One of the interesting things about having many children is that you get to mother through a lot of different parenting trends. Some of which I think are funny….hooter hiders (or nursing aprons)? I mean, I keep my hooters decently hidden but I’ve never felt the need to disguise the fact that I have a babe at breast. But then again I’ve been nursing babies for the past thirteen years so it seems quite natural by now.
Anyways…..I have always enjoyed reading a variety of parenting books, and I glean at least a little from nearly every one! I also like to learn from other families and women that I am around. I hope that I will always be humble enough to continue learning and developing “our” parenting style. Still, sometimes I get caught in the “but I’ve always done it this way” rut.
My dear Grandmother, who just went home to be with the Lord at 86 years old, has told me many times that she remembers the last time she was breast fed by her mother. There is a story to go along with the memory, which is, I’m sure, why she so clearly remembers it. She figures she must have been at least three. She always let me know that she thought it was just fine when my babies were still breast feeding well into toddler-hood. I’ve really appreciated the encouragement.
To me the modern American idea that babies should nurse until they are one and then wean just doesn’t make sense. There are so many scriptures that refer to breast feeding as a means of comfort rather than simply nourishment. Historical research shows that Hebrew mothers nursed their babies until they were 3-5 years old. Blue eyes and I both feel that allowing our babies to breast feed until they naturally wean gives them a secure emotional foundation to build upon.
Likewise with co~sleeping. I lived with my oldest sister and her husband before I married my precious love and I always thought it seemed so sweet and cozy that their babies and toddlers were welcomed into their bed. Even their older kids were welcome to bring a blanket and pillow and sack out on the floor in their bedroom if they awoke during the night.
Our baby Lucy has slept with us her whole little life and our 3 and 5 year old daughters usually quietly crawl into our bed before morning. I love to wake up to find them snuggled up together in the middle of Mom and Daddy, which prompted us to purchase a king size bed several years ago. On rare occasion one of the older kids will be troubled about something, usually a sad book, such as a missionary story, that has made them really think about some of the hurting people in this world, and want to sleep on our floor. I’m glad they have a place to come for comfort. We are privileged to have them come to us for prayer and a listening ear.
My youngest sister introduced me to baby wearing when she became a mother six years ago. I love her parenting style and have been inspired by her many times. There is a certain time frame before my babies like being down on the floor to explore and move around when I am able to keep them close to my heart, first in a sling and then when they are a little more mature in a baby wrap. My older girls would love to hold and rock and sing to my babies all day, while I cook and clean etc. etc., and they do get their turns! But usually I tell them, “Girls, this is MY baby. She was in my womb for nine months and she likes to be close to my heart (and I like her there as well). When you grow up and get married then you can have your own babies and be the one to hold them most of the time.” Baby wearing has given me a wonderful way to fulfill that desire while still accomplishing many of my household duties.
I have found it to be refreshing to spend time with my dear niece who is a first time Mama. My little grand~nephew is, according to five year old Olivia,”The cutest boy that goes to our church AND the cutest boy in the whole world!” Yup, he is pretty cute! My niece has used cloth diapers on him ever since he was born and at first I thought,”Wow! That is very ambitious of her. I like LUVs.”
As I’ve watched her over the last year though and seen how snazzy the modern cloth diapers are, I have done something that I never imagined I would do, I’ve switched completely over to cloth diapering. I feel so earth friendly,*sigh* and it is working out great thus far. I’m so impressed with it that I am planning to do a detailed blog covering the products I’ve been using as well as some advice on making the switch. I think I’ll have time to put the post together on Saturday morning so if you are interested, please, keep an eye out for it!