My Life as a Mom

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With 6 happy kids, life can be really fun around here! This blog is dedicated to the joys and sometimes chaos of having a large family. Okay, so it's always chaos around here, but fortunately, it's almost always fun, too!

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

I met a family the other day and they're having a great deal of trouble understanding their youngest son. He's 20 months old, but cries a good bit of the day, and actually sounds like a little newborn. A very unhappy little fellow.

I think the boy is undernourished. I really relied on Adelle Davis to help me through my children's younger years. Her nutritional advices are sound - and based on numerous studies, so of course they would be. I remember reading about folic acid from her book which was published in 1972. She referenced studies in the book that indicate that pregnant women need folic acid to ensure the children are born healthy. And then, in 1997, when I was pregnant with my 4th child, I kept reading about "new" data suggesting pregnant women need folic acid.

Apparently the studies Adelle Davis had known about weren't widely known.

I also think babies do better when attachment parenting is practiced in the home. It doesn't foster overdependence. Most attachment parenting families feel their children are exceptionally independent. I know mine are! They don't cling when we go out, they aren't afraid of strangers, and they aren't afraid to spend the night at a friend's house. In fact, when they were 10 & 11, my oldest kids went to visit their grandfather and other relatives - whom they'd only seen a few times previously and never for long - without mom & dad. They were completely excited. No tears were shed, no fears were expressed, despite that they had to fly alone - and the first time in a plane, too! The only tears were the copious ones they shed when LEAVING grandpa to come home!

I think Americans sometimes push our little ones to an independence that causes a deep-seated insecurity. I've heard newborn mothers say their babies have to go into their crib in another room because "he has to learn to sleep alone" - yet I think no newborn just a few days or weeks old should have to "learn" any kind of independence just yet! He's already having to learn the independence of breathing for himself, and eating, and digesting food, and trying to figure out how to get help when he needs it. The sudden disattachment from mother's body is a pretty severe adjustment to make. Why complicate it by making him spend hours upon hours all alone?

In other countries it is not done this way. Babies are given all the affection and closeness that they want in most places. The family bed is practiced, and babies sleep with their mothers, where the breast is nearby and so they are kept fed, warm, and secure. And in some places, babies are strapped to their mothers all day long! The !Kung in particular, in southern Africa, have practiced this form of attachment parenting since time immemorial, most probably. And their population is a pretty happy one, without the drug addiction and violence problems we have in America.