Is it really natural? Gentle sleep practices -> no sleep for some - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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Co-sleeping and the Family Bed > Is it really natural? Gentle sleep practices -> no sleep for some
laohaire's Avatar laohaire 05:02 PM 01-26-2007
It also occured to me that in a natural environment, a mother would not be sleeping on a Sealy mattress, in a temperature-controlled environment, with a nice dry, fluffy blanket or cool sheet, in a room with very few other people who might be coughing or whatever during sleep hours.

What does that mean? Well, either our foremothers were used to crappy sleep, or they found it easier to sleep in tough conditions such as having a baby on the boob, and just snoozed right through it.

I've read a few times here or other places on the Net where people have to have just perfect conditions to sleep - such as a white noise machine, or the window open, or perfect silence, or nobody jostling the bed, or having two pillows, and so on. We would have all been screwed if we lived 500, 1000, 5000, 10000 years ago, eh?

Anyway, the ideas in this thread kind of put it in perspective for me.

pookel's Avatar pookel 06:15 PM 01-26-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by riverscout View Post
Also, they never show her nursing the baby or I've completely missed it if they have. She even left him to go on an adventure for like a couple of days. How does this kid eat?
I don't think they've shown it, but it's been mentioned. I specifically remember a comment from Charlie, "You'd deny peanut butter to a NURSING MOTHER?"

I don't remember her leaving him for a couple of days. When was that? I do think it's funny the way he's clearly about 6 months old even though he's supposed to be, what, 3 weeks? But that's understandable because of rules about using young babies on film, I guess.
ACsMom's Avatar ACsMom 06:49 PM 01-26-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peony View Post
Women's fertility returns much faster now days in our age of enough food for many.

I read this, too. That traditionally, breastfeeding would keep the mother's energy occupied so that she wouldn't be fertile, but in modern times a lot of us have a surplus of readily available food. And not just any food - lots of animal foods, which tend to elevate certain hormone levels in the body more than most plant foods. Eating more animal foods also seems to contribute to the younger age at which Western girls start menstruating now, so it could be that in the "old" days, girls didn't start their fertile years until they were fifteen, sixteen, something like that. So, fewer babies.

Re: sleep, I agree with other posters who said that biologically we're meant to sleep when the sun is down. Our lifestyles have changed drastically over the past 50-100 years, but biological change is far slower. As I understand it, physically we're still pretty much the same creatures we were thousands of years ago. Maybe even ten thousand years ago or more - I'm no anthropologist, as you can tell.

Interesting thread - thanks for starting it!
riverscout's Avatar riverscout 10:50 PM 01-26-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by pookel View Post
I don't think they've shown it, but it's been mentioned. I specifically remember a comment from Charlie, "You'd deny peanut butter to a NURSING MOTHER?"

I don't remember her leaving him for a couple of days. When was that? I do think it's funny the way he's clearly about 6 months old even though he's supposed to be, what, 3 weeks? But that's understandable because of rules about using young babies on film, I guess.
Oh yeah, I forgot about the peanut butter thing. So far I think that is the only reference. As far as leaving the baby, she left him with Sun when she, Kate, and Rousseau went to find where she was held after her capture so she could find a vaccine for him. Unless Sun is secretly lactating, I have no idea how she fed the baby.

Ok back to the topic at hand...

I have no family within 500 miles, but I can only imagine how incredibly nice it would be to have my mom, my sister, and my niece around here to help me with my dd. Just typing that made me really sad. My dh works long hours too so he can't help out much at home during the week. He can't nurse the baby in the middle of the night so I am on night duty. I stay up late even though I know I should go to bed early because I just can't unwind till late, I think because I just need some time to myself and to spend with dh. Also, after dd is in bed is the only time I ever get to do certain things around the house that are too difficult to do when she is awake. All this makes for a tired mama.

I understand that lack of sleep is part of motherhood, and to some extent we all have to suck it up a little. But honeslty I think lack of sleep coupled with the lack of family support faced by many mothers in our modern society is just too much to ask. These factors play a major role in ppd, so it's no wonder so many mothers are suffering.

