While nursing, especially in the early weeks, I watched more than my fair share of television. Way more.
When you have one hand holding a boob in position while the other is holding a baby, there aren’t many options for entertainment. What you need more than anything is something to distract you from 1. the severe pain from the super-suction vacuum at your nipple 2. the fact that your breasts will never be the same and 3. the knowledge that the rest of the day will consist of spit up, poop, pee, blood-curdling screaming, no sleep, and more nursing. (And, of course, the greatest gift you could ever imagine).
Netflix, Hulu, and Xfinity became my best friends. I looked for the addictive type shows. The ones that make you want to stay up watching a marathon until three in the morning. Because as a new mom, three in the morning is prime feeding time.
Here’s my Boob Tube Top 5:
#5 Suits – The only thing keeping this show from being higher on my list is that there are just two seasons available on Hulu. Ideally, a Boob Tube show should have at least three seasons. However, the relationship between Harvey and Michael is just too fun to resist. It’s a show about the cutthroat environment at a powerful legal firm in New York. The main character, Michael Ross, is the genius-slacker type. He accidentally gets a job at the high powered firm even though they only hire students from Harvard Law. His photographic memory and quick wit make each episode memorable. Plus, when you’re a nursing mother hanging out in your P.J.s all day, it’s fun to whisk yourself into the corporate world of Gucci suits and Louboutin heels.
#4 Downton Abbey – Talk about addictive. Many people are currently in obsessed mode over this show and rightfully so. It’s a British period drama covering the early twentieth century. Various historical events take place throughout the three seasons of the series, including the sinking of the Titanic, World War I, and the dissolution of the British social hierarchy. The allure of the show, however, is in the relationships between the royal family and the “help”. In some ways it’s simply a glorified soap opera that makes viewers feel sophisticated thanks to the British accents. Even so, my boorish, unrefined American self could use some lessons in etiquette from the Brits (as I write a blog entitled “Boob Tube”).
#3 Parenthood – If I were ranking shows without the whole “nursing mother” spin, Parenthood probably wouldn’t make my top five. Top ten maybe, but top five, not likely. The series revolves around three generations of the Braverman family, and it’s loosely based on the classic film from the 80’s with the same title. The writers of the show have managed to fit in almost every issue a family could face in the modern day world, making it practically impossible for viewers not to connect with it in some way. Even though the story line can sometimes feel trite, it is warm and inviting. After a few episodes you can’t help but feel as though you’re part of the Braverman clan. Also, as a new mother, you realize that the serious issues they face (e.g. Asperger’s syndrome and infertility) could happen in any family and you may learn from how the characters approach these subjects.
#2 Homeland – Again, only two seasons, but this show is ridiculously good. I’m not going to write a synopsis because I think everyone should go into it totally clueless. That’s how I did and I was completely taken off guard by the sheer awesomeness of this series. You will be addicted and you’ll end up wishing your baby would feed for even longer periods, despite the pain.
#1 30 Rock – 30 Rock tops the Boob Tube top five because it’s so quirky that a postpartum nursing mother who is cruising the hormonal highway to Nutsville is in the perfect state of mind to appreciate the show. To be honest, if I watched it now as opposed to one week postpartum, I don’t know if I’d laugh as hard as I originally did. Either way, it felt like a God send at the time. I sometimes laughed so hard I had tears streaming down my face and falling on my nursing baby. I actually felt pain from the shaking my laughing would cause, which forced me to readjust the latch. The combination of Tina Fey’s self deprecating humor with the hubris of Alec Baldwin was magical in my mommy mind. Plus, the six, and soon to be seven, available seasons on Netflix burned through a lot of nursing sessions.
Throughout the past 4.5 months, I’ve watched many shows in addition to the five listed above. Some were good, most were bad, and none were as helpful through a challenging time as the Boob Tube Top Five.
What show helped you while breastfeeding?