WHY BABIES CRY AND HOW TO LISTEN

Babies cry for many reasons, and it is important to learn your baby’s personality and his or her different cries so that you can respond to them. There are cries that mean, “I need affection,” “I’m hungry,” “I’m in pain,” “I’m uncomfortable,” “I’m tired and cranky and don’t know how to get to sleep,” and still others that are simply “venting” all the stress the baby takes in, adjusting to the world of non-stop stimulation.

Each cry can and should be responded to appropriately. Each baby will differ in his or her need for physical affection. Some need to be held nearly all the time for the first months before crawling. Others are curious and independent almost immediately. To force an infant one way or another is to disempower her and disrupt the flow of chi she needs to become strong, healthy, and independent.

Some people think that babies who cry always need to be calmed and shushed, or, conversely, should be left alone to cry it out. Neither is true. Infants should never be left alone to cry, unheeded, but sometimes they need to cry in the safety of a parent’s arms, without being shushed, to discharge stress. After a certain period, when they sense they are being attended to, they calm and usually sleep much more deeply.

QUOTE 13_n

To be responsive to your baby, read up on the art of “Active Listening.” When you talk to your baby with a listening heart, he or she knows it and you can see the quality of their cries change. Locking with you eye-to-eye, you will see your baby moving her mouth as if trying to speak.

This is one of the most important reasons for pregnant women to massage their bellies, and to massage their infants regularly after birth. You learn, as nothing else can teach you, what your baby needs, and his cries and fusses don’t distress you so much as inform you of what you need to do to respond appropriately and thus allow your baby to grow and blossom like a well-tended flower in your garden.

My book, Infant Massage, a Handbook for Loving Parents, was the first, comprehensive book to introduce infant massage to the West. The nonprofit organization I founded in 1979, the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM), has instructors in 71 countries. You can find an instructor and take a class — a great way to learn, have your questions answered, and be with other parents who value the crucial “fourth-trimester” bonding process.

CREATING A SAFE AND RESPONSIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR YOUR BABY

If you respond in the right way, you needn’t worry about when to wean, when to potty train, and all the other advice people want to give you. You will become an expert on your child, and you will naturally know and understand what she is ready to do and when. This gives you the confidence to listen to the experts and then go by your inner sense of what is right.

If you want to create a transition environment for your baby that imitates aspects of the in utero experience, you may want to get a baby pack that keeps your infant close to your body so he can hear your heartbeat and feel your warmth, your breathing, your rhythms.

BABY WEARING

Some pastel organza material draped over the cradle, can soften the light. Putting a warm cap on her head when going outdoors will prevent heat from escaping from her head. A baby monitor can help alert you to your baby’s sounds when she is sleeping and you are in another room. Other aids include a heartbeat simulator for the baby’s cradle and setting the volume low on your stereo or television.

SLEEPING TOGETHER

Some parents want to try family co-sleeping, which is a much-debated practice, particularly in the U.S. We practiced family co-sleeping until my youngest was around five years old. After doing a lot of research on this subject, I have concluded that the tales of accidental suffocation by “overlying” are real, but seem to be related to parents who co-sleep for convenience, who don’t take the precaution of removing any fluffy items from the bed, and/or they smoke.

When and if obstetricians and pediatricians give any information to new parents, co-sleeping is roundly discouraged. Unless expecting and new parents take the time to research the subject and 1) prepare, 2) find out what is the very best way for families to sleep together with a newborn, parents will be frightened and reject the notion, not realizing that sleeping together can reduce parental sleep deprivation and infant fussiness, irritability, and crying.

Dr. James McKenna, Director of the Center for Behavioral Studies of Mother-Infant Sleep at Notre Dame University says, “It is a curious fact that in Western societies the practice of mothers, fathers, and infants sleeping together came to be thought of as strange, unhealthy, and dangerous. Western parents are taught that ‘co-sleeping’ will make the infant to dependent on them, or risk accidental suffocation. Such views are not supported by human experience worldwide.”

FATHER SLEEPING

After having observed how families in India sleep together in a very small space, I wanted to do that with my family. This arrangement, in my experience, allowed me to breastfeed my babies without having to fully awaken. The warmth of my body, my heartbeat, and odor, was just right for them. We could respond quickly to cries, chokes, or other needs. The babies could nurse frequently, giving them more antibodies to fight disease and helping them transition from womb to room.

Dr. McKenna goes on to say, “Human infants need constant attention and contact with other human beings because they are unable to look after themselves. Unlike other mammals, they cannot keep themselves warm, move about, or feed themselves until relatively late in life. It is their extreme neurological immaturity at birth and slow maturation that makes the mother-infant relationship so important.”