I think part of the reason CIO is a modern phenomenon is because parents are just don't have the support and resources people once had when it comes to raising children. It just seems like there has to be a better way for us to live. Maybe we should all start a real life mothering commune.
georgia's Avatar georgia 11:10 PM 01-26-2007
This is one of my favorite passages about sleep issues when I'm feeling blah:

Quote:
Once we become parents it is easy to blame ourselves when our children's behavior seems out of control. The pervasive idea that we should be able to control sleep habits leads us too quickly to call night waking a "sleep disorder" and to wonder what we are doing wrong to cause it. Research gives no indication that anything parents do causes night waking. Babies whose cries are responded to rapidly are not more prone to it. Assuming that there is some method out there to treat sleep "disorders" undermines a parent's confidence. Despite the notion that "healthy, normal" babies sleep through the night, surveys of parents show that most babies do not sleep through the night, at least until all their teeth are in.

While waiting for our children to develop physically and emotionally to the point where they can realistically soothe themsleves to sleep, we need to work on our own development toward tolerance, patience, and acceptance of those aspects of parenting that are beyond our control. What remains in our control is the ability to continue to care for our children even though they are keeping us awake at night; to continue to hold to our own integrity as feeling people.

To embrace a philosophy that takes into account the individual needs of each child is not to ignore the unfortunate reality that we need sleep. We need to nurture ourselves in this process of raising children. The key to tolerance, and the natural passge through the nightwaking years, is to observe, accept, and work with your child's own inner rhythms and timetables, which can lead to the understanding that nurturing your child and nurturing yourself are not mutually exclusive enterprises.

'Natural Family Living' by Peggy O'Mara
And if it helps anyone, the first time my oldest "slept through the night" (read longer than two hours Actually, I think he slept for six hours after years of being an hourly waker) I felt absolutely no different than any other night :. I was like, I've been waiting three years for this glorious event occur, and this is it?
jaidymama's Avatar jaidymama 11:41 PM 01-26-2007
1. Age Factor: I remember when I was younger I required less sleep (or so it seemed). Consider that women used to marry and have children at a younger age a century ago (if not less).

2. Schedule: If we're talking about natural sleeping habits (for parents and children), it would seem appropriate to talk about what goes on during the day... Our daily chores may not be as physical as they were for our great grandmother's, but is it possible our schedules are too full with extra curricular activities?? Perhaps by simplifying our schedules we could manage the basics with the amount of sleep we are getting... instead of being exhausted and maxed out?

3. Health Problems: there is an entire field of research dedicated to sleep problems... some of it relating to babies/children. I think there are a lot of babies/children with sleep issues that are related to health problems (like the mom's who report their child hasn't slept longer than 45 min. at one time in 18 months or longer). For those extreme sleep deprived families, it makes sense to me that there would be a medical reason for it... especially since sleep is so important to health and growth/development. But I know each person has different experiences.

I know a woman who has 9 children, and she once joked that she had been changing diapers for 3 decades! I imagine that yes, she experienced sleeplessness along with those years. Maybe she didn't need as much sleep as some, but I know coffee was a regular staple at their house. My SIL has three kids now ages 7, 4, & 2... she considers exhaustion to be part of life.
For us, we do what we can to get sleep when we can. DH will sleep in the guest room when he needs to catch up on sleep, and I go to bed early or sleep in when I can... as well as take a nap when I can.

Bottom line, it might be easy to wonder if the pasture is greener on the other side... but I think Cosleeping etc. are natural and the best way to get the most sleep through the night... based on what I have read about sleep. (consider too that there are a variety of ways to cosleep and that each family has to assess their own needs to find a sleeping arrangement that meets their individuality.)

Sweet dreams!
Ary99's Avatar Ary99 12:41 AM 01-27-2007
See, this is why I love coming here. i was starting to go sleep crazy again. It was catching up to me.

