Inside: Many moms develop this habit of reliance on our smart phone during nursing and later find hard to break. Here are some proven strategies to help you beat this habit.
My firstborn made me think things were so easy.
She was a fast nurser. (I know this because I wrote down her exact feed times.)
For one whole month
She would feed no more than 12 minutes then purse her lips together and refuse any more. At the hospital the midwives looked at each other and said, “Look at that, what a strong suck!”
I was so enamored with her, and she fed so fast, that feeding sessions were over before I’d barely settled in. I thought this is how babies fed.
Naturally, I assumed they were all efficient fast feeders. Then, move on with baby life.
- pinpoint an issue
- draw out how it’s affecting you
- label what you don’t like about it
- determine areas of responsibility
- figure out how it’s showing up
- say what you’d rather happen
- brainstorm solutions
4 kids later… I was wrong
I’ve had the barracuda feeders, the gourmet samplers, and one or two of the other fun terms used for babies that take a long time to feed.
With two of my babies, for the first few months, each feed took at least 25 minutes, sometimes 40 minutes. I am not exaggerating!
Unfortunately, like most moms do these days… I learned reliance on my smart phone simply because of the time it took.
Read: Breastfeeding Schedules By Month – To 1 Year Of Age
I Nursed Multiple Times a Day
So… multiple times a day I could be found sitting nursing a baby. I couldn’t get up to use the bathroom or tend to anyone else. I nursed when they napped or played independently to try and minimize any sibling jealousy.
Everything seemed to be going smoothly and working out just fine…
But… what did not work out fine was the bad habit I started during these long nursing sessions.
I wonder if that’s how soap opera additions started back in the day. Were housewives sitting under nursing babies for 30 minute intervals all day… and they just switched on the TV?
Well, that isn’t our generation’s struggle. We don’t watch endless hours of soap operas.
Read: My “Daily Escape” to a Quiet Place & Why It’s Necessary
Today… we scroll!
It’s normal. We all do it. Our phones don’t just receive calls anymore. While we’re stuck under a baby we can pay bills, answer emails, post photos, and EVEN shop for groceries. It’s just what we do.
It’s not a matter of availability towards our children at this point. We aren’t purposefully refusing to bond with the baby.
The truth is… they are just there. Honestly, they are available and promising a momentary high in an otherwise mundane day.
This workbook will help you break the escape that comes with grabbing your phone. Use this to start living in the present.Learn More
The Trouble with Scrolling While Nursing
Using my smartphone while nursing my youngest wasn’t a big deal… until it was.
I noticed how bad my habit had gotten when my baby turned 6 months. That is the age babies become distracted feeders. They start squirming, drinking, then looking around, then drinking, then trying to sit up, then drinking.
And on and on. ..
There is simply no room for a cell phone because by the time you get halfway through your brilliant Facebook comment, baby moves and you drop the phone.
Then you get annoyed with baby.
I think we all know how distracted we can become by social media. I have lost my patience on multiple occasions and felt guilty afterwards because it had nothing to do with my sweet kids, instead I was aggravated at something online.
Neglecting your own physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional needs for so long―in an effort to be a selfless mother―leaves you depleted. Being well blesses your family! Learn WIN WIN strategies in my upcoming book!Learn More
It’s ridiculous really, this reliance on our smart phone…
This was when I knew I had a problem. Not because I was trying to make myself feel guilty, but because I genuinely did not like what my habit had become.
Smartphones are addicting. Period…
The problem arrises because reliance on our smart phone doesn’t stop when babies stop nursing. It keeps on…
Except, we then have to find time that’s no longer there to scroll. A year or two passes and we don’t have a nursing baby, but we’re still reaching for our phones for 30 minutes at a time multiple times a day.
Reality hit me! Our brains have become trained to listen for the dings and vibrations and the momentary surges in feel good hormones that are released when we receive a message, a comment, or some other online communication.
Note: Worried you are too attached to your phone? Learn how to Slow Your Scroll right here!
Not to mention night-time…
For most, it gets particularly hard when we use our phones to scroll for night feedings. Why? Because long after baby has fed and gone back to sleep we’re up scrolling.
It’s proven that this late night scrolling actually interferes with normal sleep habits and can hinder a healthy sleep schedule.
What the science? Here ya go! The blue light from your smartphone screen keeps you from producing melatonin and keeps your brain alert.
So… while you could be lying down feeding baby then going immediately back to sleep after putting baby down, your brain is left “on.”
All this leads to mom burnout.
This is a nasty cycle.
