If you asked me to name my newborn essentials, included among the list of standard baby items would be a subscription to an online streaming service like Netflix or Hulu. As draining as those first few weeks stuck at home nursing a newborn can be, they are also a perfect time to indulge in some major TV binge watching.
When my kids were born, part of what got me through those first exhausting weeks was the promise of a little “me time” in the form of catching up on some TV while I nursed. This usually happened during the late evening feeding when I was at my most worn out and, quite frankly, just tired of having a baby clamped to my chest.
I quickly discovered that in my postpartum state not just any TV white noise would fit the bill. What I wanted was something that didn’t require me to think too much (not the time for hard-hitting documentaries); was addicting but not too addicting (I wanted to look forward to watching it but not to the point of being distracted at other times of the day); and most of all, wasn’t too emotional or dramatic (postpartum hormones had me sobbing at random Target commercials, so you can only imagine the devastation that something like Game of Thrones would have caused).
If I were nursing a newborn right now, these would be my top Netflix picks (currently streaming as of February 2016):
This mother-daughter dramedy is charming, well-written, and just a pleasure to watch. I tuned in faithfully when it was on the air, and as luck would have it Netflix added all seven seasons one week after my daughter was born. I spent many an evening listening to Lorelai and Rory exchange witty banter while cuddling with my new baby girl. I’m betting that my milk would still magically let down if I heard Carole King singing “Where you lead, I will follow….”
Parks and Recreation
Although I would argue that it doesn’t fully hit its stride until season 3, Parks and Rec is one of my all-time favorite sitcoms. Amy Poehler is at her best playing devoted civil servant Leslie Knope, and the supporting cast members are all hilarious.
The Great British Baking Show
A huge hit in the U.K., this baking competition is reality TV without the drama or intensity of the shows that air in the U.S. It really is just a bunch of nice British people baking amazing stuff in the beautiful English countryside (basically Xanax in TV form). And without exception everyone that I have recommended it to has loved it. Fair warning: if you’re like me and have the appetite of a teenage boy going through a growth spurt while you’re nursing, you might want to arm yourself with some snacks before sitting down to watch this parade of mouthwatering creations.
Hart of Dixie
This pick falls solidly in the guilty pleasure category, so watch it when you’re feeling particularly braindead or immune to cheesy dialogue and far-fetched plotlines. Rachel Bilson (remember her from The OC?) stars as Zoe Hart, a doctor from Manhattan that moves to the charming town of Bluebell, Alabama to take over a medical practice. Love triangles, catfights, and random shenanigans ensue.
I’m usually not a big HGTV fan, but I really enjoy this show. Hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines help their clients find a house in need of some TLC and proceed to transform it into something amazing. Again, reality TV without the drama. Unless maybe your husband decided to rip out your master bathroom when you were 39 weeks pregnant (a story for another time) and the thought of home renovations sends you into a fit of rage. Then maybe skip this one.
What are your Netflix favorites?