Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Co-sleeping and America

This will be a little deeper than teddy bears and food. And please be aware this is only my opinion, you don't have to agree and you can take what you like and leave the rest.

Recently I've been noticing a shift in information from the medical community and researchers about co-sleeping, and crying it out (from here out referred to CIO). Even my very mainstream doctor is advocating co-sleeping. Both of these parenting "choices", along with nursing (breast feeding), are very important parts of attachment parenting. But here I feel I must stop and define co-sleeping as my doctor sees it and bedsharing. Co-sleeping is sleeping in the same room as your infant/child but not necessarily in the same bed. And bedsharing is just that- sharing a bed with your infant/child. Both were done for ages through out history, with a trend of moving away and giving children their own space and bed to foster "independence", only happening in the last oh hundred years, give or take.

When my oldest was born she "needed her own space and bed (crib)" I was told- so she would learn right away to not be dependent on me. Oh okay- I was 17 and knew nothing and believed everything I was told. I tried but her cries and my sleep deprivation, won out and I secretly brought her in with me. I did what felt natural and at ease with myself. I co-slept with all my children from then on. The last 3 I bedshared with for as long as THEY needed- anywhere from 6 months till over a year. Many a night pass where I still wake up with an extra body in my bed with us.

My sister had her first son in July of last year and we visited her in the hospital. She planned on breast feeding and to encourage a successful experience I encouraged to co-sleep with her new son, even in the hospital "But don't let the nurses catch you or they'll probably yell at you" I told her (as was my experience where I delivered), I was happily surprised when she told me they encourage co-sleeping there to promote good breast feeding! Wow, this was such a change from the nurses telling me I'd drop the baby or may roll over on him/her. How I had to train myself to rouse, while in the hospital, when ever anyone came into the room, as to avoid getting yelled at like a little kid caught with their hand in the cookie jar before dinner.

A recent study done by Harvard University (http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/1998/04.09/ChildrenNeedTou.html) titled Children Need Touching and Attention, brought up a point I wanted to touch on. "The result, Commons and Miller said, is a nation that doesn't like caring for its own children, a violent nation marked by loose, nonphysical relationships." I feel this sentence sums up Americas decline as a nation as a whole. I hear people bitch (excuse my language) about the decline of the American Family and American Culture. ( and here comes my rant) Well yeah duh! We pride ourselves on so much INDEPENDENCE, that we have missed the boat on the real problem- loss of community and knowing how to use others to better and enrich our lives! To form loving and caring bonds, starting within families, that teach us how to lean on others in times of need. Instead we laugh, and shrug off pain and suffering all around us. What gets taught with CIO is we don't respond to others needs and solely to rely on ourselves. That when we're in need no one is there for us.

"The way we are brought up colors our entire society, Commons and Miller say. Americans in general don't like to be touched and pride themselves on independence to the point of isolation, even when undergoing a difficult or stressful time."

""There are ways to grow up and be independent without putting babies through this trauma," Commons said. "My advice is to keep the kids secure so they can grow up and take some risks.""

I do not profess to be a perfect mother- I know I am far from it, but I am trying to raise my children to be attached to our family and other special people in their lives and be to self assured, independent. My boys have been called "Mama's boys" forever- I'm okay with that, because it means we have a strong bond that will see them through life and as evidence I have a 15 year old son who knows who he is and isn't afraid to be himself around others- and stand up for his differences. Who advocates for the under dog, but is still 15 and can be self-absorbed.

It's great to have this movement in mainstream medical opinion and that is making its way to mainstream America- I hope the shift will bring about a shift back to dependence on others, to community based society. This information is not new to some and their voices are starting to be heard a little more clearly now, without as many raised eyebrows attached. I may not be viewed as a "hippy" for much longer! lol

I swear there was more but now its left- so I feel I made my point and something bigger than me is telling me to stop!



1 comment:

  1. '[;.Great post! I was surprised too that the nurses didn't say a peep when they came into our room and saw our bedsharing set up. We had placed the bassinet snug between the sofasleeper and hospital bed for added safety. We didn't plan to bedshare with our second (we were victims of "your child MUST fall alseep and sleep by themselves" with our first) but it just happened and I couldn't be happier with our choice for her first year! We plan to continue safe bedsharing for a while. Yes there were some trying times, but it was better than hearing my baby cry out to me and ignoring her cause someone told me to. Bleh! Anyway, way to stick to your mothering instincts even when 17!

    Glad to see you back to blogging!


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