One thing that nearly all new breastfeeding mothers underestimate is how much time they actually spend sitting under their baby feeding, feeding, feeding in those first couple of months. Some days, particularly during a growth spurt, you could find yourself on the couch literally all day, with one feed rolling into another.
It’s on days like this that TV is your friend. Not just any TV though. Put your Jeremy Kyles and your Loose Women away. You need to get your hands on some seriously addictive TV. You’ll often read well-meaning advice that suggests perhaps you should avoid watching television altogether and instead use these opportunities to make consistent eye contact with your baby for bonding. And while this is true – and please do find me a mother who doesn’t spend most of her time staring adoringly at her newborn – there are also times when she needs to be relaxed, chilled out and entertained while her baba is dozing at the boob or deeply concentrating on what they’re doing.
Also – and this is most important – experienced breastfeeding mothers will be quick to tell you that those first couple of months will be your only opportunity to catch a little light entertainment on the box when feeding your baby. Because it won’t be long until “distracto-baby” arrives and your teeny newborn turns into an energetic and curious bag of distraction when feeding. You’ll find yourself sitting in a dark room in complete silence in an attempt to get them to finish a feed, and watching TV will be a long distant memory.
So! With your entertainment in mind, and in no particular order, here are my top 10 TV shows on Netflix to binge watch when sitting under your boobing baby.
What the makers say: This award-winning series dramatises the professional exploits and personal lives of head officer Harry Pearce and the “spooks” of the MI5.
My take: Spooks is British drama at its finest. Originally a BBC series, there are 10 seasons in total so that’s a lot of compelling spy action. Be warned though, this is an adult TV series so expect to see the odd realistic spy-related difficult scene etc.
For a lighter (much lighter) alternative to the spy theme check out: Chuck
What the makers say: After a trio of sisters discover an ancient text in their mansion attic, revealing they possess latent supernatural powers, mischief and drama ensue.
My take: Charmed is the kind of show that you watch once accidentally because there’s nothing else on, and then you get totally sucked into it. Next thing you know, your general knowledge on all things witchcraft, the underworld, and mystical moral coding will rival any Trekkie out there. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry. You’ll think it just won’t be the same when Shannon Doherty leaves, but then a series later you’ll have forgotten all about her. Very untaxing and enjoyable TV.
What the makers say: Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson’s adventures in 21st Century London. A thrilling, funny, fast-paced contemporary reimagining of the Arthur Conan Doyle classic.
My take: ^WSS. This is such an entertaining show. Slick, clever, at times gripping, at times hilarious. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are just excellent in this. My only complaint is that they don’t make half enough episodes. You’ll love this.
What the makers say: Stargate SG-1 the television series, picks up where the blockbuster film left off. Colonel Jack O’Neill and his SG-1 team, Daniel Jackson, Teal’c, and Capt. Samantha Carter, set out to explore the mysteries of the Stargate. Each mission through the gate takes the SG-1 team to new worlds in a seemingly boundless universe.
My take: Don’t be put off by the nerdy description or the sci-fi-ness of it all. Stargate is a brilliant romp of an adventure series. Also, MacGyver is in it – and he only improves with age.
If you fancy a bit more grit in your sci-fi drama and want to upgrade a certification level, try Battlestar Galactica. (Also, don’t come crying to me in the comments if you’re a huge BG fan and you want to know why it’s an also-ran in my list. It’s excellent. But there’s some dark stuff in this show, man. I give you episode S02E05 “The Farm”. No lactating woman needs to be going off to sleep after watching that.
Call the Midwife
What the makers say: Drama following the lives of a group of midwives working in the poverty-stricken East End of London during the 1950s, based on the best-selling memoirs of Jennifer Worth.
My take: This is a beautifully made, lovely period drama that’s super easy to watch. I’d caveat it by saying this is one to watch after your baby arrives but not necessarily when you’re expecting. Only because given the nature of the subject matter there’s more than a few tense birth scenes for dramatic effect that you don’t need nipping in the back of your mind before your beautiful baby comes. At least when you’re sitting there breastfeeding you can smile and nod and know how unrealistic it is.
If you like a bit of the old period drama you could also try Downtown Abbey
(Series 1 only! This is very important!)
What the makers say: This groundbreaking sci-fi drama intertwines the stories of a disparate group of people who suddenly discover they possess superhuman abilities.
My take: Season 1 of Heroes was just absolutely fantastic. It was compelling TV that you had to wait gripped for a whole seven days for the next episode, back before streaming and other new-fangled technology bypassed that. A great binge watch if you haven’t seen it before. The rest of the series were rubbish though, so don’t waste your time. I believe there is a new series called Heroes Reborn coming out this year. It has a lot to live up to to reclaim any of its former first series glory.
The Thick of It
What the makers say: Dark political comedy set in the corridors of British government, created by Armando Iannucci and starring Peter Capaldi (or Doctor Who, as we know him now).
My take: I laugh my ass off at this show, no matter how many times I see it. Myself and my husband quote lines at each other from it out of nowhere and still get the reference. Peter Capaldi got the role of his life with this one. Be warned! This is not a show that you can watch around small children or they will all be swearing like sailors. Home of the immortal line: “Come the fuck in or fuck the fuck off”.
Hate politics in your comedy? Try Gavin & Stacey
Orange is the New Black
What the makers say: A privileged New Yorker ends up in a women’s prison when a past crime catches up with her in this Emmy-winning series from the creator of “Weeds”.
My take: You’ll watch the whole of series 1 in one sitting if you’re let, which you won’t be because you’re the mother of a small child. I love the character development in this show and particularly love that the show itself is so good you don’t even notice that it’s a nearly all female cast. So you’re watching it because its deadly, instead of because you feel you “should”. Series 2 lags a bit but recovers really well towards the end with a brilliant couple of final episodes. I’m just at the beginning of Series 3 now so no spoilers please!
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
What the makers say: Sunnydale teen Buffy Summers craves an ordinary life but accepts her destiny as a Slayer by killing vampires and demons, aided by a band of friends.
My take: I heart Buffy. I’ve seen every single episode of this show. Not unlike Charmed, you get completely sucked into the supernatural elements of this show and the characters are so lovable. Plenty of eye candy too. Even though it’s technically a teen show, there is some incredible writing in this show. If you haven’t seen it, treat yourself.
If you’d like more teen-based comedy-drama (or dramedy if you’re from that part of the world) but without the supernatural element, try Gossip Girl.
The Good Wife
What the makers say: In this courtroom drama, attorney Alicia Florrick finds herself forced to return to work after a scandal lands her politician husband in prison.
My take: There’s loads of familiar faces in The Good Wife from older classics like ER, Sex in the City, The Gilmore Girls and Cybill (remember Cybill? Underrated – loved it) so you accidentally fall quickly in love with the cast of the Good Wife. But then you realise it’s a deadly show, so you forget about that and only think of them as being in The Good Wife. This is popcorn TV. Or glass of wine TV, if we’re being honest. Perfect for a few episodes in one sitting.
All shows listed including the suggested alternatives are currently available on Netflix.
Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam and received a Netflix subscription and an Apple TV in exchange for reviewing programmes on Netflix. However, as always, all opinions are entirely my own. Also, I’m not going to waste my time watching or writing about something that’s not entertaining for me. Life’s too short!