It really IS all about our society. It's not about babies. We are expected to do everything, by ourselves and are expected to enjoy it. I feel so sad when I see my neighbors zipping into their garages and closing up shop for the day.

I acutally live next door to a woman who has a baby a month older than my youngest. She also has an almost 3 y/o girl and I have a 4y/o boy. How often do I see her? MAYBE once every other week. Other than that, she disappears into her house. I have tried to draw her out a bit, mentioning things like cooking dinner together, but unfortunately in this day and age, stuff like that is considered "alternative". In the meantime, we live parallel lives both dragging our children to the grocery store instead of sharing childcare, cooking seperately, doing laundry seperately and getting very, very little sleep.
jaidymama's Avatar jaidymama 12:48 AM 01-27-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ary99 View Post
See, this is why I love coming here. i was starting to go sleep crazy again. It was catching up to me.

It really IS all about our society. It's not about babies. We are expected to do everything, by ourselves and are expected to enjoy it. I feel so sad when I see my neighbors zipping into their garages and closing up shop for the day.

I acutally live next door to a woman who has a baby a month older than my youngest. She also has an almost 3 y/o girl and I have a 4y/o boy. How often do I see her? MAYBE once every other week. Other than that, she disappears into her house. I have tried to draw her out a bit, mentioning things like cooking dinner together, but unfortunately in this day and age, stuff like that is considered "alternative". In the meantime, we live parallel lives both dragging our children to the grocery store instead of sharing childcare, cooking seperately, doing laundry seperately and getting very, very little sleep.
I totally agree... we just moved last summer into a super family friendly neighborhood... we were so excited, except that everyone does the same thing... they all go into their big houses and we don't see them... and during the day most families have both parents working so the kids are in daycare... so we don't see many people at home during the day.

It does take a group to raise children... to support the parents and the kids.
Barb36's Avatar Barb36 01:07 AM 01-27-2007
I agree with everything everyone has said. It is insane to do as much as we do on so little sleep and with little or no support. My 2nd ds is 9 months old and I remember this time with my first being SO much easier. I was waking up a lot at night with him, but the demands of taking care of a 9 month old are very different from caring for a 4 year old and a 9 month old. That's what has been so hard for me this time around.

Sometimes I struggle with how little energy I have and how that is affecting my 4 year old. But I try to reconcile my guilt by taking on the perspective that this is a family experience and he is becoming more aware that other people have needs and feelings. This is a good lesson however much I wish I could run and jump and play with him more...and with much more energy.

It is hard...
North_Of_60's Avatar North_Of_60 01:20 AM 01-27-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by georgia View Post
Actually, I think he slept for six hours after years of being an hourly waker) I felt absolutely no different than any other night :.
EXACTLY! My crappy sleeper slept 5 and a half hours last night and I was STILL exhausted today. My husband looked at me and said "but you got to sleep last night". Humph. : My sleep deprivation is cumulative at this point. I think I'd have to go into hibernation to catch up.
Barb36's Avatar Barb36 01:59 AM 01-27-2007
Absolutely...one long stretch of sleep doesn't erase months of frequent wakings. It takes awhile before one feels really rested again. And I found that when my first started to sleep better, I still woke up at 2 hour intervals...my internal clock was just so freaked out.

This time around I seem to sleep like the dead at any opportunity so I'm hopeful I won't do that insane waking when the baby is sleeping peacefully.
riverscout's Avatar riverscout 02:04 AM 01-27-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barb36 View Post
I agree with everything everyone has said. It is insane to do as much as we do on so little sleep and with little or no support. My 2nd ds is 9 months old and I remember this time with my first being SO much easier. I was waking up a lot at night with him, but the demands of taking care of a 9 month old are very different from caring for a 4 year old and a 9 month old. That's what has been so hard for me this time around.

Sometimes I struggle with how little energy I have and how that is affecting my 4 year old. But I try to reconcile my guilt by taking on the perspective that this is a family experience and he is becoming more aware that other people have needs and feelings. This is a good lesson however much I wish I could run and jump and play with him more...and with much more energy.

