Are you guilty of this, moms? Here are the reasons why mobile phone use and breastfeeding should not be done at the same time.
What can you read in this article?
- Using mobile phone near newborn – is this safe?
- What’s the advisable cell phone distance from baby?
- What to do while breastfeeding other than looking at your phone
Breastfeeding is a wonderful experience. It’s a privilege mothers have to be able to nourish and nurture their child. But even this loving and special act can seem like a routine at times. And moms are master multi-taskers, so they often try to juggle several tasks, like reaching for their mobile phone while nursing to make the most of their time. But do mobile phone use and breastfeeding go together?
More often than not, I am guilty of using my mobile phone while breastfeeding. As a working mom, I don’t have a lot of free time on my hands, so every minute counts.
So while I’m breastfeeding my son (which takes around only 15 minutes now, as he’s a toddler), I try to check my emails, catch up on social media, and cross things off my checklist like buying diapers online or looking up tickets for our upcoming vacation. Those are some things I don’t have time to sit down and do, so I try to squeeze them between the “free” time I have breastfeeding my son.
However, I have been guilty of being too preoccupied with my phone that I hadn’t noticed that he already dozed off. And a few times, I accidentally dropped my phone on my toddler’s head. During those times, I get a huge wave of mom guilt and swear that I would keep my cell phone at a safe distance from my baby.
Mobile phone use and breastfeeding: Is it ever okay?
Though you might not be as dependent on your phone as others, there’s no denying that we live in an age when our mobile phones have become like an extra limb. It’s how we connect with family and friends, share our daily lives and immerse ourselves in the experiences of others.
But being too glued to our mobile phones can cause us to miss out on the life experiences unfolding right in front of us.
Yes, phones are important, but quality time with our little ones should be a higher priority.
Responding to texts or messages while breastfeeding — especially if they are urgent — is fine. Being so rapt in your phone screen that you no longer look at your baby while breastfeeding is another story.
Why mobile phone use and breastfeeding should not become a habit
It’s never right to shame moms, because like mom Anya Kamenetz wrote in TIME, using her phone while breastfeeding is something more of a necessity than a distraction. But it is still worth exploring how phone-distracted parenting while breastfeeding can be harmful to babies and may be depriving moms of special moments.
1. Mobile phone use while breastfeeding run the risk of radiation exposure.
Mobile phones do emit radiations that your tiny baby can absorb. While cell phone radiations are usually inconstant, they can still affect or damage a baby’s DNA structure, brain cells, and can cause cancer and other diseases. And if you do this often (which is almost 24/7 for new moms), it might increase the risk as well. This is a good reason why using your mobile phone near your newborn might not be a good idea.
So what’s a safe cell phone distance from a baby? Experts believe it should be at least 3 feet away from your baby at all times.
2. Mobile phone use and breastfeeding interfere with eye contact
If you’re looking at your phone constantly while nursing, you could be missing out on good ol’ eye contact with your baby.
And eye contract while breastfeeding proved to help strengthen the bond with your child. Past research has noted how eye contact, especially during the first six months of life, strengthens attachment between mother and child.
Previous studies have even found that maintaining eye contact with your baby boosts their future communication and learning skills. It puts mom and baby’s brains and even emotions “in sync.”
3. Mobile phone use and breastfeeding divides your attention
Because you’re distracted, you won’t notice your baby’s tiny cues.
“The advent of mobile technology means that parent-child exchanges are often fraught with unpredictable interruptions,” writes developmental expert Kathy Hirsh-Pasek in a research paper.
Don’t let your dependence on mobile phones rob you of the fleeting moments of motherhood!
4. Mobile phone use and breastfeeding can cause your baby to struggle to be noticed
In an attempt to get your attention, your little one might try to babble or even pull your face towards them. Though these gestures are adorable, this can condition them to become more sensitive the next time around.
In fact, a past study called the “still face” experiment found that children notice their parents’ blank expressions. In the study, they found that babies whose parents don’t seem to acknowledge their bids for attention lash out. They seek to be noticed by other adults in a room. Their stress hormones peak and when this happens again weeks later, they’ll cry and panic even more quickly.
There are other risks, too, like radiation exposure and potentially problematic behavioral problems in the future.
Plugged-in parenting: Being glued to your mobile phone is hurting your family, new study finds
Pag-gamit ng cellphone, nakaka-cancer nga ba?
Cellphone-distracted parenting can hinder your child’s brain development, says study
What you can do while breastfeeding that doesn’t include a phone
Eye contact while breastfeeding. | Image from Shutterstock
So you want to break the habit of using your mobile phone while breastfeeding, but what is there to do while nursing baby? We can think of a few ideas:
- Talk to your baby – Maintaining eye contact is crucial during the first 6 months of life so your baby will be accustomed to your face. It also makes us more aware of your babies’ needs.
- Read to your newborn – Studies show that when you read to your baby, you stimulate brain development and sharpen language skills.
- When you’re certain that the baby is in a safe place, you can also catch a few zzz’s. Remember what they always say, “Sleep when the baby sleeps.”
- Drink water – Breastfeeding moms are always at risk of getting dehydrated, so it’s always best to drink up while baby is busy so you can stay healthy.
- Catch up with other members of the family – if you’ve been too preoccupied with the baby, then use the quiet time to catch up with other members of the family who are also in the house.
Sometimes, we really can’t help it. Our mobile phones are necessary to connect us to the world, to get our jobs done. But what matters most is that moms take control of mobile phone use, without letting it rob them of the joys of being truly in the moment throughout their motherhood journey.
Moms, using your phone while breastfeeding doesn’t make us bad mothers. But we can certainly be better ones by being more present in our children’s lives even when we’re nursing them. Savor it, mommies. This stage doesn’t last forever.
Republished with permission from theAsianParent Singapore
TIME, The Gottman Institute