Breastfeeding is very time-consuming and can become emotionally taxing. It can feel like every 1-3 hours, you must drop everything you are doing to stop and feed your baby for 30 minutes. Often this is a joy and time to connect with your child. Other times can feel emotionally exhausting and bring up feelings that you are at your child's every beck and call. I have found that it can be beneficial for women to partake in self-care activities during these breastfeeding times rather than being glued to your screen and scrolling.
Why Should You Limit Screen Time While Breastfeeding?
Limiting screen time as a new mother (and really for everyone) can be very helpful. You are glued to your chair with your child on your lap. You can not get up or use your arms much. It can feel very typical to scroll through social media or the internet during these times.
The only problem with this is that you breastfeed 10-13 times a day, which is a significant amount of time to scroll. New mamas are also particularly prone to comparison to other mothers. We can easily focus on our physical appearance, the feeling of missing out, or the trip our friends just got back from and feel jealous.
We can also scroll through countless websites and have information overload. Information is great, but when we intake a considerable amount of information, we can get the feeling of being overwhelmed with everything we must know or remember for our child's well-being. We can feel inadequate with what we a currently doing compared to what we "should" be doing.
If we are engaging in this scrolling each time we breastfeed, it can hurt our mental health and mindset. Here are some things you can do that will, instead, have a positive impact on your mental health.
1. Read a Book
Reading is a great way to pass the time while engaging your brain. Reading is one of the best ways to increase empathy within yourself. If you find it different to read, explore different genres! I used to read a lot of non-fiction books. After becoming a mother, I much prefer to read fiction or biographies. This genre helps me disconnect from my current situation and explore someone else's, even if that person is just a fictional characterizer. You can read a physical book (my preference), an ebook, or even an audiobook.
2. Listen to a Meditation
Guided meditations can help significantly to decrease anxiety and depression. They help ground you and bring your thoughts to the present rather than worrying about the future or ruminating about the past. Many apps can help with guided meditations. My favorites include headspace and mylife meditation.
3. Listen to a podcast
There are many different types of podcasts. Podcasts can be helpful for educational purposes or entertainment. I used to find many times to listen to podcasts before becoming a mama, but once I had my daughter, those times became more limited. I wasn't driving places as much, and when I was, I would listen to music that was more entertaining for my daughter. Breastfeeding is a great time that you can squeeze a podcast in.
4. Talk to a friend
We all need chats with our girlfriends. Pop in your headphones and spend 20 minutes catching up with a friend you usually wouldn't have time to catch up with. If you find it difficult to catch each other simultaneously, the Marco Polo app is a helpful app to video chat when the time is right for you both (or a group!).
Resist the urge to do anything! Take some quiet time for yourself and your babe and allow yourself to sit in silence. Silence can be hard to come by, especially with kiddos running around. Spend 20 minutes in silence as your baby eats, and let that rejuvenate you.
You don't have to put these into practice every time you breastfeed, but I encourage you to for some of them. Although some of these take more effort than mindlessly scrolling, they have a more positive impact on your mental health.
Keep in up, Mama. You are doing a great job!