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Questioning the 'Naturalness" of AP - Page 2

post #21 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post

Absolutely. Tribal peoples, as a rule, have *much* more of what we would consider "leisure" time.

-Angela
I found the Continuum Concept very helpful. Here is a link to one of my all time favorite parenting articles.

http://www.continuum-concept.org/rea...InControl.html
post #22 of 97
Sometimes I have an issue with this and I think its one of the weaknesses of Dr. Sears's books and Mothering magazine for that matter. Sears is always labeling AP things as "natural" and it comes off sounding higher than thou. He also uses a lot of idealistic sounding anecdotes such as 'women in primitive societies babies didn't cry as much because they followed natural instincts.' I get what he's saying here but I would rather he back his arguments with more scientific research than stories like that which his books are full of. The whole AP/NFL philosophy in general sort of shames people into fitting into the way of life...kind of like, you aren't cool unless you shop at the natural food co-op. You aren't cool unless you cloth diaper, wear a sling etc. Many of my friends fit would fit the "natural" and "AP" model as far as I'm concerned but when the subject of something like Mothering magazine comes up they roll their eyes because they find the preachiness irritating.

However, there is something about the word "natural" that attracted me to AP. It may even be the part that spoke to me the most...and its what I take away from it, leaving the bulleted lists of what to do and not do behind...is that it supported the notion that mothers should do what FEELS NATURAL FOR THEM. That principle has guided my parenting more than anything (and I surround myself with people who also parent this way whether they be labeled AP or mainstream) I coslept with both my kids in the beginning not because of a belief or view but because it felt right. When my babies grew into toddlers, it simply stopped working and we moved them to their own beds. I didn't struggle or feel guilty it because it felt like it was time. I didn't have to consult any book or anyone elses opinion to know. I think that's what AP or "following natural instincts" is all about...at least for me.
post #23 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by uptownzoo View Post
Honestly, I know I seem mean sometimes, but parenting is a marathon, not a sprint. The demands change over the years, but they don't get less. You have to save some energy because let me tell you, early adolescence will suck just as much out of you as infancy does! I've given too much of myself to my children for periods in our lives and we all suffered because of it. When I find that sweet spot, where I'm meeting their needs AND taking care of myself and my marriage, we're all exponentially happier, kids included.

DITTO everything you said mama. You should write and essay based on that. I almost want to copy and paste your post so I can read it on a day that I need to remember that. I almost stopped coming to this forum for awhile because I got so tired of the martyrdom I see around here and the way women wear it like a best-mom-ever-badge "my kids have never been away from me for more than 2 hours and they are 8 and 10 and I wouldn't want them to, I'd miss them too much!" I just worry for the new mom who is stressed out and needs some alone time reading that and feeling like she's a bad mother because she wants a break and needs some support about it. Its so absurd. I'm over all the guilt. There's way too much guilt in AP. And we do have to take care of ourselves. Dear God, its SO important. I agree, if we arrive in our kids adolescence haggard and worn, they'll only resent us for it. And we'll resent them because they'll never thank us for all we did. My feeling now is that I don't do it if its going to make me feel bad that someone doesn't appreciate it. I either do it for myself or because it works for the whole family or I don't do it.
post #24 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by uptownzoo View Post
Honestly, I know I seem mean sometimes, but parenting is a marathon, not a sprint. The demands change over the years, but they don't get less. You have to save some energy because let me tell you, early adolescence will suck just as much out of you as infancy does!
Damn, I thought I was almost over the hard part.

I really enjoyed your post uptownzoo. It's great to get a little perspective from a more experienced mother. Best wishes for your surgery!
post #25 of 97
Here's the thing--we are laying AP over our prexisting cultural mothering paradigm, which was total maternal self-sacrifice, no connection with wider world, everything oriented toward home and family, etc. The thing we always overlook when we imagine 'primitive' societies is that ALL those mamas were working mamas--as in, provided essential food, clothing etc., and even money. None of these mamas ONLY care for children and the domestic environment in the way we idealize motherhood. (For one thing, the whole idea of 'domesticity' implies a certain kind of separation from the rest of life--and that just wasn't the case even 200 years ago in the way it is today in our society. I would bet you that the cave women did not separate their 'home' life and the rest of life. Doing this seems natural to us, but it is really a pretty recent invention in human history.)

