The Nursing Mother's Guide to Late Night TV


So, I’m due to have a baby on Christmas Day.

This kid will be #2 for Team Hammervision, and I have to say that I’m not really looking forward to doing the whole newborn baby thing all over again, but I am (and I know I shall eat these words in just a few weeks’ time) kind of looking forward to the nighttime feedings.
A friend of mine who is due with her first kid a few weeks after I am had posted something on Facebook about how she’s been practicing for getting up with the baby by having to wake up to go to the bathroom several times a night.  Some other folks (mothers, I’m assuming) commented that, “Oh, it’s kind of nice to get up with your little tiny baby and hold it and feed it and look into its perfect little face and rock it and love it and goo-goo ga-ga.”
I concur with this statement on some level.  Yes, that’s lovely.  Especially the first few nights (assuming you and the new bambino have the whole feeding thing down).  It’s just magical and fabulous and perfect to spend that quality time with your newborn child.
But then something happens.  Suddenly you’re a month into the whole baby thing and the kid is still getting up three or four times a night.  It’s cold.  You’re tired.  And, mostly, you’re bored.  (I know some people can fall asleep during the late night feedings, but I find this nearly impossible.)  
So you think, “I’ll just turn on the TV.  It’s 2:30 AM and I have 65 million cable channels.  There has to be something to watch.”
I’m here to tell you this: There is not.
Roughly 95% of all post-1:00 AM TV is infomercials.  If that’s your bag, then you’re all set.  Back when my son was a newborn, I had the Olympics to keep me company and Nick at Nite was showing Full House and Fresh Prince.  Not great programming, but at least somewhat entertaining.  
It took me a while to figure out with my first kid how to make the late night feedings as pleasurable as possible for me.  First I went the DVD route (of course it’s helpful to have a DVD player in your bedroom or at least on the same floor as the baby).  Half-hour sitcoms are the best bet for these feedings, mostly because each episode lasts about the length of a feeding.  My favorites from back then were Cheers and Spaced.
A little while later I decided to start using the time to catch up on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report on the DVR.  This proved to be a great success, and I expanded my repertoire to include cooking shows and other talk shows.  The DVR is a wonderful thing.
However, if you find yourself in a pinch and need to know what to watch on live TV at 3:00 AM, here are your five best bets:

Your Late Night TV Options:
1. Nick at Nite: My Wife and Kids, Everybody Hates Chris, The Nanny, Home Improvement. These shows are no Full House or Fresh Prince, but at least they’re brief, easy to watch, and not trying to sell me Shake Weights. 
2. ESPN just keeps showing SportsCenter over and over and over.
3. NBC shows reruns of the previous day’s programming (like Leno and whatnot), so this is a good way to catch up on Meet the Press at 3:00 AM on Monday mornings.
4. USA shows Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order: Criminal Intent reruns. (The only trouble with these hour-long shows is that they might suck you in and keep you awake much longer than you’d hoped.  I always ran into this problem when I was feeding my son during the Olympics.  I just really, really needed to see the outcome of the 6 trillion meter swim-a-thon!)
5. E! has reruns of all their reality shows that I’ve never watched, so maybe you can finally take the time to figure out what these K-named people are all about.
What are your late night TV solutions?  


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  • I had two nursing kids and never watched TV, but if I did it again I would for sure follow your list. I would DVR anything that looks appealing and use that as your time. But, does your husband complain about the TV waking him up? Good luck on the new baby's arrival.

  • In reply to bethprystowsky:

    Thanks! My husband never really complained about the TV waking him up, but then we used to fall asleep with the TV on all the time. Not so much anymore, so this could prove to be interesting :)

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