Saturday, June 05, 2010

Parenting Tools of Detachment



Most of the items in this comic are not 'bad' in and of themselves. But when used together, and when over used, and when marketed to new parents who are told they need these artificial substitutes for direct, close, attached mothering, their collective use leads to dis-attached parenting and a generation growing up with complex bonding/empathy/attachment/love/trust/anxiety issues.

It is not normal for an infant to attach to a piece of plastic, or need to obtain comfort and security from a stuffed animal. It is normal for a child to attach to a loving, living, breathing, protective, interactive, responsive care taker and to gain comfort and security at his mother's breast. We must tap back into our primal mothering instincts. Our children desperately need us to listen to, and know, their cues from their days spent inutero, onward. Humanity depends not on cribs and plastic nipples and heartbeat-bears and baby buckets, but on secure, involved parenting and genuine attachment formation.

The best part? This is nothing new - peaceful parenting is as old as humanity itself. The components are basic, primal needs of babies, and methods of meeting these needs by parents in ways that humans share with all other mammals on earth. And they don't cost a thing!




24 comments:

  1. Reminds me of who naive I was. I totally bought into all of that stuff but luckily my instincts kicked in and I sent all of that stuff to the curb! Why do we buy into all of that "modern" living crap?

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  2. I always tell my friends they don't need all of that stuff! Companies use mommy guilt to sell stuff. I have a friend who didn't really register for anything. Her friends and family gave her a hard time. Her reason was different, she doesn't like clutter, but the result will be the same.

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  3. this is AWESOME.

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  4. Yep, like it our not.. each of those things promote detachment. It doesn't mean you are a detached parent if you use any of those things, but each and every one does contribute to the detachment of parent and baby.

    Are they useful? Sometimes.
    Are they needed? For some families. Would you be unable to parent without them? No.

    Its so sad that the average parent feels they NEED these things. It really does show how brain washed a society we have become. After watching the movie Babies, and seeing how little some cultures have in regards to "baby gear" it reminded me that the only thing REALLY needed is a food source and shelter.

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  5. What i think is unfortunate is that we just enter parenthood thinking these are the things you have to have. We had all those things on our registry - including formula! - even though i was planning on breastfeeding (and I still am at 14 months btw). But I was told by so many people that I would probably need to supplement because they had to...etc.

    My generation grew up seeing images of women bottle feeding and bottle propping, putting their babies to bed at the other end of the house alone, etc.

    Images can be so damaging and powerful, not that any one of these things is necessarily bad in and of itself, it's the way you use it and the culmination of all these DE-TACHMENT items.

    I know so many parents who keep their infants in their car seats all the time, prop bottles, when they get tired of that they plop them in their swing and then at bedtime plop them into their crib with a bottle and walk away...

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  6. I agree, Gretchen! I have a friend who I think never holds her baby. She has her in one contraption or other every minute of the day, and she is really only picked up when she is bathing/diapering her. I spent a good amount of time around her, trying to help her, and never saw her hold her baby just to hold her.

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  7. They even sell little doll size carseats/baby holder so little girls can grow up thinking that's how you "deal" with babies.

    The dolls come with bottles and car seats now!

    This is how little detachment consumers get started and "fuel the economy"

    I plan on buying my child her own Moby Wrap or Beco Carrier and no need to carry around a bottle, she can pretend to breastfeed!

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  8. I began to think my sister-in-law was afraid to touch her baby because she kept her in the carrier for longer than should be legal. The child is now 9 months old, has almost never seen the floor and is barely able to roll over. She is totally disconnected from her child and the infant is totally disconnected to her own body. I breaks my heart.

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  9. here is a link to one i saw on amazon, they don't even call it a toy car seat, it's a toy baby carrier!

    http://www.amazon.com/Corolle-Nursery-Floral-Infant-Carrier/dp/B000BOLLIU/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=toys-and-games&qid=1275745127&sr=1-3

    AAAHHH! look what else i found!!!!

    http://www.amazon.com/Corolle-Mon-Premier-Nursery-Mealtime/dp/B000FPFBYK/ref=pd_bxgy_t_img_b

    sorry to keep posting but here is the cutest little doll size Moby ever!

    http://astore.amazon.com/peacefparent-20/detail/B003BIF03U

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  10. Oh my word that cartoon is EXACTLY how I feel.