It is hard...
I really worry how I am going to feel if I decided to have another baby. I have been able to be very responsive to my dd's needs when it comes to sleep because I don't have other kids to look after. I have spent countless hours getting her to sleep without crying and keeping her asleep...nursing, rocking, bouncing, endless walks, letting her sleep on me, you name it I've done it. How am I going to do all that with a baby if I have a preschooler to look after? How I am I going to take care of myself and my house in addition to two kids without some kind of help? It almost seems impossible. Maybe the next one will me a champion sleeper. :
AikeaGuinea's Avatar AikeaGuinea 03:11 PM 01-27-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by riverscout View Post
I really worry how I am going to feel if I decided to have another baby. I have been able to be very responsive to my dd's needs when it comes to sleep because I don't have other kids to look after. I have spent countless hours getting her to sleep without crying and keeping her asleep...nursing, rocking, bouncing, endless walks, letting her sleep on me, you name it I've done it. How am I going to do all that with a baby if I have a preschooler to look after? How I am I going to take care of myself and my house in addition to two kids without some kind of help? It almost seems impossible. Maybe the next one will me a champion sleeper. :
I feel your pain...this is the place I am in now...I feel like it's hard to be a mom to all of them and keep it all together and do what's best for them all. I have two school age children, a toddler, and a newborn. The school agers do fine with sleep, they are 4 and 6 years old, and put themselves to sleep in their own rooms and sleep thru the night. My 2 year old we FINALLY got to sleep on his own, but right after that our new baby was born and she wakes me up to nurse about 4 times a night.

I think it has been about 6 years since I got decent sleep, I am having health problems because of it...attention problems, vision problems, and other things, like when I fell asleep nursing my baby last week and my toddler got into the medicine cabinet...he's fine, but it was a terrifying trip the the ER It is getting to where I am afraid I will wreck the car or lose track of my kids while we are out because my brain and my body are just that fried from lack of sleep. Even while we are safe at home, I know I can't be a totally attentive mom to all of them all the time and that hurts. I make myself feel better by telling myself how much they are enjoying growing up with their siblings close in age, and how nice it will be for them as adults to have siblings to lean on.

Anyway, I just got my tubes tied because I know I can't do anymore without seriously endangering my family and my long term health. I don't know if that is natural or not. I am sure it's not.
jennybean0722's Avatar jennybean0722 05:28 PM 01-27-2007
I am really beginning to wonder how natural it all is too. I so want to believe it is right, but if I have another one, I'm not so sure how patient I can be. I feel like I could lose it with just one!

I'm about to start a thread on 'would you do it the same with the next one?'
Barb36's Avatar Barb36 11:08 PM 01-27-2007
AikeaGuinea - I just wanted to say how much I appreciate your honesty about how incredibly hard it is to parent while experiencing chronic sleep deprivation. I think many, many of us struggle with this. And I agree with you that it is not good for our health to get this little sleep for this long.

You posted on another thread about teaching your children to sleep independently at the age of 2 or so...I can totally see why you do that. It's called survival! I tend to think that once my kids can talk pretty well, it's time to start talking about the importance of sleep and what he can do to learn ways to sleep soundly through the night. For us, it worked well as he is now 4 and sleeps very well.

I really struggle with how little I can give at times when I'm just so completely wasted with exhaustion. I look at moms who use CIO and they are chipper and running around all day with their kids. I just can't let my baby CIO but I can see the appeal of it as far as the end result. Doesn't justify the means but I can understand the temptation.

Thanks again for being so candid...it helps so much to know that I'm not the only one who is not blissfully going about my days while running on empty.
savithny's Avatar savithny 11:29 PM 01-27-2007
Well, I agree that artificial light has truly messed with human sleep.

It's not entirely true that prior to electric light everyone went to bed at dusk, but it is true that they went to bed earlier.

