Using your phone while breastfeeding – do they go together? Is it really safe to do both at the same time? Here’s what nursing mums should consider.
Breastfeeding a baby does seem like too much idle time to not do anything; that’s why mums often scroll through their phones while they breastfeed. If you’re doing that right now, you might want to put a pin on reading until you’re done feeding your bub.
Now, let us explain why using your phone while breastfeeding is not a good idea. A study confirms that the use of mobile phones and other electronic gadgets during breastfeeding can cause long-term harm to babies. So, if you want to better understand how and why this happens, better read on:
Mobile Phones and Radiation
Before we discuss the effect of radiation on babies, you first need to understand mobile phones and radiation. Any wireless device (like your phone) gives off microwave radiation – otherwise known as MWR. MWR is a possible Class 2B carcinogen (causes cancer). Radiation from mobile phones has been linked to cancer and developmental disorders.
So, the danger in using your mobile phone while breastfeeding is the fact that fetuses or babies are more at risk of absorbing MWR. In fact, a child’s brain tissues are more likely to absorb two times more MWR than an adult’s brain tissues can.
That’s because they are much closer to the device, and their skin and bone layers are much thinner than adults’ skin and bone layers. Your child’s bone marrow can absorb 10x higher MWR than an adult’s bone marrow can.
So, if you don’t want your son or your daughter possibly catching cancer, stop using your phone while you’re breastfeeding.
Breaking the Bond
Image Source: iStock
Firstly, Dr. Kateyune Kaeni, a specialist in maternal mental health from the Pomona Valley Medical Center in California, says that looking at your phone rather than making eye contact with your child while breastfeeding affects your vital bonding time.
Why is eye contact important? Because that is the best way to attain maternal attachment with your child. Dr Kaeni says,
“When babies are first born their vision is only basically from the breast to the mother’s face. That’s as far as they can see. So babies do a lot of staring and bonding in that way,” she elaborates.
Keeping this eye contact is also said to sync the child’s and the mother’s emotions and brains, which are vital to enhancing your little one’s communication skills.
And, what gets in the way of that eye contact? Your mobile phone. So, lock eyes with your bub and stop using your phone while breastfeeding.
It’s so easy to think that your child is too young to remember whether you’ve ignored them or not. Unfortunately, that is just not the case. Your consistent response to their call for help or attention sticks with them and conditions them to think you will react the same way should they attempt to call your attention again.
Dr Kaeni can confirm this claim because she says:
“If your baby is trying to make contact with you by noises or smiles and they can’t, and they learn over time that they can’t rely on you to respond. It runs the risk of them becoming either anxiously attached to you or insecurely attached to you and they will ramp up their behaviour until you pay attention.”
You want your child to know that you are going to respond whenever they call your attention. So, in order to do that, you have to keep that mobile phone away from your child as possible.
Apart from being a Class 2B carcinogen, mobile phones are 100% successful at distracting you. So, when you use them while you’re breastfeeding, you won’t be able to pick up cues like when the baby is full or if the baby is still hungry or if the latch is not secure.
You want your baby to get the most out of your breast milk. You’re not sitting in that breastfeeding chair, hunched over your child, letting them suck off your nipples for nothing.
So, when you’re breastfeeding, give your 100% focus, because 5 times out of 10, you’re going to struggle with latching – among other things that make breastfeeding a source of stress. And, when you focus more on your child and how they’re breastfeeding, you’ll be able to better understand what you’re doing wrong.
Focusing on breastfeeding also helps you notice and keep track of your child’s nursing patterns. Your child grows up, goes through changes such as having more teeth, and changes their nursing patterns. So, if you want to keep up with that, put away your phone.
Suggested Bonding Activities While Breastfeeding
1. Talk and sing to your baby
Your baby is still familiarising himself or herself with your voice. So use this opportunity to talk to them and sing to them. Plus, there are so many benefits of talking and singing to your baby.
For one, talking to your baby improves their language skills. When you talk to your baby, they hear the sounds coming out of your mouth and learn to coo. Cooing is a sign that your child is beginning to try their hand at communicating with you apart from smiling and crying. And, they also learn how to make other sounds when you talk to them because they imitate what you do.
Then, you have the benefits of music on children. Not only can your singing put your child to sleep while you breastfeed them. But you can also strengthen their brain development.
2. Touch is a powerful thing
If your child is being fussy while you breastfeed them, some cuddling, stroking, rocking, and caressing from you can calm them down.
Such acts are not only the needed skin-to-skin contact you and your child are supposed to have but are also ways for you to make them feel safe. So some skin-to-skin contact or kangaroo care is definitely a much more recommendable bonding activity to do while breastfeeding your child.
3. Get hubby involved too
Breastfeeding does not have to be a solo act. Get your husband to join in while both of you bond with your little one during these precious moments. Experts have seen the impact of early bonding on the emotional and rational development between dads and their newborns.
Husbands can talk and sing to your baby too if your talking and singing are not enough. If your husband is a bit extra, they can read your baby some stories to get their imagination going and their language skills improving.
We know that we don’t mean your baby any harm, and using your phone while breastfeeding can just be your way to be more productive or to pass the time. But think of the time that you could’ve spent bonding with your baby.
We highly support that and hope you gather enough strength to keep away from your phone while you bond with your child, because it’s not going to be easy. This generation of parents grew up with technology. So, it’s going to be a struggle to be away from your phone.
But, we promise – that bond that you will create with your newborn while you breastfeed is going to be a collection of memories that will be the one for the books.
Image Source: Stock
Updates from Kim Brua
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