Smartphone use during parent-child interactions is highly prevalent, however, there is a lack of scientific knowledge on how smartphone use during breastfeeding or face-to-face interactions may modulate mothers’ attentive responsiveness towards the infant as well as maternal physiological arousal. In the present study, we provide the first evidence for the influence of the smartphone on maternal physiological responses and her attention towards the infant during breastfeeding and face-to-face interactions. Twenty breastfeeding mothers and their infants participated in this lab study during which electrodermal activity, cardiograph impedance, and gaze patterns were monitored in breastfeeding and face-to-face interactions with three conditions manipulating the level of maternal smartphone involvement. We report that mothers’ gaze toward their infants decreased when breastfeeding while using the smartphone compared to face-to-face interaction. Further, we show that greater maternal electrodermal activity and cardiac output were related to longer maternal gaze fixation toward the smartphone during breastfeeding. Finally, results indicate that mothers’ smartphone addiction levels were negatively correlated with electrodermal activity during breastfeeding. This study provides an initial basis for much required further research that will explore the influence of smartphone use on maternal biobehavioral responses in this digital age and the consequences for infant cognitive, emotional, and social development.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
IG was funded by ISF grants #2096/15 and funding provided by Negotiation and Team Resources under the NTR-INGroup research grant program. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Copyright: © 2021 Nomkin, Gordon. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.