I Breastfed My Way into an Eight-Hour-A-Day Social Media Addiction
For the first three weeks of my son’s life, breastfeeding took two hands and a little piece of my soul.
He was a smaller-than-average baby with a veracious appetite and a lazy latch, and I survived with a mixture of pumping, comp-feeding, finger feeding and a stubborn determination I possess but rarely call upon.
It felt like I had my period for the first time all over again. At thirty-three my body had just learnt a brand-new function and it was awkward as hell. For the first few weeks I felt embarrassed, uncomfortable, inadequate and pretty much constantly exposed. People observing me breastfeed felt like being watched while I put a tampon in. I didn’t want to go out in public and having people over outside my very small inner-circle gave me anxiety in case the baby became hungry. I wanted my mother. And chocolate. See? Very similar to that first demonic menses.
Once I no longer needed to twist my body like a contortionist to get him attached, I started to find sweet escape from the stress of those early feeds in my phone. I hit up Instagram and Facebook at all hours. If my sister-in-law’s best-friend’s dog just graduated from puppy preschool, I knew about it. I had taken the blue pill and I was deep in The Matrix. In a few weeks, my social media usage escalated from four hours per day (hey, I was at the late stages of pregnancy) to a whopping eight hours and forty-five minutes per day.
Given sleep deprivation is linked to a decrease in our pre-frontal cortex that drives self-control, it’s not surprising I was highly susceptible to this kind of addiction. We know that our smartphones are hardwired into our dopamine receptors and at that point, I desperately needed my fix of feel-good brain chemicals. On days when I’d only successfully fed once, it allowed me to numb out my feelings of failure. When my husband returned to work after a week, I could Snapchat my entire social network videos of the baby…