Monthly Archives: January 2012

Breastfeeding and biting- mistakes, surviving, and what I’ve learned

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The Leaky Boob has some wonderful things to say about one of nursing mothers’ greatest challenges- the biting baby! This article shares tips and advice on ways to avoid the biting alltogether, and ways to cope and stay calm when the ‘inevitable’ happens. A must read!

You can find the article here:

Breastfeeding and biting- mistakes, surviving, and what Ive learned.

Sleep Training Is Bad News For Babies

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I doubt that any of my readers question my negative feelings towards sleep training and Crying It Out (CIO) for babies and toddlers. As a new year dawns and new parenting books hit the shelves, the question of whether or not to CIO is on the minds of every new parent. The question goes far beyond whether or not you have the heart to let your baby cry. It must also be pointed out that CIO can cause serious developmental and social problems not only during babyhood, but also during adult life.

As Heather Turgeon said on her webpage,

Ignoring baby cries during sleep training is linked to all kinds of problems later in life — ADHD, antisocial behavior, lower IQ. At the root of these claims is the idea that the stress of crying and the absence of a responsive parent release intense levels of chemicals that alter a child’s brain development. But is there scientific evidence to back this up?

She also went on to say,

…stress hormones like cortisol, released during intense crying, damage nerve cells in the brain, leading to unhealthy attachments and psychological disorders. …a repeated pattern of unmet needs disrupts a child’s stress-regulating systems and can alter the way her limbic structures process emotion.

There is more than enough evidence in recent studies to show that, yes, extensive crying is bad for babies. And while the Cry It Out method may suggest that mothers pop into the baby’s room regularly to let the infant know that their provider is still nearby, this presence is not constant enough to reduce stress and provide the relaxation that is necessary for inducing a gentle sleep. Heather Turgeon went on to say,

infants who cry excessively have a higher incidence of ADHD, antisocial behavior, and poor school performance.

The full article can be read here.

Many of the cases cited in anti-CIO articles are extreme and do not fit the norm of most parenting methods. It is important to note that most parents who choose to practice a Cry It Out method of sleep training are responsive to their baby’s needs, within limits, and do not allow the child to cry to the point of physical harm. However, there are some books which encourage allowing an infant or toddler to vomit and continue to cry, as a way to ‘show the child who’s boss’.

It is my opinion- and it is only that, opinion! -that sleep training is dangerous for babies and toddlers. As a mother of two, I have faced many a sleepless night. But as I began to understand that my expectations for a full night’s sleep were unreal, I began to find what works for Baby, not just what works for me. Like many mothers in this country and even more international mothers, I cosleep. We are a bedsharing family who provide warmth, love, and nurturing to our children at all hours of the day and night. As a result, we have been sleeping better than ever! I strongly believe that practicing CIO can lead to lifelong physical, psychological, and psychosocial problems for your child, and that a more natural, attached method to ‘sleep training’ is preferred.

Parents, instead of trying to conform Baby to your schedule, why not see what ways you can adjust YOUR schedule to Baby’s? The rule of thumb is compromise. We as parents must meet our children in the middle to encourage happy, healthy development and a peaceful home for all.

 

 

Who Disciplines Parents..?

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Lately, in my frequent use of the internet, I’ve found a lot of questionable content from other mothers and fathers. Comments like women leaving their children home alone, disciplining their children in ways that can only be described as inhumane, and engaging in a variety of other inappropriate behaviors.

I come from a long history of familial craziness, and have seen much of the “what not to do” of parenting first hand. My mother was no class act! Recently, I graduated with my Associates in Psychology and have just started coursework towards a Bachelor’s degree in Clinical Psychology. All of these experiences have allowed me to see much about raising children, but also much about mental disorders and the inner workings of the human mind. What’s often frightening is when those two overlap.

Who disciplines the parents? The obvious answer is CPS- once (and if!) a complaint has been made. But CPS’ failure to work has caused many a child to suffer needlessly at the hands of their parents. What is it that determines the right or wrong way to raise a child? And to those parents who do not raise their child “correctly”, who do they answer to?

In my personal experience, there are many ‘right’ ways to raise a child. As long as you fill their lives with love, safety, health, and happiness, it’s kind of a give or take on what’s right or wrong about parenting methods. But what disturbs me is when I see these women posting on the internet about things they have done to their kids, either inadvertently or intentionally.

From the mother who left her newborn in the car for 20 minutes before realizing she wasn’t with her, to the mother who performed sexual acts on herself with food and then fed that food to her children, I stare in awe of what the world has come to. Clearly, we need change. We need a disciplinary system for the parents who do wrong, and we need education for the parents who don’t know what it is they’re doing. And, unconstitutional though it may be, I honestly believe some people just shouldn’t be allowed to breed.

What do you think, Reader? Would the world be a better place if there was a psychological evaluation required before conception was allowed? How would you discipline or educate the parents of America?

Article- “I Guess I Forgot to Wean My Baby”

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The following is an article from Jezebel.com about extended breastfeeding. As I plan to breastfeed Little Bear until he’s at LEAST two, this article struck true for me. Written by Tracy Moore.

