Life has been crazy busy in our household the last 2 weeks, and it felt wrong to be blogging when I had so many other things to do. I’m having a moment of procrastination, so I thought I would cheat a little and put together a list of cool things I have read in the last few weeks. I am going to do this from time to time, as I am lucky to have an amazing and diverse range of friends who read some pretty cool articles.
The first two links are about the words we use when we speak to our kids. This is something I am really conscious of, and I try to actively choose words that are not negative. However it can be a lot harder than you might think. The first link, about speaking to young girls, highlighted to me how ingrained it is to compliment girls on their looks or clothing. It is something I do so unthinkingly, that I am struggling to find new words to fill their place.
This second link is about the perils of praising children for being ‘smart’. I was already familiar with this idea, and have always tried to praise baby girl for her efforts (feeling especially ridiculous given that I started when she was 6 weeks old. ‘You worked hard to stare wildly baby girl – well done’!)
This next bit is copied from an email newsletter by baby guru Pinky McKay. I love her so much, as I find that there are not many baby experts that I can look up to; people who believe in intuitive natural parenting, no crying and strong attachment parenting. When this came through in her email newsletter, I really felt like there was someone out there who got me.
The thing is, parenting is a 24 hour a day commitment. We can’t expect to pop babies away like toys when we have finished playing with them or it’s not convenient for us to be present. Of course it’s great to have strategies to help everyone get enough sleep -I’m not arguing with that! But we are nurturing small vulnerable people, not managing an inconvenience, and our choices do need to reflect this.I believe a large part of the infant sleep ‘dilemma’ is that we have stone age babies in a space age world. Often our modern lifestyles are at odds with baby needs: although our lifestyles have changed, our babies have not evolved a consciousness that they are in a safety standards approved cot, with a monitor on the wall and attentive parents who will keep them safe from predators. Babies are biologically programmed to need somebody near THEM to feel safe. Imagine if a cave mama left her baby in the back of the cave while she whipped off to pick berries. Chances are, a lion or a wolf or an eagle would have taken her baby while she was away, especially if the baby dared to cry loudly for mama. This sense of ‘danger’ is what makes your baby anxious when she isn’t close to you. At night time, your baby’s sense of sight is at rest. He needs to rely on his senses of smell, touch and hearing to know that he is not alone and at various stages, separation anxiety will be more pronounced. It is far better to consider that all behaviour is a communication and to ask, ‘why is our baby waking?’ than to simply try to change the behaviour, without addressing what is happening for your child. This way you can create an appropriate plan that will support your child’s wellbeing and your own needs for sleep.This is why I am focussing on sleep in this issue of Gentle Beginnings – to offer some extra support for the pressure you may be feeling about night time nurturing. Some of the opposition to gentle baby and toddler sleep practices includes: you can’t stay in their room forever (as if they would want you to); you mustn’t start things that you can’t continue (any changes can be made ‘gradually with love’ when you and your child are ready); You will create bad habits (since when was a cuddle a bad habit?) and, your baby must learn to ‘self-settle’ -imagine, you are snuggled up to your partner and as you doze off, they poke you and say, “wake up, you must self-settle, this could create bad habits!Our expectations of babies who have just come out of a snug, warm womb with immature nervous systems, immature digestive systems and whose only communication is a cry because they need someone or something, is often far from realistic. And so is the pressure to have a baby who self settles from birth and sleeps and eats according to the clock on the wall. We all need sleep but we don’t have to achieve this at the cost of a little one’s well-being, so please enjoy the information in this issue of Gentle Beginnings and share it if you know somebody who would find it help
The next one is a funny picture shared by another mummy with a young girl. The whine region and the worthwhile food cortex are quite active in my young baby!
I’m missing my blogging, but will be back into it soon. I also have some good new fodder, as I have had to use my natural medicine kit quite a bit lately.
Thanks for reading!