Mothers Are Heroes: Wordless Wednesday

We are humble, we mothers.  But there is no doubt that every one of us is a hero.  Each of us may have a different set of circumstances or challenges or uncertainties, but every single one of us would do anything for our children.

Yes indeed, Mothers Are Heroes…

Because we are given a brand new life and even though we have no training or experience, we want to give them our best.  And so clumsily and with a new sense of humility, we figure it out.

Rachel Koppelman with her brand new baby who was born at home after 2 days of labor.

Because we know that being present and gentle and loving is good for our babies.  And so even when we have our own ailing parent to care for, we find a way to give these things to our children.

Megan McGrory Massaro, author of The Other Baby Book, with her own mom who cared wonderfully not only for her, but also her grandmother.

Because with a toddler at home and a husband at work, our premature baby needs us to be with her in the NICU.  And so somehow we are in two places at the very same time, even if only in spirit.

Kelly Barry with daughter Brooke (and daughter Katie in the swing behind her!). With a beautiful and premature newborn in the hospital and a barely-toddler at home, somehow Kelly gave both girls everything they needed. And more.

Because even with our own babies at home, we rearrange our schedules to babysit and we cook an extra meal. We do this because our friend’s premature baby is still in the hospital and her toddler is at home, and they both need her.  And maybe it will give our friend comfort to know that her first baby is being cared for and loved.

From left; Kelly Barry, Jennifer Keefe, Renee Poor, Megan Gipson, Catherine Cargill, Kim Howell and (37 weeks pregnant!) Andrea Korzon. A group of women who exemplify most moms out there by quietly stepping in to support a fellow mom.

And because even when our own health requires significant and regular care, we still give our baby everything.

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Did you know The Other Baby Book: A Natural Approach to Baby’s First Year is now for sale? Are you interested in learning more about gentle, mom and baby-friendly practices that foster a joyful, connected relationship? Want to introduce a pregnant friend to natural parenting? Check out our website or head over to Amazon to grab your copy today!
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Crying in Arms as it Relates to Attachment Parenting

I have been reading about a parenting approach that is getting some attention lately. I was confused by it and wanted to take a few minutes to share my interpretation of “Crying in Arms” as it relates to my understanding and practice of Attachment Parenting (AP).

My intention is to shed some light on this approach for parents who practice AP, rather than tout one parenting choice as better than another.

The concept of “crying in arms” means that after all of baby’s normal needs are met, but he is still upset, you calmly hold him in your arms. You lovingly and gently look into his eyes and reaffirm how much you love him. The goal is to provide your baby with support and comfort while he’s upset.

What It’s Not

Crying-in-arms (CIA) is entirely different from crying-it-out and controlled crying. The crying-in-arms approach does not in any way suggest that it is ever okay to leave a baby alone to cry.

Within the practice of Attachment Parenting, nursing should never be withheld from a baby. This does not mean that mom is always going to be available to nurse, but it should never be withheld because mom or dad is afraid nursing is performing a disservice to the baby.

Babies cannot be spoiled or over-comforted. They cannot over-nurse.

The Need to Cry

Some of the articles that promote CIA share that babies need to cry in order to have certain coping mechanisms developed within them. To me, this suggests that if I do not let my baby cry sometimes, I am giving him a disadvantage.

However, this goes against many mothers’ instincts–and science. Research shows that babies cry to express a need and it is our role to determine their need and meet it.

This is not to suggest that AP babies never cry. They do. And sometimes we are burned out and confused and have trouble determining or meeting this need.

Practically Speaking

I think I was so confused by the CIA approach because I did not understand where it fit into AP.  Much of what is being conveyed sounds like a repackaging of the old belief that a baby needs to exercise his lungs. And for me, choosing to allow my baby to cry because ‘crying is beneficial’ did not resonate with my instincts or what I have learned.  And it is tough to be sure when a babies needs have all been met.  Babies who are nursing can be nearly incessantly hungry, and simply need the comfort of the breast.

CIA is just a fancy name for something that I was already doing–respectfully responding to my baby’s needs.  If my baby cries and nursing (or anything else) won’t calm him down, I instinctively speak calmly to him, rub his back and try to soothe him.

As I process this practice with friends and trusted mamas, the more I understand how it relates to Attachment Parenting; it is not something to be used in place of nursing, it is another way that we can comfort a baby who simply cannot be consoled.  It is not a way to make sure our baby spends some time crying, it is a way that we can offer comfort and connect during those times when we desperately want to  soothe our baby and not even nursing will do it.

What are your thoughts? Does letting your baby cry in your arms go against your instincts?

Jennifer Andersen is a stay-at-home Mama of two kids ages 2 and 4.  Though she has never let her children cry-it-out, sometimes her husband encourages her to.

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Did you know The Other Baby Book: A Natural Approach to Baby’s First Year is now for sale? Are you interested in learning more about gentle, mom and baby-friendly practices that foster a joyful, connected relationship? Want to introduce a pregnant friend to natural parenting? Head over to Amazon to grab your copy today!