Nursing whilst on holiday in Canada
- I have made breastfeeding ‘the entire focus of [my] life’
This is wholly untrue. Nursing is a significant and integral part of my life, because it is one of the main ways I mother my child. However, it is not the focus of my life. It is one part of the whole, a part which enriches our lives, makes life easier and happier for us both.
- I clearly have no time to inspire him with my efforts ‘to passionately pursue interests that can open up’ his mind to ‘his own life possibilities’
This is an outlandish preposition. I hardly know where to start to defend nursing mothers from this slanderous attack. How you can equate breastfeeding with narrowing the life possibilities of their children is beyond me, but somehow you have managed to. Many women who choose to practice sustained breastfeeding are brave, passionate, strong women, who make the decision to carry-on beyond the prescribed social norm because of their convictions and knowledge of the many benefits. This in itself is a fantastic role model to follow, which cannot be faulted.
- I have to carry Ewan ‘every single minute of the day’, and I ‘need to sleep with’ him in my bed, ‘even at risk of suffocating or crushing’ him.
I do not have the time or space to explore the fascinating topics of baby-wearing and bed-sharing in this post. Both these accusations again display your ignorance of attachment parenting. You are extreme in your views because you know so little about these behaviours, which again have been practiced for millennia and are still common in much of the world. Both baby-wearing and bed-sharing are hugely misunderstood aspects of human behaviour; bed-sharing like sustained breastfeeding a cultural taboo in our society, baby-wearing often viewed as a ‘hippy’ activity which few ‘normal’ parents would choose to do with the option of a pushchair available. These are highly variable, complex activities which cannot easily be pigeon-holed or judged.
Personally, I love carrying my child and sharing our bed with him. Ewan thrives on both. He is carried every day, sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes for a few hours, it depends. As a baby he was carried a lot more, although nowhere near all the time, but as a growing toddler he asks to be carried less and less. We have shared our bed with Ewan since I discovered how easy it was to nurse him in the night by my side. Since then we have not looked back. He shall gradually move into his own bed just in the same way that he is gradually weaning from the breast. All in his own time.
Very briefly, in answer to the accusation that babies who share a bed with their parents are at increased risk of suffocation or of being crushed, this is yet again a myth with no grounding in reality. For almost all of human history we have slept close to them, for survival in the past there was no other option. These babies were not routinely suffocated or crushed. Breastfeeding mothers are highly responsive and alert to their babies lying by their sides, as research idicates, for instance the Parent Infant Sleep Lab, thanks to their hormones. SIDS is a medical phenomena unheard of or very uncommon in countries where mothers routinely bed-share.
A child left alone in a cot, out of the earshot and removed from the physical comfort of its parents, is placed under more risk than a child who is sleeping by its mother (unless its mother is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or has been smoking). We have lost the ability to bed-share in the West, just as we are losing the ability to practice sustained breastfeeding, so have to be taught how to do so safely.
So, Bonnie, do you still think that all attachment parenters, myself included, are nuts? Is this really the way to have an intellectual debate about a topic as serious as the way we bring up our children.
About Caroline Jane Cole
I am a full-time Mum to Ewan James, born in June 2010. When I get chance, I write on natural parenting issues, on topics including sustained breastfeeding, baby-wearing, bed-sharing, home-education and natural living, for parenting magazines and websites. I am an active member of La Leche League GB and a trained breastfeeding peer supporter. See my website; www.stoneageparenting.com.