I attended a wonderful birthday party for a one-year-old a few weeks ago, and found myself talking with a friend about nursing. My friend had her babies in the seventies and eighties, when breastfeeding was far more unpopular than it is today. Of course breastfeeding in public was quite taboo. As a result, she spent more time sequestered in dressing rooms, bathrooms, guest rooms, and car backseats than I have while nursing. I mentioned how annoying it is to be shut out of many social functions due to nursing, and while my friend agreed that it was frustrating and unfair, she also added that she enjoyed that one-on-one time with her children. She told me a story about nursing in the back of her car, taking a break from a long road trip. The weather was bleak outside (or at least I imagine it was so), and the windows of the car were foggy. It was as though she and her child were the only ones in the world.
She looked at me for a nod of acknowledgement. And although I wished that I could agree with her assessment, I realized that those moments were fewer for me than I would like to admit. More likely, if I had been in her situation I would have taken the moment to text a friend who had gotten in contact earlier, Google directions to our next destination, or search out a lunch spot. And if I were at home, I might be sitting on the couch flipping through my instant queue for something to watch, looking up whatever burning parenting question was on my mind at the moment, making a call to the bank, or uploading pictures to Facebook for my family to see.
Talking about the ways that technology intrudes on our lives is boring; at this point it is routine to interact socially and conduct business through our computers and smartphones. I have no desire to go “off the grid” with respect to these things. In the early days when Scribble spent the lion share of his time sleeping on my chest or nursing, my smartphone was immensely useful; I was able to get a lot of stuff done (Christmas shopping, selecting a fencing contractor, calling my insurance company for the hundredth time, asking friends for parenting advice) without disturbing him.
But Scribble is older now. He sleeps in his crib. We’ve sleep trained, so he no longer needs to be rocked. As a result, our cuddle time has diminished and I miss it. I had planned to wean around 14 months so that we could get started on baby number two; my cycle never recovered from being on birth control, so I fear it will take a while to regulate after nursing. As we get closer to the halfway-point in our nursing journey, I feel I need to take advantage of this special time while I still can. While he is still content to cuddle up to me and nurse to sleep. He is now more engaged while nursing and likes to feel my face and reach for me when he is eating. I don’t want his sweet curiosity to be quelled.
Also Scribble has become very interested in my phone. I think it is mostly because he likes the neon cover. But he also likes it because it is something he knows is important to me, since I so frequently have it near me. This bothers me to no end. I’m trying to be more thoughtful about what objects Scribble sees me using. I know that babies like to mimic their parents’ behavior, and I fear that if he senses that I am attached to electronics, he will be too.
So for the past few days I’ve been taking a technology fast while nursing. No TV, no tablet, no iphone. I got about three days in before I caved, but I’m back on the wagon. I don’t expect it to last forever, just long enough that I remember to be mindful of how I interact with my baby while I’m nursing, and hopefully long enough to help me create some more lasting memories during his too-brief babyhood.
Do you ever use electronics while you’re nursing? Is it something you try to control?