By Lisa Craven
It might be your first time out since having the baby – but how can breastfeeding mums prepare for a big night out?
While carefree, spontaneous evenings might be a distant memory since becoming a parent, it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice special date nights with your partner, or a bit of precious time out with your friends. The secret’s in the prep, as Lisa Craven, UK Marketing Manager at Lansinoh Laboratories, explains.
Here, she gives her top tips to ensure a smooth getaway…
Book your babysitter far in advance
Use someone you and your baby know and trust, to give you maximum peace of mind on your first time away from your little one. Otherwise you will likely worry and feel the need to check in all the time, which is counterproductive to a good night out.
Have a test run
Regulate your milk supply through consistent breastfeeding in the first few weeks after birth and ideally make sure your feeding routine is well established (around weeks six to eight), before introducing a bottle to feed expressed breastmilk or formula.
Then you need to be sure your baby will take your breastmilk from a bottle from someone else that isn’t you or your partner while you’re out, so have a couple of trial runs with your babysitter. It will ensure that you, and they, are all comfortable with the feeding process before the big event.
Create a checklist for your babysitter
They need to understand how your baby feeds, so explain about your baby’s feeding cues well before you go out – which ones baby uses first or most often, but also make sure they know all the cues, just in case they surprise them!
They also need to know how to handle your breastmilk, including how to thaw it.
Here are some others points to hand over in a note your babysitter can reference:
*Test temperature of milk on the inner wrist to ensure it’s warm or room temperature
*Don’t refreeze thawed breastmilk
*If the baby doesn’t finish a bottle and there is milk left, use it within the hour of starting the bottle, or throw it
A little leaving present
A breastfeeding pillow (if you have one) is something you can pass on to your babysitter to use when feeding your baby expressed milk while you’re out.
It’s comforting for the baby to have something familiar when you’re not there, and it will also smell like you, making the feeding process more seamless. If you don’t have a pillow, try to leave something else of yours with your scent.
Take the express route to freedom
You’ll need to express enough milk to fill at least a few bottles, depending on how much milk your baby has and how much time you plan on being away.
This requires planning, as you’ll need to allow for pumping extra milk between the regular feeds your baby is having. If you have an oversupply of milk, this isn’t a problem, but for the mums who struggle to express here are some tips:
*Massage your breasts before you start to express to encourage milk supply
*Have a photograph of your baby to look at while expressing
*Frequency, as well as length of the pumping sessions, stimulates your body to produce milk, so do it regularly if you can
*Use a manual breast pump if you’re only going to be away for a short time, or an electric pump will make the process quicker if you are expressing frequently and want to express larger amounts
*Sit in a comfortable position and relax
*Use breastmilk storage bags to keep breastmilk safe and secure so it can be stored in the fridge or the freezer
*Store your milk according to these guidelines:
Breastfeeding storage guidelines
|At room temp||66°F to 78°F (19°C to 26°C)||4 hours (ideal) up to 6 hours (acceptable)*|
|In a fridge||<39°F (<4°C)||72 Hours (ideal) up to 8 days (acceptable)**|
|In a freezer||0°F to -4°F (-18°F to -20°C)||3 months (ideal) up to 12 months (acceptable)|
Dress for expansion
With ever-changing breast sizes, which shrink once you’ve fed or pumped, and then grow larger when your milk comes back in ready for the next feed, you’ll want to wear something adaptable. Be comfortable and you’ll enjoy your night more.
You’re out! And your boobs know it
Your body might not make the connection that you’re away from your baby and will continue to make milk. Depending on how long you plan to be out, this can result in full, engorged, leaky breasts or the need to pump, so make sure you have a few fool-proof products in your handbag.
We recommend the winning combination of a compact pump (small and discreet, easy to carry around) and nursing pads to make sure there are no leakages when you’re out. But if you do have a leak, don’t worry – just style it out with a jacket or scarf.
Knowing you have these helpful products with you will make you feel more relaxed and less anxious about hurrying back.
Boobs and boozing*
If you are going to drink anything more than a small amount of alcohol, breastfeed your baby before you drink but not while drinking or for two–three hours per unit after – longer if you drink heavily. This allows time for the alcohol to leave your breast milk.
Plan ahead by expressing milk and storing it in the fridge and freezer, so you have extra peace of mind. Then you can skip the first breastfeed after your break and feed your baby with your expressed milk instead.
Bear in mind your breasts may become uncomfortably full if you leave long gaps between feeds – so you’ll need to employ the ‘pump and dump’ method if you’ve had alcohol.
*(a bottle of wine is around 10 units. Single measures of spirits such as gin, vodka and sambuca are 1.4 units)
And finally, remember your baby is resilient
Babies are extremely resilient and will be fine away from you while you’re away from them. Chances are you’ll find it harder than them, so just try and enjoy precious time to yourself. Everything will be the same when you get back!
You’ve made the decision to have your time away and you deserve it. So, prepare well, and enjoy.
*Advice taken from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/breastfeeding-alcohol/
Lansinoh’s top 5 product essentials when leaving your baby for the first time
1. Feeding Bottle with Natural Wave Teat – the perfect bottle to help baby switch from breast to bottle, and back again
2. Breastmilk Storage Bags – to store away your breastmilk, ready for your babysitter to dispense into a bottle while you’re away
3. Breastfeeding Pillow – allows your babysitter to feed baby comfortably, and your baby to have something familiar while you’re away
4. Compact Single Electric Breast Pump – escape to the loo for an emergency pump! Handbag size, discreet
5. Ultra Thin Nursing Pads – mums swear by them! Also double up as a tissue should you need to dry your tears 😉
For more breastfeeding tips and advice, visit lansinoh.co.uk. Trusted for more than 30 years and founded by a breastfeeding mum, Lansinoh breastfeeding products have been the ‘go to’ brand for decades by both mums and healthcare professionals to provide safe, effective breastfeeding support.