I did not have a smart phone before I started breastfeeding. But after about two months of just. sitting. there. for untold hours unable to watch TV (it distracted my son), unable to hold a book to read (I'm absurdly uncoordinated), and running out of podcasts (there's only so many episodes of Savage Lovecast), I broke down, and it was like Dorothy opening her farmhouse door to Oz and seeing a world in technicolor. When maternity leave ended, my smartphone became even more crucial due to my demanding pumping schedule. The app I became obsessed with while pumping? The (then) newly launched WNYC app.
For those of you not in the know (or the New York-Metro area), WNYC New York City's NPR affiliate, and it's fabulous. I don't have their tote bag (because I don't always get to the phone during their pledge drives, but I'm hoping touting the virtues of their app will put me in their good graces anyway), but if I did I would carry it everywhere. So their app, chock-full-o-podcasts, articles, blogs, and all the stuff I never got to listen to because I didn't drive anymore, which is where I used to fit in about 90 percent of my WNYC/NPR time, made the dismal hellscape that was pumping (well, for me anyway) not just bearable but enjoyable.
I talked to other women about the app that got them through those dark and necessary pumping days, and here's what they had to say.
iBooks. I read A LOT while pumping and nursing late at night.
I played old school Nintendo games on my tablet.
Babyconnect. I started using it for the timer because my first would pop on and off the boob and I had trouble getting him to re-latch, so I had no idea how long a feed would go on for but I was told to limit him to 20 min on a side to start. I also liked that I could see patterns in timing, keep track of when he last ate, and eventually it was a great tool to manage pumping. I was able to keep track of my total output from day to day and week to week so I didn't have to worry if my supply was dropping or if i was stimulating my mild oversupply—I could just check and know for sure.
I watched a lot of Netflix.
Candy Crush. I hate that game but the mindlessness let my body relax and focus on that so I could have let down. Otherwise I started overthinking everything. It became a type of meditation of sorts.
I used hands-on/massage techniques while pumping, so I couldn't hold my phone ... So, I mostly listened to audiobooks on my Overdrive app.
Facebook Messenger: I would chat with [my friends] A and E on during pump sessions.
[Writer's note: this was in fact confirmed by E, who said "I swear the reason A, Wendy, and I are so close is because of work/pump sessions."]
Kindle. I read free books, a whole bunch of old classics! Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Little Women, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, etc. I was a tad obsessed!