I had our first baby in 2002.
Smart phones basically didn’t exist. Facebook didn’t exist yet. Texting was still fairly new. Phones were still, pretty much, just phones.
POSTPARTUM WITHOUT A SMART PHONE/TABLET
In fact, for our first 4 babies, I didn’t have a smart phone or tablet to keep me awake in the postpartum months. Here are some honest observations about that experience (as compared to nursing a baby now, with smart phones & social media):
- I held my babies’ hands more often while they nursed. That was standard position: one wrinkly baby arm, stretched up, clinging to my thumb, with me often fake-munching on their fingers to make them smile and giggle, while they nursed.
- I watched them more. Unless I was watching something on TV or directing something happening with my other children, my eyes were often fixed on this new little person.
- I prayed for them more while nursing. This is an honest, and sad, admission for me. I remember trying to stay awake while night nursing by searching for things to pray for them.
- I would often fall asleep mid-nursing in the middle of the night and wake up to find that I’d only half-nursed the baby the last time, and only an hour or hour and a half later, he wanted to nurse again. This led to: poorer nursing habits at night, and major CRICK-neck because of falling asleep even when sitting up (yes, I know you can nurse laying down. For me that is a recipe for immediately falling back asleep and baby continually waking up and neither of us getting much of any sleep at all.).
- At times, I felt alone and mentally unstimulated. Unless Doug or a friend was sitting with me and visiting, it was easy to feel isolated and mentally stagnant.
POSTPARTUM WITH A SMART PHONE/TABLET
For our last 3 babies, I’ve had either a smart phone or tablet (or both) at my disposal. Here are some observations about that:
- I can quickly share pictures and stories about my infant, which I feel is a blessing not only for now, but later, when I want to remember these precious early moments.
- I don’t fall asleep in the middle of the night while nursing. This was the most amazing discovery when we first had an iPad for me to peruse with baby #5 (in 2010). I actually achieved full feedings at night, rather than partial ones, which helped him (and by extension, me) sleep through the night more fully. This is actually my very favorite thing about having a smartphone as a postpartum mom.
- I can read books on Kindle, read my Bible on my phone, and connect with friends a little more than I might otherwise be able to, which means I feel less isolated and more mentally engaged in these early months with a newborn.
- It is easy to get mentally overwhelmed, or use up your time on stupid things. That friend who always has something dramatic and angry as her status update? The sad depressing news videos? Articles criticizing the very place where you feel most weak during this postpartum time? (could be time with your toddlers, could be daily Bible reading, could be making time for female friendships). Or even the stupid time-passing-but-pointless silly videos posted on Facebook or Twitter– It’s easy to get drawn in and feel defeated/drained/discouraged by all the drama and nonsense on Facebook.
- It is easy to forget to stop and BREATHE IN THESE QUICKLY-PASSING MOMENTS. I have done progressively better about this with each post-smartphone baby. I do put the phone down. I purposefully make time to look at him while he pulls off and grins before vigorously latching back on. I actively remind myself to breathe in the scent the top of his head, kiss the dickens out of him, and snuggle him close while willing my arms to remember how his little bundle-body feels. Still. I sometimes forget to do this and find that I’ve just started another SpadesPlus game without even thinking about it or meaning to.
- Others can mistakenly perceive that you’re just sitting around doing nothing all day, when in actuality, yes, you’re sitting still and nursing 300+ minutes every day, so yes, it looks like you’re Mrs. Active Facebook Lady, but honestly you’re just trying to stay awake half the time, and get any measure of sleep the other half of the time.
I can honestly see many blessings and benefits, as well as many negatives and drawbacks, from having a smartphone.
BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES TO CONSIDER:
#1- IS IT HELPFUL? IS IT BUILDING UP (me or others)?
1 Corinthians 10:23- “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.”
- Am I using my smartphone in a way that edifies (builds up) the Body of Christ?
- Am I using it to grow more godly, or to grow more distracted?
- To grow in wisdom and love for others, or to grow more frustrated and bitter toward others?
#2- AM I BEING MASTERED/DOMINATED BY THIS DEVICE?
(1 Corinthians 6:12- “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.”)
- Is my smartphone/tablet ruling me, or am I ruling it?
- Am I unable to control myself in this area? Perhaps a day or two or seven of no-social-media might be a beneficial way to gain mastery in how you use your device(s).
#3- IS THIS THE BEST USE OF THE TIME?
(Ephesians 5:15-16- “ Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”)
- Is my use of this device best for this moment?
- Am I being purposeful and wise in my use of social media?
At this time, for me, I believe it IS– on the whole– helpful to have a smartphone. And I really do love the way it helps me stay awake during night feedings.
I just have to be purposeful.
Here are some ways I do that:
- I try not to live on my phone.
- I try not to feel false guilt if it appears that I’m living on my phone, due to the amount of time I’m sitting in one place, nursing.
- I try to put down my phone sometimes while I’m nursing and just take it in, especially during the day.
- I try to put down my phone as soon as I’m done nursing so that it doesn’t overtake my whole day just through habitual lack of control in this area.
- I have “unfollowed” a number of people and things on social media so that I am not mastered or ruled by discouraging things, nonsense, or excessive drama.
- I try to use my phone to HELP me remember– i.e., taking pictures of the beautiful/ amazing things I notice about my baby, taking unshared selfies of him & me together so that I remember these moments and so that one day, he’ll be able to see these photos of his un-put-together-but-very-happy mom who loves him so very much.
IN THE COMMENTS, PLEASE SHARE:
How do you use social media/smartphones/tablets with PURPOSE during the postpartum season of life?
Do you have any biblical principles you’d add to my list?
Have you set any boundaries for yourself in order to exercise self-control in this area?