And before industrialization took fathers out of the home in the mid-19th century to work for wages, men in our society also did plenty of taking care of kids--there was not the distinction between home and work that we see today for them either. The powerful association we have that "home life=mother only" came about in the Victorian era. Before that, all mothers cared for children AND were WAHMs. And most dads worked at home too! or very close to home.

I think the martyr thing is alive and well in many interpretations of AP, as is the idea that only mother can care for small children well, kids should never be with a babysitter, mother should never do anything that doesn't center on her children. THAT, though, is not natural! It is a product of our particular culture, and a remnant of 19th century (that is, pretty recent) ideas about strict separation of home and work, and strict separation of gender roles. (which were all powerfully reinforced in the late 1940s and 1950s to get all those Rosie the Riveters to go back home and stop taking jobs from men...)

AP is sometimes awfully close to the total self-sacrifice demanded of fundementalist Christian motherhood too--the techniques and ways of child care can be very different, but the idea that mothers should sacrifice everything and be happy about it for their small children is the same. I personally think the 'natural' way to raise children is for both parents to share the care, with a lot of help from relatives and friends. The burnout rate is probably far less in this situation.

We are trying to mix AP with June Cleaver--but these 2 paradigms come from very different places, and so you end up with the moms who get 4 hours of broken sleep a night, frying themselves with constant BF, dragging around bags of soiled cloth diapers, carrying the children everywhere, and doing all of this alone!! with husbands who work 100 hours a week and do almost no care.

June Cleaver works much better with CIO and scheduled feedings and babysitter every Friday night because that model developed in the industrial age and works better for the home-work separated/suburban environment and with the 'traditional' male wage-earning-outside-the-home model. That's why people still do it--it works in our culture. But AP pretty much requires the daily help of others, and the sharing of care. I don't know how you can do both and not completely exhuast yourself.
post #26 of 97
[QUOTE=Guava~Lush;7319942]Ok,
I figured out that I was practicing AP after I learned about it here, Mothering mag and Dr. Sears.-Only because it is what came "naturally" to me.

So for myself, AP is natural for me becuase it was instinctual. does that make sense?
[QUOTE]



When I had Grace I had no clue what I was doing had a label. I just "knew" it was "right". It seemed only natural to be a loving, nurturing mom who was there 100% all the time. I was determined to bf, we co-slept because it felt good and safe, ect. It wasn't until I started talking to other cloth diapering mamas that I knew how I was raising my child had a title. My AP friendly doc didn't even know it had a name .

That being said, Grace was a clinger all the way up until she weaned (). And to tell you the truth I MISS IT! Ethan loves to cuddle and the whole nine yards but his personality is more of a go-getter. It's amazing, the more love I give and show to them, the closer and more attached we are/become. I think you should just sit back and look at the big picture. When they're 20, I gaurentee they won't be dragging on your pant legs! In the big scheme of things, this time in their and your life is very short. Just my .02.
post #27 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
Fifth - you'd still be able to run from the sabretooth - adrenalin is an amazing thing.
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post #28 of 97
Quote:
I think you get the picture that I have in my fuzzy, sleep deprieved brain. I feel like I tried not to rush my kids into things they weren’t ready for, but to support them in the things they were, and be there for them whenever they needed me. But 6+ years later, I’m ready to quit it all and think less AP more natural. (To try a ‘better’ way of parenting, if you will.) My kids can’t sleep at night, can’t separate well, and are way too ‘needy’. That is not natural.
You sound tired and burnt out. It just can't be a one-woman show. Doing everything yourself is hard if you don't have the support around you. Most "natural" societies had such a strong social network. Babies were carried everywhere, kids slept closeby, and kids were nursed past toddlerhood for sure. But these little families weren't locked away in houses surrounded by empty neighborhoods. People actually spent time together. Talked, worked, were productive, and shared the load. It was a COMMUNITY effort. Recreating a community effort all by yourself is exhausting. You need to carve out help, support, or just some other moms to have coffee with while the littles play. It makes a difference to be surrounded by love and support instead of being isolated and expecting to do it all. That is how parenting (and living really) was meant to be.
post #29 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by mumm View Post
I see the two related here at MDC all the time, but am not sure that they really go together. I’m beginning to think that AP is not natural at all. I’m not an expert (my kids are only 6 and almost 4) but I have two more on the way and want to try to get it ‘right’ this time around.