Dr. John Medina, in his book Brain Rules for Baby, says, “During the attachment process, a baby’s brain intensely monitors the caregiving it receives. It is essentially asking such things as “Am I being touched? Am I being fed? Am I safe?” If the baby’s requirements are being fulfilled, the brain develops one way; if not, genetic instructions trigger it to develop in another way. It may be a bit disconcerting to realize, but infants have their parents’ behaviors in their sights virtually from the moment they come into this world. It is in their evolutionary best interests to do so, of course, which is another way of saying that they can’t help it. Babies have nowhere else to turn.”

One of my fondest memories is when we were sleeping with our little ones in a family bed. Once, in the middle of the night, my 18-month-old daughter awakened to nurse. She looked up into my face and patted my cheek. “I like you, Mommy, I like you,” she said, then closed her eyes to sleep with a sweet smile on her face. Every time I remember that moment my heart fills with love, joy, and gratitude that this child has come into my life. Now that she is an adult with her own little girl, I share these memories with her and it still has the effect of bringing us close.

Dr. McKenna agrees that these types of interaction are beneficial for both parents and infants. He says, “Studies have shown that separation of the mother and infant has adverse consequences. Anthropological considerations also suggest that separation between mother and infant should be minimal. Western societies must consider carefully how far and under what circumstances they want to push infants away from the loving and protective co-sleeping environment. Infants’ nutritional, emotional, and social needs, as well as maternal responses to them, have evolved in this environment for millennia.”

Often a baby’s crying can lead to and respond to marital discord. Dr. Medina goes on to say, “If the infant is marinated in safety— an emotionally stable home— the system will cook up beautifully. If not, normal stress-coping processes fail. The child is transformed into a state of high alert or a state of complete collapse. If the baby regularly experiences an angry, emotionally violent social environment, his vulnerable little stress responders turn hyper-reactive, a condition known as hyper-cortosolism. If the baby is exposed to severe neglect, like the Romanian orphans, the system becomes under-reactive, a condition known as hypo-cortisolism (hence, the blank stares). Life, to quote Bruce Springsteen, can seem like one long emergency.”

“Infants younger than 6 months old can usually detect that something is wrong. They can experience physiological changes— such as increases in blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones— just like adults. Some researchers claim they can assess the amount of fighting in a marriage simply by taking a 24-hour urine sample of the baby. Babies and small children don’t always understand the content of a fight, but they are very aware that something is wrong.”

Some parents reject co-sleeping because they are concerned about its impact on their sex lives. We found other rooms in the house suited quite nicely. This may not be an option everyone chooses, but I encourage you to read up on it before deciding. It can contribute immensely to the well-being of your whole family. My favorite book on the subject is The Family Bed by Tine Thevenin. I very much recommend Dr. Medina’s book, Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five.

Purchase Infant Massage, a Handbook for Loving Parents:
http://www.amazon.com/Vimala-Schneider-McClure-Infant-Massage–Revised/dp/B00N4EKZJK/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1438282581&sr=1-2&keywords=infant+massage+a+handbook+for+loving+parents+by+vimala+schneider+mcclure

Find an infant massage instructor in the U.S.:
http://www.infantmassageusa.org

THE CONTINUUM CONCEPT: PRECEDES MANY MODERN IDEAS ABOUT INFANTS

I found Jean Liedloff’s Continuum Concept very early in my children’s lives and my work with infant massage. It made great sense to me and informed my parenting – especially the first couple of years of my children’s lives. What is it?

The continuum concept is an idea, coined by Jean Liedloff in her 1975 book The Continuum Concept, that human beings have an innate set of expectations (which Liedloff calls the continuum) that our evolution as a species has designed us to meet in order to achieve optimal physical, mental, and emotional development and adaptability. According to Liedloff, in order to achieve this level of development, young humans—especially babies—require the kind of experience to which our species adapted during the long process of our evolution by natural selection. For infants, these include, for example, that they experience:

  • Immediate placement, after birth, in their mothers’ arms: Liedloff comments that the common hospital protocol of immediately separating a newborn from its mother may hormonally disrupt the mother, possibly explaining high rates of postpartum depression;
  • Constant carrying or physical contact with other people (usually their mothers or fathers) in the several months after birth, as these adults go about their day-to-day business (during which the infants observe and thus learn, but also nurse, or sleep); this forms a strong basis of personal security for infants, according to Liedloff, from which they will begin developing a healthy drive for independent exploration by eventually starting to naturally creep, and then crawl, usually at six to eight months;
  • Sleeping in the parents’ bed (called co-sleeping), in constant physical contact, until leaving of their own volition (often about two years);
  • Breastfeeding “on cue”—involving infants’ bodily signals being immediately answered by their mothers’ nursing them;
  • Caregivers’ immediate response to the infants’ urgent body signals (flaring temper, crying, sniffling, etc.), without judgment, displeasure, or invalidation of the children’s needs, but also not showing any undue concern nor obsessively focusing on or overindulging the children;
  • Sensing (and fulfilling) elders’ expectations that the infants are innately social and cooperative and have strong self-preservation instincts, and that they are welcome and worthy (yet without making them the constant center of attention)

