A Natural Continuum… by Lenore Kilmartin
“Breastfeeding again…is she really still hungry?” “Don’t you ever put that baby down? You’re going to spoil her.” “Your baby sleeps where? In your bed? You’ll never get her out of there.” And so it goes…
Unsolicited advice from overbearing people.
New parents are at their most vulnerable. They are already a little overwhelmed (naturally) and the learning curve is steep as they discover who their baby is and determine their own unique parenting rhythm. They are learning together and the best teacher is the small, defenseless one they hold gently in their arms.
Many parents are embracing a natural continuum for their babies. They are carefully considering what it is their babies biologically need. In doing so, they are discovering that parenting can be easier and less restrictive than they had imagined.
Nature has devised an excellent plan for meeting the needs of babies and helping parents fall head over heels in love. Breastfeeding mothers are filled to the brim with oxytocin and prolactin; hormones that bond mothers to their babies and create strong feelings of protection and attachment. Shared birthing, where both parents are well-nurtured and supported, brings partners to a place of deep connection and intimacy. A mother’s warm, milky body is a baby’s favourite place while a father’s strong embrace can settle a little one into deep slumber. Babies are wired to follow the subtle, subliminal directions of their parents from the moment of their birth. The forever messages that they will carry throughout life…you are loved, your distress is heard, you are worthy of care and tenderness, you are protected, and most importantly, what you feel matters.
As parents consider how their actions and responses are speaking into their babies lives, they are making a choice; a choice that may seem radically different. So different, in fact, that they are subject to unsolicited advice from overbearing people who jump at the chance to redirect the parents.
But nature knows best. And babies teach best. And parents love best.
“Breastfeeding again?” Absolutely! Nourishment, attachment, contentedness.
“Still holding that baby?” Oh yes! Security, bonding, connection.
“Sharing sleep with your baby?” Of course! Closeness, comfort and rest.