Thanks to Hester, the font of all interesting baby-related things, for calling our attention to the following video of a baby getting clearly emotional as her mother sings a sad song. I have never seen anything quite like this: a baby weeping almost silently, her little nose getting pink, the expression in her eyes absolutely heartbreaking. Then when the song ends she is all smiles again!
Part of me finds this a bit cruel – I’m not sure I could witness (let alone video) Pip going through this without attempting to comfort him. But then this release of emotion doesn’t necessarily equal sadness; crying can be caused by many other reasons too, including overwhelming happiness. I just didn’t think babies were generally as sophisticated as that with their reactions, although maybe by the time they are ten months old like the baby in the video this is the case.
I wish we could see the mother’s face as perhaps the expression on it is causing her baby to cry, rather than the singing itself.
I can’t believe it has been a whole month since my last post. Thanks to Elly for holding the fort!
My recent troubles have revolved around one aspect of having kittens that we have mentioned many, many times on here:
It actually all started after I saw Elly and we discussed the fact that three months on, I was still suffering from sore nipples and using nipple shields most days to protect them. It would be fine for a while, then they’d get sore, so I’d put on a shield, they’d heal, I’d remove the shield, they’d get sore again and thus the cycle continued. Feeds were also hours at a time which was exhausting (although this gave me lots of time to write blog posts…) I knew in the back of my mind this probably wasn’t what was supposed to happen but just got on with it anyway – since the first week when we had the “formula discussion” in A&E it never occurred to me to give up breastfeeding. Despite the discomfort I’ve always enjoyed it too: among many reasons for carrying on, I love the bond it reinforces between Pip and me, and even the fact it’s free!
I think around the three-month mark something shifts: your baby is not such a newborn any more, and things are supposed to be falling into place. For example, many women go back to work at three months! For me it was the opposite. Enough was enough – the breastfeeding was really starting to get me down. If something you spend several hours a day doing is not going well, the effect tends to accumulate! On the positive side, Pip had always managed to latch and consume milk, and his weight was always fine. On the negative side, that’s what stopped me taking action for so long – he was doing well, so I was the one with the problem, therefore it was a far less important issue… I decided to take some action (calling up two lactation consultants and arranging to go to a breastfeeding drop-in with my NCT friend) but before I could get things into motion it was too late. Mastitis had crept up on me!
So Hallowe’en is coming up and I know it’s not a very British thing but trotting around neighbours’ houses begging for sweets appeals to the community spirited part of me and if I had a more appropriately aged child to do it with then I would totes be out there “helping” gather the treats (with a suitable tax to help them understand the way income tax operates).
But if you ever do fancy heading out trick or treating with your baby or indeed if you haven’t got your outfit sorted for this year and can borrow a baby, then here are some ideas for Hallowe’en babywearing!
So continuing on my theme, I thought I might cover (see what I did there?) one of the issues associated with breastfeeding which actually everyone can do something about and support – doing it in public.
In the UK, a woman’s right to breastfeed in public is written into law, but the ignorance of this law and the general prudishness of the British public combined with the over-sexualisation of breasts can result in a negative reaction to actually breastfeeding in a public place. Before I became a breastfeeding mother, I am sure I raised an eyebrow at women with a breast out attempting to feed their baby – I didn’t know where to look! The truth is that now I realise that I should have stared – perhaps then I would have known what good breastfeeding looked like, have learnt from that how to latch a baby on and found the whole experience of attempting the breastfeed for the first time more like the natural act it is supposed to be, rather than an alien act that had been hidden away from me all my life.
Because I wasn’t feeling depressed enough about how little I manage to get done around the flat, Julia & Hester have directed me to this lady, Queenie Liao, who has made an alartistic wonderland around her napping child.
I’m happy if I manage to do the laundry while she’s napping. I used to be such an overachiever, where did it all go wrong?