Because the next day we’re exhausted then grab our smartphones to zone out. In fact, some researchers have referred to smartphones as “adult pacifiers.” When we’re cranky, moody, or need to escape… we scroll.
Without realizing it, we’re trading this special time with our babies to catch up on other people’s political opinions or vacation photos.
We all know social media isn’t as important to us as our babies, and yet… we struggle to focus on our own lives and instead read about the lives of others.
Reliance on Our Smart Phones is a Real Issue
I didn’t stop scrolling while nursing because I felt guilty or because I thought I was a bad mother.
No, I stopped because I wanted my life back.
I’ve heard from many moms who say they are still addicted, months after they’ve stopped nursing.
- We don’t want to be addicted to our smartphones… but it happens. It becomes second nature and can’t help but reach for our phones every minute.
- We don’t want to constantly hear about the amazing things other people are doing then look over and see a poop stain, a screaming toddler, and a messy house.
- Lastly, we don’t want to feel good about life when we’re looking at a screen. We want to feel good about the life in front us.
But how do we stop?
Psst… Worried you are too attached to your phone? Get some simple strategies and find the freedom you’re craving!
How to Break Our Reliance on Smart Phones
It’s not easy to break our reliance on smart phones for entertainment. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it a million times over.
- Do a Full Detox | For my nearly 4 day detox, I kept my phone either off or on airplane mode. After that 4 days I had no desire to turn it back on and use it again. In fact, I felt so free I contemplated getting a dumb phone. Hasn’t happened yet, but it may one day.
- Use Airplane Mode | By putting your phone on airplane mode you won’t receive notifications, texts, or calls in real time. This gives you freedom from incessant dinging and ringing.
- Customize Notifications | Turning off your notifications is a tremendous step. Unlocking your phone to see 15 notifications for various apps draws you down the rabbit hole with little hope for a “quick check.” By turning off the notifications you are taking back control. You decide when to check an app, that app does not decide by sending you an irresistible “ding.”
More ways to detox from devices
- Use Apps That Block Usage | Install an app that will give you set times to scroll and, outside of those times, block you out. This is a great way to begin detoxing without having to exercise self-discipline every single moment. Here are some apps for that.
- Read A Book Instead | A habit I’ve adopted is keeping the phone out of reach and reading an actual book. Imagine that! Not on Kindle either, because that begs distraction. A good old fashioned book can be a more positive escape.
- Physically Remove Your Device | I purposefully use a white noise app on my phone for the baby to sleep. This means for the majority of the day my phone is in the baby’s room while he’s napping or, when he’s awake, it’s out of reach. This is the single most useful tip I can give. Keep the phone away from you and the compulsion to check it will lessen naturally over time without you needing to exert willpower over and over.
- Break the “Ludic Loop” By Using A Timer | According to researchers, the mental Ludic Loop is what happens when you do the same thing over and over and are lulled into a state of tranquility. This is why people get addicted to Candy Crush or slot machines. Or checking Facebook, Instagram, email, then doing it all over again. Set a timer for 5 minutes before you start scrolling then, when it goes off, set the phone down. You’ll get any urgent info without wasting time.
What I Noticed Shocked Me
After I stopped scrolling while nursing, I noticed a few things that helped me break that habit for good. No more temptation to check Instagram or Facebook.
I noticed how much I enjoyed watching my little guy squirm around.
I noticed how chubby his thighs were.
And I noticed how his hair sticks out on the back of his head like a tail feather.
How big he is getting.
Once I was able to stop scrolling long enough to get back in the habit of being with my baby, you couldn’t make me use my phone. The hard part was getting there… but once you’re there, it’s worth it.
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. – Thoreau
Slow Your Scroll and start ENJOYING your actual life!
If you are ready to stop reaching for that phone to escape your stress and overwhelm, then Slow Your Scroll will help. You’ll learn the roots of why you are device dependent, AND how to break free from that!
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Break free from your smartphone compulsion today so you don’t regret missing out on the precious moments before you now! Grab your copy right here!
I don’t really have this issue. I use my phone every now and then while im nursing. She nurses very often for short bursts, will stop and stare smiling at me, then go back to nursing. She naturally falls asleep while nursing once she is full. So I will have to wake her up if its to early to nap. but I usually just put her down because if she isn’t ready to sleep she will wake up right away.
I definately don’t pick up my phone for nightly feedings. She usually sleeps in bed with me once she wakes up for her midnight snack. So I just watch her for a but until she goes back to sleep, text my husband a few times (he works at night) Then go back to sleep. But I have the blue light filter on my phone! It amazing!
Rachel Norman says
Oh that’s a great idea about the blue light filter. I even got glasses this time that helped to filter that light for when I work on the computer. It is SO REFRESHING to be away from it :)
Can I share this with my breastfeeding support group?
