New-Mom Promises That Are Fine to Break

Feeding your baby

The Promise: I'll give Baby my full, undivided attention at feedings.
Marissa Korchynsky Watson, of Spring City, Pennsylvania, wanted to enjoy nursing her daughter. "During feedings, I tried to limit my phone use to texting my husband, so I didn't have to call out to him," she says. But feedings can stretch on for nearly an hour. "I occasionally played Words With Friends," she admits.

The Reality: Regularly getting distracted can detract from the bonding experience.
"Is it harmful to, say, surf the Web while you're feeding Baby?" asks American Baby advisor Claire Lerner, director of parenting resources at Zero to Three, a nonprofit devoted to the health and development of babies, toddlers, and families. "Probably not," Lerner says. "But feeding is one of the greatest opportunities to connect and encourage social and emotional development." Meals are about more than nutrition. "It's important to tune in, understand when Baby is full or still hungry, and instill positive feelings about food -- and this happens during feedings," Lerner explains. We all know how it feels when a girlfriend keeps checking her email during a lunch date; a baby can sense this same lack of engagement when Mom is distracted.

The occasional text is fine, but rather than regularly "phoning in" your sweetie's feedings, save catching up on email, phone calls, or the latest episode of Up All Night for later, when Baby is engaged in solo play or taking a nap. "There are very few things that can't wait a half hour while you finish feeding your infant," Lerner says. If unplugging during a nursing session makes you antsy, silently repeat a mantra, she suggests. Try: "I'm feeding my baby's mind, soul, and body."

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