Friday, November 30, 2012

The Bogus Breastfeeding Debate Over Nursing Older Kids

"..the real outrage isn't that some mothers measure their nursing experience in years. It’s that most mothers don’t get the support and nods of approval from their circles—family, community, the health-care system, media—that would help them to relax into a very ordinary nursing relationship of whatever length they choose."
Read more below:

Cry It Out and Co-Sleeping

I've been doing some extensive research on crying it out this week. It was something that never seemed to sit right with me, even before I was a mother. I'm also a huge advocate for co-sleeping, and and safe bedsharing as well if suitable for your lifestyle. The two obviously don't work well together.

Reading some psychology articles on crying it out (sometimes known as the Ferber method), it is obvious that this method of "sleep training" has some dangerous and long term repercussions. This Psychology Today post debunks the myths that CIO helps babies become more independent. In fact, they become more insecure. Some points in the article include the following:  Neurons die, disordered stress reactivity can be established as a pattern for life, self-regulation is undermined, trust is undermined, caregiver sensitivity may be harmed, caregiver responsiveness to the needs of the baby is related to most if not all positive child outcomes, and more (to read more on these topics, clink the link above).

Yesterday was a hard day for us. My baby girl was crying almost all day. Crying is a baby's means of communication. It was horrible for me, hearing her cry and not know what was wrong. I responded in every way I knew how. We took a bath, nursed as often as she would take the breast, we cuddled, changed diapers frequently, and she would calm down and start crying again. Every fiber of my being screams for me to respond to my baby when I hear her cry. This is totally normal. For this reason I don't understand how parents can let their children just lay in bed and cry.

About two weeks ago I was at the mall with my daughter, checking out at a store, and the cashier was taking to me about her son, only a few weeks older than my little one.  She had to return to work before she wanted because she risked losing some of the benefits of her job and a demotion if she didn't (don't even get me started on America's sucky maternity leave system). She was explaining to me how she has to let her son cry at night so he can get used to her being gone during the day and how she goes outside to sit on her porch and cry because of how much his crying affects her. That's because her instincts are telling her to comfort her baby!

Many parents choose the CIO method because they want their  baby to sleep through the night so they can sleep more. One thing many people fail to realize, is that it is totally normal for a baby not to sleep "through the night" for many months. Many toddlers still get up and need something before going back to sleep. This is where co-sleeping, and/or bedsharing comes in.

A practice commonly associated with attachment parenting, co-sleeping means your child sleeps in the same room as you, may it be bassinet, attachable co-sleeper, crib, etc. It is often mistaken with bedsharing, which is the term for having your child sleep in the same bed as you. Both of these are easy solutions for the new baby sleep problem. It's so easy to wake up, nurse the baby in bed, and put her back in the bassinet. Or just leave her in bed with you. Once 2:00am hits, my baby sleeps til we get up for the day. And its just an easier transition for her to bassinet (or stay in bed, we do both), than to get up and go into a separate room and such.

Notre Dame Professor James McKenna is well known for his research on co-sleeping, which you can read more about here. He says in this post that co-sleeping improves the rest of both baby and mother, and for breastfeeders, improves milk supply and probability of continuing to breastfeed, among other things.

The point of this post is to remember that it is normal for babies to cry, and necessary to respond to them. I tie it in with co-sleeping because its a great alternative to CIO. Your baby will sleep through the night when ready. My baby goes back in forth, depending on her day and stimulation. Please go to your baby and comfort them. Don't let them feel abandoned and alone.

To read more on Cry It Out, click the following links:
Babies Need Touch

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

10 Ways To Feel Miserable As A Parent

Why I Chose AP

I knew since I was 14 years old that I wanted to birth in water. Years later, I was newly married and discovered I was pregnant, and began reading up more on this birth I instinctively knew I wanted.

I started read books by Ina May Gaskin and watching documentaries like "The Business of Being Born" and discovered I not only wanted to birth in water, I wanted to birth at home as well.

I won't go into the details here, I'll save that for another time, but while homebirth isn't for everyone, it was most certainly for me. In the course of my pregnancy I read countless books, articles, and studies, and in turn decided attachment parenting was for me. Dr. Sears calls attachment parenting "a style of caring for your infant that brings out the best in the baby and the best in the parents.  Attachment parenting implies first opening your mind and heart to the individual needs of your baby, and eventually you will develop the wisdom on how to make on-the-spot decisions on what works best for both you and your baby. A close attachment after birth and beyond allows the natural, biological attachment-promoting behaviors of the infant and the intuitive, biological, caregiving qualities of the mother to come together. Both members of this biological pair get off to the right start at a time when the infant is most needy and the mother is most ready to nurture. Bonding is a series of steps in your lifelong growing together with your child."

To me, attachment parenting is exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months or older (food before one is just for fun), baby-led weaning (and if that means still nursing, even for comfort, at 2, so be it), co-sleeping (sleeping in the same room, commonly confused with bedsharing), natural preventative health measures, and more. Attachment parenting means no Ferber method baby training (cry it out methods). I will also be making my own baby food when the time arises. 

I've always been a "crunchy" person, never quite fitting in with the mainstream, never sure where my niche was. I didn't know I wouldn't find it til I was a mom. I knew as a child God's call on my life was to be a mommy, and now I'm on the journey to fulfill that calling.

While I have read countless books and articles, and will continue to, I do not pretend to know everything. I'm still learning, and my child is still new to this world. But I have learned a lot, and plan on using this new found knowledge in my parenting journey. And as I journal this process, you get to join me!