Rachel Norman says
This is me. 100% me. I’m still addicted. It’s a problem but I’m getting better.
I use the Freedom app on my iphone. You can set your preference for a specific blocking “session” to block all app/internet usage or just certain ones. I allow myself 30 minutes in the morning and then start a blocking “session” that I set to end each night around 8pm. And you can adjust the settings so that you can’t cut the session off once it starts (which is what I do). Its really the only thing that has worked for me.
Rachel Norman says
this is a good idea since i cant do airplane mode because my husband wants to able to get in touch with me, so i can’t even leave it in another room for long.
Jessica Zuik says
So true! Thank you so much for such an honest piece. Often it isn’t until we are well along that vicious cycle that we realize what we are missing.
Not only is the phone addicting but I made myself stop when I realised how the radiation from the phone is right next to the baby’s head!
Rachel Norman says
Yikes, hadn’t even thought of that!!!!
Love this. When I read the title of this post, I assumed it was going to be about nursing your baby to sleep. I totally got addicted to scrolling when I was nursing and it was a VERY difficult habit to break after 1 year. I finally deleted Facebook and some other apps from my phone and then I went to allowing myself to use social media only two days a week and only when kids were sleeping. Spending most of my week away from social media meant that when it was my day to use social media, I had already found other uses for my time.
It didn’t draw me in like it used to. That really helped. The tips you offer above are also really great advice. Thank you for this!
Rachel Norman says
Alyssa, I totally agree with you on this, I found it wasn’t so hard to say no after the habit itself had gone!
Just read this AS I am nursing my 9mo old.. God has already convicted me about this so I’d say this is another nudge from Him! Thank u4 writing this & know it has blessed this Mama in the middle of the night.. LOVE ur site btw.. Have 7yr old w adhd, 22mo old & a 9mo old who cannot be set down 4 more than 15 mins & is still addicted to the breast. I have yet to read a post I didn’t love & couldn’t relate to. Just signed up 4 all of ur emails lol.. You’re amazing & such an inspiration!
Rachel Norman says
Jenny, oh my goodness what lovely encouragement, thank you so much :)
I have started this habit since my baby was born 3 weeks ago but am going to adopt the book alternative! I have enjoyed reading many of your articles while my baby is nursing though! Another thing that has helped me not get totally addicted to checking my phone all the time is getting a wrist watch. Before I would always check my phone for the time if I wasn’t near a clock and then would get distractions by notifications. Since I want to know when my baby ate or fell asleep so I can know approximately when she will wake up and how long it’s been since she ate, etc., a watch helped me be able to keep track of the time but not have to have my phone near my all the time. This has helped me with getting into a routine and sticking with it as well :)
Rachel Norman says
A wrist watch is a great idea :)
What a great piece. I deleted Facebook last week because of scrolling. I didn’t want to be distracted anymore and I also didn’t want to teach my little one the dependence on screens from birth. We have an 11 year old that we struggle daily with screen time and I don’t want to go there with this little guy.
Rachel Norman says
I hear you!
I just stop scrolling by deleting Facebook and Isntagram just 2 days ago. When I read this article today, I’m smiling so wide. We all have the same problem no matter which country we live on. I also want my life back with my 4mo baby in front of me and those past 2 days was quite better! I couldn’t wait till I totally forget to open those deleted apps! (Right now I still try to find the apss for several times even I feel so sick of it, but luckily it’s already gone, lol) I wish the other friends soon starting to realize this too and stop scrolling!
And if you can’t leave it on airplane mode you can always leave at “do not disturb mode”. This way only callers you set up as “important” will buzz. Any other txts, notifications, etc won’t distract you but you can still see who tried to reach you once you pick up your phone.
Thank you! I’ve been working on this the last few weeks! Do you have any advice for nighttime feedings? My baby only eats around 10 min during the day but her 430am feeding lasts an hour and I feed her in bed so I don’t want to fall asleep and my phone screen is the only thing that keeps me awake!
So true…most of the mom’s are adficted including me. But the radiation next to baby’s head is a big no no for me so with my second one my phone is on airplane mode on 90% of the time. I still browse but with WiFi on and with WiFi calling hubby can reach me. At nights though, it’s on airplane mode and WiFi off. If checking time is an excuse for any of you then bring back tale clock to your nightstand. That’s what I did. Happy parenting!
I needed this encouragement! I deleted Facebook this morning out of feeling guilty for scrolling while nursing or too much in general when I should be playing with baby (he’s 4months). This was a great read especially after struggling with the decision to delete FB. I am now completely social media free :) (except Pinterest! Gotta have my recipes). Thank you for this advice!
