…There was a recent article on Babble.com called Is it Possible that Breastfed Babies Bond with Mom Less than Formula-Fed Ones? I posted a link on my facebook page and asked about your thoughts…getting some very interesting ones. Who has the best readers? I do! One of the most important points is that yes, Babble.com is now affiliated with Similac infant Formula and Disney. So anything they post will probably be pro-formula and peddled by princesses. Read with caution.
Side note: I’m number 37 in Babble’s Top 50 Mom Blogs: the Best Mom Blogs and Bloggers, only at Babble.com, a ‘vote for me’ campaign I started before I knew that Babble was in cahoots with Similac. Here’s an idea, I wrote to Peggy O’Mara of Mothering.com asking her to run some similar contests for the Natural Parenting Community. Wouldn’t it be awesome if Mothering.com had the top 50 Attachment Parenting Blogs, and the top 25 Nutritional Food Blogs, and the Best of the Handmade Craft Blogs? I don’t think I got very far with my suggestion, but I think Mothering.com could become the next Babble.com that IS pro-breastfeeding, etc…that would be awesome. Drop webmaster at mothering dot com a line if you agree ;o)
So, besides the formula connection, I had some other thoughts that I was mulling over… When my first baby was born she was intensively parented. She was the first daughter for my husband and me, the first granddaughter for 6 grandparents, and the first great-grandchild for 6 great-grandparents. To say that she got a quantity of ‘quality attention’ would be an understatement.
Then second baby was born. I have since told expecting mothers that this is the most difficult baby to add to a family, not because of anything they bring to the game, but because so much of our expectations have to be reconsidered, to put it mildly. There is no way in the world that a second baby can be as intensively parented as the first. But yet, there’s a first baby that is um, expecting the intensive parenting to continue, and a second baby that needs parenting. This is where most mothers meet an existential moment, ‘how can I be all of these things to all of these people?’
The writer of the Babble piece is in that moment, and is thinking that breastfeeding is the culprit. she’s been conditioned, like most of us, especially when we’re new to the game, to think that quality time trumps quantity time in parenting. But, breastfeeding isn’t the culprit, it’s the clue. Breastfeeding is the primary roadmap for how our parenting should be. Breastfeeding puts quantity over ‘quality’ (quality here is the label that we give to the intensive, gotta constantly be ON for the baby’s development type of parenting.) Massive hours spent nursing, that’s what babies need. They need to stare at your breast and they need to sleep right next to your body. They need to be attached and here’s the most important thing, they need to be a part of you, while you go about your day. They need you to talk, but not necessarily to them (constantly worried about their development.) They need to hear you talking to the postman, they need to hear you talking to people in the family, they need to hear you working at what you love.
The dilemma here isn’t that the second child gets a less intensive parenting, the dilemma is that we’ve been conditioned to believe that the first child needs so much. (I would like to report that my first child, intensively parented though she was, did adapt well to having the intensity turned down when second baby appeared. Once she realized that yes, the baby is attached to mommy too, she relaxed into it.) So, while my first daughter may have created me as a mother. My second and subsequent babies gave me my mojo. I’m thankful to all of them ;o)
this is one of my favorite comics, because the baby is thinking “I am the center of the universe” and yet the gravitational pull goes both ways. The baby can think that, but the breasts, ergo Mama, really holds the center and both orbits go round.