Liedloff suggests that when certain evolutionary expectations are not met as infants and toddlers, compensation for these needs will be sought, by alternate means, throughout life—resulting in many forms of mental and social disorders. She also argues that these expectations are largely distorted, neglected, and/or not properly met in civilized cultures which have removed themselves from the natural evolutionary process, resulting in the aforementioned abnormal psychological and social conditions. Liedloff’s recommendations fit in more generally with evolutionary psychology, attachment theory, and the philosophy known as the Paleolithic Lifestyle: optimizing well-being by living more like our hunter-gatherer ancestors, who Liedloff refers to as “evolved” humans, since their lifeways developed through natural selection by living in the wild.

WHY BABIES CRY AND HOW TO LISTEN

Babies cry for many reasons, and it is important to learn your baby’s personality and his or her different cries so that you can respond to them. There are cries that mean, “I need affection,” “I’m hungry,” “I’m in pain,” “I’m uncomfortable,” “I’m tired and cranky and don’t know how to get to sleep,” and still others that are simply “venting” all the stress the baby takes in, adjusting to the world of non-stop stimulation.

Each cry can and should be responded to appropriately. Each baby will differ in his or her need for physical affection. Some need to be held nearly all the time for the first months before crawling. Others are curious and independent almost immediately. To force an infant one way or another is to disempower her and disrupt the flow of chi she needs to become strong, healthy, and independent.

Some people think that babies who cry always need to be calmed and shushed, or, conversely, should be left alone to cry it out. Neither is true. Infants should never be left alone to cry, unheeded, but sometimes they need to cry in the safety of a parent’s arms, without being shushed, to discharge stress. After a certain period, when they sense they are being attended to, they calm and usually sleep much more deeply.

QUOTE 13_n

To be responsive to your baby, read up on the art of “Active Listening.” When you talk to your baby with a listening heart, he or she knows it and you can see the quality of their cries change. Locking with you eye-to-eye, you will see your baby moving her mouth as if trying to speak.

This is one of the most important reasons for pregnant women to massage their bellies, and to massage their infants regularly after birth. You learn, as nothing else can teach you, what your baby needs, and his cries and fusses don’t distress you so much as inform you of what you need to do to respond appropriately and thus allow your baby to grow and blossom like a well-tended flower in your garden.

My book, Infant Massage, a Handbook for Loving Parents, was the first, comprehensive book to introduce infant massage to the West. The nonprofit organization I founded in 1979, the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM), has instructors in 71 countries. You can find an instructor and take a class — a great way to learn, have your questions answered, and be with other parents who value the crucial “fourth trimester” bonding process.

CREATING A SAFE AND RESPONSIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR YOUR BABY

If you respond in the right way, you needn’t worry about when to wean, when to potty train, and all the other advice people want to give you. You will become an expert on your child, and you will naturally know and understand what she is ready to do and when. This gives you the confidence to listen to the experts and then go by your inner sense of what is right.

If you want to create a transition environment for your baby that imitates aspects of the in utero experience, you may want to get a baby pack that keeps your infant close to your body so he can hear your heartbeat and feel your warmth, your breathing, your rhythms.

BABY WEARING

Some pastel organza material, draped over the cradle, can soften the light. Putting a warm cap on her head when going outdoors will prevent heat from escaping from her head. A baby monitor can help alert you to your baby’s sounds when she is sleeping and you are in another room. Other aids include a heartbeat simulator for the baby’s cradle and setting the volume low on your stereo or television.

SLEEPING TOGETHER

Some parents want to try family co-sleeping, which is a much debated practice, particularly in the U.S. We practiced family co-sleeping until my youngest was around five years old. After doing a lot of research on this subject, I have concluded that the tales of accidental suffocation by “overlying” are real, but seem to be related to parents who co-sleep for convenience, who don’t take the precaution of removing any fluffy items from the bed, and/or they smoke.