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  11. Yep, my baby girl has a sling for the dolls, and no bottles for her baby either.

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  12. Our son has the Moby carrier for his dolls/animals. It is great.

    http://astore.amazon.com/peacefparent-20/detail/B003BIF03U

    At 18 months he calls his chest "milk" and that's fine with us. :)

    Gretchen, those car seats and artificial feeding sets for kids are really scary... talk about socializing detachment!

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  13. I have twins...ya know...sometimes being attached to your babies 24/7 just isn't possible, especially with two wobbly headed newborns or one sleepyhead and one wiggler. What can I say? Comforting one baby while we watch the other loving his swing ride was a delightful alternative to letting him cry next to me. *sigh*

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  14. Bronwyn ~ sounds like you are consciously raising your twins in as healthy a manner as anyone. Developing secure attachment isn't about them always being attached TO you - especially in instances as you mention - when one twin demands your attention and the other must wait. But to tune into their needs, to find the most baby-friendly solution in their own unique paths of development - to really *mother* them rather than having them around as little living commodities - it makes a big difference. :)

    None of these items in and of themselves are 'bad' - but they certainly can be over-used, and collectively can easily lead to dis-attached parenting. It is heart breaking to see how many parents 'raise' babies who they never touch. Those who are left in car seats and pens and grow not knowing what it is like to feel safe and secure in the arms of another person. And we wonder why there are so very many problems with empathy and attachment and trust and love in the world today...

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  15. I hope Bronwyn and any other mothers reading this who use gadgets (including me!) don't get a message of guilt. I truly believe that attachment is about a connection of hearts, and if your baby is enjoying his swing ride or even if he's not for a few minutes, the fact that you are paying attention and know how he is feeling and that you are going to respond to his feeling when you have the chance, that shows that you are connected. The gadgets are just tools like any other, each of us using one or some or none depending on our situation, and if we are using them toward a goal of wholeness and love, then we are on the right track! Just my opinion.

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  16. I certainly think you can have those things and use them in moderation but like a previous commenter I agree that some babies are NEVER touched by another human unless they are fed or changed. That is sad. Human touch is important! My third baby is a month old now and I have a bouncy chair and a co-sleeper (mini-crib as I refer to it for my father in law who does not understand the concept). I do have to put her down sometimes of course. Sometimes it is on a blanket on the floor or her older brother holds her. I don't think babies always need a 'contraption' or overstimulation of 'learning toys' attached to a baby containment device. Some people say they feel like the baby is safer in a 'contraption' but that is not always true. We do use a bucket car seat right now but I try never to lug her around it in. She already hates the thing, why force her in it longer!

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  17. Oh, I forgot to mention how I have to constantly refuse swings and other products. I really don't want more junk and excuses to put my baby down when I don't have to. I have had multiple call me from yard sales trying to bring home more junk to me.

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  18. We refer to the exersaucer etc as "baby jail" :) We had a big fight when I was pregnant because I didn't want a bucket for my baby. My husband argued until I took him downtown and made him people watch, and showed him the way people treat their kids in those things (luggage/child, same thing). He has proudly carried her in his arms for 18 months!

    My hardest thing is that we have a 2 hour daily commute that she's stuck in the car, and I feel awful that she's stuck for so long.

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  19. OMG it's amazing how materialistic our society is! I absolutely love the book Baby Bargains b/c even though it's not big on natural living and APing, it tells you how to avoid the whole overly-commercialized baby industry pitfalls! What I think is really funny is that the same parents who will spend tons and tons on gizmos claim they couldn't possibly afford organic food or balk at paying $50 for a good sling/wrap. I really hate those travel systems too! OMFG what idiot decided that you need a 10 lb. carseat attatched to a 30lb. stroller for a 7 lb. newborn!?! What's really ridiculous is that for the same price you'd pay for the travel seat (baby bucket plus crappy stroller), which would only work for about a year, if you're lucky, then have to go out and get a convertible carseat for a bigger baby, you could get a top of the line Britax that would work from newborn to like 65lbs. UGH!

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  20. Love!

    I get so sad to see parents jiggling baby carseats in lieu of PICKING UP a crying baby. What's wrong with a little human touch? Of such a cute baby, too??

