Self Soothing

Avatar for luv_my_boyz
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Registered: 04-07-2003
Self Soothing
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Thu, 04-17-2003 - 11:10am
I noticed a sub-context running through the previous thread on bonding- the idea of "self-soothing". It seemed like most self soothing advocates were ff mothers. I think that self-soothing is an unimportant "skill" for an infant and in fact can be detrimental. I believe (and others believe this too) that our culture has developed this idea that self soothing is important for infants because in our country we place such a high premium on independence. We force our distorted notion of independence at an entirely inappropriate time during infancy. Advocates of "attachment parenting" believe that a dependence phase in infancy fosters a healthy independence in later life. Before a human can be expected to be independent, she needs to learn dependence, connection and trust. When a baby cries she should expect that her needs will be met, and if that means soothing from a mama's nipple, then that is entirely appropriate. On the contrary when you don't meet an infant's needs, the infant certainly does learn to "self-sooth" but at the expense of learning trust and emotional connection. An unmet need in infancy will not go away, but will manifest itself in some way later on- perhaps as anxiety, depression, or dysfunctional relationships. If you think I'm wrong, just look at our society. The divorce rate is sky high, record numbers of people are seeking treatment for depression and/or anxiety, and violence has become a national pasttime. If you are an advocate of self-soothing, consider the sadness of this mama (as quoted by anthropologist Ashley Montagu): "They told me babies should not be held; It would spoil them and make them cry. I wished to do what is best for them, And the years went swiftly by. Now empty are my yearning arms; No more than thrill sublime. If I had my babies back again, I’d hold them all the time!"

If you want to see what some scientists have to say on this topic, read the following article: http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/1998/04.09/ChildrenNeedTou.html

OK, now the two-fold question for debate: did the idea of "self-soothing" (either pro or con) influence your method of feeding/nurturing and do you think "self-soothing" is a positive or detrimental skill for an infant? Obviously, you know my answer to this question!

Danielle

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Registered: 03-25-2003
In reply to: luv_my_boyz
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 11:34am
Self soothing did not influence our feeding decision (we BF) but it played strongly for one aspect of nurturing. We co-sleep, which seems to be a big no-no in our society-although not on this board;) I do believe if an infant will sleep by himself, then by all means go with what works. However, I do think it is cruel to allow a baby to scream & cry itself to sleep or to the point where they become ill. My ped & I had a major difference of opinion on this.

I also get alot of garbage from family members that I have spoiled my baby (she's 18 months) because she sleeps w/ me, I wore her in a sling during the day, etc. They think because she went through stranger anxiety earlier than most babies & she is a mama's girl that I have majorly damaged her-Well, I personally don't think it's all that odd that a baby would be attached to someone they have been with for 24/7 from the start.

I can't say how much this will foster her independence later in life. I think their personalities will play a part as well.

Janet & nursling Sierra

Avatar for all_girls4me
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Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: luv_my_boyz
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 12:56pm
I guess I'm the one that's in the minority on this board...lol. I did FF(but also BF for 2 months), didn't co-sleep and don't believe self soothing is a bad thing. To the contrary, I don't believe it's right to give a baby the nipple(or bottle)just to quiet them down. Soothing with the feeding source is not the answer in my opinion. I don't co-sleep because I believe that both the baby and me will get a better night sleep out of it if we are in our own beds. Maybe that's just the way I sleep, who knows. On the other hand, I also work fulltime and my kids are not with me 24/7. They have a great babysitter, who enforces the same beliefs. They also really don't know separation anxiety, because they have lots of loving people take care of them (daddy and the sitter and me). I consider that a bonus, because I feel that they are very well adjusted.

So back to the original question....I don't think self soothing is necessarily a bad thing, if it doesn't get out of hand.

Ilka and "The girls"



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Registered: 03-25-2003
In reply to: luv_my_boyz
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 12:58pm
The reason they say it fosters independence later in life is because they learn to be confident by someone always responding to their cries/needs, etc.

-Deb

 

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Registered: 03-25-2003
In reply to: luv_my_boyz
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 1:03pm
While I don't think it is detrimental if a baby learns a "self-soothing" technique on her own, I don't think it should be the first line of defense for a parent. I believe in responding to all of my baby's cries - I don't believe in things like CIO. The only time I wish she was better at "self-soothing" is when she is screaming so bad in the car that she is choking on her own spit, and that's only because I can't soothe her and drive down the highway at the same time. (She's not a fan of car rides... so at this point we don't get out very far!)