When and if obstetricians and pediatricians give any information to new parents, co-sleeping is roundly discouraged. Unless expecting and new parents take the time to research the subject and 1) prepare, 2) find out what is the very best way for families to sleep together with a newborn, parents will be frightened and reject the notion, not realizing that sleeping together can reduce parental sleep deprivation and infant fussiness, irritability, and crying.

Dr. James McKenna, Director of the Center for Behavioral Studies of Mother-Infant Sleep at Notre Dame University says, “It is a curious fact that in Western societies the practice of mothers, fathers, and infants sleeping together came to be thought of as strange, unhealthy, and dangerous. Western parents are taught that ‘co-sleeping’ will make the infant to dependent on them, or risk accidental suffocation. Such views are not supported by human experience worldwide.”

FATHER SLEEPING

After having observed how families in India sleep together in a very small space, I wanted to do that with my family. This arrangement, in my experience, allowed me to breastfeed my babies without having to fully awaken. The warmth of my body, my heartbeat and odor, was just right for them. We could respond quickly to cries, chokes, or other needs. The babies could nurse frequently, giving them more antibodies to fight disease and helping them transition from womb to room.

Dr. McKenna goes on to say, “Human infants need constant attention and contact with other human beings because they are unable to look after themselves. Unlike other mammals, they cannot keep themselves warm, move about, or feed themselves until relatively late in life. It is their extreme neurological immaturity at birth and slow maturation that makes the mother-infant relationship so important.”

Dr. John Medina, in his book Brain Rules for Baby, says, “During the attachment process, a baby’s brain intensely monitors the caregiving it receives. It is essentially asking such things as “Am I being touched? Am I being fed? Am I safe?” If the baby’s requirements are being fulfilled, the brain develops one way; if not, genetic instructions trigger it to develop in another way. It may be a bit disconcerting to realize, but infants have their parents’ behaviors in their sights virtually from the moment they come into this world. It is in their evolutionary best interests to do so, of course, which is another way of saying that they can’t help it. Babies have nowhere else to turn.”

One of my fondest memories is when we were sleeping with our little ones in a family bed. Once, in the middle of the night, my 18-month-old daughter awakened to nurse. She looked up into my face and patted my cheek. “I like you, Mommy, I like you,” she said, then closed her eyes to sleep with a sweet smile on her face. Every time I remember that moment my heart fills with love, joy, and gratitude that this child has come into my life. Now that she is an adult with her own little girl, I share these memories with her and it still has the effect of bringing us close.

Dr. McKenna agrees that this types of interaction is beneficial for both parents and infants. He says, “Studies have shown that separation of the mother and infant has adverse consequences. Anthropological considerations also suggest that separation between mother and infant should be minimal. Western societies must consider carefully how far and under what circumstances they want to push infants away from the loving and protective co-sleeping environment. Infants’ nutritional, emotional, and social needs as well as maternal responses to them have evolved in this environment for millennia.”

Often a baby’s crying can lead to and respond to marital discord. Dr. Medina goes on to say, “If the infant is marinated in safety— an emotionally stable home— the system will cook up beautifully. If not, normal stress-coping processes fail. The child is transformed into a state of high alert or a state of complete collapse. If the baby regularly experiences an angry, emotionally violent social environment, his vulnerable little stress responders turn hyper-reactive, a condition known as hyper-cortosolism. If the baby is exposed to severe neglect, like the Romanian orphans, the system becomes under-reactive, a condition known as hypo-cortisolism (hence, the blank stares). Life, to quote Bruce Springsteen, can seem like one long emergency.”

“Infants younger than 6 months old can usually detect that something is wrong. They can experience physiological changes— such as increases in blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones— just like adults. Some researchers claim they can assess the amount of fighting in a marriage simply by taking a 24-hour urine sample of the baby. Babies and small children don’t always understand the content of a fight, but they are very aware that something is wrong.”

Some parents reject co-sleeping because they are concerned about its impact on their sex lives. We found other rooms in the house suited quite nicely. This may not be an option everyone chooses, but I encourage you to read up on it before deciding. It can contribute immensely to the well-being of your whole family. My favorite book on the subject is The Family Bed by Tine Thevenin. I very much recommend Dr. Medina’s book, Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five.

Purchase Infant Massage, a Handbook for Loving Parents:
http://www.amazon.com/Vimala-Schneider-McClure-Infant-Massage–Revised/dp/B00N4EKZJK/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1438282581&sr=1-2&keywords=infant+massage+a+handbook+for+loving+parents+by+vimala+schneider+mcclure

Find an infant massage instructor in the U.S.:
http://www.infantmassageusa.org

 

WHY BABIES CRY AND HOW TO LISTEN

Babies cry for many reasons, and it is important to learn your baby’s personality and his or her different cries so that you can respond to them. There are cries that mean, “I need affection,” “I’m hungry,” “I’m in pain,” “I’m uncomfortable,” “I’m tired and cranky and don’t know how to get to sleep,” and still others that are simply “venting” all the stress the baby takes in, adjusting to the world of non-stop stimulation.

