There are questions we all have to answer in this day and age about how much, how often, when and where we choose to pick up our phones. Sometimes we’re reading emails from work, or answering texts from friends or family or looking up a recipe for dinner, and other times we might be scrolling through Facebook or keeping up with the latest snark on the news on Twitter.
The truth is that your kids have no idea what the difference is – they see you staring at your phone and they know you’re not paying attention to them, full stop.
It’s complicated, and we all have to decide for ourselves what we want technology in our homes to look like.
I’m on SCBU with my 5 day old. This poster makes me sad… pic.twitter.com/GYDgcgUtN2
— Ash Cottrell (@dr_cottrella) January 5, 2020
The personal nature of those choices is probably why new parents want to snarl at a hospital poster suggesting they’re going to screw up their brand-new bundle by picking up their phones instead of staring lovingly into their sleeping (or screaming) faces.
When you’ve got a baby cluster feeding for hours it tends to get a little boring. There I said it! 😳😂
— Lettie Head (@letties_MH) January 6, 2020
Even worse – this was posted in a U.K. version of a NICU, meaning that the parents there spend long, stressful hours waiting for the day they can take their child home.
Yea babies are much more interesting than our phones but we also need advice or support or connect with other people when feeling very lonely in hospital. Babies are super cute but not great conversationalists and the middle of the night can feel very overwhelming x
— Aimee Feltham (@AimeeRFeltham) January 6, 2020
And, if they’re anything like me (who had a healthy, if pissy, newborn), most of the things they’re staring at on their device are answers to panicked questions about all things baby and motherhood.
Gosh, that I so wrong of them to suggest it’s ‘bad parenting.’ Phones are a lifeline to well wishes, normality and so much more when you have a newborn / are in hospital. Wishing you well.
— JulieThompsonDredge (@FramePRUK) January 5, 2020
The sign reads “Mummy and Daddy, Please look at ME when I am feeding. I am much more interesting than your phone!!”
Surely, the person who wrote it intended it as a reminder of the importance of bonding, but it definitely comes across as shaming in a place where added stress is the very last thing anyone needs.
I don’t agree at all. Whatever gets you all through the night is fine. SCBU/NICU parenting is stressful enough, let people find connection and distraction wherever they want to. And manage their own lives. No guilt for not gazing at baby 24/7, thanks
— 𝙲𝚊𝚝𝚛𝚎𝚎𝚎𝚎𝚗𝚊 (@Catreeeena) January 6, 2020
During those long, late hours spent feeding, worrying, and just disconnected from the real world in general, our devices can be like a lifeline to other people – something not to be discounted, even if moderation is obviously key.
When your baby is in SCBU you have no option than to sit and look at your baby. All day. For hours. You can’t take them home & cuddle & snuggle & be mum. If, for some of those hours, you look at your phone to relieve the tedium of hours on the ward, nobody should tell you off.
— G Paris (@WifieParis) January 6, 2020
The Yeovil District Hospital responded to the outcry with a statement:
“These posters were created by our Special Care Baby Unit nurses following UNICEF baby-friendly accreditation training and have been in place for a few months. They are intended to be used only within the context of the unit, where we support mums of premature or very poorly babies in building a healthy connection.”
Twitter clapbacked at that as well…
Dear new parent in an impossibly scary and worrying situation – we, your baby’s caregivers, will use emotional manipulation while leaving kisses & pretending to be the voice of your child. We hope you continue to trust us to make good decisions for your little one
— Charlie Briar (@charlie_girl) January 5, 2020
Which is fine, but someone should definitely work on their wording. A simple statement about the importance of bonding with premature infants would have sufficed.
Postpartum is a hard enough time, and we’re already questioning literally everything we’re doing – the last thing new parents need is the hospital staff pouring on more of the same.
What do you think? Good reminder or should the hospital just mind their own business?
Let us know in the comments!