“Years of research have demonstrated that human babies have very positive responses to touch and holding, both physiologically and emotionally. A baby is unable to understand that she is a separate entity from her mother or primary caregiver, but her awareness of separateness will come as she matures. This appears to be a survival mechanism designed to keep baby and mother, or primary caregiver, close together. Thus, it is important that babies be held very frequently as a baby benefits from a mother or father’s warm touch, smell, and voice. It is very comforting for them to be held; therefore, they cry less.” (source)
I never thought I would hear people tell me I need to be “less attached” to my 2 month old son. I mean, he’s 2 months old, can he walk? NO. Can he talk? NO. Can he fend for himself? NO. Can he feed himself? NO. He’s a tiny person who is solely dependent on his mama and papa. I am not ashamed to admit I am a barefoot, babywearing, breastfeeding, recycling, cloth diapering, tree hugging, partial co-sleeping mama.
Today I put Elijah in his cot in his room for his nap, this was an experiment in part to see if I can hear him when I am in the bedroom and also to see if he is ok sleeping there. For the last 2 months he has been in our room. The first week or so in a carry cot on our bed, then in said carry cot next to my side of the bed, then when I hurt my back, he was in bed next to me, just like that and now he is back in the carry cot next to the bed. Its not ideal for him to be in our bed, for obvious reasons, and then also I like having the covers up high, and when he sleeps next to me I prefer to keep them off for his safety. So I am all for partial co-sleeping.
I also carry him around in a sling or a pouch when I need to have my hands free, and when we go out. The reasons for this are numerous – the quote above being part of it. He is safer and happier when I go shopping in a sling than in a pram, as I can keep an eye on him, and he can feel me and hear me. Obviously its also great because I can have my hands free to clean and cook etc. He seldom cries when I “wear” him, as he knows I will respond to him as soon as he needs something, this means he gets distressed less, and I spend less time calming him. One other great reason is, he is at eye level with people, so he feels included, and they can see him and talk to me. My son has the benefit of having a mama who is consistent, loving and responsive to his needs.
Cloth diapering is another controversial subject. I come from a family that is very eco-conscious, we have water-saving shower-heads, we used grey water for the garden, we have recycling boxes for glass, paper and plastic. My dad has a company focussed on sustainable construction and things like solar energy. Its in my blood to care for the environment, and in the process my money, which is why it wasn’t really an option to use disposables solely. Yes, for the first 2 months I did use disposables, because Elijah had stick legs, so the cloth nappies leaked bad, and we had been gifted with nappies. Now however, he fits in them, and I have found awesome ones that work like a bomb (mail me if you are interested – I am selling them too). Because he doesn’t sleep through yet, I do use disposables at night, as they are more absorbent for night and I don’t have to wake him up to change him, but as soon as he stops feeding so often at night, we’re going all cloth.
I find it interesting that I get so much opposition to my style of parenting, by being a stay at home mom, I have already shocked the system, but now being pro-attachment I seem to have blown the boat out the water completely. I just want to tell people, my son is very content, yes he does cry, no he does not sleep through yet, but he is content knowing his parents are always there for him. He will never need to feel neglected or left alone, his self-confidence will be much stronger for it. I hope I have now made my standpoint clear, and that people will stop acting like I am a loon.