August 10, 2017 12:35 pm
Updated: August 10, 2017 12:45 pm

Should new parents unplug for the first 30 days? Experts say yes

What experts mean is taking a “month of silence” with no social media, no phones and no visitors.

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In a world where everything is instant, the birth of a child is often something people share on social media right away.

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But in the latest issue of Fit Pregnancy and Baby, 29-year-old actress Nikki Reed said she plans on taking a “month of silence” after her first baby is born. “Just the three of us, no visitors, and we’re turning off our phones too, so there’s no expectation for us to communicate.”

She adds otherwise, people would be sending her and husband actor Ian Somerhalder messages every five minutes asking for pictures or how the couple is doing.

“You don’t get those first 30 days back, and we want to be fully present,” she continued.

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Why you may need to unplug

Dr. Jillian Roberts, child psychologist of Family Sparks, says those first 30 days with a newborn are both incredibly precious and incredibly difficult.

“This is a critical time for developing a strong attachment with your baby. You can never get these days back,” she tells Global News. “There is often a great deal of physical and perhaps even emotional healing required on the part of the mother.”

She adds there could also be challenges with breastfeeding, sleep deprivation or just feeling a sense of loneliness in those first few weeks.

“I would avoid [social media] as much as possible and for as long as possible. Those first weeks should be for bonding with the baby and self-care for the parents. Those first few weeks are definitely not about pleasing other people.”

Experts say those first 30 days are precious, but also very difficult.

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Julie Romanowski, parenting coach of Miss Behaviour, says this is not something only celebrities can do — the average parent can also have their own “month of silence.”

“You can do whatever you want if you set the correct intention. Also, if you are proactive and create an action plan to fulfill that intention as best as you can, that also helps you succeed. Decide, plan, execute,” she tells Global News.

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And if you think you’ll even have time to update a Facebook status on the daily, think again. “The newborn will be plenty of distraction and will likely demand a lot from you. Added pressures and distractions can definitely make this more challenging,” she says.

How to unplug (and stick to it)

If you’re an avid social media user, taking a 30-day break to be with your family may be a surprise to those who follow you. If you do decide to take a month of silence, make sure you let people know about your boundaries and expectations, Romanowski says.

“Lastly, try not to get emotionally involved in other people’s reactions as this can cause fear and confusion and likely skew your decision on the plan,” she says. “You will likely upset someone else with your firm [yet clear] boundaries because it’s likely not what is according to their agenda.”

READ MORE: Unplugging to help your health

Set a status on Facebook before the baby is born, for example, or send out an email to family and friends letting them know about your plan. Going offline for 30 days without any notice will only lead to more phone calls, messages and concerns.

Romanowski says to also plan ahead (take out that calendar), go with the flow in between (don’t be too rigid if something unexpected happens) and don’t let other people’s thoughts influence how you spend your time offline.

Sharing updates on social media

And often, especially these days, the idea of unplugging is easier said than done. While parents are pretty divided when it comes to sharing images of their children on social media, Romanowski says it is also important to make sure others in your family or friend circle respect your wishes to unplug.

“It’s also a good idea to discuss things with everyone in the family as partners, grandparents, sibling or friends may have a very different viewpoint than yours.”

READ MORE: 18 things every parent should do with their kids this summer

Roberts says for others, social media can be addicting. “If that is how a parent feels, then it is a sign that there is some emotional toxicity in their online world. I recommend that new parents avoid any kind of source of unneeded stress in the first weeks and months of bringing a child into the world.”

arti.patel@globalnews.ca

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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