Texting while driving? I wouldn’t dream of it. But texting while breastfeeding? Guilty as charged. And in truth, I never really thought about it until now. I’ve been nursing my twins for 10 months, since their birth, and I routinely grab my iPhone on my way to the couch. I text, surf the web, and catch up on email while the boys are happily eating. In fact – guilty confession – the chance to fire off a few texts is one of the things I look forward to most about nursing sessions.
So what’s the problem?
This forthcoming study, which examined the science of interpersonal connections. The author suggests that texting while breastfeeding may “leave life-limiting fingerprints on [a child’s] gene expression.” Yikes! For someone who avoided sandwich meat when she was pregnant because there is a slight risk to the fetus from listeria bacteria, this other risk sounds gravely serious.
But how bad is it, really?
I absolutely understand the argument that in order to really connect with your child – or anyone, face-to-face – one must disconnect from technology. I can’t interact with the twins when I’m glued to my laptop or my phone. I don’t even take my phone into the playroom with me. Just as when I’m out for lunch with a friend, and I make a conscious effort to leave my phone in my bag, when I’m spending time with my sons I make a conscious effort to give them my full attention.
But when I’m breastfeeding? I don’t know about you, but it hasn’t been one of the more obvious “bonding” experiences I’ve had with the boys. They rarely even look at me. Often their eyes are closed and they’re half asleep, oblivious to my presence, in a happy milk coma. What’s required of me here? An adoring gaze? Positive vibes?
I thought I had earned a pass from the huge dose of mom guilt that is usually doled out when parents make the breast vs. bottle decision. We struggled with nursing twins, we persevered, and with a lot of luck and hard work, nursing has worked for us. Now I find out that nursing my boys isn’t enough – I have to be fully emotionally and mentally present while I’m doing it? Come on. At the risk of sounding selfish, what about me?
These days I spend about two hours a day on the couch nursing the boys. Back in the early days it was much, much more. Thanks to my smartphone, I get to spend that time connecting with my friends, catching up on the news, and enjoying a mental break – making me a better, more relaxed mother with stronger connections to the outside world. And I can do this while simultaneously ensuring my sons are well nourished. I call that a win-win.
(Image credit: ALT1040 from Blogosfera [CC-BY-SA-2.0] )