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why is the "success" of life with a baby always measured by how detached you get them to be?

(178 Posts)
emkana Mon 12-Oct-09 20:42:06

You know - not held too often, sleeping in own bed/own room, not feeding too often...

case in point is my friend with six week old baby, she is desperately trying (and to be fair to her succeeding) to get him to sleep through the night and fall asleep by himself, and not to "give in " too much to him during the day either -

I don't get it! Don't get me wrong, I think she has to do what feels right for her but I question whether she is doing it because that's what she wants to do or because that's what her mother/her sister/society keep telling her she should be doing...

HumphreyCobbler Mon 12-Oct-09 20:44:18

I find this very strange too. I don't EVER complain about tiredness in rl due to people being sniffy as I won'tt try cc.

overmydeadbody Mon 12-Oct-09 20:45:09

I don;t think success of life with a baby is always measured by how detached you get them to be, is it?

I certainly never thought that.

Prunerz Mon 12-Oct-09 20:48:18

I think a lot of people think that because of where our society is at wrt childcare, ie it's arbitrary; a fad that we happen to be living through.

Though of course in the US it's probably worse on account of the lack of maternity leave - no choice but to foster independence there, for a lot of children. And we either do what they do already, or end up doing what they do.

napluster Mon 12-Oct-09 20:48:58

A Colleague and I were discussing breast feeding and she told me that she weaned her dcs (from breast feeding) because she wanted them to be more independant - at three months old!!!shock
Why would you want a three month old to be independant!?

tasmaniandevilchaser Mon 12-Oct-09 20:49:10

agree with emkana and hc, though maybe in part because most of us have to go back to work?

I find that my SAHM friends are more laid back with that sort of thing, could be coincidence.... or maybe they listen less to mil/mum/society etc etc?

ChunkyMonkeysMum Mon 12-Oct-09 20:49:43

I personally think it's each to their own on how they want to raise their children.

I was the same as your friend and put my babies to bed awake and didn't respond to every whimper, and it worked for me. However, the same things don't work for all babies, so it is very much down to you how you want to do things with your children.

I didn't do it this way because that's how I was "told" to do it, but because I wanted to.

Prunerz Mon 12-Oct-09 20:53:15

Yes but what you want to do varies according to the society you grow up in.
If you grew up with, say, San bush people, you'd be frankly disgusted at the idea of leaving a baby to sleep anywhere other than with its mother - who sleeps upright because they "know" that all babies need to be upright, don't they?

It's all arbitrary (beyond a few basics like 'feed the baby') and we are totally conditioned by our society.

emkana Mon 12-Oct-09 20:54:34

overmydeadbody, imagine two new mothers - one says "my baby is now six weeks old, he goes to bed awake and only feeds once at night, during the day he is very content and spends a lot of the time lying quietly in his moses basket, feeding every three to four hours" - likely responses? "well done you, that's great"

another new mum says "my baby sleeps in our bed with us, waking frequently, and is fed entirely on demand, up to 12 ties in every 24 hours, during the day I carry him pretty much constantly as he grizzles otherwise"- what responses would that get? "Poor you" "How do you cope" "That must be hard"

even if subjectively both mothers were equally happy with their situation

emkana Mon 12-Oct-09 20:55:16

overmydeadbody, imagine two new mothers - one says "my baby is now six weeks old, he goes to bed awake and only feeds once at night, during the day he is very content and spends a lot of the time lying quietly in his moses basket, feeding every three to four hours" - likely responses? "well done you, that's great"

another new mum says "my baby sleeps in our bed with us, waking frequently, and is fed entirely on demand, up to 12 ties in every 24 hours, during the day I carry him pretty much constantly as he grizzles otherwise"- what responses would that get? "Poor you" "How do you cope" "That must be hard"

even if subjectively both mothers were equally happy with their situation

Prunerz Mon 12-Oct-09 20:55:31

Same with breastfeeding and weaning too.
The very idea of giving food to a 9-month-old was abnormal a century ago. I was fed mince and tatties at 8 weeks old. Just different points in time.
A LOT of babies died when wet-nursing was thought best for babies. sad

6feetundertheGroundhogs Mon 12-Oct-09 20:55:37

We have to teach our LOs how to be people, and that teaching starts from day 1.

By teaching our LOs how to orientate themselves between day and night routines, feeding, sleeping, and independance.

We are not distancing ourselves from them, we are giving them life skills. Tools to enable them to thrive, develop, grow and learn.