Look at specific portions of AP (as preached by Sears) that I frequently see being associated with NFL.

-Co-sleeping. My babies never slept in cribs, but instead on my body. After 4 years (2.5 for my son, 1.5 for my daughter) of nursing every 45 min at night I’m beat! How natural is this? If I were a cavewoman, I’d be dead! Never ever able to outrun a sabertooth tiger! Is it natural for a 6 year old to not be able to sleep at night because for his first few years he slept on a body. I’m ready to cry it out with him, and I’m sure it would have been less painful (more ‘natural’) if we had done it 5 years ago!
It's very natural to go with your instincts about what your baby needs and to go with that naturally. If you were a cave woman you wouldn't be out of the cave to have to run from a saber tooth tiger.
Quote:
-Babywearing- If a kid can’t walk and you need to get somewhere, you carry him. But once they can- I say give him/her the boot. I’ve got an (almost) 4 year old who can’t separate from me, even in the #$%@# house!
Some children are more in need of physical contact, so it is very ntural to meet your child's needs
Quote:
-Exclusive Breastfeeding- Well, I can’t argue with that one! Only makes sense to me. But I do think we (I?) confuse BF for food with BF for comfort. And is comfort BFing natural?
Again, meeting the physical and emotion needs of your child based on mama instincts is VERY natural.
Quote:
I think you get the picture that I have in my fuzzy, sleep deprieved brain. I feel like I tried not to rush my kids into things they weren’t ready for, but to support them in the things they were, and be there for them whenever they needed me. But 6+ years later, I’m ready to quit it all and think less AP more natural. (To try a ‘better’ way of parenting, if you will.) My kids can’t sleep at night, can’t separate well, and are way too ‘needy’. That is not natural.

So how do you find the balance? And do you think that AP=NFL?
Natural for whom? Children don't come from the exact same mold. All children hae different needs and personalities.

My psychology professor said to me a few years ago, that you shouldn't expect the rewards of attachment parenting to come full circle until about age or a little later.

In the end it will all be worth it.
post #30 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Demeter9 View Post

For example, not feeding children solids until 6 months or more. What seems apparent to me is that children would have been fed things AND that the way that was done was by mommy prechewing it for them. Hence transfering enzymes and bacteria necessary to help digest it properly.
In my culture, babies were only fed that way during ceremony. They didn't eat actual food on their own until they could get up and get it themselves.
Yes, wolves reguritated food to their young , but it was known that humans were different and babies were better off without having solids too early.
Also, it was well known that wolves usually gave birth to more than one baby, and so needed to be able to feed and nurse their young.
post #31 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuller2 View Post
Here's the thing--we are laying AP over our prexisting cultural mothering paradigm, which was total maternal self-sacrifice, no connection with wider world, everything oriented toward home and family, etc. The thing we always overlook when we imagine 'primitive' societies is that ALL those mamas were working mamas--as in, provided essential food, clothing etc., and even money. None of these mamas ONLY care for children and the domestic environment in the way we idealize motherhood. (For one thing, the whole idea of 'domesticity' implies a certain kind of separation from the rest of life--and that just wasn't the case even 200 years ago in the way it is today in our society. I would bet you that the cave women did not separate their 'home' life and the rest of life. Doing this seems natural to us, but it is really a pretty recent invention in human history.)

