I hate to break it to you, but you are probably making the biggest breastfeeding mistake just like me! We have step-by-step instructions for your digital detox to help you fix it though! Join us!
The Biggest Breastfeeding Mistake You Are Probably Making
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Back in the day (2004 and 2006) when I was having the boys I loved nursing them! I loved the 10-minute intervals throughout the day I was able to spend with them thinking about all the hopes and dreams I had for them and watching them grow before my very eyes.
Fast forward 13 years and I am once again sitting on the couch nursing a baby so many times a day because he loves to eat! No joke, he eats 4 times throughout the night and then eats another 9 times throughout the day. I spend at least 4 hours a day nursing Tony. I am so serious because I have timed it!
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During this time I am pretty much stuck in one spot unable to get up and use the bathroom, have limited range of motion to help other kids, I can’t get up to go make dinner, I just get to sit there, and since “just sitting” is a little boring I begin to multi-task (because let’s be honest, all women love to multitask) and I so I pick up my phone and begin checking my email, paying bills, grocery shopping, which then leads to checking Facebook, Instagram, and all my other social media accounts. I then move on to playing a game or texting a friend all while sitting nursing my baby!
When it is time to feed Tony, I begin thinking, “Okay where is his pacifier, where’s his blanket, Oh! Where is my phone?” And yes, if I don’t know exactly where it is I will look for it before feeding him. And on those rare occasions where I make it to the couch to feed him without it, I have been known to wander around the house feeding him to grab my phone on multiple occasions.
Why is Using My Phone While Breastfeeding a Big Deal?
Why is using my phone while nursing my baby a problem? I thought this too for a long time, in fact, I didn’t see a problem at all until I saw a HUGE PROBLEM!
You see my problem all started when I spent so much time at the hospital when Tony was born. I was all by myself all day and all night while he laid doing phototherapy, so I would just sit and play on my phone. Because of his sugar issues, I needed to feed him at least every two hours all day and all night long for the first few weeks of his life.
Feedings lasted 20-30 minutes at a time. That was at least 4 hours of my life that I dedicated to feeding him, EVERY SINGLE DAY. It became very routine. The days were long, and the nights were longer. I began to rely on my phone as a timer as well as a source to just keep me awake during the feedings.
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I began by reading on my phone, but then that would put me to sleep, so I became a Facebook scroller, acquired an Instagram account, so I could scroll there as well, I became a gamer, (if I could just beat one more level of candy crush), and I became an even bigger texter.
Over the next several (7) months this became my norm. I would sit down to nurse Tony and immediately pick up my phone, I would always justify it as multitasking, and I was good with it until I realized what I was doing one day!
Why Was this the Biggest Breastfeeding Mistake?
You see… Here’s what happened. I was sitting there feeding Tony (it was about the time that he was beginning to sitting up and he was rolling everywhere and was becoming so distracted), and he just kept moving, he would squirm this way, then that way and then he would start to drink and then immediately move his head in another direction to look at something allowing milk to squirt everywhere, and I was trying to LOOK AT SOMETHING ON MY PHONE.
Annoyed at the situation I set my phone down and got him all set up again. I picked up my phone and he immediately did it again! This time he was grabbing my phone, trying to get it in his mouth!
“No, Tony,” I said annoyed again at the situation…
At that very moment, I knew there was a problem, and it wasn’t my baby grabbing my phone!
I realized I was addicted to my phone and I needed a digital detox.
I was choosing to “get something else done” rather than focusing on making sure that he would sit there and eat. He was at the age where everything else was more interesting than eating and I was feeding his curiosity with this bright screen right next to his head.
I began to reflect back and think about when the last time I sat down for an entire feeding without my phone, and I couldn’t think of one, not a single one! I then began to think of other free moments I had. Every single one of these moments I found myself realizing that there was always a phone in my hand.
At that moment I decided I needed a Phone Detox, especially while breastfeeding!
Have you done this as a breastfeeding mom?
Do you find yourself always picking up your phone during feedings?
Do you find yourself picking up your phone and “checking it” at every free moment you have?
How Did We Become Addicted to Our Phones?
Let’s face it, our brains have trained us well to NEED that small screen always in front of us! With every ding and notification we receive, a little voice inside of us cheers with the thought that we just received a message from a friend, a new follower on Instagram, or another life on our favorite game and we get excited!
We have become a society that uses our phones for everything from calling people, to finding directions to where we are going, to playing games and scrolling through news feeds. We use them to not only distract us from what is going on around us, but we use them as our number one source of entertainment.
Have you heard of Brexting? It is when new moms are distracted by their phone instead of bonding with their babies. We try to multi-task and get things done while we are feeding our babies, but we are missing out on quality bonding time with them.
Addiction to our phones didn’t happen overnight. It started with us innocently reading a book, or checking our email, or scrolling through Facebook for 5-minutes while nursing. It then turned into 5-minutes every feeding, which somehow made it to the whole feeding. And then if you are really like me, it turned into continuing to play on your phone because you have a sleeping baby on you who really needs to nap, so you think to yourself “what else am I going to do?” so you just keep scrolling and clicking.
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Are you making the biggest breastfeeding mistake like me?
We have now turned our special bonding moments with our babies, that we will never get back, into mind-numbing scrolling, just because we felt like we needed something to do because perhaps you are like me and felt like nursing your baby was not enough and felt the need to multitask. Keep reading to see how I got rid of the brexting habit.