 

“I Guess I Forgot to Wean My Baby

The other morning after I finished nursing my 21-month-old baby, she sat up and smiled, looked me in the eye and said in a tiny little happy baby voice: “Tink you, mommy.” Awww, your welcome, sweets — wait, what did you say?! Uh, is this weird?

Maybe I should already know the answer, but like certain holidays and The Oscars, instead I’m just confused about whether I’m supposed to care. It reminds me of this story my friend told me a few years back about her son she’d nursed. After seeing a baby being breastfed in public, he remarked to her later at home that day that she had fed him that way, too.

“Sure,” she said. “But you don’t remember that, do you?”

“Yes, mommy,” he said matter-of-factly, pointing to a blue recliner. “We sat right there in that chair and I would drink from your boobs.”

We both laughed at the hilarious word choice, but it made me uneasy. Was it weird for him to remember? Wasn’t nursing the stuff of early infancy, lost to infant amnesia like all those accidental falls, bad holiday outfits and pureed asparagus?

Strangely, now that I’m the one with the toddler who’s drinking from my still-open-for-business boobs, it is the uneasiness that seems absurd. I started out figuring I’d nurse for a year, but that year blew right by, and it was obvious baby very much still needed and wanted the comfort. And with all the research pointing to sustained benefits the longer you do it, before you know it, boom — you’re nursing a toddler, two years and counting. Hang on, I think I hear TLC calling.

Not like you didn’t already have enough weird, judgy parenting shit to deal with, but yay, now it’s not just whether you nurse and whether you like it but how long you do it for — and don’t forget to feel bad about where, you human gargoyle.

Even ol’ Prudie McJudgy over at Dear Prudence, who fancies herself the most reasonable and permissive person on the planet (about porn for men), joined in on the haranguing when she had about two hemorrhages in November answering a letter about a woman who nursed her 5-year-old in, gasp, plain view of other humans.

Jokes about cream in the coffee (bar-har-har) out of the way, she fired off, “5 years old is way too old to still be on mommy’s breast,” conveniently omitting what, exactly, gives her the authority to state such a random assertion as if it’s fact.

Is it really too old? The oft-quoted stats are that humans are designed to wean anywhere from age 2 years of age up to 7. (Quelle surprise, Dear Pruny!)

The worldwide average is 2 to 4 years, and once you start poking around online you instantly realize how common extended nursing is beyond infancy. So common in fact, it seems weirder to stop so soon, especially if only over social disapproval, if all parties are comfortable continuing.

Of course, you rarely see it in action, because most women have the good sense to do it privately, as the world is full of Prunies. But in some corners it’s treated as so skeezy and inappropriate that you may as well be joining some secret underground nursing sex club with labyrinthine approval systems. (Suggestions for the club name: The Milk Dud, Duct Works, Thanks for the Mammaries!, Milky Way, Duct and Cover, Titty Bar.)

That said, I’m probably going to be ready to wean soon, and I have no idea how to end this dance. I wouldn’t even know where to start. I’ve read all the shit, and I still don’t know the best approach for us.

All of this was swirling around in my head when I asked my pediatrician recently about the self-weaning process, and whether letting the child take control — apparently a thing that people do all the time — was perfectly all right or not.

The answer: “Now’s the time to start thinking about what’s best for her and you, and not just what she wants.”

This, by the way, is a pediatrician highly regarded for her less aggressive immunization schedule and preference for the homeopathic over the antibiotic whenever possible and safe. And, yet, here she was telling me to cut the cord already. There’s no way I’m implying that my mobility, wishes and own independence don’t matter, but I’m still looking for a more holistic answer somewhere other than the Internet.

Also, pediatricians are kind of annoying sometimes? Has anyone else noticed this? They’re always saying these dumbed-down things you can tell are just these rehearsed little sound bites that may or may not have resonance on a patient-to-patient basis.

For instance, when talking to one about introducing solid food a while back, he suggested that nutritionally speaking, you could go a bit longer on breast milk than 6 months and it would be fine. Merely trying to understand the science behind his statement, I asked if technically you could nurse a baby exclusively for its entire first year — just out of curiosity.

His answer? “Sure, but then you have a 1-year-old who can’t hold a spoon.”

Stop the presses! My 1-year-old won’t be able to hold a spoon! I hear the application to Harvard is written entirely in SPOONS!

Ugh, just answer me, dude? Is it a trade secret? Do I seem stupid? Is this a back-room deal you have with Gerber?

Another said I should wean now, you know, unless I still wanted to be nursing a 14-year-old in the future. Really, guy? 14? So I can either stop nursing at 6 months old or we’ll be topping her off before she takes her first algebra test? Whatever happened to nuance? What about the middle? What about flexibility? What about how everyone is HORRIBLE?

Whew.

I guess, like anything, it all depends on which side of the boob you wanna be on. For us, right now, nursing is an unbeatable tool in our arsenal. It has helped tremendously when she’s teething; it’s a godsend when she is sick. And nothing gets an upset baby to calm down or go back to sleep like a quick dose, as my husband likes to call it, of the knockout juice.

Yes, we’re fostering more dependence as long as we’re tethered, but until we figure it out, I suppose that’s just my D-cupped cross to bear.”

 

Click here for the original article.