...

June Cleaver works much better with CIO and scheduled feedings and babysitter every Friday night because that model developed in the industrial age and works better for the home-work separated/suburban environment and with the 'traditional' male wage-earning-outside-the-home model. That's why people still do it--it works in our culture. But AP pretty much requires the daily help of others, and the sharing of care. I don't know how you can do both and not completely exhuast yourself.
This was an excellent post.
post #32 of 97
I don't see how one could question the naturalness of co-sleeping, nursing, and babywearing.

How do you push a stroller unless you have paved roads and sidewalks everywhere?

How natural is it to put your baby in a wooden contraption in another room for 10+ hours/night?

Why worry if they are sucking for food or comfort? Food and comfort are inextricably intertwined for infants, and the place we get in trouble is when we overthink and try to mess with that, not when we just let it be.
post #33 of 97
that continuum concept article that was posted a few posts back is a great way to look at things. It really puts into perspective a lot of these questions for me.

Like so many others I practiced AP before I had a name for it, I did things base don instinct. Fo rme CIO would have taken a huge amount of ignoring my instinct so we didn't does this mean I have a 2 year old with perfect sleep patterns, not by any means, but she is getting there And I think it's important to let her reach that point on her own with gentle guidance from me, just like any other aspect of her life.

Sounds like the OP is having a relaly tought ime right now so
post #34 of 97
My opinions only:

The first thing that jumps out at me is the assumption that AP means that everyone is happy all the time and that an older child's wants are also needs. I operated under that assumption when my kids were tiny, and I now think that I was wrong in doing so. A lot of your comments made me think of this because you're talking about kids past infancy (when their wants are definitely their needs).

I don't think it's natural to nurse kids indefinitely without limits or that co-sleeping would mean sleeping with mom. In a more tribal society, there would be more other relatives around, older children would help with babies more and sooner. I'm not sure why some kids wake every 45 minutes all the time for years, but I don't think that's normal sleep and if mine did that, I would try to figure out what's going on. (Reflux? Allergy?) I transitioned my kids to solitary sleep when they were 5 & 7 and while they weren't always happy about it, they needed a mom who felt rested and they could understand that I was just down the hall where a baby would not have had that security. Now they do co-sleep together sometimes or one or the other will join me, but I can't rest between two big bodies squishing me and they don't make the connection on their own that tired mommy = grouchy mommy and change their behavior with that in mind.

Babywearing. One of mine was on the small side and a slow walker and I am impatient and walk quickly so I carried him until he was 5. I think it's unnatural that he was the youngest for so long (consider that I was mid-20s when he was born). I've been experimenting for a few days with telling my (older) kids that it's time to leave and then behaving as if I expect them to follow me rather than staying and cajoling them to do so. It works like that! I leave, they follow. Being carried until you're hurting mama's back/knees/feet is not natural, but then neither is assuming that every want of an older child is a need.

Breastfeeding. Yes, I believe that comfort breastfeeding is natural. I don't believe that unrestricted breastfeeding for years with no limits from mom is natural. Neither as mom as the almost-exclusive care provider, but neither is leaving mom for hours for preschool, cared for by people the child doesn't know until then. Again, we don't have a tribe with a whole bunch of bigger kids to tag along after.
post #35 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by BellinghamCrunchie View Post
But I CAN tell you what the effects of being raised Non-AP were like, at least for me. My parents did the whole bottle feeding, CIO, sleep alone in a crib thing. I had no confidence as a child. I was afraid to let my mom out of my sight. Even at age 10, I was afraid to be home alone. It took me hours to fall asleep (it still does) and I don't feel completely safe unless I'm in a familar bed. Not with a familar PERSON. A familar BED. Furthermore, I have a very difficult time sleeping with another person in the same bed. It just doesn't feel right.
If that's your experience and you're sure of its causes it's not my intention to question you personally. BUT ... my parents did the whole breast feeding, co-sleeping, etc. thing, and I had no confidence as a child, was afraid to let my mom out of my sight, I still can't sleep in an unfamiliar bed without being almost literally dead on my feet, and so on. Those are complex issues, and flatly assuming it can be caused by one set of parenting techniques and prevented by another would be an error of over-simplification.