Each cry can and should be responded to appropriately. Each baby will differ in his or her need for physical affection. Some need to be held nearly all the time for the first months before crawling. Others are curious and independent almost immediately. To force an infant one way or another is to disempower her and disrupt the flow of chi she needs to become strong, healthy, and independent.

Some people think that babies who cry always need to be calmed and shushed, or, conversely, should be left alone to cry it out. Neither is true. Infants should never be left alone to cry, unheeded, but sometimes they need to cry in the safety of a parent’s arms, without being shushed, to discharge stress. After a certain period, when they sense they are being attended to, they calm and usually sleep much more deeply.

QUOTE 13_n

To be responsive to your baby, read up on the art of “Active Listening.” When you talk to your baby with a listening heart, he or she knows it and you can see the quality of their cries change. Locking with you eye-to-eye, you will see your baby moving her mouth as if trying to speak.

This is one of the most important reasons for pregnant women to massage their bellies, and to massage their infants regularly after birth. You learn, as nothing else can teach you, what your baby needs, and his cries and fusses don’t distress you so much as inform you of what you need to do to respond appropriately and thus allow your baby to grow and blossom like a well-tended flower in your garden.

My book, Infant Massage, a Handbook for Loving Parents, was the first, comprehensive book to introduce infant massage to the West. The nonprofit organization I founded in 1979, the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM), has instructors in 71 countries. You can find an instructor and take a class — a great way to learn, have your questions answered, and be with other parents who value the crucial “fourth trimester” bonding process.

CREATING A SAFE AND RESPONSIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR YOUR BABY

If you respond in the right way, you needn’t worry about when to wean, when to potty train, and all the other advice people want to give you. You will become an expert on your child, and you will naturally know and understand what she is ready to do and when. This gives you the confidence to listen to the experts and then go by your inner sense of what is right.

If you want to create a transition environment for your baby that imitates aspects of the in utero experience, you may want to get a baby pack that keeps your infant close to your body so he can hear your heartbeat and feel your warmth, your breathing, your rhythms.

BABY WEARING

Some pastel organza material, draped over the cradle, can soften the light. Putting a warm cap on her head when going outdoors will prevent heat from escaping from her head. A baby monitor can help alert you to your baby’s sounds when she is sleeping and you are in another room. Other aids include a heartbeat simulator for the baby’s cradle and setting the volume low on your stereo or television.

SLEEPING TOGETHER

Some parents want to try family co-sleeping, which is a much debated practice, particularly in the U.S. We practiced family co-sleeping until my youngest was around five years old. After doing a lot of research on this subject, I have concluded that the tales of accidental suffocation by “overlying” are real, but seem to be related to parents who co-sleep for convenience, who don’t take the precaution of removing any fluffy items from the bed, and/or they smoke.

When and if obstetricians and pediatricians give any information to new parents, co-sleeping is roundly discouraged. Unless expecting and new parents take the time to research the subject and 1) prepare, 2) find out what is the very best way for families to sleep together with a newborn, parents will be frightened and reject the notion, not realizing that sleeping together can reduce parental sleep deprivation and infant fussiness, irritability, and crying.

Dr. James McKenna, Director of the Center for Behavioral Studies of Mother-Infant Sleep at Notre Dame University says, “It is a curious fact that in Western societies the practice of mothers, fathers, and infants sleeping together came to be thought of as strange, unhealthy, and dangerous. Western parents are taught that ‘co-sleeping’ will make the infant to dependent on them, or risk accidental suffocation. Such views are not supported by human experience worldwide.”

FATHER SLEEPING

After having observed how families in India sleep together in a very small space, I wanted to do that with my family. This arrangement, in my experience, allowed me to breastfeed my babies without having to fully awaken. The warmth of my body, my heartbeat and odor, was just right for them. We could respond quickly to cries, chokes, or other needs. The babies could nurse frequently, giving them more antibodies to fight disease and helping them transition from womb to room.

Dr. McKenna goes on to say, “Human infants need constant attention and contact with other human beings because they are unable to look after themselves. Unlike other mammals, they cannot keep themselves warm, move about, or feed themselves until relatively late in life. It is their extreme neurological immaturity at birth and slow maturation that makes the mother-infant relationship so important.”