The NHS run an Infant Feeding Survey every five years; the last one was from 2010 published in 2012 and found the following:
Prior to birth, 75% of mothers want to breastfeed
At birth, 81% breastfed at least once
At one week, 69% are breastfeeding at all, 46% exclusively
At six weeks, 55% are breastfeeding, but there has been a big drop with only 23% doing so exclusively
At six months, 34% are breastfeeding but only 1% exclusively (despite Health Organisations’ recommendations to exclusively breastfeed until six months).
Why are so many women who wanted to breastfeed falling by the wayside?
Bah! I want to do something about this – to let them keep the faith even when it’s hard; to investigate problems and not take “you’re fine” for an answer; to feel free to do it whenever and wherever they choose; to reach out to all those who have gone before them and ask for help and for us to help them.
Who knew a year ago that I would be so passionate about this?!
Doing research for this parenting lark, I often come across message threads lauding the joy of co-bathing. On a post on Facebook, one mother was extolling the amazingness of a bath with her child – there had been candles, breastfeeding in the bath and a symphony of relaxation and contentment. This sounded quite fun – perhaps not the candles bit and breastfeeding while bathing might be a bit beyond my breastfeeding skills, but lots of skin to skin would be amazing for bonding right?
When Elphie was littler I had considered it as Maria said that she and Harold had done it and that it was by far the most convenient way to bath him, but I thought Elphie was too fragile – I was afraid I would drop her slippery body into the water. Also an episode of House I had seen involved a mother having a bath with her infant and having a fit, with not so good consequences for the baby, so that had traumatised me too.
But Elphie was bigger now and my confidence in holding her without breaking her was higher, and she loved her baby bath and being in the big bath in shallow water (as she is at Grandmama’s) and had coped with swimming, so why not give it a go?
I think the level of success of the exercise can be judged by the fact that Fred came up as we were getting out to ask what all the screaming had been about.
After various failed attempts to turn Elphie into a water baby in Sardinia (I do not believe that the temperature of the unheated pool or equally unheated Mediterranean sea were quite up to her standards), she is now enrolled in swim school in an attempt to recreate some idyllic watery scene much like the cover of Nevermind without the weird money hook (or the penis for that matter). Continue reading →
Someone shared this article from a Canadian blog called “The non-adventures of” with me today about whether small children should be allowed to run around naked or partially clothed in public. Or I say “should be allowed”, what I really mean is “are able to do so without the wrath of public opinion bearing down on them”.
The final paragraph really struck me:
“Most of all I worry about the sexualisation of infants and young children. My detractors couldn’t see the correlation, but to me to have another parent looking at my child and seeing their nudity as shocking and a possibly lure for paedophiles is sexualisation. They are looking at my beautiful, innocent child and thinking only of sex – and that is wrong. It’s almost impossible to guard your school aged children from closed minds and senseless taboos. I hope I can guide them through the minefield safely, without them losing their freedom to be comfortable in their own bodies.”
It is difficult to know where to start on the parenting schools of thought – each seems a minefield and I’m finding it hard to know what to believe. Each parenting approach believes theirs is the best and will guarantee that Elphie will become a functional and productive member of society, whereas all other methods are at best hokey and at worst evil.
Attachment Parenting is the brainchild of the Sears’, or Dr Bill and Martha to their friends, whose many years in paediatrics, lactation support and childrearing eight children has led them to the conclusion that “Attachment parenting is a style of caring for your infant that brings out the best in the baby and the best in the parents”. Job done then!
I find the Attachment Parenting International description a little more helpful: “The essence of Attachment Parenting is about forming and nurturing strong connections between parents and their children. Attachment Parenting challenges us as parents to treat our children with kindness, respect and dignity, and to model in our interactions with them the way we’d like them to interact with others.”
The strong attachment it is trying to engender is based on Bowlby’s Attachment Theory, and essentially providing the parenting style that in theory should give you the best shot of achieving secure attachment.