RELATED ARTICLE: Breastfeeding Tips to Help You Successfully Breastfeed
There are so many moms out there that began picking up their phones while breastfeeding their babies, it became innocent, just like mine did, but months, even years later after they were done nursing their babies they admit that they are still addicted to their smartphones picking them up 20 times a day for several minutes at a time.
I Decided it was Time to Take Back My Life and Get Off My Phone. So I started a Digital Detox.
Are you ready to join me too? You can do it! Just take it day by day!
You might be wondering how do we even start to break the cycle we started?
Well, with this 7-day plan we will be off our smartphones in no time and no longer be making the biggest breastfeeding mistake!
Here’s How to Start Your Digital Detox From Your Phone!
Day 1 (Monday)
- Clean UP Your Social Media- Unfollow people that you don’t talk to anymore. Unsubscribe to pages and groups that you don’t use anymore.
- Clean Up Your Apps- Are there apps that you don’t want anymore? Delete those. Are there games that you have that suck all your time away? It is time for those to go too! Are there shopping apps that you have to check every single day at 6 am to make sure you get it before it is all gone, or that you spend too much money on? Delete those too.
- Clean up your Email- Unsubscribe to all the emails that you NEVER open.
Day 2 (Tuesday)
- Turn Off Your Push Notifications- I know how hard this is! One of my favorite things used to be to pick up my phone first thing in the morning and see if I had any new IG followers, Twitter Followers, or new Likes on our Facebook Page. This “simple check” turned into the first 15 minutes of my day staring at my phone rather than being productive.
- Put your phone somewhere that you don’t go all the time and put it on vibrate (leave it on Vibrate for Digital Detox Week and keep it in this location when not in use or charging)– When your phone is on vibrate you aren’t tempted to stop playing with your kids or making dinner to rush to see who is calling/ texting you. Trust me, whatever it is, is probably not that important. I set mine on my kitchen counter. It is far enough away to not distract me, but close enough that I can tap the screen every now and again to make sure my kids or husband haven’t called.
Day 3 (Wednesday)
- Resist the urge to pick up your phone first thing in the morning! Get through your whole morning routine without looking at your phone. Need a morning routine? Check ours out here, you will love it! Once you get through it all, you can check your phone for 5 minutes. Set a timer. This teaches you to get through the most important things and not carelessly scroll for hours.
- While in the car, leave your phone in your purse. Don’t immediately call a friend or your mom. Enjoy who is in the car with you, or if you are by yourself, enjoy a little peace and quiet. I guarantee the first time you do this it will feel really weird, but just keep doing it and you will begin to love the quiet time you have to just think and reflect.
Day 4 (Thursday)
- Set up a new Charging Location that is not in your room. Our electronics charge in the laundry room. In our house, there is a rule that all phones need to be plugged in by 8:30 pm. I always felt exempt from this rule, but I decided that it might be good for me too, so I plug my phone in at least an hour before bed.
Do you know what happened when I started doing this?
I was actually tired and could fall right asleep when I went to bed, rather than just checking one more thing while laying in bed!
Day 5 (Friday)
- Go 2 hours in the morning without looking/ checking your phone and 2 hours in the afternoon or night. When the two hours is up you can see if someone has called or texted you and if they have you can look at them and respond, but then put it right back. You might have huge anxiety doing this… It’s because your brain is telling you that you need your phone when in all actuality you don’t.
- Go out to Dinner with your family and leave your phone in your purse the whole time. Don’t pull it out to even check the time. Just enjoy being in the moment with your family.
Day 6 (Saturday)
- Take the Day off from all Social Media and Games
Day 7 (Sunday)
- Leave your phone plugged in all day and don’t use it.
What Comes After Your Digital Detox?
After you go through your 7 Day Digital Detox you will (hopefully) no longer be addicted to your phone! Continue to plug it in an hour before bed in the same place outside your bedroom. Continue to keep it on vibrate for much of the day! Keep it in the spot you left it during your detox. Consider limiting your own screen time with an app or Circle by Disney, which is actually how I limit my kids’ screen time.
RELATED ARTICLE: How You Can Detox from Smartphone Addiction in Just One Week
But What Do I Do While I am Breastfeeding?
A new habit I have gotten into is reading books to our toddler or reading an actual book! I place it off to the side of me out of the way that is not distracting to Tony. If I am being honest though, my favorite thing to do is to play with his bald little head! Will he ever get hair? Or I watch him squirm around, or hold his tiny little hands.
After the detox, I have loved just watching him grow during these bonding moments. They will all slip away too quickly. I know when they are gone I will be wishing for them back, so I am so glad I was able to recognize that I was addicted to my phone and detox while there was still time to enjoy my last Nursing Baby like I enjoyed my first two so many years ago.
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What to do While Breastfeeding
- Smother the baby with kisses
- Listen to your favorite podcast
- Have a snack and drink some water
- Facetime a friend or family member
- Listen to your favorite inspirational music
- Talk to your baby
- Make eye to eye contact with your baby
I know giving up your phones while breastfeeding is hard! Trust me, I just went through it! I promise you it is so worth it in the long run because these moments will soon be gone!
Who’s ready to join me on the detox journey so that we aren’t making the biggest breastfeeding mistake?
Let’s support one another!
Are you struggling with breastfeeding? Try this amazing breastfeeding course HERE!
Are you a mom that is heading back to work soon and looking for help with pumping? Try this course!
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Michele is a Family Life Educator with her degree in marriage and family studies. She is a mom to 5 kids and loves helping others strengthen their families! When she is not blogging she is spending time with her family and running around drinking Diet Coke trying to get everything done!