    I kept getting "detachment" gifts from family and friends during the first year, and I'd feel obliged to take a couple pictures using them, and then off they'd go to the consignment shop... My mom really, really wanted to buy us a crib and a fancy stroller, and I convinced her to buy me an Ergo carrier instead. Even though she saw us use it constantly, I think she still feels cheated out of buying us what she thinks would have really been useful. Oh, well! At least I got an Ergo out of it. ;)

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  21. I'm expecting my fifth baby any day or minute now, and we have amassed a pile of one week's worth of newbie clothing (purchased second hand because I hate chemical smells from new clothes) and a box of lovely soft indian and chinese prefolds (from our previous use).

    That's it.

    It's true that I do hate clutter, but even worse is giving into the desires of others to then have to find a way to use the stuff they insist on giving. With our first (bf'ing, co-sleeping, in-arms babe), we had a terrific change table and clothing shelf also known as a crib. We had a take-home grocery cart also known as a stroller and lots of things that went directly to a thrift shop. We also called those exersaucers "baby-jail", lol.

    I had 2 unnecessarians with my first two babies and because of my difficulties healing, I couldn't sling them, so I ended up spending a lot of time- nearly all of it- laying or lounging on the bed, couch, or floor with them, talking, touching, and reading.

    I used a bouncy chair with our first for times when I had to put him down because I needed to pee- so I took the bouncer into the bathroom with me and when I needed two hands for meal prep, he waited for me in the chair, but my foot kept it going and I learned to chop without looking because he would scream if we did not have eye contact the whole time he was in there. Consequently, I didn't eat as much as I needed; it was very painful just to move, let alone prep food blindly, while bouncing him with one foot and twisting my very injured body...

    Anyway, I love how even our diaper bag has gone from the size of a carry-on luggage bag (for #1) to stuffing the diapers and their few accessories in with whatever else we're toting in our one small cloth bag that provides for all of us.

    I also love the comment about heaving an enormously heavy carseat around as though that makes more sense than just carrying a tiny infant. I was noticing the other day that so many new mums were struggling to carry those seats around through doors and up and down stairs in town.

    I pointed it out to my partner and he and I both agreed that there is just no way a baby could ever be that cumbersome. Get a nice stretchy wrap (for ease with a newbie at least)and have two hands-free even! It couldn't be c/s pain that does it, because if you can carry a heavy carseat with the infant inside of it, then you can carry just the infant! I oftentimes couldn't do either, so we had an exorbitant amount of skin-to-skin for the first few months.

    I am looking forward to slinging this baby, but I don't yet know what type will best suit our bodies, so babe will be in-arms until I figure it out. Add the third item- a sling.

    Clothing
    Diapers
    Sling

    And even those can be done without under certain circumstances like very warm climate/summer, elimination communication, and holding in-arms and learning how to do things with one hand or having extended family to hold babies too. Not that anyone who likes having those things should go without on principle.

    As other posters have expressed, the need is for the mother and baby to bond and truly know one another, and using a device intermittently isn't going to damage that relationship where there are the intentions and actions to fulfill those deeply-rooted and primal needs.

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  22. In moderation things like baby seats, swings, and the soothing sound machine can be a life saver. If I hadn't used these things, I would have never gotten a bath or shower when my child was an infant...or been able to make dinner. The key to that however, is moderation,I think these things do promote detachment when they are used exclusivley. When I wasn't in the shower, or making dinner, you can bet my baby was in my Ergo carrier or just plain old in my arms :) he was a thumb sucker from the get go so we never bothered with pacifiers.

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  23. My second child is almost 10 months and we've use our swing maybe 3 times total. As it sits in my livingroom I'm not sure why we have it. Bottles? Nope we breastfeed and I can say from experience since my first was bottle fed (young mom and inexperienced and NO support) breastfeeding is so much easier! We've got the stroller too but my son hates it so he's on my hip of in daddy's or big bro's arms. Sigh, wish I'd known then what I know now.

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  24. So true! Before I had my daughter I had no clue. I had to have a nursery. Crib...monitor...etc..I thought I NEEDED all of that stuff. After she was born I realized that stuff was useless. My instincts kicked in and she never once used her nursery. With that said we couldn't live without our swing. It was the only spot that comforted her other than my arms. She loved it so I feel for us the swing was a necessity. Whatever makes YOUR baby happy is an attachment to their needs.

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