I’m reading the book, Bringing Up Bebe.
I like it.
It’s about an American woman who moves to France to live with her British husband and has a baby over there. She’s sharing about French parenting. I’m triggered after about ten minutes of reading.
Apparently, French babies sleep through the night at around 3 months. After much inquiry, she discovers this is because French parents “wait.” They wait and observe. They don’t rush right in when the babe cries.
That’s fine. Sounds pretty good.
However, then I also realize that many French parents have their newborns sleeping in separate rooms, and this “waiting” is really leaving them to cry for as long as ten minutes.
Then, I also learn that French women don’t breastfeed for very long. Many of them report having “no milk.”
Something I learned through having my own daughter and nursing her is that those first few months are very important in a nursing relationship. The baby drives the supply of the mom. If for some reason the babe can’t nurse on demand- physical problems, mom has low supply, or baby is left in another room all night, then the mom’s supply will dip and after awhile, she’ll dry up, as they say.
The fact that French moms are having their newborns sleep in separate rooms, and not responding right away to their cries, is directly impacting their nursing relationship, and will cause their supply to drop.
Turns out, many pediatricians don’t know much about breastfeeding. I was shocked when my pediatrician, who came to our home after Sophia’s birth, told me she didn’t really know much, couldn’t help me with it, and asked me if I was feeding her formula and was I pumping? (You don’t want to pump right away- this can drive your supply up, causing “over-supply” which makes it difficult for your baby to nurse and can be quite painful.)
She also scared the bejeesus outta me when she mentioned the words, “Failure to thrive” when talking about Sophia’s slow weight gain.
Turns out, Sophia was not failing to thrive. She was on the curve, and gaining weight. Our doc was using the growth chart for Formula fed babies, which is different than nursing babes. And I happen to have been a wittle baby, too.
I was alarmed by the lack of support for new moms, and that Pediatricians, the supposed experts on children, don’t know much about actually feeding children. This is bizarre. And, after a little research- quite understandable.
Peds don’t receive much training on breastfeeding, and they, along with hospitals, are often in cahoots with the manufactures, and encouraged to give samples to new moms. They also can’t control how much a babe is being fed by a nursing mom, so measuring it out in a bottle is easier- and therefore preferred, even though this is NOT what’s healthiest for new humans.
Every mom has different circumstances and birth and nursing is complicated. However, I do believe that it’s a healthy and vital part of establishing good breastfeeding habits to have your baby close at hand for the first few months of life. It’s also very healthy and safe for new moms and babes and quite a natural thing to do.
I think it’s dangerous to push for babes sleeping through the night too early. I think it’s a complicated issue to have your baby sleep away from you.
Listen, I’ll admit it- having a baby awakens this part of me that wants to save all babies. And, your parenting really isn’t my business.
Having said that, I do have opinions and some hard-earned wisdom from going through my own transition to mamahood.
I think babes, after birth, desire to be close to mama. Smart little mammals! Therefore, I highly recommend women look into attachment parenting and read up on the benefits of close contact, co-sleeping and skin to skin.
I also really think that nursing is an incredibly healthy, bonding experience.
The nicest times of my life since becoming a new mom have been quiet moments with my daughter nursing. Being able to rest, nap, or snuggle up in the middle of the day and have quiet closeness is nurturing, restful and healthy for mama and babe.
I also know that so many mamas struggle to get enough sleep. Waking up to go to another room and sit up and nurse your child sounds like torture to me.
I was able to sleep next to my daughter in bed and she could nurse off and on all night and I just slept right through it.
There are many other interesting tidbits in this book and I’m quite enjoying it. I’ll be writing more articles about my thoughts on the subject of French parenting. However, I want to leave you with this today.
Anyone who tells you a way you can get your baby to sleep through the night early on is likely not an expert on nursing. If you desire to nurse your baby, one of the most bonding, relaxing and enjoyable parts of being a new mom, you need to have your baby close to you so they can nurse on demand for those first few months.
I share this with you today because nursing is such an incredible experience for me, and it’s so healthy, and I’m alarmed at how challenging it can be. If you don’t have a lactation consultant that you’re working with, and you’re birthing in a hospital, you’re going to have to be well informed with strong boundaries to ensure that other people don’t interfere with your nursing relationship, causing you to lose it.
And, from a psychic perspective- our new baby is very bonded to us. Keeping our child in our auric field for up to 40 days creates a healthy bond between mama and babe. This also lays the foundation for a healthy sense of security for our child an ensures the proper healing for mama after birth.
So, nursing, and co-sleeping do more than just encourage closeness + a healthy way to feed. They also ensure a healthy auric boundary for your child and a secure connection between you and your babe.
All my love,