However, I recently was reading some articles on the history of sleep (reviews of a recent book) and it talked about how a more natural sleep pattern is to go to bed earlier, sleep for awhile, and then have periods of wakefulness in the night. Old books refer to it as "first sleep" and "second sleep," and in the period between, people would sit around and tell stories, etc.

However, if we're talking evolutionary biology, our closest primate relatives do not sleep with all their children. They drive their older offspring out of their nests when a new baby is born, and the previous baby goes to sleep in a "bed" (night nest) either alone or with an older sibling or aunt. So they're not sharing sleep with a bunch of closely spaced offspring. I've not read much about whether this is the case with humans living a more "natural" life, although I have read that weaning before a subsequent child arrives is almost universal, and is *often* accomplished by having the child stay with and sleep with an older female relative, which might suggest that the weaned child sleeps with someone else after weaning.
Lady Lilya's Avatar Lady Lilya 08:21 PM 01-29-2007
This is a very interesting thread for me. I am expecting my first in August and I am concerned because my husband and I both don't do well with lack of sleep.

Re: natural
Women in the past were much less fertile than we are, supposedly. I have read that they ovulated about once per year, sometimes less.

Quote:
One thought, off the top of my head, is that historically, humans have gone to bed with the sun most of the time. They also have not had time constraints that they do these days. So moms (and everyone else) would go into parenthood with a sleep surplus and be able to catch up here and there with infants as they slept. Mid-day naps were traditional in many early societies.

-Angela
I definitely plan to sleep when I can. I am not going to attempt any semblance of a normal adult sleep schedule at first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LookMommy!
I guess that if naturally women are not isolated, then naturally they could catch a nap when a female relative is looking after their baby.
Absolutely. Where is our extended family and community? Why can't a woman watch her neighbor's baby while the mommy takes a nap?

My parents (they live about 15 minutes away, but it has a $9 toll to cross the bridge) told me that my mother is saving her vacation days so that when the baby is born they will have about 2 weeks where they will come help me from about 7:30 am until 4-5pm. They said that way I can make sure to get enough sleep. I guess if I need more than 2 weeks, my father can still come because he is retired. I look forward to this, because, as much as my father is a jerk with adults, he becomes very positive and loving and attentive with anyone under the age of 10, especially babies. The happiest I have ever seen him is holding a baby.

Also, my in-laws live a few minutes drive away. If I get really exhausted I can ask them to help me out too.

My only duties around the house that are absolutely essential are to do laundry and make dinner/lunches (I make double and pack for the next day because my husband can't get anything at work). Neither of these is all that taxing. I also have to make a list of things for my husband to pick-up at the grocery store. Other than these things, everything else can be skipped for a while. I can just focus on taking care of the baby's needs and sleeping.

Quote:
Originally Posted by race_kelly
I agree with most of what people have said. Our societal evolution has far outstripped our biological evolution. So if we are talking natural, in the biological sense, our bodies and that of our babies are meant to cosleep, yet our society often doesn't allow us to do so to the extent that mommies are actually reaping as much of the benefits as babies. But, hey, evolutionarily, we want what is best for our offspring, so....
In that case, I would call it "devolution". Anything that has changed in us to make things worse for our babies, makes things worse for all of us since all of us are babies at one point. What is best for our babies is what is best for all humanity. If we are getting away from what is best for our species, I call that "devolving".

Quote:
Originally Posted by NamastePlatypus
I have given up trying to have a DECENT night sleep. It is a part of MOTHERHOOD because not many dads paticipate in nighttime parenting unless they are apart of the male lactating movement. Sorry, that is just how I have come to look at it. Yes sometimes I am bitter but at least I can acknowledge it
My father talked to me about when I was a baby.

My mother had to work. She breastfed me when she was home, and used a pump for during the day.

They kept me at night in my own room, right next to theirs, and never closed the doors (believe me from having grown up in that room that they could hear every peep).

When I would wake in the night, my father would go get me while my mother would lean up against the head board. He would put me in position and then go back to sleep. When I was done, he would get up again and put me back.

