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One evening not too long ago, I sat in the same nursing spot I’d used about 9 times a day for the past 13 months. It was my super comfy nursing spot. Well almost. It was also really boring sometimes – with no tv nearby and no one to talk to. There was nothing for me to do while breastfeeding my baby.
I could’ve talked to my wee guy. After all, I did kinda worry that I didn’t talk to him enough. And honestly, I probably didn’t. Call me crazy, but I usually only have conversations with people who can actually talk back. You know, a dialogue.
I’d like to sit here and say “I used the time to cherish my baby, thank God Almighty for the gift of motherhood, and just soak in his precious, sleepy warmth.”
But actually, I’d watch YouTube on my phone, daydream, nap, or move closer to the tv. Honestly, I’d only talk to him when I started feeling guilty about not talking to him enough.
Sometimes I was resentful. I didn’t wanna be immobilized while baby #3 took his sweet time nursing. I wanted to give up breastfeeding so I could get some freedom back.
Then I’d feel guilty. I should be soaking in his precious, sleepy warmth! I should talk to this child more! I should show some love while he’s snuggled in here! (Note: That’s mommy guilt talking. Breastfeeding IS showing love.)
Do this sound familiar to you?
Breastfeeding can be a time of peace and silence. On the other hand, it can be a time of complete boredom!
What’s your usual thing to do while breastfeeding? Do you catch up on social media?
Talk to your baby?
Sit there bored and impatient, ready for this forced inactivity to be over?
I played on my phone a lot – sometimes through the whole nursing session. And then I heard something disturbing…
I heard it might be harmful to a baby’s body to be so close to cellphones. I promptly dismissed the idea. But it kept bugging me.
What if it’s true?
So I began to research (I kinda wish I hadn’t), and I was shocked by what I found. It’s legitimately not safe! Since then, I’ve tried to keep my phone away from the kiddos.
I’m asking you to do the same. Please don’t get on the phone while you’re breastfeeding! Read 4 Reasons to put away the phone while breastfeeding. It’ll give you some great reasons why you shouldn’t have your phone out while you’re nursing.
So what’s left to do while breastfeeding?
If you’re drawing a blank on what you can do while you nurse, here are a few ideas to help you along:
1 Play with baby’s hair
Have you ever had someone play with your hair? Oh. My. Word. It’s relaxing!! I guarantee it’s just as soothing for babies as it is for adults.
2 Describe your past week out loud
This may seem silly. Can your baby even understand it? Probably not. But he’s paying attention and tucking away nuggets of education. He’s learning your voice, vocabulary, and sentence structure. And he just loves the sound of your voice!
Combine this with playing with his hair to make your baby over-the-moon happy.
It’s impossible to meditate with a noisy baby around. But when their mouth is full… This is the perfect time to take advantage of the silence.
Meditation will relax your nerves and reduce stress. If you meditate well, you’ll feel as refreshed as if like you’d had a nap!
4 Sing your favorite songs to your baby
Music soothes the soul, and in this case, both souls! Share with your baby all those songs that make you smile. You’ll both be happier after your solo jam session.
5 Give your baby a hand massage
Massages feel so nice, and your sweet one is really going to enjoy this. Of course, we’re not shooting for a deep tissue massage or anything. It’s not like his hands are tense.
Just gently rub each of his fingers, stroke the palms of his hand, and help him experience the sensation from each little part of his hand.
6 Pray for your baby
I’m a huge fan of prayer! I figure if I have access to the maker of the universe, why not take advantage of it?
When you have your baby snuggled close, you’re keenly aware of ways to pray for him that you might not otherwise be. Nursing provides the perfect opportunity to breathe out a heartfelt prayer on behalf of your baby.
Need ideas for how to pray for your little one? My friend Alicia has an excellent article on what to pray for your kids. It’s an awesome post that lists the most important things to pray over your child. The article is written for moms of boys, but it ABSOLUTELY applies to girls too. (She just doesn’t have any daughters!)
7 Make up a song for your baby
I did this for each of my babies. I’m kind of musical (I mean that I love music & singing, NOT that I’m good at it) and since I had free time on my hands while I was nursing, I used the time to write a song just for each of them.
For each child, their song became a favorite lullaby. My 10-year-old still loves his song because he knows I wrote it for him with love.
Writing a song for your baby is giving ’em a gift they’ll love for years. It’s custom, it’s your voice, and it’s music. What’s not to love?
8 Soak up skin-to-skin contact
Skin-to-skin contact has so many beneficial properties that I couldn’t even begin to list them here. So I wrote a separate post about the benefits of skin-to-skin contact.
In a nutshell, it boosts health – physical, mental, & emotional, it increases milk supply, helps your parenting, and increases the bond you & baby share. Nursing provides the perfect opportunity to take off shirts and absorb the feeling of your baby’s precious, miraculous skin.
