of the world around them. A quiet, dimly lit place to breastfeed with no time constraints can really help keep the mother-baby relationship strong and comforting, for both of you. This won't be possible every time, but even once a day can help keep those milk-making hormones high.
Remember, these first years of your baby's life aren't about perfection in presents, decorations, or appearances. They aren't about attending every event you're invited to. Your baby won't remember any of it anyway. If you'd like to continue breastfeeding into next year then a little planning ahead and educating yourself should make easier. If you need some more help working through breastfeeding issues I would be happy to help you over the phone, online, or in person. Just contact me!