Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Bottle and the Crib

So now we get into some of my newer, more extreme views as a parent, specifically as an attachment parent. I'm a frequent reader and poster on several boards that talk about both breastfeeding and co sleeping, two things that I believe in very much. And I've come to a few conclusions recently in regards to bottles and cribs. Please, no one be offended by what I'm about to write. Every parent raises their child as they choose, and there is no wrong way to do so. The following are simply my views on observations on the general population of parents, in particular a type of parent I label the "convenience parent" which I know are not something that my friends are among. This will be explained in a forth coming parenting blog.


Both the bottle and the crib are creations of western society. Granted, the actual use of bottles dates back for many, many years, but until our society got ahold of the idea they were reserved for those that could not nurse their children for one reason or another, and never as a matter of choice. Cribs became popular in the 19th century, which is no surprise because at this time nannies, wet nurses, and really anyone else to care for the baby became popular. Sometime during this time, rearing a child as well as the way a child was to be treated became a very similar practice to today. Before this time, to separate a child from the mother at night would have seemed a very unusual practice.

First an observation on the animal kingdom. No matter your views on God/Supreme Being of your choice, you must at least admit to there being some connection between animals and humans. The fact that humans are a mammal influences my next comments. No animal is known to leave their young to sleep in another place. No animal is ever given artificial milk by vets or caregivers unless it is an absolute last resort. Marsupials live with their young inside a pouch until they are able to leave. Primates carry their young with them most of the time. All animals nurse their young until around the time the milk teeth fall out. If you've ever had a puppy or a kitten, the first canines they have are curved inward toward their mouths. These fall out about six to eight weeks and are replaced with regular teeth. About this time, this six to eight week mark, is when felines and canines wean their young, or their young self wean. Now, in humans, these milk teeth are what we refer to as baby teeth, meaning that natural weaning, when left completely unimpeded by society, will occur sometime before these teeth fall out. In general, this happens between three and four, with the baby teeth beginning to be lost around five to six.

I've heard it said that animals wean at six weeks so humans should as well. Well, if you take the lifespan of a cat, which we will say is in general 15 years, and the life span of a human, we will put this at 75 years, and then compare the two you come up with an interesting fact. Humans should nurse longer, relatively.

This "bottle" and "crib" both impose a barrier between mother and child. A plastic/glass bottle contains a manmade formula that tries to imitate milk, with an artificial nipple. Society deems this the appropriate way to feed because it is neat, pleasing to watch, and does not have to be done by the mother. The chore can be given easily to another, be it a nurse, nanny, father, parent, whatever. The crib becomes a tiny cage in which the baby is placed to sleep because it is "safer" than sleeping with the parent. My question becomes, how many cribs or bassinets have killed children? How many babies have died from suffocating because they've become entangled in a faulty crib? How many children have been injured? So the logic that the crib is "safer" is faulty in itself. And it is a physical barrier between the mother and her child. Not only is the milk delivered by an apathetic bottle, the crib likewise has no feeling toward the child, it is not warm, it is not living and breathing. So the child wakes alone behind bars that it cannot escape from, and it fears, because children develop life preservation skills early on. A baby's startle reflex is a protective reflex, and so are most of their reflexes.

People argue that sleeping with an infant is too dangerous. They may roll over on them. They might fall off the bed. They might... This is all true. However, as a mother, I also recognize that I have instincts. These instincts protect my child, causing me to wake at the slightest movement, and causing my own sleep to be light and easy to wake from. Now, I will admit to one thing: when feeding with a bottle, these instincts are NOT as strong. I have experienced both. The missing element is breastfeeding. Those hormones that are present during nursing are not there when a bottle is involved.

So to close this blog of my somewhat extreme views, I suppose my whole point is that I wish more women would realize that humans have been around a long time, and during that time, the normal way of raising children has not involved either cribs or bottles. The normal way of raising babies in other countries does not involve cribs or bottles. So maybe, we as a society should rethink our perception of both of these. Is it wrong to use a bottle? No, but it also should not be considered the norm. Is it wrong to use a crib? No, but it also should not be considered the only safe way for an infant to sleep. I guess my point is that our society seems to have it backwards, really. Things that are natural are pushed aside for the artificial, to the point of being considered dangerous. Life itself is not entirely safe, and no matter how you feed or sleep, bad things happen. I will return to this idea of sleeping with my blog on some theories on SIDS in today's society at a later time.

Changing as a Parent

So, before I had kids I used to think I knew what I would do. I would do it all just right. I would buy a pretty, expensive crib with pretty expensive crib bedding, I would have a changing table with all the tools right beside it, a glider rocker to rock the baby to sleep in his perfect little room with the blue tabbed curtains and sheers with stars that matched the little white and blue rods on them. I wouldn't be my mother, no matter what, I would breastfeed because it was the way you did things correctly and all of this I was so sure about.

