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!