Last night I went out with some lovely friend, and we got to chatting about breastfeeding and how it can be such a beautiful experience. With this in the back of my mind when I left, walking to the car in 5 degrees it reminded me of how truly cold I felt for the first couple of weeks of breastfeeding my daughter (born at the end of May). My son was born in the middle of summer and feeding him was a completely different experience because there was absolutely no chance of freezing whilst feeding him half naked, only how to combat feeling so hot whilst feeding (thats another blog for another day).
Ok back on track.
Reflecting on the contrast of my feeding experiences made me realise that being warm or even hot made breastfeeding so much easier, I didn’t have to battle with layers of clothes getting in the way whilst my son and I learned to feed together, nor did I have to worry about nipple vasospasm (don’t freak out its nothing bad, when you are really cold the blood vessels in the nipples can constrict making it a bit tricky to feed). I realised that when I was warmer, my whole body felt relaxed and emotionally I felt more relaxed, which helped everything flow the way it was meant to. Those first weeks of feeding my daughter, I felt cold and tense and it took me a little while to realise that I needed a few simple things to help me breastfeed through the colder months and stay warm.
So, here are my secrets to surviving winter breastfeeding without freezing your nipples
- Flannelette Pyjamas: Look, I know they’re not overly flattering but lets face it, they’re practical and warm and snuggly! A Flannelette Pyjama set with button up top and matching long pants will keep you warm whilst you feed overnight. When your baby wakes for a feed, simply unbutton the first few buttons, if you are extra blessed with large breasts you may need to fully unbutton the top, your back will stay warm and your little one will have access to your breasts and he/she will cover your belly and keep you warm as you feed him/her.
- Long sleeve cross over bodysuit: I’ve put a link here to an asos one that is very similar to the ones I had ( I actually still have them!) just so you can see that the wrap front makes the breasts super accessible to baby whilst out and about.. and they’re cheap, and come in black and white… http://www.asos.com/au/asos/asos-design-body-with-deep-wrap-front-and-back-in-black/prd/8990343?clr=black&SearchQuery=bodysuit&gridcolumn=1&gridrow=1&gridsize=4&pge=1&pgesize=72&totalstyles=2593 These body suits saved me during winter throughout the day. I would wear a nice thick cardigan over the top and a nice scarf and totally flaunted my milky boobs (look its the only time I have breasts, don’t judge!) and it meant when my little one needed to feed I didn’t have to lift one layer and drop another, I would just move the scarf and tuck it in to one of the bra straps so that some of my chest was covered (not because I care about being ‘modest’ for the benefit of others but so my chest didn’t get cold!)
- Thick Dressing gown: Adairs have THE MOST SNUGGLY dressing gowns ever! I won’t lie, I basically lived in it all winter, day and night, when at home. It was that perfect oxytocin boosting snuggliness ( its a word now) that kept me and baby warm, it was big enough to snuggle us both whilst feeding on the couch, it felt so nice and comfortable.
- Warm cup of tea at hand: Whether you have someone at home with you to make it for you or not, organise a warm cup of tea or date milk (click here for blog with recipe) when you are ready to feed your baby. The extra warmth (in addition to your thick dressing gown ;) ) will help your body to stay warm whilst feeding, it will boost your oxytocin if its something you love and it will just help you relax.
- Crank the heating: After birth, women lose a lot of heat from their bodies because their little inbuilt heater (aka baby) is no longer inside them, and they are outputting a LOT OF ENERGY to make milk. Have the heater a couple of degrees warmer than you usually would during the day to ensure that you stay warm, even with your snuggly thick dressing gown on, and it will make the world of difference to your recovery and general wellness after baby is born.
I hope you find at least one of those tips helpful during your winter breastfeeding. I’d love to know if you find anything else that helps you feel warm and makes feeding more comfortable during the winter months.
If you’d love to learn more secrets to breastfeeding or other ways to survive those early months with your newborn, come and join us at the Intuitive Mothers circle. The Intuitive mothers circle is a safe and encouraging space for you to be your true self, to be vulnerable in your new role as a mother without the fear of judgement. A place where you will be surrounded by and supported by like-minded mothers also experiencing the beauty and challenges of that first year of parenting. You can find out more on membership and what is included here or if you’re ready to join click here and enter your details .