Before giving birth to our son, I considered myself to be an open book when it came to sharing aspects of my life via social media. Whether it was sharing our pregnancy announcement just mere days into my second trimester or snapping the perfect photo to announce our son’s name and gender to our loved ones, I was beyond excited to add every milestone of our first pregnancy to my “online journal” or as it’s formally known, Facebook and Instagram. It wasn’t until my doctor placed our son on my chest that my mindset completely shifted.
While the days following the birth of our son were a blur of postpartum hormones and newborn smiles, one thing I knew for certain was that I wanted to protect my son’s innocence at all costs, especially when it came to social media.
If you’re contemplating your social media boundaries as a new parent, read on for my tips. I hope they help you create your plan for sharing your little one online!
1. Consider Switching Your Account to Private:
One of the first adjustments I made to my social media account shortly after my son was born was to my privacy settings. In addition, I scrolled through my followers and removed anyone I did not know personally. While this may sound like a tedious task, I had plenty of time during those late-night feedings or middle-of-the-night wake windows to instill these new parameters. If the thought of removing friends and followers sounds overwhelming, start by switching your account from public to private and monitor any future friend requests.
2. Get Creative In How You Share:
For the first 3-months of our son’s life, we decided not to share his face online. We shared images of his little hands and feet when we announced his arrival or shared updates. We decided to text and Facetime our loved ones personally so they could see those cute little cheeks, and I could hear how much he looked like me–a sweet reward after pregnancy and labor!
Other options for sharing photos with close friends and family: create a “close friends” segment for your Instagram stories, where you select the people who see your updates! You can also invite family and friends to join a shared photo album on iPhoto or Google Drive.
3. Disclosing Location and Details:
As we started to share more online, I made sure to keep the details of our outings private. It’s very easy to snap a cute photo of your child at the playground, tag your location, and click post. But you might want to think twice: do you really want the world to know where you live, where your child attends daycare, or when you’re not at home? If you snap a cute photo of your child at the park or science museum and want to share it with your followers, wait to post, and make sure the location and any identifying factors are hidden or blurred out.
4. Consider the Future:
Babies’ antics and firsts can be funny, but those babies will one day be teens and young adults. While we may think a video of their first time trying solids is adorable, we have to ask ourselves how they’ll feel when they see their photos plastered on the internet, wearing nothing but a diaper and blueberry puree. We all know what it’s like to look back on past Facebook statuses and cringe a little (or a lot), so do your best to filter your posts through the question, “How will my child feel about this later?”
5. Communicate Boundaries to Family and Friends:
Communication is vital when it comes to what photos and information you’d like others to share about your child. Share your social media boundaries with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends. They might not understand your reasoning at first, but kindly and clearly share the limits and your reasons why. Keep the conversation open because your boundaries may change over time
6. Reserve The Right To Change Your Mind:
No matter your social media boundaries, you reserve the right to change your mind in the future. Motherhood has taught me that while my children are evolving and changing, so am I. You know your family best, so make the social media decisions that work best for you in each season of life.
Social media can be an amazing resource for new moms, providing connection and advice on everything from wake windows to teething remedies. It can also be a beautiful tool for documenting and sharing special milestones and joyous moments of motherhood. No matter how you use it, I hope these tips help you create intentional boundaries that fit your family perfectly!