There's a new term that's aimed at shaming mothers who breastfeed while holding their smartphone next to their babies. The word is called "brexting" and it was coined by the media following psychologist Katayune Kaeni's statements about why this habit could be bad for the baby.
"When babies are first born their vision is only basically from the breast to the mothers face," Kaeni said in her interview with the Southern California Public Radio. "That's as far as they can see. So babies do a lot of staring and bonding in that way."
Whenever a mother is breastfeeding her baby on one arm while holding a smartphone on the other hand, she "could be missing cues that they're full or they're still hungry or their latch isn't secure or if they are having trouble swallowing," Keani adds.
The psychologist is concerned that the distraction is greatly affecting breastfeeding time. "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 your or insecurely attached to you and they will ramp up their behavior until you pay attention," said Kaeni.
As brexting becomes more common, given how many parents own smartphones, some mothers defend the habit.
"I 'brext'. A lot. I do divide my attention between breastfeeding and texting; finger painting and Facebook, and sand-pit supervision and tweeting. It's not just words that can be blended, thoughts and activities can too, perhaps especially if you're a woman, born as we are to multi-task," wrote Milli Hill via Telegraph.
For another mother, brexting helps her from falling asleep, especially when feeding the baby means a mom has to be up for hours late at night. The glow of the smartphone while perusing Facebook and other sites on the internet helps manage the feeding times. "My son couldn't care less if I'm paying attention to him while he is half asleep breastfeeding, and I need something to keep me awake. When my arm drops even a little it scared him so I need to be kept awake. Lol. I guess people can judge me. Oh well," the mother said, according to Made For Mums.
"I think it's important to look at bonding over the full 24 hours of the day. It doesn't happen just at certain points or during certain activities," said Anna Quenault, a lactation consultant, via Fairfax New Zealand Limited. "If a mother has spent time interacting with her baby by singing, massaging, babywearing and playing, then I can't imagine that catching up with emails or Facebook while having a breastfeed is too detrimental."
As with anything, striving to keep a balance is most important, Quenault suggested. "I don't think we should be putting more restrictions on mothers who are trying to do their best. It can be pretty stressful trying to be a perfect mum."
Also bear in mind the bacteria and viruses that fester on cellphones. To learn more about dirty cell phones and how to clean them, click here.