Oh, and you can do this anywhere. You don’t have to have shirts off! You can rub your baby’s face, stroke his arms, rub his back under his shirt. Even holding hands counts!
9 Give your baby a foot massage
Once again, we’re not shooting for a deep tissue massage. Much like the hand massage above, just gently help him experience the sensation from each little part of his foot.
Wiggle his toes, tap on his ankle, stroke the bottom of his foot, and measure his foot to your hand. It’s all about the sensation of touch here.
It’s incredibly soothing!
10 Journal your thoughts & feelings, then read it aloud to your baby
Journaling is just about the best way there is to work through a problem. When it’s on paper – just in plain black & white and visible to the eye – problems that seemed complicated in your head suddenly look much simpler. If you don’t have a journal, you can use a simple notebook, or go fancier with this cute mom journal.
Once you’ve got it all down, read it out loud to your baby. This further helps you work through your feelings and/or troubles. It also benefits your baby. Because he’s just waiting to hear your voice again!
11 Tell your baby everything you think is cute about him
You’re the best thing he’s got going on in his life. Tell him why he’s the best.
This could take a while…
12 Have a mini nursing retreat
Taking a nursing retreat is incredibly restorative and can boost your milk supply. But it’s not always possible to spend 2 or 3 days in bed just breastfeeding and hanging out with your baby.
So do it in mini!! Take off all but your panties (and baby’s diaper) and slip in bed to nurse. Then just snuggle and wallow in the sensation of doing nothing!
13 Rub lotion on your baby & talk about the scent
Use a pump bottle full of aromatic baby lotion to soothe baby’s skin, ease his growing muscles, and expand his mind all at once!
Talk about how it smells. How it feels. What it reminds you of. You can even tell him how the fragrance is supposed to affect people (like calming, invigorating, etc.)
I strongly recommend Aveeno Baby calming lotion with lavender. It smells divine! Plus it relaxes moms too. 🙂
14 Tell your baby a fairytale
Babies love stories! Even if your little one is way too young to understand a single word, hearing a story is a fascinating experience for him.
Babies listen to your emotions and the rise-and-fall rhythm of your voice as you tell each story. They start to pick up on language patterns. Soon, they begin learning the meanings behind the words – long before they can actually speak!
As early as age 1, your baby can learn small lessons from fairytale stories. Don’t underestimate the power of stories!!
15 Ask your baby for advice (don’t expect an answer)
Talking to your baby stimulates his brain as he struggles to understand you. Trust me, he’ll understand some of your words long before you’d expect him to!
Use this time to tell your baby about an issue you need advice on. You’ll stimulate his brain while you mull over the issue out loud.
Talk therapy for cheap! Don’t expect any answers though…
16 Give baby a back rub
With or without lotion, your baby is going to love this so much!
Be sure to massage very gently. Just run your hands over his back. You can also use only your fingertips or your fingernails to lightly skim over his skin. Test it on your own skin. Notice how each type of touch gives a different sensation. Your baby will notice it too.
It will soothe, teach, and fascinate him all at the same time. No matter how you rub, this is a winner!
17 Close your eyes & soak in the silence
Because there’s never enough silence in a mom’s life.
18 Have a staring contest
The distance from your chest to your face is the perfect distance to help your baby practice focusing his eyes.
Holding his gaze also acts as an exercise for his attention span. So check out how long your baby can stare into your eyes without falling asleep or looking off in another direction.
What’s your record time for holding his attention?
19 Sing lullabies & children’s songs
You’d be surprised at how many lullabies you know! I began to learn new ones (from movies, believe it or not!) I collected and memorized them. Then I was able to go through a playlist of lullabies at bedtime.
My kids always loved hearing the lullabies. And breastfeeding was the perfect time to practice lyrics to the songs I learned!
Give it a try, it’s kinda fun!
20 Tell your baby all about your plans for the future
It’s fun to dream, and even better when you share it with someone. This is a perfect conversation topic since it includes your baby.
You may even discover you have a dream or a goal you didn’t realize!
Let’s do this!
I totally get that breastfeeding can be boring without a phone. Especially when we’re used to being plugged in almost all the time. But taking these moments a few times a day to be mindful and attentive to your baby can have a major impact!
- You’ll be more in tune with his nursing habits
- Your bond with baby will grow massively stronger
- That mommy guilt will subside
- You’ll begin to feel less stressed
- If you journal, pray, talk out your problems or plans for the future, you may find the clarity you need to make life-altering changes.
I hope you enjoy these ideas! Try the printable version of this to keep handy in your nursing spot for when you just feel out of ideas.
Do you have a favorite phone-free activity to do while breastfeeding? Please comment below and share it with us. We’d love to know!