Quote:
Originally Posted by uptownzoo View Post
Speak it, sistah'!
I would argue that balance is not the least important, but the MOST important, and by a large margin. In my experience, with friends and in teaching babywearing and AP classes, almost everybody gets the attachment part right. People are practically afraid to put a kid in his or her own bed, even though NOBODY is getting decent sleep, because of the potential scars to the attachment. People are actually afraid of causing RAD (reactive attachment disorder) in their children because of weaning them before they wean themselves, or putting them in a crib, or whatever. Even a marginally normal, loving parent is not going to cause RAD in a child! It's a devastating syndrome caused by perpetual neglect/abuse, not sleeping in a crib (even if parents practice CIO)(which, BTW, I'm NOT advocating!).
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post #36 of 97
I just wanted to add that while discipline wasn't mentioned, I think it's likely that hitting children is likely "natural" while striving for gentle discipline is not natural.

No, natural isn't always ideal.
post #37 of 97
ITA that GD is not natural.
post #38 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
If that's your experience and you're sure of its causes it's not my intention to question you personally. BUT ... my parents did the whole breast feeding, co-sleeping, etc. thing, and I had no confidence as a child, was afraid to let my mom out of my sight, I still can't sleep in an unfamiliar bed without being almost literally dead on my feet, and so on. Those are complex issues, and flatly assuming it can be caused by one set of parenting techniques and prevented by another would be an error of over-simplification.
Excellent point. Another anecdotal experience -- I was formula fed, never co-slept with my parents, CIO'ed. I was insanely confident as a child -- hopped on the school bus at 4yo and never even looked back once at my mom... went to summer sleepover camp for a week as a first grader. And I can sleep anywhere. In the darkest night, in a tent in the woods, totally alone, and almost always fall asleep in 10 minutes.

I'm sure we can swap upbringings all day long... basically, we were all brought up differently, and we all turned out differently.

AP is, IMO, a nurturing and supportive way to bring up a child, but it is surely only one piece of the puzzle.
post #39 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparklefairy View Post
I just wanted to add that while discipline wasn't mentioned, I think it's likely that hitting children is likely "natural" while striving for gentle discipline is not natural.

No, natural isn't always ideal.
Maybe this should be a thread of it's own, but I don't understand how hitting a baby or small child is natural or even instinctual.

The books i read that detailed Indigenous tribes that were still hunting/gathering, etc. they never hit their young. I remember reading one story about a Tribe found in Canada(?) and the entire group stoned the mother to death for hitting her child. It was seen as aberrant and by killing the mother, it was seen as putting an end to the aberancy so that it would not continue.

And, yes, I questioned the whole idea that such severe consequences were accepted....but then again, they truly believed that children should be protected. Their whole tribe revolved around the upbringing and wellbeing of all the children.
post #40 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
If that's your experience and you're sure of its causes it's not my intention to question you personally. BUT ... my parents did the whole breast feeding, co-sleeping, etc. thing, and I had no confidence as a child, was afraid to let my mom out of my sight, I still can't sleep in an unfamiliar bed without being almost literally dead on my feet, and so on. Those are complex issues, and flatly assuming it can be caused by one set of parenting techniques and prevented by another would be an error of over-simplification.



:
Yeah, its just anecdotal information, and I'm sure every parent gets enough of that! In my case, I think its due in part to having a quirky, overly-sensitive personality, but I do think that having slept alone since birth until I was 25 or so made a difference in my ability to sleep with another person in the bed.

What I was trying to suggest is that often we are eager to teach our children to sleep alone, and sometimes might end up doing that too well. To me, being able to sleep cuddled up with someone as well as feeling completely comfortable alone would be ideal.
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