I’ve heard breastfeeding described as “guilt-free Instagram time” or “guilt-free Facebook time”. For many moms, it’s that one time of the morning, afternoon, or evening when we can mindlessly browse through our phones, but often times this mindless browsing can steal from the joy and stillness that can be afforded when breastfeeding.
I get it—we’re used to multitasking, and it’s what we’ve been doing since we birthed our little ones, but are we multitasking at the expense of ourselves and our babies? How many times do we say, “I just need some down time.” “I just need five minutes.” Granted, breastfeeding isn’t exactly alone time, but it is a built-in time in our day when we can enjoy some downtime (now that we’re passed the painful early days).
I often either nurse on our bed in our bedroom or nestle up in the glider rocker in our daugther’s bedroom. The sun streams in through the windows and all is quiet and still—like the world is at rest, like it knows it’s nursing time. But then I pick up my phone and it gets startling busy again. I’m bombarded with pictures of my friends’ kids, with news, with emails, and the serene in my space begins to evaporate as I’m sucked in.
What if we don’t pick up our phones? What if we just sit for a bit in that stillness, in that quiet? If I’m not browsing my phone, many times I’m reading a book, but what if I put the book down? Lately, I’ve been leaving my phone out of reach and keeping my book closed. I breathe deep and allow the swirling in my brain to keep on swirling, like a washing machine on spin cycle, until it comes to a stop. Sometimes it doesn’t come to a stop. Sometimes I’m making lists in my head, uttering prayers, or just thinking, but I’m enjoying space to think. I can think—for once!
When I started to put my phone down and allow myself to be present while breastfeeding, the joys of those moments began to overwhelm me once again. That beautiful breastfeeding experience came back, because it wasn’t overshadowed by browsing Instagram or Facebook. I was present. Nursing is an opportunity to relax, bond with our babies, maybe meditate or say a prayer, and I found myself letting my phone steal those sweet moments away.
By making a conscious decision to leave my phone out of reach while breastfeeding my baby, I’m able to better enjoy the beautiful experience that breastfeeding is. It becomes not just another item on my to-do list or something keeping me from my to-do list, but a beautiful moment where I can pause, breathe deep, bond with my baby, and maybe, like in the beginning days, squeeze in a cat nap.
By Holly M.