Dr. John Medina, in his book Brain Rules for Baby, says, “During the attachment process, a baby’s brain intensely monitors the caregiving it receives. It is essentially asking such things as “Am I being touched? Am I being fed? Am I safe?” If the baby’s requirements are being fulfilled, the brain develops one way; if not, genetic instructions trigger it to develop in another way. It may be a bit disconcerting to realize, but infants have their parents’ behaviors in their sights virtually from the moment they come into this world. It is in their evolutionary best interests to do so, of course, which is another way of saying that they can’t help it. Babies have nowhere else to turn.”

One of my fondest memories is when we were sleeping with our little ones in a family bed. Once, in the middle of the night, my 18-month-old daughter awakened to nurse. She looked up into my face and patted my cheek. “I like you, Mommy, I like you,” she said, then closed her eyes to sleep with a sweet smile on her face. Every time I remember that moment my heart fills with love, joy, and gratitude that this child has come into my life. Now that she is an adult with her own little girl, I share these memories with her and it still has the effect of bringing us close.

Dr. McKenna agrees that this types of interaction is beneficial for both parents and infants. He says, “Studies have shown that separation of the mother and infant has adverse consequences. Anthropological considerations also suggest that separation between mother and infant should be minimal. Western societies must consider carefully how far and under what circumstances they want to push infants away from the loving and protective co-sleeping environment. Infants’ nutritional, emotional, and social needs as well as maternal responses to them have evolved in this environment for millennia.”

Often a baby’s crying can lead to and respond to marital discord. Dr. Medina goes on to say, “If the infant is marinated in safety— an emotionally stable home— the system will cook up beautifully. If not, normal stress-coping processes fail. The child is transformed into a state of high alert or a state of complete collapse. If the baby regularly experiences an angry, emotionally violent social environment, his vulnerable little stress responders turn hyper-reactive, a condition known as hyper-cortosolism. If the baby is exposed to severe neglect, like the Romanian orphans, the system becomes under-reactive, a condition known as hypo-cortisolism (hence, the blank stares). Life, to quote Bruce Springsteen, can seem like one long emergency.”

“Infants younger than 6 months old can usually detect that something is wrong. They can experience physiological changes— such as increases in blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones— just like adults. Some researchers claim they can assess the amount of fighting in a marriage simply by taking a 24-hour urine sample of the baby. Babies and small children don’t always understand the content of a fight, but they are very aware that something is wrong.”

Some parents reject co-sleeping because they are concerned about its impact on their sex lives. We found other rooms in the house suited quite nicely. This may not be an option everyone chooses, but I encourage you to read up on it before deciding. It can contribute immensely to the well-being of your whole family. My favorite book on the subject is The Family Bed by Tine Thevenin. I very much recommend Dr. Medina’s book, Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five.

Purchase Infant Massage, a Handbook for Loving Parents:
http://www.amazon.com/Vimala-Schneider-McClure-Infant-Massage–Revised/dp/B00N4EKZJK/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1438282581&sr=1-2&keywords=infant+massage+a+handbook+for+loving+parents+by+vimala+schneider+mcclure

Find an infant massage instructor in the U.S.:
http://www.infantmassageusa.org

 

Cosleeping and Biological Imperatives: Why Human Babies Do Not and Should Not Sleep Alone

Source: Cosleeping and Biological Imperatives: Why Human Babies Do Not and Should Not Sleep Alone

Where a baby sleeps is not as simple as current medical discourse and recommendations against cosleeping in some western societies want it to be. And there is good reason why. I write here to explain why the pediatric recommendations on forms of cosleeping such as bedsharing will and should remain mixed. I will also address why the majority of new parents practice intermittent bedsharing despite governmental and medical warnings against it.

The 7 Bs of Attachment Parenting – Mothering

BABIES AND SLEEP: THE BENEFITS OF CO-SLEEPING

When I had my babies in 1976 and 1978, we all slept on a king-size mattress on the floor. It seemed natural to me; I had travelled to India and knew that co-sleeping was ordinary for an entire family. If my baby woke, breastfed, and then fussed or cried, my husband got up, strapped him/her to his chest and fell asleep that way on a giant bean-bag chair we had in the living room. That way, neither one of us was sleep-deprived, and our babies didn’t ever cry-it-out.

Today, parents are warned over and over again that they should not sleep with their infants. Thankfully, some experts have come forth recanting that message and offering parents useful advice about HOW to sleep with their babies.

SLEEPING NEWBORN_n

From BellyBelly.com.au – Australia’s Website for All Things Baby:

Babies and sleep: it can seem that the two are mutually exclusive. Recent research has suggested that many mothers who have been diagnosed as having post-natal depression are actually suffering extreme fatigue from waking to their babies at night.

