8 tips for breastfeeding in cold weather
Now the weather has turned colder, keeping you and your baby warm while breastfeeding is a top priority.
Stopping for a quick feed on a park bench may not seem as attractive an option during the winter months but there are plenty of things you can do to make the experience more pleasant for you both.
- Wear warm breastfeeding clothes
Invest in some nursing options which will keep you warm and won’t leave you feeling exposed, especially if you’re likely to be having any outdoor pit stops. At Stylish Mum, we developed our breastfeeding hoodie to keep mums warm and cosy while feeding. Wearing layers can also help but think about how you will feed your baby in what you are wearing so you won’t have to start taking clothing off to be able to feed. See breastfeeding clothing options here
- Plan some places to stop
If you’re out and about, you might want to think about places where you can stop and breastfeed in the warmth before you go. Feed your baby before you leave and plan a trip to a café or pub or somewhere indoors where you can. If you do need to stop outside, try to pick somewhere which is sheltered from the wind.
- Have a go at feeding while babywearing
Wearing your baby in a sling or carrier is a great way of keeping you both warm over the winter months. Your body warmth will help keep your child snuggly and you’ll also benefit from carrying around the equivalent of a hot water bottle. Breastfeeding in a sling can be a little tricky at first so you might want to practice the technique at home, get advice from a local slings library and watch some Youtube videos. If you can master feeding in a sling though, it’s a great way of discreetly breastfeeding wherever and whenever you need to and you and you’ll both stay nice and warm too.
- Use baby sleeping bags
If you usually use sheets and blankets in your baby’s bed, consider switching to a sleeping bag for the winter months. Sleeping bags allow your little one to stay wrapped up warm when you pick them up for a feed and make it easy for you to pop them down again afterwards – there’s also no risk of them wriggling out of their blankets during the night and getting cold.
- Massage your breasts to avoid blocked ducts
Cold weather can increase the likelihood of developing blocked milk ducts so make sure you feed or express regularly. The reason blocked milk ducts are more common during colder months is thought to be due to people wearing tighter and more restrictive clothing so opt for looser layers if you can. Also be careful if lifting up lots of layers and causing restrictions through a lot of material being rolled up on top of your breasts. Specific breastfeeding clothes may be an option. Massaging your breasts in a warm shower will help get your milk flowing again and clear a blocked duct. If you can feel lumps in your breast and think you might have a blockage, don’t ignore it as it can lead to mastitis – a painful inflammation of the breast.
- Stay hydrated
We tend to be much more aware of staying hydrated in warm weather but it is vital that you take in plenty of liquids when it is colder too. Dry winter weather can cause you to become dehydrated quite quickly, especially when you’re breastfeeding. Drink plenty of water and keep a drink handy while you are nursing. If you’re keen to keep warm with a hot drink, invest in a spill proof cup so you don’t have to worry about splashing your baby.
- Keep feeding even when you’re ill
The colder months always bring lots of cough, sneezes and snuffles but it is important to keep breastfeeding even when you’re feeling grotty. Some mums worry about feeding their baby when they have a cold or flu virus but breastfeeding will pass on important antibodies and help boost your little one’s immune system. It is also important to keep feeding to maintain your milk supply and avoid getting blocked milk ducts and mastitis. Check with your pharmacist or GP before taking any medication to check that it is safe to take while breastfeeding.
- Use a good nipple cream
Cold air dries out the skin and can cause fragile areas of the body to become chapped and sore – something you have probably noticed before with your hands and lips. If you are breastfeeding, you may find you are more likely to get sore and cracked nipples when it is cold. Feeding with sore nipples can be excruciating so invest in a good nipple cream to moisturise and protect your delicate skin IF your skin feels dry. Using a product containing lanolin will help relieve any discomfort and it is safe to leave on your nipples while feeding.
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