Interesting post over at Dooce about Sleep….
The past few years, uh, months since Ben stopped sleeping in our room/bed/on the floor have been amazing as I have revelled in a full nights sleep night after night after night with no interuptions from a little person wanting to nurse or cuddle or whack me in the head with his foot.
Heather has some good insights and since she didn’t drop any F-bombs in this post, I linked to it.
I had a sleep deprivation psychosis when my oldest daughter was three months old, so while I buy into the notion of New Baby equals potential insanity, if someone had shared with me the book Nightime Parenting and explained to me how crucial it is to eat properly while nursing a baby, and if we hadn’t moved to another state in the dead of winter when she was six weeks old, and if I hadn’t been violently molested and raped when I was little, maybe I could have staved off the psychotic break when my daughter Michelle was a newborn.
She will be 21 on her next birthday, so she survived our sleep adventures and my six weeks in the mental hospital, and our blunders around how to raise our children holistically.
I often think that if I had taken the time to attend a series of La Leche League meetings while I was pregnant with her, so many gut wrenching problems could have been avoided during those first early years of mothering.
With our next three children I went through an intense 8 year period of pregnancy, non stop breastfeeding, and sleep deprivation that translated into about five hours of sleep a night, two hours of sleep during the day and tandem nursing two separate times (Once after Jeff was born and once after Andy was born). This marathon of mothering was only made possible by the fact that I was a stay at home mother and my husband was willing to let us share a family bed and we just let the children sleep wherever they wanted.
In fact, I believe one of the most important reasons not to work outside the home when nurturing children at this stage of parenting newborns is simply so you have the option to live in your PJ’s and sleep whenever you possibly can during that 24 hour cycle of mothering.
I’m happy to report that all five of our children now sleep in their own beds – although Ben does like to cuddle up with anyone who can stand it.
Jeff recently informed the whole family that if Ben climbed into bed with him one more night he was running away from home.
Ben’s parasitic style of stealing the bed, yanking covers, kicking, and generally ruining a night of sleep for those he latches on to is problematic. When he was three he always slept in bed with Paul and I and he would get his little body wedged in a T formation with his head in the back of my neck and his feet in Pauls face. I called it his battery pose as he plugged himself into us every night.
While I agree with Heather that families need to do what is best for them, I am open to the idea that if parents could accept that nurturing is a 24 hour a day job, and then set up family life accepting that reality, they will be much more psychologically prepared for the hard work of 24 hour a day 7 days a week nurturing.
I have never let my children scream. Just could not do it, even for one minute. It was one of the reasons I nursed my toddlers so long. Latch them on and the noise STOPS!!!
I completely agree with the mom in the video who claimed that children who stop screaming during the night give up emotionally. I don’t believe it is wise to neglect our children…ever. A cry is a call for help. Great nutrition during the baby years also helps the baby to sleep better. Eating whole foods while pregnant – which are chock full of calcium and magnesium – will help the baby and the mom to sleep best of all! Ultimately every problem of mothering can be supported with good nutrition.
Mama get back in your kitchen and create the foods that will help your family the most!
Jenny Hatch
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Jenny Hatch with Baby Michelle in 1988
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