Gather ’round, Moms: it’s time for your weekly shaming. The internet is all abuzz this week about “brexting,” which is an acronym for breastfeeding while texting, and it’s just the latest way you’re supposedly harming your baby.
The term has been popular on parenting message boards for a while, where moms have gone back and forth about the evils of checking Instagram and typing emails while you’ve got a baby on the boob. Now, according to a segment on Southern California Public Radio (SCPR), medical experts are beginning to caution against the practice as well, citing studies that say feeds are an essential time for mother-baby bonding.
Dr. Kateyune Kaeni, a psychologist specializing in maternal mental health, told SCPR that “distracted mothers” — which is the cool new term for moms who dare to focus on anything besides their child — could be “missing cues that babies are full or they’re still hungry or their latch isn’t secure or if they are having trouble swallowing.”
She adds, “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.”
Just picture that new nursing mom. She’s in the first few weeks of her baby’s life, still trying to figure it all out. She’s having a hard time breastfeeding so she consults her Facebook breastfeeding group for a mid-feed pep talk, or she scans Instagram briefly to distract her from how stressed out she is — maybe she even needs to play Angry Birds so she doesn’t fall asleep and drop her baby because she’s been up feeding every two hours for God knows how long.
But wait, here comes the brexting brigade to let her know that by doing so, she’s teaching her baby that it can’t rely on her to respond to its needs. Nurses in California hospitals tell SCPR they’re even finding time to counsel nursing moms about their phone usage and remind them that it could damage their ability to bond. Are you fucking kidding me? If someone came to my hospital room to coach me on how to use my phone, I’d smack them with it.
Here’s a revolutionary idea: stop finding new and creative ways to make moms feel bad for being human. Feeding is a special time, but you know what? It also happens every three hours and we’ve got shit to do. Instead of having experts weigh in on the damaging effects of infant exposure to Candy Crush and that one time you smoked pot in seventh grade, maybe we could do a study on how it feels to raise a kid with everyone shouting at you that everything you do is wrong. Something tells me the results of that one would be pretty damn scary.