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I’ll be honest with you. I watched my fair share of Netflix and then some while on maternity leave with my babies. And while there is nothing wrong with camping out on the couch and catching some shows while breastfeeding, even Netflix can become tiresome if you’ve got an itch to feel a little more productive. You might wonder if there are things to do while breastfeeding?
Enter the smartphone.
It is seriously amazing what we have the power to accomplish armed with a little palm-sized device that we can control with one hand (and a baby in the other) with our technology these days.
I do want to pause and mention that although I love having these options available, nursing and bonding with a new baby IS productive in and of itself! Please no Mom guilt for not getting “tasks” accomplished! None. Alright? Okay, good! Glad that’s settled. In fact, PLEASE soak up this time with your little one. They are only a baby once.
Now, that said, it’s nice to have productive options sometimes! So here are nine positive things you can do on your phone while breastfeeding (besides watching Netflix.)
Things to Do While Breastfeeding
1. Do Your Grocery Shopping Online
Seriously. Have you tried it yet? If not, you are in for a treat! It always feels like Christmas morning every time I pick up my groceries without ever having to lift a finger or get out of the car. Especially when my newborn baby was asleep in her car seat. Fred Meyer’s Clicklist literally became one of my best friends and saved me a ton of stress.
Grocery delivery services are becoming more available in many cities too. I definitely took advantage of this after my second baby was born and was happy to pay a few extra bucks for food dropped off at my doorstep.
(Update: Walmart has a new program called Delivery Unlimited for $98 bucks a year and you get unlimited deliveries with no fees. It has changed my life! Read my full review of Delivery Unlimited here before you go!)
2. Manage Your Finances
My husband and I completed Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University this year and we love the Every Dollar Budget App. We use the Plus subscription because we love automatically linking our bank accounts to easily track expenses from our various budgets.
Another great app that I’ve used and can recommend that does all of that for free is Mint. I promise spending a few minutes every day tracking and monitoring your purchases and paying bills is by far easier than waiting until the end of the month. And it can totally help you save money, too!
3. Send Thank You Cards
Chances are if you just had a baby you have a group of family or friends who have been around supporting you as well. Don’t feel guilty for not mailing personalized handwritten cards to every person. Just show your appreciation with a lovely thank you note via email. I like Punchbowl and Openme for free digital cards. Or If it’s easiest for you to send a mass text of gratitude, do that instead. Seriously. Keep it simple! No one expects anything from you at this point. A little goes a long way.
4. Read A Book
Reading is a great way to break up the monotony of the Netflix routine, and you don’t even have to buy a Kindle to enjoy reading books online these days. A phone fits so great in one hand it makes reading while breastfeeding totally manageable.
You can purchase and download books on iBooks, Google Play or the Kindle App, if you don’t already.
Additionally, most libraries offer an app for reading free ebooks now too! I’m all about saving money so this is my favorite way to read. Since signing up for access to my local library’s digital library and downloading their app I’ve been able to check out everything from audiobooks to tv shows to kids ebooks and music with the press of a button. I love it! It’s definitely worth paying your library a visit to see what options they offer.
5. Listen to an Audiobook
Depending on your preference and/or how quiet your baby needs the room, listening to audiobooks can be a fabulous way to pass time while breastfeeding. The same apps I use for reading usually have a nice selection of audiobooks as well.
My second choice is the Audible App by Amazon. If you sign up for a free Audible trial you can get two audiobooks free. After that you pay for credits based on how many books you want. Audible is producing a lot of original content these days which is really nice. (My husband and I love their comedy selection.)
6. Learn Baby Sign Language
If you’ve been thinking about trying baby sign language but hesitating because you have no clue what you are doing, don’t! I highly recommend new parents go for it. It’s so fun and empowering to both parents and baby. My husband, in particular, loved that when I was gone our daughter could easily tell him when she wanted milk even before she could talk.
Lane at Tinysigns.net is my go-to resource for learning baby sign language. She offers a lot of great free resources including a signing video dictionary on her site and a quick-start guide if you subscribe. She also has a great online mini-course you can check out if you want a little more guidance.
7. Meal Plan
Not knowing what to eat for dinner is the worst. Meal planning does not come naturally to me and will probably always will be the bane of my existence yet I know it is stress-relieving in the long run.
One way I like to meal plan on my phone for free is Cozi. It’s an all-in-one family organzing app with a calendar, notepad, and one of my fav features; recipe box. You can browse hundreds of recipes and transfer ingredients to your grocery list with the click of a button. If interested, you can sign up for an account for free here.
I’ve also written an easy tutorial for How to Meal Plan with Cozi you can check out if you want to know more.
8. Connect with a Loved One
I don’t know about you but I often find myself wishing for more time to connect with my loved ones. I don’t live near my family so phone calls, texts, and Skype sessions go a long way and mean the world to me in those relationships.
If you find yourself getting sucked into the vortex of mindless Instagram or Facebook scrolling as soon as you sit down to breastfeed your babe, I challenge you to first think of one old friend or relative would love to hear from you and shoot them a text or dial their number. Life is short! You will not regret doing this.
9. Save Money
Who doesn’t love saving money? I love the wide variety of money-saving apps available for download these days but let’s be honest; as a Mom, time is of the essence. Sometimes it takes a ridiculously long time to get anywhere with the savings or way too much time to upload receipts or browse coupons to make it worthwhile on these things. My advice is to only use apps if they are free and require MINIMAL effort.
(A few I have tried and can NOT recommend to busy moms so far for these reasons are Shopkick, InboxDollars and Nielsen Panel. Some people might argue with me on that but I’m a busy Mom and, hey, that’s fine. I just love sharing what truly works for me and I didn’t find they were worth the time or energy invested.)
So here are some of the ones I DO love, use and recommend:
Rakuten. Gives effortless cashback for online shopping. I am always shocked at how much faster this adds up than I expect, especially around the holidays. Receive a $10 bonus when you make your first purchase over $25.
Trim. Trim Financial Manager is a free personal finance management tool and BEST PART they call on your behalf to negotiate lower rates on your bills. They’ve called Comcast for me three times and gotten my bill lower each time. I’m an introvert and also horrible at bartering so this is GREAT in my opinion.
Ibotta. While I use Rakuten for all of my online shopping, I use this one to save on grocery items. Ibotta helps you earn cashback on every day purchases and it’s super easy to find deals on the app. (Full disclosure this one is kinda fun and addictive!)
There you have it! I hope you love all these ideas and find them useful.
And even with all of that, at the end of the day breathe deep, get lost in your baby, and savor those snuggles too, mama. Because if that’s all you do today, it’s truly the most productive thing of all.