My intention was mostly in response to my cell phone use and distracted thinking while I breastfed. Shortly after Stevie was born, I found myself frantically searching online for answers to my many new mama questions. Was this colic? How much spitting up is normal? Does my baby have gas, and what can I do about it? And so on. I had a hard time finding another time to look things up, so I picked up my phone while I breastfed.
Now that Stevie is five months old, we understand each other better even though I still have lots of questions. I don't feel as desperate to find answers outside of the two of us. I still look things up, but I don't feel like I need to do this when I'm breastfeeding. My phone habit while breastfeeding has extended to texting, looking on Facebook, checking my email, etc. Spending time on those activities while my little guy eats is not at all rewarding. And, I know this time is precious because babies change so very quickly.
Knowing this, why do I still have a hard time putting my phone down and not distracting myself while I feed my baby? I can't say that I have an answer, but I feel like there's a cultural norm to grasp for more. We seek immediate gratification, and with technology, we think we can have it on-demand, 24-7.
I know I enjoy my days and moments most when I am unplugged. In nature. Spending time with my husband. Talking to a friend. Cooking. Gardening. So, I choose to make a change. I choose to pause and to breathe and to send loving thoughts to myself, my baby, and my husband. May our little family be happy. May our little family be healthy. May our little family be safe.
When I remember to pause and make this my practice, I feel a sense of peace and contentment. Until a week ago, I hadn't remembered to post any visiual reminders to pause and check in while breastfeeding. It has already started to help me remember to slow down and be present even when I'm not in the spot where my reminder is.
“When you're walking, Just Walk; When You're Birthing, Just Birth.” This is the title of a chapter from Nancy Bardacke's book Mindful Birthing. This book was an invaluable tool for me while I was preparing for childbirth. This chapter title stuck with me. It's simple but to the point. When you're doing something, give it—and only it—your full attention. Probably my best reminder to stay present while breastfeeding is to have a note that says:
“When you're breastfeeding, just breastfeed.”
Is there an area of your life where you'd like to be more fully present?