For a Christmas adventure with your family this December, you can’t beat a Christmas market. The delightful German tradition has become super popular in the UK and many of the nation’s major cities towns and stately homes hold markets during advent.
If you’re breastfeeding, though, you might be concerned about the kind of facilities or support that will help you keep to your feed schedule.
Don’t worry! My guide will help you choose which Christmas market venue will be best for you. And I’ve packed in some tips that’ll make your market trip full of Christmas cheer with your breastfed little one in tow.
Winter Wonderland – London
The UK’s capital city hosts a now famous and very popular Christmas market in Hyde Park. You may have heard of it already. Does Winter Wonderland ring a bell? I thought so! It’s a beautifully constructed pop-up market in the traditional style.
You’ll find unique gifts and plenty of delicious Christmas goodies to eat. Plus, there’s a huge amount for kids to do if you have older children. Rides, games, shows—if it’s Christmas excitement you’re after, your family will love it.
But Winter Wonderland is family-friendly in more ways than one: they have a covered, heated and quiet area at the north of the site near the family entrance. This is for people who need some quiet time away from the festivities and is a place where mums can nurse in a calmer atmosphere.
There are also quieter spaces during the day in the Bavarian Village Hall and the Street Food area if you need to nurse. Plus, the event provides an on-site accessibility manager who can provide you with any other requirements to meet your breastfeeding needs.
Scotland’s capital transforms into a winter wonderland of its own during the festive season. The whole of the city centre transforms into a must-see Christmas destination for the family but the Christmas Market on East Princes Street is at the heart of it.
You’ll find funfair rides, outdoor performances and mouth-watering food and drink stalls. And the event doesn’t stop on Christmas Day, it runs right through until Epiphany on January 6th!
‘Edinburgh’s Christmas’ recognises the needs of families and provides accessible ramps for buggies where possible. Breastfeeding mums or mums that need to express in a quieter space can take advantage of the ‘Parent Room’ that’s provided. This way, your visit doesn’t impact your feed or pumping schedule. However, if you’re taking your Momcozy wearable breast pump worn with the supportive pumping bra, the fun won’t have to stop while you express.
Belfast Continental Christmas Market
The Northern Irish capital plays host to its own award-winning continental-style Christmas market that’s well worth a visit. You’ll find local traders for last-minute gifts, quality Christmas fayre and bespoke artisan products. And don’t forget to take your baby to Santa’s Grotto!
If you’re a breastfeeding mamma, you’ll be pleased to learn that the market is held in and around Belfast City Hall. This means that if you want to nurse or express milk in a little more private (and quiet) setting, you can use the council facilities. They have a newly opened Family Room in the East foyer that is perfect for escaping the hustle and bustle of the market for a while.
Cardiff’s Christmas Market
If you’re planning a visit to the Welsh capital this month, you’ll love their Christmas market. The stalls are handily sited barely 5 minutes away from the quaint Victorian and Edwardian shopping arcade and the city’s best restaurants and attractions.
The stalls provide gifts, treats and local products to delight you and your family. What’s more, they are all based on the pedestrian area which makes for buggy-friendly access for parents.
One thing to note, though, is that the market is fully outdoors, so breastfeeding mums take note!
Luckily, I have some tips for breastfeeding in this situation that I’d love to share with other British mammas:
Breastfeeding or Expressing at Open-Air Christmas Markets
Most British Christmas markets are designed to attract families. It’s because of this that the larger events usually provide specific breastfeeding or expressing facilities. However, these may not be convenient to access depending on your location and the time.
But there are alternatives:
- Express milk before you go: Using a Momcozy M5 breast pump is a boon to breastfeeding British mums. Keep your milk in a handy storage bag. These ones from Momcozy pack well into your holdall. But this organiser fits handily onto your buggy and can be removed for more flexibility. This means if you need to feed on the go, you’re set up with your baby’s best nourishment.
- Dress Comfortably: If you know that breastfeeding at an outdoor Christmas market may not be an exact science (when is it ever?), then you’ll want to be able to access your breasts at any moment. Wearing a nursing cover will not only protect you and the baby from public gaze, but it’ll give you an added layer against the chill outdoor air.
- Get Kitted Up: Having things that will help you nurse when you haven’t got facilities to hand will also make life a little easier. Have water wipes handy so that you can clean up your little one or yourself if you can’t find a loo right away.
- Don’t be afraid to ask: Many of these events will have breastfeeding-friendly shops nearby and many stall-holders may be more than happy to provide a chair and somewhere more private for you to nurse. Breastfeeding in public is legal in Britain, so it’s your right to ask!
Britain’s Christmas markets are not just a shopping experience, they are a great way for your family to bond and have some festive fun. If this is your baby’s first Christmas, markets are also a great way to get into the spirit of the season.
These events are perfect for families, even with your baby in tow! Take advantage of the support on offer and you and your baby will make some wonderful festive memories.