Baby Politico

As a co-sleeping, still nursing mother of a nearly 11-month old boy, I often feel out of step with the culture around me. In so many ways, my community reinforces its opinion that my choices are aberrant and I will regret them later. The “norm” is too separate baby from mom as soon as possible by getting her off the breast and into her own bed to teach her independence. I just can not accept that logic. I see my son—the product of these choices and he’s flourishing and happy. He’s strong and healthy, curious and playful. Because I have to work 40 hours a week outside the home, why does my culture pressure me to further separate myself from him, especially at night? I was telling a friend recently that Isa has become very attached to me, so much so that if he sees me in the room, he’ll crawl over blocks and toys and clamber up the edge of my chair to get at me, arms outstretched, babbling, “ma ma ma ma ma” the whole time. I meant this as a good thing because he’s connected to me and seeks me out for comfort, a smile, a cuddle. But she immediately assumed I was complaining and the look I got was, “Well what do you expect when you’re still breastfeeding/co-sleeping/essentially “babying” him.” I get uncomfortable when people ask me how long I “plan” on breastfeeding and how long I “plan” on letting him sleep in our bed. But Isa is not a project on a planed schedule—he’s a growing human animal and as far as I can tell, he’s thriving from the kind of contact our pre-historic ancestors enjoyed before the advent of split-level ranches that produced the artificial luxury of even having another room to cart baby off to. Look, I’m not saying that my way’s the Supreme Right way, but it is the right way for us, for now–I think. I mean, I’m not perfect. We’re feeling our way through this and we’re doing what instinctually feels right, making mistakes along the way. Right now our challenge is trying to cut back on the night nursing because little man Isa is going through a phase of hyper night-nursing which is no good for his teeth and no good for mommy getting any sleep! But just because we’re experiencing some difficulty with the cosleeping arrangement right now doesn’t mean I have to call into question the whole operation. The truth is, we’ve had nearly 11 months of good nights’ sleep and a happy, fat baby to boot.

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5 responses to “Baby Politico

  1. Right on sister – I couldn’t have stated it better. It’s funny – everything you are doing, I’m also a proud supporter of – attachment parenting (as much as possible). Only you know how best to parent Isa. I’ve learned to listen politely as naysayers and parental advice is given to let them cry it out, that I should be weaning, all the dangers of sleeping with baby and how they will become spoiled, manipulative, and never leave my bed etc…..I’ve listened to all this politely but just go on with my own way anyway. You are doing an awesome job! Look at how wonderful Isa is growing and developing. DO NOT let anyone make you feel guilty. Many people are still under misguided advice they got from their parents or old-school thinking. Much has been done in child development research showing that your style of parenting is exactly what a child needs to become interdependent, happy, thriving, and well-adjusted child. Keep up the good work!

    By the way – I’ve started weaning anyway (feeding only mornings and nights) because Keira has become less interested in my breast and more interested in food, juices, and occasional formula bottle. Where I feel guilty is that I wish I could be breastfeeding more, but alas – I believe its the child who leads me, so that makes me feel better.

  2. Isa is an individual and no one knows him better than you!Feeling it out and making adjustments along the way,while staying open to new ideas and keeping in tune with your baby-human is the only method that makes any sense!Naysayers may be the children of mother’s who kept their children too close for their OWN needs,not the babies–they were not in tune with their little individuals,they were only comforting themSELVES–this is not you!!You are helping Isa paint a picture now,that is his first perception of the world–many people may crowd around you and try to tell you which colors to use,which brushes,which angles–but only you and Eddie will really understand ISA’S vision best,and how to honor that,how to illuminate it–little by little,standing back every now and then,adding strokes,and using your joined intuition,to make it beautiful and true!(just like you!)

  3. Enjoy every minute they grow up so fast. And what is the best fit for one child might not be the best for the next. But John has just recently made the transition most nights to the big boy bed and I wish that we hadn’t been in such a hurry to transition Marcella when she was a baby. All three of mine were nursed until 14 -17 months. When they were ready it was a easy transition for both of us.

    Keep making the decisions that are the best for the three of you. He is so precious. I loved the videos. Thanks for your thoughts and for visiting our blog. Michelle

  4. Hi Palma!! OK been checking out the site often – ISA is sooo cute – – – and they DO grow fast! I have to jump in on this blog, as beleive it or not, I’m still nursing Kierra and she’s 26 months!! It’s only at night before she goes to bed (with us!) of course . . .

    I do carry her to her crib after she falls asleep. The crib is still in our room. I was pretty suprised that I still am producing milk, but I am! Sometimes in the middle of the day while I’m working and homeschooling, she’ll walk to me and say “nurse, mommy, nurse, please”. She’s very polite . . . I usually say, tonight before sleep and she’s OK with that.

    Palma nursed until she was 15 months and weaned her self . . . I think my kids have turned out OK 😉

    Talk to you soon . . . Love Karen

  5. There are studies that the longer you breastfeed a child, the healthier he or she is. Everything from body mass index to immunity. You are, as I’m sure you know, doing right by your kid.
    As for the attachment: HE’S A FRIKKIN’ BABY. What else is he supposed to be but attached to his parents for support but still curious about the world around him? Geez, man.
    Good seeing the kiddo over Christmas. Happy belated to little Isa. You guys look healthy and very, very happy. -Tabi

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