I wanted a natural birth. I wanted it all perfect. Up until I had my first doctor's appointment with Nathan where my blood pressure started skyrocketing. He then said the dirty word, Pre-eclampsia. Bed rest. I though I could handle that, then I had to go in for induction. Nothing went according to plan and my "natural" birth, turned into thirty hours of hard labor, 20 hours of pitocin induced hard back labor, and two doses of Stadol and an Epidural that had to be dosed twice. Then I spent two nights walking the floor with pillows of fluid on my feet because of the pitocin, and a baby that would not stop screaming. This was not in my plan. Took him home and he screamed more than anything, and I was just happy when he slept because i could sleep. I was a good girl and had the bassinet beside the bed but I would fall asleep exhausted with him clutched tightly in my arms while nursing and wake up two or three hours later, refreshed because he had slept, and sore as hell because I hadn't moved. I hadn't moved one inch, my arms around him, my legs pulled up protectively under his legs. But fear got the best of me. I was young and uniformed and only knew what I was told. Babies go in cribs...right? Then at four weeks I had surgery to remove my gall bladder. I had no pump with me, and the idiots at the hospital didn't provide one, they gave me a cup and said there you go. So after not being able to pump to keep production, then the anesthesia for surgery, my milk dried up. We were living with Mike's mom at the time, who had not nursed her children, and I had no real support or know how. So to the bottle we went.

Take two. My second attempt at a natural birth. This times things were off to a bad start, with the constant nausea, well into my seventh month of pregnancy, and then the gestational diabetes set in. This time I was ready for him, though, I bought a bedside sleeper, because I knew I wouldn't want him in his crib right away, and figured he would sleep near me because I was going to nurse again, and this time I wasn't going to lose supply for any reason. The day before my induction, I went into labor, and I was in more pain than I ever thought possible. I was begging for Stadol by the time I got to the hospital, where they had no beds until after noon. No one thought I'd have him before then, because I was only four cm, and then my water broke, and I was fully dilated and ready to go, an hour later. I had thankfully gotten Stadol as soon as they put in the IV, which they had to do twice, and then once a bag of fluids was in they got my epidural in. The Stadol didn't help, however, but the epidural did. However, I had it all of about half an hour before my water broke and my still fussy head was not quite understanding the dips on the monitor that were Nick's heartbeat. He was in distress, and the nurses and doctor's were scrambling. No birthing bed, just a nurse on each side, and doctor at the foot. I had to deliver right then, still groggy and unable to feel my legs from the epidural. I almost had a c section, because his cord was around his neck twice. So I didn't get to have him laid on my belly like Nathan was. So again, things were not as planned.

Then we slept together for the first time in the hospital, his tiny body up against mine. I had wanted to wait, but we both needed sleep, and I finally said to hell with it. My baby, my choice. I had refused Percocet for this reason, I wanted nothing affecting my mental state while he was with me. Motrin all the way for me. We came home and he didn't like to sleep anywhere but with me, and I realized, I was okay with that. He needed me. And it felt natural to have him beside me. Even if he goes to sleep before I do, like now, he's laying on the bed right beside me as I type on my laptop. At night, I wake at his first squirm, and he never gets to utter a sound before I'm nursing him again, and truth be told, he never wakes up at all.

I look back and think how much I've changed. For the better

What I Believe

So I have been putting thought into what I believe is right when it comes to being a parent. And I think I've come up with a pretty good list here of what I feel is right and correct.

Mothers should breastfeed. If it is not possible (an extremely rare thing), moms should have access to affordable donar milk.

Infants and toddlers should cosleep with their parents when breastfeeding, and sleep in the same room when bottle feeding. If cosleeping does not work, they should be in the same room.

Spanking is never an appropriate discipline. I have many reasons for this, which in later posts I will go into detail about.

Every child is different, and a mother should assess her child based on what she feels is right.

Doctors, more often than not, do not know how to raise children and should not be listened to like they preach the gospel of child rearing.

Child rearing books that are written by non professionals (IE: not a doctor, nurse, or psychologist) are fodder for bonfires.

Child rearing books that are written by professionals should be approached carefully.

Cry It Out (also known as Controlled crying, Ferberizing) is NEVER appropriate. Again, another hot button issue for me, I guarantee to go into large detail for my reasons in later posts.

Hrm. That is about it for now. I may have more later.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Welcome!

Well, so I'm starting my blog. I hope that in this blog I can relate some good information through my own research as well as my own personal experience. What I do is what I feel is right, and some of this is opinion, but I hope no one takes any offense to it. I have a firm belief that everyone has a right to make the correct choice for them, however, I believe that when it comes to children, there are some things that are wrong in all situations. So please, have a good read, and feel free to leave comments, but please note they are moderated. I do not wish to have a flame war break out on my page. Thanks!