How I learned to stop surfing the Internet while breastfeeding

Some of the best days of my life were spent lazing around in bed nursing my first child. I was living in a condo in San Francisco at the time and my bedroom was in the back where rays of sunshine beamed through the window in the afternoon. I’d lie right in that ray of heat, curled up with my newborn daughter sucking on my breast. We’d take little cat naps. I’d keep a pile of books and magazines next to my bed so there was plenty of reading material. But sometimes I’d just stare at her sweet face amazed that this little girl was mine. Those were the days…

This was over 10 years ago. There were no iPhones. You couldn’t surf the Internet from your phone or at least I didn’t own one that you could do this on. There was no texting. I had a simple flip phone and most of the time it was missing because I was always misplacing it.

A decade later, I’ve found myself with another newborn and I’ve tried to re-create that beautiful breastfeeding experience but I find that my phone keeps getting in the way. Before I start a nursing session I’ll locate my phone and make sure that it’s by my side so I can respond to texts or work emails. With three kids and a full-time job it has become ingrained in me that I can’t do just one thing. Multitasking is essential to my survival. While washing the dishes, I talk to my mom on the phone. While listening to my son practice violin, I fold laundry. And while nursing, I send that birthday text to my friend from high school or I respond to that email from my boss.

Also, while breastfeeding baby Julia, I used to open up my favorite Flipboard app that compiles the best news stories of the day. I’d start reading about flooding in the Philippines, a civil war in Syria, a school shooting here in the United States…suddenly I wasn’t so relaxed.

I had to put a stop to Flipboard while nursing but then I found myself looking for that changing table we needed on Craiglist and then I’d start responding to ads vie email. I’d shop for bath mats on One Kings Lane and pop out my chair to grab my credit card, disrupting the nursing. And of course I’d check Facebook. And then I looked down at baby Julia one day and her big round eyes peered up at me and I realized that I was letting my phone get in the way of some of the sweetest moments of my life. Nursing was supposed to be my opportunity to bond with my baby, relax, meditate, maybe read a book.

Now I’m trying to leave that phone in another room when I’m nursing, even going as far to turn off the ringer so I’m not tempted to unlatch my baby when I hear that little beep alerting me of a new text message.

But let’s be realistic here. While I’m trying to spend less time on my phone, I still find myself surfing the Internet, reading my email and texting my friends while breastfeeding.

Do you surf the Internet while breastfeeding?

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4 thoughts on “How I learned to stop surfing the Internet while breastfeeding”

  1. I read the Janet Lansbury website pretty religiously, and she says don’t surf the internet/read/etc when feeding the baby, so I felt guilty, but like a pp said, how many hours can you spend staring at your baby, especially in the wee hours when sleep deprivation means I’m in very real danger of nodding off and actually dropping the baby if I can’t keep myself awake, and when each feeding takes 40 minutes and they are only 1.5 hours apart?

    Finally I made a deal with myself. i’d pay very close attention to her if she was looking at me, but if not, I was going to do anything to make me feel less like a mindless drudge. After the baby started nursing less, I would pay more attention to her. Well, now she nurses only 3 times a day and is finally sleeping through the night, and now it’s easy to connect with her during those (15 minute) times. It’s sweet, and I treasure those times. But I’m glad I stopped feeling guilty and did what worked in the early days.

  2. Yes, I do. All my time spent nursing amounts to hours each day – should I spend all of it of gazing adoringly at my baby’s face? Why not grab a few minutes to myself to connect with the world, read the news, play a game, or chat with my friends? And why is reading a book any different than browsing your phone, considering both take your attention away from baby? I don’t spend every minute of nursing on my phone, I do enjoy interacting with and watching my baby while she’s nursing, but I’m not giving up my phone any time soon.

  3. I nurse my 14month old baby while reading this. Yes, I agree, you shouldn’t read the news while you nursing (besides good news there are wars, robberies, rapes…). But breastfeed baby spending 20+ times a day on breast, many times baby falling asleep and still nursing. I’m really grateful for technology – I can shop for baby clothes, answer emails, do some work, as well as check Facebook posts while nursing. .. On other hand, with newborn I couldn’t do that and the first weeks, along with my sleep I almost lost my mind. It’s good to have plenty of friends and relatives around to chat and help you, but if you don’t have them – browsing internet like a fresh air to tired and exhausted mom. I think everybody should use a common sense, if the baby is looking at you and touching your face – you wouldn’t ignore of course, but if baby is falling asleep or busy playing with some new interesting object/toy (like chewbead necklace in my case), why not to check internet? Use it, not abuse it.

  4. For all of you asking what’s the difference between reading a book and surfing the Internet…there’s a huge difference. I just heard a piece on NPR about how reading online or on a computer engages the “scan and save” function of your brain while novels are more about thinking deeply, being immersed in a story and following an I depth story line. Deep thought is a lot different than perusing the Internet. Also the author points out that a great deal of what’s online, like the news, is very negative and not relaxing. Most people won’t give up their phone for just some “staring at their baby” as they so in un-compassionately put it. Don’t worry, this time will be gone before you know it and you want have to worry about filling the boredom of nursing. Your baby will grow up before you know it and while youll have a different enjoyment with your older child, your baby will be “gone” and you’ll miss not having a little face to “stare” into.

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