The short answer? No. You shouldn’t be using a cellphone while breastfeeding because it can be very harmful to
your baby. And there are some very serious scientific studies to support this idea. If you aren’t sold on this idea just yet, then you should really read on until the end of this article so you can get a better understanding of how cell phone usage affects breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding can be very tedious and time-consuming process especially when your baby just isn’t latching on to your breasts. You might be tempted to just kill time by browsing on your phone instead of actually devoting all of your attention to your baby. And you might think that this is a completely harmless thing but you are actually negatively affecting the health and wellness of your baby, especially in the long-term.
Based on the studies and findings of Dr. Kateyne Kaaeni, an expert psychologist from the Pomona Valley Medical Center found in California, it’s very dangerous for a mother to be browsing through her phone instead of actually paying attention to her child. This is mostly because when the mother fails to establish eye-contact with the child during the breastfeeding process, it can severely affect the establishment of the bond between a mother and child. There’s always something so intimate about being able to look another person in the eyes. And make no mistake about it: breastfeeding is a very intimate process. As a mother, you are nourishing and strengthening your child with your own breast. And you don’t want to let such a moment pass you by. You always want to be living in that moment. You don’t want to be taking it for granted. Both you and your child will have a stronger bond if you just look at each other in the eyes.
Dr. Kaeni also believes that “When babies are first born their vision is only basically from the breast to the mothers face. That’s as far as they can see. So babies do a lot of staring and bonding in that way.” Dr. Kaeni firmly believes that it is absolutely integral that a mother is able to actively participate in the bonding process with her child while breastfeeding because this can have long-term effects on their relationships in the distant future. “If 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 behavior until you pay attention.”, says Dr. Kaeni.
In addition to that Dr. Kaeni also believes that a smartphone can serve as a detrimental distraction from the entire process which could lead to poor breastfeeding techniques. “Distraction such as a smartphone could mean mums are missing cues that baby is full or they’re still hungry or their latch isn’t secure or if they are having trouble swallowing,” added the Dr. Kaeni who happens to specialize in maternal health.
In addition to that, Terry Bretscher, one of the nurses who assist Dr. Kaeni in their day-to-day work, says that in this day and age, mothers seem to be overly focused on their smartphones to an almost unhealthy degree. Yes, it’s true that we want to be able to share our lives with those around us most especially when we’re going through such a milestone as raising a child. A mother will want to share as many details as she can about her child with her friends and family. And that’s all fine. No one is going to crucify you for that. However, you should never be sharing too much of that about your own life at the expense of the intimacy you share with your child. You always need to be able to devote more attention to your children especially as you nurse them because your child is still trying to get used to a whole new environment. As a mother, it is your job to make sure that your child understands that you are a constant presence in their life.
Terry says that “You assist them latching on and you can see the phone buzzing, they’re getting an alert or something, and you see their eyes move down and look at it. Sometimes they will actually answer that right then and we go, ‘well let’s work on this now.’ It is very hard to bond and talk to the baby if you are on the phone.”
Lastly, the electromagnetic radiation that is released from smartphones while you use them can potentially be harmful to your child. Remember that your infant is very fragile and you will want to keep them as safe as possible from any potential threats.