HOW we choose to teach these tools is our decision.

sprogger Mon 12-Oct-09 20:56:26

I don't think it's a big conspiracy. All children are nurtured towards independence, and some people start to worry about it earlier than others. Personally, I think that worrying about holding a tiny baby too much is a bit overboard because anything will be "less" after being packed around in the womb 24/7, but different people manage the newborn period to the best of their abilities.

edam Mon 12-Oct-09 20:56:41

It's true that frequent topics of conversation amongst new mothers - and people who are talking to new mothers - are all about separating from your baby which is apparently A Good Thing - weaning, sleeping etc. etc. etc.

Hangover from the days of Empire when the British state needed to breed emotionally detached men who would happily fuck off round the other side of the world and never see their families ever again (hence boarding schools at 7)?

Callisto Mon 12-Oct-09 20:58:46

I'm with you Emkana - DD was velcro baby but that was fine by me. I ignored all negative comments etc and carried on with what suited me and DD. It wasn't until DD was about 4 months old that I discovered Dr Sears and that, actually, carrying DD most of the day, feeding on demand and co-sleeping were all perfectly normal. I hadn't realised how defensive and stressed I was feeling about how I was doing things until I read one of his books. I think now it probably saved me from a bit of a breakdown and I'm a tough old boot who doesn't much care what others think. I can imagine the pressure to conform probably stops lots of new mothers doing things by instinct (which was all I was doing) which is very sad.

emkana Mon 12-Oct-09 21:01:15

6feet, I disagree with that to some extent. I think babies/toddlers are programmed to want to become independent, we don't have to teach them at all. I think they do it when they are ready, if you let them. A baby will crawl or walk when they have reached their right time for it, and in the same way they will sleep through or self-wean when the time is right. No child wants to stay permanently attached to the mother for ever, children strive for autonomy.

6feetundertheGroundhogs Mon 12-Oct-09 21:03:16

Oh sure, but they do often need guidance and at the very least setting a routine at the very beginning can help them work out what to do when.

TanyaBranning Mon 12-Oct-09 21:08:02

Sort of true.

But try going back to work when your baby is 5 months old. Then you find out that the the other half of 'all people' measure your success as a mother on how happy you are to be at home staring adoringly into your baby's eyes 24/7 ie. if you aren't happy doing this, you're not very good.

Georgimama Mon 12-Oct-09 21:12:33

I don't think the detachment/attachment issue comes down to a WOHM/SAHM divide at all. I work full time and have done since DS was 8 months old. But I BF and co-slept until he was nearly 2. All of my friends who had babies around the same time became SAHMs. All had abandoned Bfing by four months, most by 6 weeks. The only person in RL who I know that BF for anywhere near as long as me is my SIL, and she is also a WOHM. I don't think there is any correlation.

wahwah Mon 12-Oct-09 21:12:35

Agree. the approved UK child rearing practice is to have them sleeping away for you for as long as possible, feeding rarely, hardly held and generally not bothering anyone.

Mine were not like this and I held, fed and carried them until their routines matched ours a little bit better and they could be left without upset. Apparently I made a 'rod' for my own back and was bit 'hippyish'. Make of that what you will!

MillyMollyMoo Mon 12-Oct-09 21:13:12

and in the same way they will sleep through or self-wean when the time is right. No child wants to stay permanently attached to the mother for ever, children strive for autonomy.

Absolute rubbish, my youngest child aged 5 would still be breast fed and go sleeping given the opportunity.
Children need to be taught when to sleep at the very least.

Georgimama Mon 12-Oct-09 21:14:24

Oh yes, everyone thought I was weird. The really brave (my mother) suggested the "extended" BFing and co-sleeping were motivated by guilt for working. They weren't - I would have done these things if I hadn't gone back to work.

BettyTurnip Mon 12-Oct-09 21:20:40

Because some people don't like feeling so tired that they're almost a danger to themselves and others, especially if they have toddlers and pre-schoolers to care for as well.

I have never met a mother with a baby who grizzles constantly, feeds every couple of hours through the night and screams when put down, who seems happy and accepting of the situation. It is exhausting, frustrating and nerve shattering.

pseudscorner Mon 12-Oct-09 21:23:44

What Betty says.

Georgimama Mon 12-Oct-09 21:26:51

My son was like that Betty. I was perfectly happy. He wanted to co-sleep and be BF most of the night. I could do that in my sleep.

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