Let’s face it: there’s a lot you can’t do when you’re nursing. Taking a shower, cooking a meal or cleaning the bathroom are pretty much impossible. But there are still ways to be productive while feeding your little one. Here are 10 ways to multi-task during your next bottle or breastfeeding session.
If you’re anything like me, the camera roll on your phone is basically an endlessly scrolling montage of your child’s adorable face. Are you backing up those photos? Just think how upset you’d be to lose that image of junior’s first smile, tooth or haircut. An app like Google Photos allows you to save your pictures online so they’ll still be accessible if something happens to your phone. You can also create and share albums in the app—yes, you can do this one-handed while you nurse!
Making a List, Checking It Twice
Maybe it’s not glamorous, but I find that breastfeeding is the perfect time to make a grocery or Target list. I use the Notes section on my phone to type out what I need (diapers, inevitably). Plus, I can just copy, paste and email the list to my husband if he’s on errand duty.
There are days when I desperately need to hear another adult voice. Enter the podcast. In a matter of seconds, I’m launched out of my messy living room and into the (equally messy) world of politics … or I immerse myself in culture, comedy, self-help advice or more. Plus, the number of podcasts about raising kids continues to grow. Get started by downloading “The Longest Shortest Time,” “Coffee + Crumbs” and “The Shameless Mom Academy.”
Put down the phone and pick up a book… or a magazine, newspaper or Kindle! Nursing is a great time to relax with a good read. Before my daughter was born, I felt guilty when books took me away from washing dirty dishes, paying bills, prepping meals or all the other tasks on my never-ending to-do list. But now I tuck into the latest bestseller guilt-free as my hungry newborn eats. Paperbacks, I’ve found, are supremely easy to hold in one hand.
People work out on airplanes, so why not while nursing? Try a few simple exercises to get the blood moving. I recommend ankle, neck and shoulder rolls, followed by a gentle twist to each side. Then go for a figure four: Bend one leg so the ankle rests on the knee of your opposite leg and lean over to stretch your glutes. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, hold tight to your baby as you stand and squat 10 times. Finish it all off with your Kegels.
Nom Nom Nom
I had no idea that breastfeeding would make me so dang thirsty. I keep a water bottle on each side of my glider to encourage constant hydration. Whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding, follow your child’s example and use that time to eat and drink. Who knows when you’ll get another chance to chow down, what with changing diapers, overseeing tummy time and so on. Keep a stash of granola bars or nuts in reach, put a spoon in an open yogurt container in the fridge, grab a string cheese on your way to nurse and make sure you keep your water bottles filled.
Those first few months of your baby’s life are such a magical time, but figuring out how to care for this new person is often exhausting. Your reserves are tapped. You’re not sleeping. And yet, when you look back on this period in the future, you may wonder how time went so fast. Preserve these special days by making a video or audio diary. It’s as simple as using a voice memo app on your phone. As your baby eats, record a few thoughts about him or her, what you’ve been thinking and feeling, or anything else that comes to mind.
Clear the Clutter
You might be metaphorically chained to your chair when nursing, which makes it difficult to do any “actual” cleaning. However, this limitation doesn’t extend to your cellphone. When was the last time you took a cold, hard look at your contacts and apps? You probably don’t need the phone number of your friend’s cousin whom you met years ago or the contact information for the shuttered takeout place down the street. As for apps, be ruthless about which ones you actually use and delete the rest. One bonus from this clutter-clearing exercise? More storage space for photos of your darling kiddo.
Now that you’ve culled your contacts, it makes sense to reach out to some of the folks who made the cut. Pick up the phone and give them a ring. Get ready to share stories of your little one’s latest exploits, and don’t forget to ask what’s happening in their lives, too!
Okay, so maybe gazing wonderingly at your baby while you feed him or her might not always feel productive. But there’s also nothing wrong with redefining the meaning of “productive,” especially when you have a newborn. You’re keeping this tiny human alive with milk or formula—what’s more productive than that? So take a moment or two (or 10) to bask in this single and singular task before tackling the other items on this list.