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There’s a new wave of mothers who are texting and plugging in to the Internet quite a bit while breastfeeding. Author and midwife Jodilyn Owen, CPM, LM, recently asked a group of new moms what it looks like when they’re feeding their babies and, “Almost all of them mimicked holding the baby in one hand and frantic thumb movements on an imaginary phone in the other.” Owen goes on to say that this reminds her of research related to texting and driving and uses her article to try and sort out if tech while breastfeeding is just a basic fact of life or a bad idea. Owen raises some interesting points, such as:
- In today’s world we have to know that technology is ever-present and so we have to work with it.
- Many women today get ahead in the workplace by being tech savvy, so it’s no surprise that they may try to tackle parenting by also being tech savvy.
- Research shows that as we text, our breathing can become rapid, shallow, or non-existent and our body temp rises and we end up sharing those hormonal symptoms with whoever is close to us — and in the case of breastfeeding, that’s a baby. Owen relates this to the science of kangaroo care and skin-to-skin with babies. This research shows that babies often mimic their mother’s heart rate, breathing and temperature just by being close to them in proximity.
Due to the physical, not to mention, emotional connection mothers have with their babies, the consequences of texting, surfing the Internet and not interacting with your baby while feeding him may be problematic in the long-term. Especially because we know baby-mama bonding involves looking into your baby’s eyes and talking to your little one. If you’re catching up with your email or Facebook instead of bonding while breastfeeding, how can you learn to unplug more often? Keep reading for a few tips.
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Honestly, I understand why people might text while feeding their baby. I breastfed my son and thought it was pretty boring. I mean, not a lot is going on, you know? I didn’t have a cell phone when my son was a baby, but I did read books often, so maybe I didn’t bond with him as much as I could have. I think people in general don’t like being bored and they love to double task. It makes sense to text, surf the web and breastfeed — especially today because tech is ever present and ultra useful for mothers. That said, unplugging is very much a skill people also need to learn, especially when it comes to babies. As Owen says, unplugging is important because parenting, “Can be hard, and confusing, and there’s no “Help” button in the upper left corner of the baby.” Owen says the best thing mothers can do is learn to create a balance that works for each mother, baby and the bonding process. She suggests new mothers try the following:
- If you’re continually catching up on web-based and phone-based tasks while breastfeeding, “Take intentional, slow, deep belly breaths while you do it.” This ensures your breathing is relaxed which in turn means your baby is calm, not frantic.
- Make sure you divide phone time and baby time fairly. For example, if you need to catch up on texts, do so, but also make sure to spend at least 3 or 5 minutes, eye gazing and talking with your baby too.
Remember, if you’re bottle feeding, and even when your baby switches to solids, you should also spend time bonding without your phone getting in the way.