They said I never had a problem with that. Knowing myself, I can believe that, because I have trouble sleeping in the presence of any movement, like if my husband is stroking me. I am sure I will get over that, though, when I am tired enough.

I plan to try co-sleeping. I have a crib (my father found a fantastic crib from 1862 that fits modern safety standards....it has a clock mechanism and can be wound to rock itself...it looks fit for royalty) and will try having that right next to the bed. I am not sure what combination of co-sleeping and crib sleeping we will end up with.

A lot of it depends on my husband. Since I can nap with the baby during the day, his sleep is a higher priority than mine. He needs to be functional for work. We depend on his income. He may end up sleeping on the couch, or me may not be disrupted at all. We shall see.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex Libris
I've found this surprising in myself, too. Before ds was born, I needed 9 hours of sleep or I got sick. Since ds was born three years ago I haven't had a full night's sleep--yet I remain pretty healthy.
I am relieved to hear this.

If I don't sleep enough, I shake and have trouble maintaining my body temperature.

I am glad to hear there is hope that I won't be like this when the baby comes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire
It also occured to me that in a natural environment, a mother would not be sleeping on a Sealy mattress, in a temperature-controlled environment, with a nice dry, fluffy blanket or cool sheet, in a room with very few other people who might be coughing or whatever during sleep hours.

What does that mean? Well, either our foremothers were used to crappy sleep, or they found it easier to sleep in tough conditions such as having a baby on the boob, and just snoozed right through it.

I've read a few times here or other places on the Net where people have to have just perfect conditions to sleep - such as a white noise machine, or the window open, or perfect silence, or nobody jostling the bed, or having two pillows, and so on. We would have all been screwed if we lived 500, 1000, 5000, 10000 years ago, eh?
I'm not very sensitive about sleep conditions. My husband is much more sensitive than I, and had to get used to sharing the bed with me. Recently, I have been tossing and turning a lot at night (I read that is normal during the first trimester due to hormone surges) and he hasn't noticed, so he says. These days he deals fine with the cats coming and going, and Phoenix' noisy purring (he makes a funny sound) without waking. I am hoping a baby in the bed, and me possibly getting up and down, won't be a problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by North Of 60
EXACTLY! My crappy sleeper slept 5 and a half hours last night and I was STILL exhausted today. My husband looked at me and said "but you got to sleep last night". Humph. My sleep deprivation is cumulative at this point. I think I'd have to go into hibernation to catch up.
I have read that for each hour of sleep you missed, you need more than 1 hour to make it up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by savithny
However, I recently was reading some articles on the history of sleep (reviews of a recent book) and it talked about how a more natural sleep pattern is to go to bed earlier, sleep for awhile, and then have periods of wakefulness in the night. Old books refer to it as "first sleep" and "second sleep," and in the period between, people would sit around and tell stories, etc.
I can see this.

Sometimes I fall asleep on the couch, and then wake up again and do stuff for a while an go back to sleep later.
Mikani's Avatar Mikani 09:58 PM 01-29-2007
I'd like to chime in here.

My PhD is in biological archaeology, which is the study of the human biological condition in the past (Jim McKenna, the co-sleeping researcher, is actually a friend of my advisor's, believe it or not). I'm not going to say any of the following to be preachy, but to simply try to pass on what we think we know now. Sorry if it's long-winded...

First, it's very common to be confused when anthropologists talk about "the past." Which past do we mean? We've been living with industrialization for about 200 years, agriculture for about 10,000 years, and we've been walking on two legs for about 7 million years. So what was "the human past" like? Depends on when you mean.

Most of the conversation about "what are we meant to be like naturally?" is usually talking baout that time between when we split off from apes and before we began to farm. So basically, hunters and gatherers in tropical environments. And how do we know how they lived? There's very little archaeological evidence of childrearing (slings would never make it in the archaeological record, for example). Most of what we think we know we have learned from a handful of studies conducted in the 1970s on a tribe called the !Kung San in the Kalahari.

