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Continuum concept

(4 Posts)
MistletoeBUTNOwine Sat 01-Mar-14 12:13:59

I have just started reading Jean Liedloff's book about the continuum concept.
Anyone have any experience of this style of parenting/ behaviour?
I have a dd (8) and DS (7wwwks) and am interested in applying the concept grin

cory Sat 01-Mar-14 13:09:18

I think it's like anything else: it gives some very good suggestions, but if you feel you have to apply it in every single detail at every single moment it can actually make you less responsive to the children you actually have.

tbh I don't think there has ever been a time when mothers have been able always to respond at the exact moment to their baby every single time

even in prehistoric times, mothers would also have been busy with older toddlers, climbing trees or fishing, or tending potentially dangerous cattle

and I suspect even in prehistoric times there were some babies who showed quite clearly that they were happier with a little less contact, who rather enjoyed being laid down

The idea of children's innate self preservation instinct also seems a bit dodgy to me

or rather, though a fairly laidback parent, I am not sure I am prepared to pay the price in terms of prehistoric proportions of child mortality

I am more of the First Teach Them To Be Safe, Then Give Them Indepence- school of thought.

I spoke the other day to someone who recounted experiences from a traditional African society and she said that the number of accidents are horrendous because toddlers are basically left to look after themselves, so you'll find 2 and 3 yos wandering around the street looking for their parents: this is a society where 4 in 5 children do not reach their tenth birthday

she compared it to the large number of (in our eyes wholly preventable) accidents that you find in coroners' reports from the Middle Ages

What I have found myself as a parent was:

one of my children enjoyed the constant velcro contact; the other did not

one of my children did well on demand feeding; the other was not strong enough to demand to be fed often enough but needed to be woken up and made to feed (when I tried demand feeding she lost weight rapidly and ended up in hospital)

one of my children was physically not capable of the same amount of physical freedom as her peers: when I tried it, she ended up unconscious in hospital; the other one has never had a real accident in his life and could safely be left to make his own decisions

one of my children responds well to a quick telling-off and subsequent reconciliation; the other feels humiliated and needs a bit of face-saving humour to diffuse the situation

Nothing imo compares to being responsive to your individual child.

ikeaismylocal Sat 01-Mar-14 13:16:43

I didn't decide to follow the continuum concept but the way we parent ds could be called a continuum concept style of parenting. ds is now 14 months old.

Ds was a very very calm small baby, I had him down my top or in a moby wrap constantly, he never cried and we never had any breastfeeding issues.

At the birth ds was given to me as soon as he was born, we delayed cord cutting and ds lay on my bare chest for a couple of hours. my DP and birthing partner were not allowed to hold ds, this is just normal hospital policy here. We co-slept right from the start at the hospital, me, dp and tiny ds had a big double bed (no fishbowl plastic cot for ds to sleep in) again this is just the way things are here we didn't make special plans.

It worked well for us as we had one baby, I had a year materinty leave and dp then had 6 months paternity leave, I live in a country (Sweden) where everyone is very child centered so we never had any "put that baby down your spoiling it" type comments.

I never did tummy time with ds I held him nearly constantly, he only bathed with me or dp for the 1st 6 months and we didn't have a jumperoo or baby swing or bumbo. Dispite me holding him constantly often ds was really early in his development, he sat at 4 months, crawled and cruised at 6 months and walked at 10 months, I was holding him on my knee at 4 months just holding his legs and my friend said to me he can sit! So I put him on the floor and he just sat there, didn't wobble at all. with crawling and cruising it was like he just knew how to do it, like he had been thinking about it for a while and now he could just do it.

We still co-sleep and breastfeed, ds shows no sign of wanting to stop.

I am pregnant again and realistically I don't think I will be able to bring up the next baby in the same way, I will have to put the new baby down sometimes as I need to also play with ds. Things will have to change with ds too, we are considering night weaning so I can get as much sleep as possible whilst pregnent but also I have some breastfeeding aversion in the nighttime now. It really upsets me as I was very happy with the way things were with ds, I feel guilty that I am going to change things for ds and that the new baby won't have the same babyhood that ds had but I'm trying to think that the gift of a sibling outweighs the negatives!

cory Sat 01-Mar-14 13:26:49

I think you are spot on with your last sentence, ikea. With our first we tend to see ourselves as the only givers to our baby: we are the ones who will provide them with attention and love and encouragement and if we don't then nobody will. With the second child, you have to let go of that a little bit- but then there is somebody else doing the job alongside you.

Yes, they may well try to rip their limbs off from time to time (the main reason I kept having to put ds down as a baby was to keep him safe from dd).

But then again nothing can match the excitement of an older sibling at a new milestone, or the pride of a younger sibling when they can surprise big brother or sister with a new trick.

And as they grow older, a sibling can provide the sympathy over a run-in with a mean teacher or being dumped by your girlfriend that as an adult we can never do quite as genuinely, because we can't get into that place again.

It is just so much more exciting seeing them interact together. smile

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