Breastfeeding in the Age of Distraction: The Mobile Phone Dilemma

Like it? Share it!


The Effects of Using Your Mobile Phone While Breastfeeding: What Every Parent Should Know

In today’s digitally connected world, it’s not uncommon for parents to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously, including caring for their newborns while staying connected through their mobile devices.

However, the practice of using a mobile phone while breastfeeding or bottle feeding raises concerns, and prompts questions, about its potential impact on both you, the mum and your baby. While of course, convenience may seem tempting, and it may start off as just a ‘one off’ but we all know how smartphone creep can set in so easily so it’s essential to understand the potential consequences of multitasking in this context of breastfeeding your baby.

Read more about Beyond the Bottle: How Mobile Phones Shape Baby Bonding & Wellbeing. Some Food for Thought!

The act of breastfeeding is a crucial bonding experience between a mother and her baby, providing not only essential nutrition but also emotional comfort and security. Distractions during this intimate moment can disrupt the connection and potentially affect both the breastfeeding experience and the well-being of the baby.

Here’s what happens if you use a mobile phone while breastfeeding:

Diminished Bonding: Breastfeeding is a time for mothers to focus solely on their babies, fostering a strong emotional bond through eye contact, skin-to-skin contact, and nurturing touch. When a mother’s attention is divided between her phone and her baby, this crucial bonding opportunity may be compromised, leading to feelings of detachment and disconnection.

Reduced Milk Supply: Breastfeeding is a delicate process influenced by various factors, including hormonal balance and the mother’s emotional state. Research suggests that stress and anxiety can negatively impact milk production. Constantly checking notifications, scrolling through social media feeds, or engaging in phone conversations while breastfeeding can elevate stress levels, potentially leading to a decrease in milk supply over time.

Disrupted Feeding Cues: Babies rely on subtle cues from their mothers to regulate their feeding patterns effectively. When a mother is engrossed in her mobile phone, she may miss important cues from her baby signalling hunger, satiety, or discomfort. This can result in overfeeding, underfeeding, or a disrupted feeding schedule, which may contribute to digestive issues, weight gain problems, or sleep disturbances in babies.

Limited Interaction and Stimulation: The act of breastfeeding goes beyond providing nourishment; it’s also a time for interaction and stimulation between the mother and the baby. Eye contact, facial expressions, and responsive communication are vital for the baby’s cognitive and social development. Using a mobile phone distracts a mother from engaging fully with her baby, potentially depriving the infant of essential social interaction and cognitive stimulation during this critical developmental stage.

Radiation from the gadgets: Babies’ bodies are so little that they easily absorb those harmful rays that are emitted from your smartphone. It is really dangerous for them to absorb such harmful materials as it could alter their genetic construction or may even promote the growth of cancerous cells. Radiation is also known to hamper the brain’s developmental processes.

Less oxytocin release: When a mum is distracted by her phone during breastfeeding, it can lead to a less enjoyable experience for both the mother and the baby. The baby may become fussy or stop feeding, and the mother may feel stressed or distracted, which can interfere with the release of the hormone oxytocin, responsible for milk let-down.

Increased Risk of Accidents: Multitasking while breastfeeding poses safety risks for both the mother and the baby. Holding a phone while nursing can lead to accidental drops or falls, potentially causing injuries to the baby. Also distracted breastfeeding increases the likelihood of improper latching on, which may result in nipple pain, soreness, or injuries for the mother.

Modelling Behaviour: Parents play a significant role in shaping their children’s behaviour and habits. Constantly using a mobile phone during breastfeeding may inadvertently model distracted behaviour for your baby, setting a precedent for future interactions and relationships. Children learn by observing and imitating their parents, so prioritising undivided attention during breastfeeding sets a positive example for healthy bonding and communication.

So, while it may be tempting to multitask by using a mobile phone while breastfeeding, the potential consequences far outweigh the convenience. Breastfeeding is a precious opportunity for mothers to connect with their babies on a physical, emotional, and psychological level. By minimising distractions and prioritising uninterrupted bonding time during breastfeeding, you can foster a nurturing environment that promotes your baby’s best infant development and wellbeing and also strengthens your parent-child relationship.

Breastfeeding is a special time for both mothers and babies, and it is important to find a balance between technology use and creating a positive experience. By setting boundaries, taking breaks from technology, and prioritising your time with your baby, you can minimise distractions and maximise the benefits of this really special time.

Whether you are using your mobile phone to access resources or simply taking a break from technology, it is important to be mindful of the impact it can have on your feeding relationship with your baby. Remember, feeding is about forming a bond and providing essential nutrients to your baby, so make the most of this precious and special time by being fully present and fully engaged.

Let’s prioritise mindful parenting practices that prioritise the well-being and needs of both you and your baby.

Related Articles

The Sue Atkins

Parenting Show

Discussing every possible aspect of parenting, giving you advice and support on topics which affect your daily life. Each free, weekly episode is bursting with practical tips, techniques and ideas.

Hi, I'm Sue Atkins

I will teach you my no-nonsense, simple techniques & give you hundreds of my expert parenting articles, videos & podcasts so you can get back to the business of having fun with your family!

As Seen or heard in