This has puzzled me, knowing that almost all babies waken to feed during the night, and especially breastfed babies, because breastmilk is so easily and quickly digested. I have read research documenting the many times that mothers in other cultures feed their babies at night, apparently without distress or depression.

Night waking had been an issue for me with my first baby, and I had felt rather “sleep-deprived” in the early months. By the time my second was born, I had learned – mostly from experienced mothers – that most babies wake up, and I felt more relaxed about it.

I discovered that we all slept better in bed together, and that I felt less fatigued, even though Zoe breastfed 3 or 4 times nightly. I would wake as she stirred, and feed her before she cried; this saved my husband from being disturbed, and he was more available for the early morning shift.

Co-sleeping, or bed-sharing, also synchronized our cycles of deep and light sleep, so I was already in light sleep when Zoe awoke, and I didn’t have that panicked feeling at being woken from deep sleep. Even better, I didn’t have to get out of bed, and I often fell asleep after a few minutes with Zoe still on the breast.

My experiences are confirmed by the elegant research done by James McKenna, Professor of Anthropology at University of Notre Dame, Indiana, US and his colleagues, who invited 35 mother-baby pairs into a sleep research laboratory, and monitored overnight their sleep patterns as they slept together or in separate rooms. They found that, not only did co-sleeping pairs get into the same sleep cycles, but that babies who co-slept experienced more frequent “arousals”, triggered by the mother’s movements, and spent less time in deep sleep.

As a researcher in SIDS, Professor McKenna believes that these low-level arousals, which did not actually awaken either partner, give the baby practice in arousing itself. This may lessen a baby’s susceptibility to some forms of SIDS which are thought to be caused by failure to arouse from deep sleep to re-establish breathing patterns.

Professor McKenna speculates that millions of years of co-sleeping and night feeding have not developmentally prepared young babies to “sleep through” in a solitary bed, involving, as this does, long periods of deep sleep.

There are many other benefits of co-sleeping, such as keeping the baby warm, increased access to the breast (which ensures a good supply), less crying, and the practical observation that co-sleeping babies almost always sleep on their backs, which is a significant factor in reducing SIDS risk.

Videos taken during the study showed that co-sleeping mothers, even in deep sleep, seemed aware of their baby’s position, and moved when necessary to avoid over-laying. At no time in the study did co-sleeping mothers impede the breathing of their babies, who actually had higher average oxygen levels than solitary sleepers.

Although there is no direct evidence to prove Professor McKenna’s theories, some of the lowest rates of SIDS are found amongst cultures where co-sleeping is predominant.

Western studies indicate that co-sleeping does not increase SIDS risk unless co-sleeping parents smoke or use alcohol or drugs. Co-sleeping parents must ensure that their baby’s head does not become covered by bedding, that the baby cannot sink into an overly soft mattress (water beds are not recommended) and that the baby does not become entrapped or overheated.

Fathers, non-breastfeeding mothers and working parents may particularly appreciate the cosy intimacy that sleeping with a baby brings. I do not see co-sleeping as a panacea for fatigue, but for many families, it is easier, more pleasurable and less tiring than our cultures usual sleeping arrangements.

Safe Co-Sleeping Facts

(Pinky McKay)

‘Co-sleeping’ defines a range of sleeping styles – from sleeping with your baby all night, to taking your little one into your bed for an early morning breastfeed and snuggling together for a few extra zzzs. For some families, co-sleeping can mean embracing not only the baby, but a whole new concept in bedroom decor with baby’s cot butted against the parents bed and the nearest side down for easy access to comfort baby. This option may be preferable if one partner is extremely tired or anxious about bed-sharing. However, if you do this, make sure that neither the cot, nor your bed can roll and there are no gaps between the cot and your bed.

The bottom line is that many parents share sleep with their babies – according to a recent study at Durham University, 63 percent of parents often take their babies into bed with them. So, rather than ask, “is it safe to sleep with my baby?” we should be asking, “how can I sleep with my baby safely?”

Whatever your sleeping arrangements, it is important to provide a safe sleeping environment for your baby. If you choose to sleep with your baby, both parents should feel comfortable with the decision and accept equal responsibility for baby’s safety:

Do not sleep with your baby if you are under the influence of any substance such as alcohol or medication/drugs (prescription or otherwise i.e. antihistamines) that could induce a deeper sleep and reduce awareness of your baby (either partner).

