'This Makes Me Sad': Parents Divided Over Hospital Sign Hanging In NICU
A sign put up on a wall in a hospital ward in the United Kingdom has been met with mixed reactions by parents online.
The sign, which appeared in Yeovil District Hospital in Somerset, read: “Mummy and Daddy... Please look at ME when I am feeding, I am much more interesting than your phone!! Thank you xxxxxx”
The sign also contains a photo of a mobile phone with a big red cross through it and a baby wrapped up in a blue baby blanket.
The poster was said to be put up to encourage new mothers not to look at their phones while breastfeeding their babies, though it clearly references both mums and dads.
New parent, Ash Cottrell, who also happens to be a doctor, was in the neonatal intensive care unit with his five-day-old baby when he was affronted by the messaging in the sign.
Cottrell shared a photo of the sign on Twitter, writing: "I'm on the SCBU with my five-day-old. This poster makes me sad."
The Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) is typically referred to as a Special Care Unit in US hospitals.
The poster caused a number of parents to comment, with many suggesting the sign was 'shaming' new mums who are often at their most vulnerable after giving birth.
"Oh no! Awful poster. I was in SCBU with a five-day-old and my phone was a lifeline," one wrote.
I was isolated and frightened (we’d been readmitted) and my phone meant I could stay in touch with people and read up on what had happened to us. Good luck to you!
"I would’ve gone mad without my phone when my baby was in intensive care for a week," another added.
"I think perhaps the person who designed this poster hasn’t had the experience! Hope your baby is doing well."
However many other parents pointed out the sign only suggested to put the mobile phone away while breastfeeding, not at all times.
"The point is WHILE the baby is nursing that you not be on the phone. It does NOT say never be on the phone again," a commenter wrote.
You need distraction in there. I know that. Use your phone the rest of the time. Talk to the baby, sing, laugh and love this special time!
According to lactation expert Pinky McKay, engaging with a baby through skin to skin and eye contact is important in establishing a bond and also aids in the release of oxytocin, which helps to increase the supply of breastmilk in mothers.
"Engaging with your baby through massage incorporates all the elements of parent-child bonding as it stimulates your little one’s senses through skin contact, eye contact and your familiar smell as well as hearing your voice and experiencing a focused response," she said.
"This loving interaction and sensory experience is hard wiring your baby’s immature brain for emotional and neurological development: as you touch and talk to your child and share eye contact, you stimulate the development of connections between nerve cells in your baby’s brain that will form foundations for thinking, feeling and learning."
Last year, a cartoon drawn by Michael Leunig published in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald hit a sore spot with mothers after it suggested they were on their phones too much.
The cartoon pictured a mum using Instagram on her phone while pushing a pram, being so distracted by the technology that her baby falls out and lands on the floor without her noticing.
Commentator and feminist author Clementine Ford attacked the cartoon, along with many other parents, writing on Twitter: “Hey Leunig, you f**king gronk. I bet you never spent hours walking babies around in a pram, feeling isolated and alone and terrified."
"F**k you and your condescending judgement."
Featured image: Twitter