These folks were semi-nomadic foragers, and yet they lived in a modern nation state (Botswana) and had access to modern things (like cigarettes). They were not a time capsule, and yet they were believed to share many cultural traits with our ancient ancestors.

Some things about them that are relevant to this discussion:

1. They lived in extended family groups, with grandmothers, aunts, cousins, and older siblings all helping to take care of kids, day and night.

2. They had an amazingly high rate of breastfeeding, sometimes nursing every fifteen minutes all the way up until another baby was born. I've never heard anything about the !Kung tandem nursing.

3. Their child spacing varied between 2 and 4 years with the mean number of children being six per woman (not all would always survive to adulthood).

4. Women did not usually begin menstruating until age 17 or 18 and the average life expectancy was fairly high (I want to say 65ish, but I don't remember exactly).

5. It was not uncommon for the last child to continue nursing (at a very reduced rate) until s/he was six or seven.

6. Babies were carried everywhere and rarely put down until they could speak.

7. Most !Kung women only experienced a handful of menstrual cycles in their lifetimes (30 or so cycles). All the rest of the time they were either pregnant, breastfeeding, pre- or post-menstrual.

8. !Kung women provided around 80% of the calories for each tribe by gathering plant foods, spending about 20 hours a week doing so. They would carry children with them while they searched for food. The rest of the time would be spent at the camp, playing with children, building houses, cooking, etc.

9. It was a !Kung san ideal for a woman to labor by herself in the bush. A woman was expected to go off by herself when she first felt labor pains, and not return until she had a baby.

I love the AP approach to parenting, but it's very easy to romanticize "the way things were." Knowledge is best when tempered with wisdom. Anyway, I hope that helps! Sorry it was so long!
Barb36's Avatar Barb36 01:01 AM 01-30-2007
Thanks for sharing your knowledge...so interesting! I remember reading about this in Our Babies, Ourselves. It really seems that the bottom line to the complete exhaustion we feel is that we have so little community support...family, friends, etc. This just wasn't meant to be done alone. I'm convinced of that.
Annikate's Avatar Annikate 01:52 AM 01-31-2007
Great thread! I haven't been over to this forum in a very long time but was just lurking because we're having a he!! of a time during the night w/both dds right now.

Thank you Georgia for posting that quote by Peggy. I've printed it and will read it every single evening.

It's just what I needed to read tonight.
georgia's Avatar georgia 12:40 PM 01-31-2007


I'm so glad...Peggy's book, Natural Family Living, and of course, her magazine, have both sustained me and lifted me up many, many times. I'm so glad I was able to pass her wisdom along I believe each of us knows this, it just gets lost/bogged down/warped so often, our deep inner wisdom feels shaky. But it's there. We just have to believe in it and ourselves and trust....
Anglyn's Avatar Anglyn 02:33 PM 01-31-2007
I believe community is the key to it all. For instance, you know we think that in daycare situations we have it GREAT if we could have say, one adult per every four kids, huh? But historically speaking, the ratio has been four or five adults per each child! Think about the ramifications of THAT to your sleep!

I'll give myself as an example: I had my first baby when I was 22 and living over 200 miles from all of my friends and family with my xh. Now, his parents lived close by but thier attitude was "we already raised our kids, these are yours" ok, fair enough. Where I had expected tons of support (what I can remember from when I was six and my brother was born, was my mom being set up in a downstairs bedroom at my grandparents house and all she did all day was tend the baby, period and she even got breaks from that, my grandmother had tons of sisters who were in and out of the house all day, bringing food over or coooking it there or helping with laundry or holding the baby or playing with me) Anyway, thats what I expected. What I got was, my il's dropping by for an hour or so maybe once a week and criticzing what I was doing. I specifically remember it being a week after coming home from the hospital before they dropped by and me lifting my big nine pound baby under his armpits (he was born with head control and was really to big to scoopo) and my fil gasping very loudly, smacking himself in the chest with one hand and throwing the other arm out as far as it would reach to grab mil (very fred sanfordish) and mil shushing him loudly and him saying something about how I was holding him. I just sat there looking at them thinking, hey, you havent been here all week, I have and he's still alive, shut up.

