STARTING BABY OFF “Naturally”
New parents want to get it ‘right’, by golly. So much is different now than it was when I birthed my son who has remained the ‘Light of my Life.’ This is a shot of him at three days old, sleeping on his belly, butt in the air, face and arms out to the side – palms up and seemingly, quite content. He wore only a little shirt and diaper. (It was a warm May in California). Had pacifiers, but rarely used them as he happily nursed all he wanted. In the photo he was surrounded with the bumpers inside the crib to avoid having him bonk himself on the head. Possibly I was emulating my friends who had mostly had children a decade or so earlier than me and that’s how stuff was done then – – seemed to work. There was never a concern that how he slept could be a problem. Don’t even remember any talk of infant death syndrome, tho of course it did happen.
I was a gloriously happy mother with a perfect, healthy baby. Some decades later when his first daughter was born, they stressed over everything; special sleeping protocol after she graduated out of the special little cubicle and monitor they had used for something I never understood. Nor did I understand how and why they put her down on her side with wedges to keep her rigidly in place – to be safe. My daughter-in-law was not at ease as I had been, seemed stressed and uncomfortable with much, even nursing saying it hurt. . . . but did her best to nurse for three months to give baby a fair shot. Guess its different for all of us.
I’m pointing out two different generations to show how stuff changes. Did all the new medical theories add to the stress level of my daughter-in-law? Make her feel insecure in trusting herself and natural instinct? (its built into the species) My thinking is that young mothers need encouragement to trust the innate design – plan. . . even the nursing thing, I bet there aren’t too many pg women who are actually told about getting those nipples toughened up for the task ahead. See,when I got pregnant, I was 30 and frankly had all but given up on my dream of having a kid-filled house. No experience. Never baby sat. Learned of the Red Cross training for mothers-to-be and leapt at it. So I WAS prepared. Scrubbed away at my nipples like a staff sergeant over their complaints, massaged oil onto the growing belly. Was told, while its the easiest thing in the world to do. . .it takes getting used to and can be uncomfortable until you do. Even with the pleasure of of it all, one can still get cracked nipples from excessive suckling and must drop the flaps of the nursing bra in order to dry them out. . . ah well, I do get carried away. Never had problems with our son, but carried an episiotomy infection 18 months. while carrying on my usual relationship with my ob/gyn. Dr was crestfallen when he finally believed me and put me in hospital to remedy the bugger which had travelled thru to annal area. Wasn’t fun. Maybe I wasn’t convincing when I complained. How I have changed!
Now to the point of this post, which at this moment for me is “Baby-sleeping.” It is hard to miss the ongoing message from all sources Medical these days regarding the scientifically (so-called) correct way to handle baby’s sleeping arrangements. Specifically, put those babies on their backs in their own beds with nothing else in the same space such as pillows, loose blankets, toys, bumpers, etc.,. A lot of that is of course, just common sense, logical – sounds right. What I take issue with is putting the baby on their backs as the only proper way to do it. When a baby is born (down thru the ages), it is plopped face/belly down on mother’s body as soon as is possible for sake of both mother and baby. That’s natural. Anyway, this is what I did as well as most of my friends. There are solid, physiological reasons for this based on reality, not theory, and the outcome is a healthier, neurologically correct development. This is sorely lacking in our children over the last several decades, I think most would agree. Our populace grows up having too many physiological problem – etiology unknown.
I have recently become aware of a number of people whose work is specializing in the science of movement. Natural Movement. I am a tad accustomed to this line of thinking for it is essentially what my son has always done from individuals to elite athletes and sports teams and having a deep interest in young athletes especially. This is vital for it can set the tone for proper body alignment for the rest of one’s life. But one lady in particular has taken my interest, big time.
Kathleen Porter, “NATURAL POSTURE for Pain-Free Living”
Kathleen Porter is all over Youtube, has been teaching her NATURAL POSTURE for Pain-Free Living (The Practice of Mindful Alignment). I saw her being interviewed by Dr Mercola last year and I was hooked. For having watched, I accepted her gift of “5 Easy Steps to PAIN-FREE Sitting” and just that simple 2 pager has helped me enormously. Kinda surprising in a way, as I have always been one of those people who had and maintained almost perfect posture throughout life. Embarrassing as a kid as teachers would speak of it in class and compare others to me. Same with the mothers of some of my friends.
Never understood the fuss; didn’t like the comparisons, and caused me to feel ‘separated’ or different. I didn’t slump. Sat straight in chairs. Barefoot by choice even tho authorities enforced being shod. Was very active and free-spirited, checking out my world. Never broke a bone, but had lots of stitches from my uncle (doctor) because of my many mishaps and wanderings. Was a child in the 30’s, so no TV or video games to curtail natural movement. But as an aging blogger slumped over work at computer all these years — had started to slump. Computer screen too low and eyes no longer as sharp.. . scrunching down to see. Not good. Throws everything out of balance. So that lesson in how to sit properly was highly useful to me, and believe me — I’m doing it!
Kathleen has a great deal to say and demonstrate (prove) what she has learned and teaches over the years. The area that I want to reference is that of the naturalness of infants and babies when they move and are given the chance to move naturally. She discusses at length in her lectures, videos and of course – her books, the way babies move and how important it is that they be free to BE ABLE TO MOVE in order for natural and normal development to take place. Babies on their tummy use their muscles (all of them) more and quicker and develop the awareness needed to keep finding and learning what their body is for and how to use it. Their little toes are digging into the bed and in so doing – their feet (the foundation of their future balance/strength) are developing, gaining greater awareness. They move and lift their heads. All this early development/learning are stifled when the baby is not free to experiment and move and learn. So how ‘natural’ do we imagine the tightly swaddled baby all trussed up and laying on his back – unable to do anything or move actually feels? Are we possibly thwarting or limiting the speed/level of growth? Something to think about.
First, want to show a sample of what our Medical Community is telling us. There is obviously much more, but am limiting it to just a small blurb so you understand — I’m not making this stuff up:
AAP Expands Guidelines for Infant Sleep Safety and SIDS Risk Reduction
BOSTON – Since the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended all babies should be placed on their backs to sleep in 1992, deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome have declined dramatically. But sleep-related deaths from other causes, including suffocation, entrapment and asphyxia, have increased.