I agree with this post so much, and during the day I try to always focus on my sweet baby (or toddler playing) while nursing. Where I struggle though is night time feeds. At five weeks old my baby feeds about every 30-60 minutes all night, and using my phone helps to keep me awake as I’m just so tired. I have tried reading a book but this just makes me more sleepy. I don’t have social media, but tend to scroll Pinterest or read the news. I know it’s a bad habit, but I’m unsure of how else to stay awake during night feeds. Do you please have any advice?
Yup… reading this while nursing as we speak. I needed this!!! Thank you!!!
Meghan Stoltzfus says
I became aware of this in myself a couple months ago. My little man is only 10 months old and it troubled me that he already has a desire to try and grab my phone whenever he sees it on the ground, on the couch… he was magnetized to it. I realized that’s from seeing me on it while he nursed. I was thinking of a solution for myself so made a basket that says “unplug” and it’s placed on a desk in my home that still enables me to know if I got a call or text (all other notifications are off, and I’m not FB, twitter, or insta at all anyway, I only have Pinterest). I even encourage guests when they come over to put their phones in there. It’s really freeing to have a break and to not be distracted! Another thing that pushed me to make this move is my neck started having a lot of trouble and needing more frequent chiropractic adjustments. My chiro said it has a lot to do with nursing and holding the baby, but he also said my neck was starting to lose its natural curve and go straight! He gave me exercises to remedy this, but I believe what’s really causing this was being on the phone while nursing!!!
So it’s encouraginng to know I’m not the only one who sees this as a potential problem and doesn’t want to be consumed with this!
Proverbs 31:27 “she watches over the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”
Our phones quickly amount to that idleness!
This is kind of ridiculous. Are you telling me you expect women to sit for 20-30 minutes every 2 hours for 2 months straight and do nothing but stare at their baby? Breastfeeding is boring, it’s a good thing for your child, but it is not mentally stimulating. Sure you can bond with your child, and that’s great, but reading something while your baby is nursing isn’t the end of the world. Stop being a mommy martyr, nobody likes that.
Rachel Norman says
Hi Samantha, thanks for your feedback. You’d NEVER be a mommy martyr. I’d never heard that term actually and considering I’ve been on multiple child free vacations in the past few months I’d say I probably don’t qualify. But thanks for bringing a different set of ideas to the table!
I really liked this article. I have been placing my phone and my husband’s phone on airplane mose as much as possible…
There’s just no need to keep it on all the time. I check it…see if there are any messages or anything I need to respond to like a call from family and then I turn it back to airplane mode.
This is a great suggestion as I am currently pregnant with my first and will know about this potential habit before it becomes a risk to become a real habit.
Such good and convicting thoughts! Thanks for sharing!
Great article! But I do the opposite of you. My days are so hectic and filled with lots of crafts, baking, and cleaning that breastfeeding my baby is one of the times I get to look at my phone. That’s when I catch up talking to family, writing, and even reading an ebook. But I do admit, when my babies go to bed, my husband and I tend to go on our phones and not spend one-on-one time together. So it’s definitely an addiction there!
I’m probably the only one who thinks the total opposite; I’ve been nursing almost 4 years w/ only a few months off between 3 kids & i love getting a small break to chill out & learn while nursing. And i didn’t have a smart phone w/ the 1st so I’ve done both. I keep a pile of books & magazines by my nursing spot, but i also leave articles in a que up on my phone to read so I can learn more about the Bible, be encouraged, lesson plan for my homeschooled preschooler, study etc. My baby now is super high need, wear him almost the whole time he is awake demanding & a bit of time to think about things & interact as an adult is great & recharges me for the next part of my day. It saves time too, esp when you are wearing a cover & the baby can’t see you as much anyway.
A great article and one I agree with. I deleted Facebook probably 2 years ago. I’d have small detoxes away from it in the past but would only last 2 days max!
Instagram I deleted around 6 months ago. Aimlessly scrolling! So much time wasted. I never thought I’d give up social media, the addiction was strong but I used it for the wrong reasons. I compared my life to others which made me feel rubbish, I had a troll that would send me abusive messages and at the lowest points of my life I would share my self sabotage with all of Facebook, although at the time I didn’t realise I was doing this.
I made a plan to ditch social media, read uplifting books and do a lot of self development. That saved me. And then my life fell into place and I am a better person because of it. I couldn’t be happier!
freedom apk says
Thank you for all your help! Finally it works
Rachel Norman says
No problem, thanks for stopping by :)