Point is, xh would work all day (he was given time off after the baby and went back to wrok two days later anyway because his younger brother who worked with him threw a fit about how unfair it was) then go out with his brother or his friends til late at night. My il's never came by and I knew no one else. I went days without showering or bathing, often when baby refluxed, I was lucky to get him cleaned and changed and clean up the floor or couch and by then it was dried on me anyway. I ate prepackaged foods and when My sil came over, she expected lunch to be made for HER, since she was the guest. Xh not only didnt get up at night with the baby, but complained to me if the baby kept him up or woke him. I was totally exhausted. Somehow I managed to cosleep, bf etc with NO support for those things from anyone in my family and no knoweledge of AP, no idea other people thought like me. Until he was probally two years old, I had to walk him for HOURS at night. I had to hold him when he slept, the second I put him down, he woke up and cried. He was very high needs. I could not imagine having anohter one and him. He finally started sleeping through the night around the age of three years.

Now, fastforward to when I had dd (not until ds1 was 11): I live 15 min. from my mom and my sil. DH took off several weeks right after she was born and another two months when I went back to work. My fil lives with us, an older cousin lives with us and my ds was 11. I could not believe the amount of sleep I got with a newborn. There actually came a day when she was about three or four days old when I woke up feeling downright BEREFT from lack of having her and got up and went and demanded MY baby back! I would sleep whenever I wanted and dh would just bring her in when she needed to nurse. I didnt change diapers, do laundry, shop, cook, none of that. My only job was to nurse the baby. Occasionally I would pump so dh could give her the two am feeding. I was sleeping four hour stretches with a week old baby!! And I was napping and showering and getting fed! If the baby couldnt be soothed by me, there was always someone else to take her.

True, having ds2 so close to dd threw me, I felt like I got less help (maybe I did or maybe I got the same help, but there was more work, so it felt like less?) but still, I could hand the baby off if I needed to and even now, we have been struggling with the two little ones wanting to be uup til two am, but there have been a few nights Ive left dd up with her 15yr old brother or her 21 yr old cousin and just gone to sleep. She gets tired and wants me, she comes into the room and climbs in bed.

Im pregnant again, Im going to have a four, two and newborn. No way in hell I could have done that in the situation I had whenI was with my xh. No freaking way.

You know, when we go camping, our clocks get reset, I always think, no way I'll be ready for bed at 9pm but as soon as its dark, we are all in the tent asleep and Im up at dawn and I feel GOOD, too bad its winter now or Id be planning a camping trip to get thier clocks back on track. I hate daylight savings time too, talk about not natural. I dont know how dh gets up beffore dawn everyday, the light coming in the window is what wakes me.

And I do think natural spacing was more like four to five years, women use to almost exclusively breastfeed until the child could get down and help gather for him or herself. So I think even with extended bf, we arent feeding as much.

ETA: with my first child, the ratio was one to one, me to him. With dd, there were five adults in my home (counting myolder child as an adult, which compared to an infant is reasonable) to her. Five to one. And thats not counting when grandma came over or when my bestfriend spend a week here.
proudmamanow's Avatar proudmamanow 03:42 PM 01-31-2007
great thread--lots of food for thought here.
I don't have anything especially insightful too add (loved the info from the
!Kung study which I hadn't read about since undergrad days).
Just to say that the going to bed with the baby thing really resonates for me. I've been falling asleep with dd again for the past 3 weeks or so, and while it does mean I don't get to the dishes or put dinner in the crockpot, the extra sleep has been fabulous!
I will keep reading!
Ex Libris's Avatar Ex Libris 04:31 PM 01-31-2007
Anglyn--sounds like you've got an ideal situation. Thanks for sharing your story. I really enjoyed reading it.
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