Archive for the ‘Mother and Baby as One’ Category

Breastfeeding and Attachment Parenting

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

The following is part of a talk I gave some years ago in Southern California.

My topic tonight is attachment parenting in a detached world.  If you as a parent said to your two-year-old child:  “I don’t love you anymore,” what would happen?   Your child would cry!  Your child and each person needs to feel loved, to feel special.  Love means helping the one we love.  It means service.  It means trust.  It means that someone likes to be near you.  It means sharing in someone’s pain or discomfort.  It means being inconvenienced.   It means sacrifice.  Parental love is caring love.

Babies especially need to experience the love of their mother and soon their father, and that is what attachment parenting is all about:  Conveying love to your child in various ways.

On the other hand, by detached parenting I mean ways that will be perceived by the child as less loving due to less involvement or distancing.  For example, some mothers who let their babies cry-it-out for 15-30- and even 45 minutes say they do this because they love their children and are teaching them that they are not the boss in the home.  I can’t judge any mother, but my point is that the baby will perceive that behavior as less loving than being picked up and comforted.

Some would define breastfeeding as attachment parenting.  Yet there is the rare situation where a nursing mom can be detached.  Some might say:  It’s certainly not bottle-feeding your baby.  Yet some of us know bottle-feeding moms and parents who are very attached to their baby.  In fact, the first couple we knew who took their baby everywhere with them were bottle-feeding their baby.

Thus attachment parenting is not necessarily defined by the type of feeding we give our baby.  However, I have promoted natural mothering for over 30 years [now 50 years], and I am convinced nature’s way is best.  Mothering is really what breastfeeding is all about.  Through breastfeeding, as mothers, we learn to give of our time, and we learn to give our child that special emotional and physical care to show that he is loved.  With breastfeeding the child receives plenty of that important lap time with mother.   Natural mothering, I believe, is at the heart of providing the best experience for the baby during the early years.

Breastfeeding offers an easy learning environment for the mother.   She learns how to be patient, how to be inconvenienced, how to be unselfish in providing the proper care for her child, and therefore she learns to love better.  I believe that both my husband and I are better parents because I chose to breastfeed.

And, most importantly, the breastfed baby or young child at a critical age is feeling loved and is learning how to trust.    The world tells us that we should strive to have that good baby, but my conviction is that the baby teaches its mother how to be a good mother, especially when she breastfeeds.
(Sheila Kippley, part of keynote address, LLL So. Calif. State Conference, May 1998)

Mother and Baby Are One Biological Unit

Sunday, May 28th, 2017

Probably the most important part of the biological oneness between mother and baby is their ecological relationship: what affects one affects the other. We see this in the many health benefits for both. By health benefits, I am including the emotional health benefits 7as well as the physical health benefits.

If breastfeeding is shortened and the mother stops nursing during the early weeks or months, then both she and baby lose the many benefits of breastfeeding. The World Health Organization said it well: “Mothers and babies form an inseparable biological and social unit; the health and nutrition of one group cannot be divorced from the health and nutrition of the other.”

In addition, quite often the mother soon loses that physical intimate contact with her growing baby when she bottlefeeds. Rare is the mother who holds her baby during the early years when bottlefeeding. Rare is the mother who insists on doing the bottlefeeding herself and who takes her baby with her, but sometimes it happens. The first couple John and I knew who took their baby with them to college faculty parties were bottlefeeding. I admired them because they gave us support for what we were doing with our breastfed baby.
Breast milk or Mother
The value of breastfeeding is heavily emphasized today. Because so many mothers work, much attention is given to pumping milk at work and storing breast milk. This is good, but what gets lost is the mother-baby biological oneness. You can’t give a talk today without someone asking, “What about the working mother?” While there are many mothers who have to work for the basic necessities and who would prefer being home with their baby, there are also many mothers who could stay home and choose not to do so. The pressure today is for those latter mothers to leave their babies and little ones and earn money or follow their career.
But babies do need their mothers. The continuous contact with mom during the early years is the first step towards building a good foundation for life and future relationships. God provides for this essential foundation through the presence of the mother. How does He do
this? With breastfeeding. The breastfeeding relationship ensures that the mother will remain with her baby. As Maria Montessori stressed years ago, prolonged lactation of 1.5 to 3 years is good for the baby because it keeps the mother with her baby.
Sheila Kippley

Natural Family Planning: Mother and Baby Together

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

God planned for mother and baby to remain together in the early years with breastfeeding.  Both the breastfeeding mother and the nursing baby receive many benefits.  The parents also receive a natural spacing of births when the mother nurses her baby following a pattern similar to the Seven Standards of ecological breastfeeding.

Experts for years have stated that the presence of the mother is crucial to the development of her baby.  This fact is usually ignored today in a world which values the mother in the workplace, but it needs to be heard.

Separation of mother and baby is commonly promoted in our society.  After all,  they say, babies must learn to be independent.  The baby should not cling to its mother.  Babies should learn to feed themselves with a bottle, pacify themselves with a pacifier, and sleep for the duration of the night.  This form of parenting, when it works, is very convenient for the parents, especially the mother who thinks she needs time to do other things.

But is this what nature intended?  Does God have anything to say about this in his plan for mothers and babies?  Are mother and baby one unit or are they to be treated separately?  Is the mother as physically close to her baby during breastfeeding, especially during the early years, as she is during pregnancy?  Is there a natural biological oneness during breastfeeding as there was during pregnancy?  Many breastfeeding experts have stated YES to the last question, that breastfeeding is a continuation of pregnancy.  The only change is that the baby is now outside the mother’s body.

There are three physiologic similarities between the two: pregnancy and breastfeeding.
1) With both, the baby is physically close to the mother.  With breastfeeding the baby is often carried on the mother’s body or is in her arms, but now both can interact with each other.

2) As with pregnancy, the breastfed baby is still receiving all his nourishment from his mother and this lasts for about 6-9 months.  After that time when other foods are slowly taken by the baby, the baby still receives much of his nutrition from his mother.

3) The mother remains in amenorrhea (no menstruation) during breastfeeding as well as during pregnancy. Normally a mother receives more months of amenorrhea from breastfeeding than she does from pregnancy if she follows the natural mothering program, i.e., the Seven Standards of eco-breastfeeding.

Sheila Kippley