Do not co-sleep if you are a smoker (either partner). The risk of SIDS is increased if the mother smokes during pregnancy or after the birth. There is also some evidence to suggest that a father smoking during his partner’s pregnancy increases the risk, and if both parents smoke the risk is doubled. In fact, it’s preferable not to let anyone smoke near your baby.

Sleep on a firm, flat surface (not a waterbed) and ensure the mattress tightly intersects the bed frame.

Don’t co-sleep on a couch or sofa, as babies can easily slip down into the crevice or face-first between cushions, or they may become wedged between the adult and the back of the couch.

Avoid overheating by keeping baby’s head uncovered and do not use doonas or electric blankets whilst co-sleeping. Baby will be kept warm by your own body heat, so avoid over dressing or over bundling baby – enjoy the delicious skin contact.

If you have long hair, tie it back, and consider that very large breasts or extreme obesity may reduce awareness of your baby’s position.

Avoid pungent hair sprays, deodorants, and perfumes. Not only will these camouflage the natural maternal smells that baby is used to and attracted to, but foreign odors may irritate and clog baby’s tiny nasal passages.

Cut off ties from your own nightwear that may pose a strangulation hazard to baby.

At first it is wise to position baby next to mother, rather than between mother and father, as fathers tend to sleep more deeply and may be less aware of the baby.

Take precautions to prevent baby from rolling out of bed, even though it is unlikely when baby is sleeping next to mother. According to pediatrician William Sears, ‘like heat-seeking missiles, babies automatically gravitate toward a warm body.’ Perhaps place the bed firmly against the wall, and fill cracks or empty spaces with a rolled up blanket, or use a guard-rail – mesh guard rails are safer than slatted ones.

To prevent baby becoming ‘stuck’ between the night table and bed if in the unlikely event that he does accidentally fall out of bed, make sure any furniture is pushed far away from the bed.

Don’t allow older siblings to sleep with a baby under nine months. Sleeping children do not have the same awareness of tiny babies as do parents, and too small or too crowded a bed space is an unsafe sleeping arrangement for a tiny baby.

Never leave a baby on an adult bed unattended

THE CONTINUUM CONCEPT: PRECEDES MANY MODERN IDEAS ABOUT INFANTS

I found Jean Liedloff’s Continuum Concept very early in my children’s lives and my work with infant massage. It made great sense to me and informed my parenting – especially the first couple of years of my children’s lives. What is it?

The continuum concept is an idea, coined by Jean Liedloff in her 1975 book The Continuum Concept, that human beings have an innate set of expectations (which Liedloff calls the continuum) that our evolution as a species has designed us to meet in order to achieve optimal physical, mental, and emotional development and adaptability. According to Liedloff, in order to achieve this level of development, young humans—especially babies—require the kind of experience to which our species adapted during the long process of our evolution by natural selection. For infants, these include, for example, that they experience:

  • Immediate placement, after birth, in their mothers’ arms: Liedloff comments that the common hospital protocol of immediately separating a newborn from its mother may hormonally disrupt the mother, possibly explaining high rates of postpartum depression;
  • Constant carrying or physical contact with other people (usually their mothers or fathers) in the several months after birth, as these adults go about their day-to-day business (during which the infants observe and thus learn, but also nurse, or sleep); this forms a strong basis of personal security for infants, according to Liedloff, from which they will begin developing a healthy drive for independent exploration by eventually starting to naturally creep, and then crawl, usually at six to eight months;
  • Sleeping in the parents’ bed (called co-sleeping), in constant physical contact, until leaving of their own volition (often about two years);
  • Breastfeeding “on cue”—involving infants’ bodily signals being immediately answered by their mothers’ nursing them;
  • Caregivers’ immediate response to the infants’ urgent body signals (flaring temper, crying, sniffling, etc.), without judgment, displeasure, or invalidation of the children’s needs, but also not showing any undue concern nor obsessively focusing on or overindulging the children;
  • Sensing (and fulfilling) elders’ expectations that the infants are innately social and cooperative and have strong self-preservation instincts, and that they are welcome and worthy (yet without making them the constant center of attention)

Liedloff suggests that when certain evolutionary expectations are not met as infants and toddlers, compensation for these needs will be sought, by alternate means, throughout life—resulting in many forms of mental and social disorders. She also argues that these expectations are largely distorted, neglected, and/or not properly met in civilized cultures which have removed themselves from the natural evolutionary process, resulting in the aforementioned abnormal psychological and social conditions. Liedloff’s recommendations fit in more generally with evolutionary psychology, attachment theory, and the philosophy known as the Paleolithic Lifestyle: optimizing well-being by living more like our hunter-gatherer ancestors, who Liedloff refers to as “evolved” humans, since their lifeways developed through natural selection by living in the wild.