To Swipe Or Not To Swipe?

By Zunammie Keren

As technology continues to advance at increasingly rapid speeds we find more new parental gadgets becoming available every year. Over the years most of these gadgets, like baby bouncers and bottle warmers have been received with wide-open arms from parents and have found comfortable homes in parenting must-have catalogs all over the world. Others however, like the new Swipe and Feed, do not receive a warm welcome from everyone.  Some people are of the opinion that this device only takes lazy parenting to new heights while others, including the manufacturers, believe it to be a convenient device that helps parents to be more productive and multitask.

If you ask any honest mother she will tell you that, although feeding time is a great time to bond and interact with your baby, not every single feeding period is spent doing this. In fact many mothers will use feeding time for other diversionary activities like watching TV or reading. In today’s reality, watching TV shows and reading are only 2 of a plethora of options that you have on your mobile smartphone. It’s no wonder that more mothers are reaching for their smartphones, for one reason or the other, during their feeding sessions with their babies.

It was with this in mind that a dad from Northern Virginia, Tim Causa invented the Swipe & Feed that has gotten so much media attention since its introduction. The controversial device can be attached to a mobile phone and a bottle enabling parents to use their smartphones while their baby drinks from that bottle.  This invention has caused a firestorm of controversy with persons either decrying the device and others supporting it.

The Controversy 

The problem that most critics have with the Swipe and Feed is that they believe that feeding time is scared and cements the bond between parent and child. For them, the idea of multi-tasking while feeding is poor parenting at best, and selfishness at its worst. They argue that if you cannot give your child your full attention while holding them in your arms and feeding them, when will the child be ever be assured to get your undivided attention?

They worry that missing these opportunities to interact can and will cause developmental problems or delays with a child and cite several scientific studies to support their claims. In addition, there are also concerns about possible ill effects of exposing babies to the radiation from cell phones for prolonged periods. These concerns, however, are not backed by any scientific study and in the absence of definitive proof that radiation exposure is not a concern, critics err on the side of caution by wanting to prevent ‘excessive’ exposure.

Supporting Arguments 

For those who support the Swipe and Feed, they argue that a lot of the time the baby is not engaged during a feeding session, especially during the night feedings and there are no missed bonding opportunities during these times so it’s ok to multitask during some feedings.  New mothers in particular often get very tired and a distraction like using a mobile phone with the Swipe and Feed can possibly prevent them from falling asleep while feeding their baby at night.

Other supporters indicate that given the cumulative time spent during feeding, it’s ok to use some of that time to catch up on work assignments if possible, or to check and to respond to emails as it lessens their stress overall, and allows them to have more meaningful bonding time with their babes when they do focus on them exclusively, because they are less stressed.

So should you or shouldn’t you get a Swipe and Feed to use while bottle-feeding your baby? Be sure to look carefully at the pros and cons before you make your final decision but remember that baby always comes first!

Taken from the November issue of Geek Parenting, out now!

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