It would be tough to answer this question since studies conducted over the last two decades have failed to establish a definitive link between cell phone radiation and potential risk to humans. The findings of these studies have been largely inconsistent and inconclusive. However, cellphone radiation is not the only thing that is a cause for concern. Experts believe that usage of a cell phone while breastfeeding can lead to emotional and relationship issues among babies. Such things can affect the child’s psyche in the long-term. It is generally advised that you should at least try to minimize cellphone usage if you cannot avoid it altogether.
Cellphone radiation and cancer
Several leading organizations currently seem to be divided over the topic of cell phone use and increased risk of cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is a part of the World Health Organization (WHO), has stated that cell phone radiation is “possibly carcinogenic to humans”. The statement was provided by the expert Working Group created by IARC. The group was tasked with the mission to gather evidence related to cellphone use and the increased risk of cancer. The group concluded that even though studies have led to inconclusive and inconsistent results, the potential risks cannot be dismissed altogether.
However, if we look at other expert organizations, their findings clash with the conclusion derived by IARC. For example, the American Cancer Society (ACS) has stated that the evidence is not strong enough to link cell phone radiation with the increased risk of cancer. Similar statements have been given by other organizations such as the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Since different organizations have varying viewpoints, it is difficult to establish whether cellphone radiation can increase the risk of cancer. There’s a general consensus amongst the global health community that several more long-term studies will be needed to conclusively establish whether or not there’s a link between cell phone radiation and increased risk of cancer.
Nonetheless, experts recommend that parents should try to limit cellphone exposure to their babies. The rationale is that a baby’s organs and internal systems are yet to be fully developed. As such, cell phone radiation may pose a greater health risk to them, as compared to adults.
How cellphone use while breastfeeding can affect your baby?
In addition to the potential risk of radiation, cell phone use during breastfeeding can lead to bonding and emotional issues. Here are some of the problems that you and your baby may face when you use your cellphone while breastfeeding.
#1. Underfed or overfed:
If you are distracted by your cell phone while breastfeeding, you might not be able to give full attention to the needs of your baby. You might miss the subtle messages that your baby might be trying to communicate to you through hand gestures and facial expressions. It is possible that your baby may not have latched on properly or they may have slipped from their comfortable position when you were busy with your cell phone. In such cases, your baby may remain underfed. It is also possible that you may feed your baby longer than needed, resulting in your baby being overfed. These factors can lead to health issues, especially if continued over longer durations.
#2. Bonding issues:
Breastfeeding is not just a way for babies to have their bellies full. It is also a way for them to bond with their mother. If you are distracted by your cell phone, your baby will not be able to establish the deep emotional bond with you. It will affect their sense of trust, comfort, and security that babies generally associate with their mother. They may start feeling neglected, which can make them anxious and irritable. With time, it can lead to other issues such as sleep deprivation and improper diet.
#3. Risk of choking:
Being preoccupied with your cellphone can increase the risk of choking. It can happen in seconds, just as you were taking an important call or replying to an important email or message.
How to minimize risks?
Cellphones have become an integral part of our personal and professional lives and it may not be possible to avoid them completely while breastfeeding. However, you can certainly focus on alternatives and innovative techniques to minimize potential risks for your baby. Here are some tips and suggestions that you might find useful.
#1. Use a Bluetooth device:
If you are expecting an important call, then you can use a Bluetooth device to connect it to your cell phone. You will not only be able to limit the radiation, but also ensure proper eye contact and hand support for your baby. Alternatively, you can tell the person at the other end that you will call them back in a few minutes.
#2. Use your cell phone before or after breastfeeding:
If you are expecting important emails or messages, you can check them before or after your breastfeeding session. Things can surely wait while you breastfeed your baby. The sky is not going to fall down.
#3. Avoid unnecessary surfing:
Some mothers browse the internet while breastfeeding solely because they feel bored with the daily routine. Such casual internet surfing can certainly be avoided in the interest of your baby. Reading an eBook or doing any other random stuff on your cell phone while breastfeeding also needs to be avoided.
#4. Use the Airplane mode:
Notifications will always tempt you to take a look at your cell phone, even though you may have made up your mind to avoid cellphones while breastfeeding. If you want to avoid the temptation, the easiest way is to put your phone in Airplane Mode. No beeps, no rings will ensure that you focus completely on your baby while breastfeeding.
There is no conclusive evidence to prove that using a cell phone while breastfeeding is dangerous for babies. However, since there’s the possibility of potential risks, it makes sense to minimize its usage while breastfeeding. Occasional use is acceptable, but continuous use of cell phones while breastfeeding should be avoided.