So I took this long break from social media and deleted every single social media app from my phone. Yes, the actual, tangible quantity of time I suddenly had on my hands was awesome but it was the mental space that actually felt so abundant and so damn good. The first place I immediately felt its effect was breastfeeding.
Previously, I’d feed teeny Abe whilst simultaneously scrolling Instagram, answering comments, replying to DMs, finishing an online food shop. You name it, I was doing it. Apparently there’s even a word for texting while breastfeeding: “brexting.” Sure, I’d be aware of Abey and re-settle him if he unlatched – my body was totally there with him, performing its’ function – but my mind was elsewhere.
Without the distraction of social media however (and reading this back, this does sound a bit nutty!), feeding Abe has gradually taken on a whole new, almost spiritual dimension. I started to put in place a ritual that I still stick to – whenever Abe needs feeding (we’re not good with routines over here), we go to my bedroom, I lie down on my side and everything slips away and we enter our own world. Breast to mouth, eye to eye (if mine are open, that is), we are in our own oxytocin bubble, and it feels so, so wonderful. And this really isn’t about breastfeeding or bottle feeding – we do both, and I follow the same rule for both scenarios. (If you are interested, I have started introducing two bottles a day for Abe – one at 5pm and one for the dream feed, at around 10.30pm). This is about connecting; this is about nourishing each other during a highly unique, temporary moment in time. And guess what? He feeds so well! There is no re- latching or settling needed. I am calm; he is calm.
And this isn’t about breastfeeding or bottle feeding – we do both, and I follow the same rule for both scenarios. This is about connecting; this is about nourishing each other during a highly unique, temporary moment in time
And the same goes for when we’re out and about. The other day I had to feed Abe on the train and although I felt vulnerable in the moment (it’s as if every person in the carriage is looking at your tit in that one moment, even though you know literally NOTHING can be seen), I zoned in to our “world” and I, and he, felt safe.
Here’s some other things you could do whilst feeding besides picking up that black block:
*Stare at your baby and appreciate the amazingness of what you have created!
*Listen to an audiobook or a podcast
*Pelvic floor exercises – it’s literally the only time I remember to do them
*Practise mindfulness – what does it feel like to have your baby feed from you? Or if you’re bottle feeding, what does their little hand do, where are they looking (right in to your eyes, I bet)
*Listen to your fave tune
*Plan a future trip in your head
*Doze – I swear I’ve got in some quality naps during the feed
*And finally, and my favourite, just (freakin’) be
Thoughts? What are you habits during feeding? What’s the one thing you won’t compromise as a mum of a baby, what’s your non negotiable?
Photos by Coralie Monnet