I'm a FFer, and my views on self-soothing did not play any role in my feeding choice. It did not play any role in my feeding choice when I had planned on BFing either. I don't think it really has much to do with feeding choices - for me anyway.

-Deb

 

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Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: luv_my_boyz
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 1:25pm
Wonderful post!!!

I am an enthusiastic advocate of attachment parenting. I believe that it is a total oxymoron to expect a BABY to be INDEPENDENT! Babies learn security and trust by being dependent on others.

I believe a baby should be held everytime he cries, should be comforted when upset, and should never be left to CIO. Sure, it would be EASIER for the parent to not attend to all these needs, but I don't think it's healthier for the baby.

There is a time for independence, but it's not in the first years of life!

Avatar for bluedaisydawg
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Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: luv_my_boyz
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 1:41pm
maybe i'm confused here but i really don't believe that giving a baby a breast or bottle whenever they cry is a good thing - personally i don't think they should learn food is soothing - that could lead to problems in later life in my opinion...

as for crying it out - we've never let ds do that - we always pick him up whenever he cries. we're big believers in babies crying for a reason and that you need to respond to that. we ff but we still co-slept with ds until he started prefering the crib (he wouldn't go to sleep in our bed anymore but would happily go to sleep in the crib and sleep through the night) we still bring him into our bed if he is having a rough night or wakes up for whatever reason. when the new baby is born it will sleep with us as long as it wants to and if ds wants to join us then he's certainly welcome. we also wore him around a lot first in a front sling and now dh will carry him around in a backpack while he's doing chores, etc...

i don't think self soothing has anything to do with feeding choice - we don't offer him the bottle every time he cries - but we don't expect him to stop crying on his own either. he's a very snuggly boy and usually when he is scared or upset about something, just holding him is enough to calm him down.

emily

Avatar for kfira71
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Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: luv_my_boyz
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 2:06pm
I was a FF and I don't think it played any role in my feelings on soothing the baby. As for attachment parenting vs. self-soothing techniques, I think both can be detrimental, like anything, when taken to the extreme. I do not believe a baby should be left alone to CIO for hours on end, nor do I believe a baby must co-sleep, BF, be picked up for each tiny whimper, and be carried all day and night in order to feel secure. Each child is different, and a parent has to find what works for them and that particular child's temperament. I sleep trained my DS with a check-and-console CIO, and he is an extremely loving, happy, well-adjusted toddler who has no problem with displaying his independence or his dependence when he sees fit. No one will ever convince me that teaching him to self-soothe has harmed him in any way.

~Kim

"Becoming a parent means agreeing to allow your heart to go walking around outside of your body."

Avatar for all_girls4me
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Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: luv_my_boyz
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 2:32pm
Great post....ITA!


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Registered: 03-25-2003
In reply to: luv_my_boyz
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 4:17pm
I'll jump in and add my opinion. I don't post here very often, but like to poke my head in now and then. :)

Self-soothing definitlely did not influence my decision to BF. I think it is an important skill just as I think Henry learning to fall asleep on his own is an important skill (which he's very good at, at 4 months). Henry nurses for nurishment, not just for comfort. I think our society has a lot of problems with "comfort eaters." I also don't believe that if you followed all the children of APers that they would have differing amounts of divorce rates, depression and/or anxiety, or violence." There is no way of tracking that, of course, particularly since each parenting style varies within a certain method.

That said, I do respond to my DS's cries right away. Twice I have let him cry as long as 15 min. to see if he'd fall asleep for a nap because he was so overtired, but it didn't work very well. He goes to sleep immediately when laid down at night, so I don't believe CIO will ever be necessary for us. Simply picking him up calms him if he's not hungry, so I don't think it necessary to put him to breast each time he cries.

Just thought I'd share as a BF advocate who is not an APer.

- Ingrid


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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
In reply to: luv_my_boyz
Thu, 04-17-2003 - 4:18pm
Actually, AP and co-sleeping have become very trendy in the last few years. Lot more people co-sleep now than when we were babies.

- Ingrid


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