It's strange how our western culture has complicated child raising...People have been having and raising babies for centuries, and it never used to be this complicated. In fact, bringing up babies was part of every day life. There was no need for birth control to try to time babies, because they were not a hassle...caring for babies was just another thing one did, like making dinner or sleeping at night.
First they decided we must put diapers on our children, thus causing the poo to get everywhere on the baby's bottom, and requiring lots of cleanup...if you hold the baby over a toilet (or some dirt) then one quick swipe with a cloth (if that) and they are clean and ready to go play again. Diaper rash was unknown before diapers.
Next they decided that babies must sleep in their own beds, maybe in their own rooms, and shouldn't drink their own mother's milk... I truly pity the mothers who try to do this! When my infant wakes up, I attach him to a nipple, and go back to sleep. Rarely does he keep me awake for more than a few minutes. I don't have to sit up very often, and I have never had to get out of bed for him, let alone go to other parts of the house.
During the day, when he is hungry, he opens his mouth wide, and I put milk in it...so simple. No hassle with bottles and heating and getting the proper temperature...he is quickly satisfied, and I have thing simple and easy.
Now they tell us to put our babies in little buckets (aka carseat carriers) and carry them around without touching them..this makes the babies sad and fussy, and said buckets are heavy and unweildy. It's so much easier to grab a wrap or sling and just wear the baby--he can sleep contentedly against my chest and I can get my work done.
Every time I wear my baby in public I get comments--they range from "oh, he looks so comfortable in there" to "I wish I'd had one for my baby" to "where can I get one?" I've never had a negative comment about my wrap. The other day someone said "I wish they'd had those when mine was a baby" (her child is 6). I smiled and said "native tribes have been wearing wraps for centuries, it's just that the rest of us took a while to catch on." I now think of myself as a walking billboard for babywearing--most folks know a good idea when they see one, they just need a chance to see it so that they can get on board! So, babywearers of the world, get out and get seen! Don't be shy about your slings and wraps--show them off! You're bound to influance someone for the better!
Yes, you heard it right, today is a happy poo day. And why is that you ask? Because today, at one day shy of a month old, S pooed in the toilet! I'm so pleased with myself. I've been interested in EC (Elimation Communication, also known as Natural Infant Hygiene -- see www.diaperfreebaby.org ) for some time. After the potty training horrors I had with my older son, I was determined that something had to be different this time. Essentially the idea is that even a newborn knows that something is going on when he needs to eliminate...and he will usually do something (grunt, get quiet, stop wiggling, etc), so the parent can learn those cues, and take the baby to the toilet rather than letting them use a diaper. When the child is old enough to go on his own, he will 'potty train' easily, because he has never become accustomed to wearing his own waste. I didn't feel up to trying to do EC full time though--there are those who literally do not put diapers on their babies at all (just holding a cloth under them or something) but I didn't feel comfortable with that. So I decided to go for part-time EC--meaning that I would start off with the easy catches--bring him to potty after waking and after eating (if he was awake). He stymied me right off on that though, as he usually likes to poop WHILE eating. So I have only tried to potty him very sporadically...as I have recovered more from the delivery though, I have been taking him more and more often... to date he has pee-peed in the toilet 4 times, and today I caught him on the first grunt and we ran to the toilet and got poo! There are those who say that it's not Infant Potty Training, it's Parent Potty Training, because the infant isn't taking himself, but the parent has to go to a lot of trouble to always take the infant...I say, hey, every time he goes in the potty, that's one diaper I don't have to change (and wash!) Furthermore, that's at least one elimation that won't ever sit against his skin, even for a second--and with the sensitive skin that my family is prone to, that is a MAJOR pro.
[for those who remember the in and out cat song from Garrison Keillor...)
This morning mommy had the strange idea that she'd like to get a little sewing done...so with S nursed and changed and sleeping peacefully, I put him in the swing right there next to me in the sewing room... A few minutes later S awoke and began screaming. I got him out, and he promptly fell right off to sleep in my arms. I put him back in the swing. Wake up, scream... Cuddle right to sleep... Back in swing... Slide down and tilt over so that head is at an awfully uncomfortable looking angle...sleep peacefully for nearly 15 min this time! Then wake up, make some loud pooping, and scream like it's the end of the world... Cuddle with mom, nurse, get a new diaper, go back to sleep... Make many happy cooing and grunting noises while nursing and sleeping on mom...
Mom gave up on sewing and is now typing with a peacefully sleeping baby across her lap. Why fight it. There's no point. :-) Thank heaven for wraps and slings, right?! At least I can still cook, even if I can't sew. :-)
Bear doesn't like sleeping unless he's in contact with a warm body--he WILL sleep in the swing for a little while if I put him in there already asleep, but he won't GO to sleep there--he'll just scream. On the one hand, it makes it hard to get things done. On the other hand, I don't think there's anything wrong with a baby wanting to be held. I'm trying to hold to the NINO principle (gestate the baby for Nine [months] In & Nine Out). I came across a notion that makes a lot of sense--human babies are born less developed than most mammals--they can't walk, feed themselves, etc like most newborn mammals can. So, from a developmental standpoint, it's like they are born prematurely...before they are ready to let go of the literally constant maternal contact and care. Of course they have to be born 'early' because they wouldn't fit through the pelvis if they were any bigger...but that doesn't mean they are ready to be separate...so I'm trying to keep him very attached. He's an awfully happy baby most of the time, very alert too, and I genuinely believe that being attached is a major part of that. Loud noises and sudden movements rarely startle and never scare him--just this week I vacuumed while holding him, and both Wolf and the dog will hide from our noisy old vacuum...but Bear was peaceful as ever. I think it's because he knows he is secure, so is able to just absorb whatever goes on around him--without fear.
NAK--nursing at keyboard...it's harder than it sounds! Although I'm getting the hang of it. When he actually really wants to nurse it tends to go pretty well, it's just days like today that are rough...days when he faces the age-old question--shall we eat from the breast, or just snuggle with it? (The other night he mangaged to accomplish both simultaneously--same breast. Ah the joys of being large-busted! Well, at least it's good for something!)
Various sources (the hospital and others) have given me samples of baby formula. I have no intention of using them, so I thought I'd see if I could pass them on to someone who would. A neighbor of mine has a 4 month old who formula fed, so I asked her if she would like them. She said sure, but was I sure I didn't want to keep them around, just in case..."because sometimes a nursing baby will decide they don't like nursing anymore and then you have to switch." I was flabbergasted! I realize that there are times when a baby truly cannot be nursed--my older son did not have a mother for half of his infancy for example--but to give up on nursing just because the baby went on a little nursing strike... that's so sad! I guess I am very blessed to be educated about breastfeeding--I thought it was common sense stuff, but apparently it is not so common, at least in our current culture. I know I am blessed to have good support from spouse and family and friends and La Leche League--I guess many people don't have that either. Still, I cannot imagine giving up the ease and simplicity of nursing for the hassle (and inferior nutrition) of formula unless there were truly no other option! Right now I am actually pumping my extra milk and giving it to a friend who is struggling to provide enough for her infant. I am so blessed to have enough to be able to do that, and hope that others would share with me if I were ever in that position. It's true that there are times when I feel rather like a cow...just giving out milk all day long...but at the same time I am awed by the miracle that is my body--God made me able to do so many amazing things! Not only can I grow a human from a cluster of cells, not only can I deliver that human into the world, but I can even create and give the perfect food for him. Wow. And when my baby slides off my nipple, with milk streaming over his chin and his eyes rolling back into his head in the perfect bliss of a milk coma...in those moments I have to wonder why anyone would *choose* another way.