Parents react to hospital's sign about using phones around babies

A parenting and youth development expert called the poster "pretty damaging."
/ Source: TODAY Contributor

A U.K. hospital is being criticized for a poster hanging in its special care baby unit.

Earlier this month, new dad Ash Cottrella shared a photo of the sign that reads, “Mummy & Daddy … Please look at ME when I am feeding. I am much more interesting than your phone. Thankyou xxxxxx.”

“I agree with its sentiments entirely,” Cottrella wrote on Twitter.

Though some chimed in that they felt the exact same way, many people called the the sign “judgy,” and "awful."

“I don’t agree at all. Whatever gets you 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,” wrote one person.

Added another, “Scbu is depressing at the best of times. A phone and a book is pretty much the only escape whilst you sit there praying your kid is going to pull through.”

Parenting and youth development expert Dr. Deborah Gilboa recognizes the importance of touch and eye contact, but she also has concerns about the the poster.

“Whenever a baby is born, it’s a time of major adjustment and I would encourage parents not to isolate themselves but to stay connected to their support network,” Gilboa told TODAY Parents. “Associating using your cell phone with guilt or shame while your with your baby is pretty damaging.”

Gilboa noted that 40% of women suffer from postpartum depression and anxiety, while the condition affects 17% of non-delivering parents.

“Doing what’s good for your mental health is good for your baby,” Gilboa explained. “When you're breastfeeding your baby, that’s like 18 hours of your 24. If you just stare at that little face, you’re going to end up so anxious.”