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the sep/oct pg mamas were just talking about family bed stuff...so i thought i would post some of the stuff i read recently for our local api chapter. this is quoted and/or paraphrased from “The Family Bed” by Tine Thevenin - a wonderful book!<br><br>
A BRIEF HISTORY OF EUROPEAN/AMERICAN INFANT SLEEP (from “The Family Bed” by Tine Thevenin)<br><br>
* Medieval-1300 - Socially, children are considered ‘little adults.’ “Early youth was considered a period of innocence which passed quickly and was just as quickly forgotten.” Families lived in shared dwellings, with extended family. Shared childrearing among family members. Babies were nursed. Cries were responded to. “The child was allowed to remain in his mother’s bed until her was weaned from the breast at the age or two or thereabout.”<br><br><br>
* 1400- - Socially, the ‘child’ was discovered. Educated, managed. Moralists prevailed over humanists. Youth’s innocence is questioned. “Co-family sleeping and touching each other might lead to promiscuity.” Despite this, since separate family bedrooms did not really exist, co-sleeping continued.<br><br>
* 1700-1800- - Socially, “the child is now considered o be of psychological interest...A real propaganda campaign was launched to try and eradicate the age old custom of sleeping several to a bed...The affluent family began to be concerned with privacy. Houses were being built with specific bedrooms, therefore creating places for retreat and isolation.”<br><br>
* THE BIG CHANGE: 1800-1900 - Socially, there was a strong religious movement that stressed purity and perfection of the individual. Sex, in general, was seen as bordering on perversion. “Earlier and earlier independence was sought in the child. Toilet training was to begin at between three weeks and six months...All aspects of sexual behavior in children...were strongly forbidden. Medical writers emphatically disapproved of rocking and singing, handling, and cuddling , and the immediate response to the young child’s cry. the newborn was still to sleep with his mother, but before he was a year old he was to be removed from her room to an unshared bed.” Feeding schedules were introduced and weaning usually occurred around 9 months of age. Another change was the shift from large extended families to small, more isolated nuclear families. Before 1800, there is no mention of anything resembling a ‘temper tantrum’.<br><br>
* 1900-1950s - Around 1900, most childbirths occurred at home. By 1940, most mothers delivered in hospitals. “The custom of separating mother and child at birth began around this time, presumably because many mothers, drugged at birth, were incapable of taking care of their infants for the first few days post partum. The hospital central nursery was instituted.” Mothers were still discouraged from spoiling a child with affection, cuddling, kissing. “Bottles took the place of mother’s breasts. Cribs took the place of the family bed. Playpens and strollers took the place of his parents arms. Schedules took the place of mothers intuition. Aloofness took the place, or at least was strongly urged to take the place, of parents’ indulging love. The child was along in the midst of it all.”<br><br>
* 1960s-today - “Young parents are dissatisfied with childbirth and childrearing practices of the previous generation. Prepared childbirth, breastfeeding, a loving, understanding approach to their offspring gain popularity...Parents are now encouraged to stay “in touch” with their children,. The young child is slowly returning to the bosom of the family.”
 

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Neat topic!<br>
Meredith Small talks about this some in 'Our Babies, Ourselves'. One thing that she points out is that, due to extreme poverty, infanticide was common during the early Industrial Revolution in Europe. Because co-sleeping was still common then, the parents would use that as a handy excuse---they'd say they accidentally rolled over on the baby. Some European governments actually passed laws against co-sleeping. That period is when the myth that co-sleeping is dangerous came about.
 

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Thanks for the post! It really is too bad the way our culture has driven a wedge between parents and children -- starting before birth! Glad you posted!
 

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<span style="color:#008000;">Neat to see the actual chronology of it. My family thinks I'm strange. My mother actually bought me a portable playcrib, so that I could have free hands. She even suggested taking it to friends' houses so that I could "enjoy myself". She just doesn;t get it that I <i>want</i> to hold her <b>while</b> I live my life. It's nice to be able to share with them that sepatation from babies is recent...not traditional.</span>
 
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