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No Need to Get Away

Lisa Harden
Warren, MI, USA
From New Beginnings, Vol. 26 No. 2, 2009, p. 26

It's so nice to know that there are other mothers out there who actually enjoy the company of their children enough -- most of the time -- to nurse them on demand and into toddlerhood, carry them in a sling throughout the day, and then spend numerous hours sleeping right next to them at night. I know I never would have dreamed of doing any of these things if I hadn't decided one day to go to a La Leche League meeting to try to figure out what I was doing wrong nursing Bella, who was eight weeks old at the time and tongue-tied.

I had hoped to learn how to latch her on properly, so I could nurse her for the next three to six months, at which time I figured she'd be ready for a bottle of formula. What I actually learned was that there was no set of rules that babies follow: no rule that babies are supposed to sleep through the night by 12 weeks, no rule that solids must be introduced by four months, or that cows' milk is a necessity for a healthy child. I also learned to follow my own instincts and do what was best for my baby and our family, which turned out to be a tandem nursing relationship after my second daughter, Myla, was born. And, although my first daughter, Bella, was always much happier sleeping alone, Myla has now turned me into a cosleeping mother. Who would have thought it?!

Cosleeping and tandem nursing are terms that many new mothers have never heard of and I figured they were just what crazy hippy moms living in communes did. I realized today, when I was at a barbecue with a large group of non-nursing families, how much I now take these and other ideas regarding attachment parenting for granted. The grandparents of an 11-week-old brought their grandson along to the barbecue, while his parents "needed a break" from him and were taking a week-long cruise. I found it distressing when the baby's pacifier failed to comfort him.

When I gave birth to Bella, my biggest fear was that I would never be alone again, not even to take a shower or use the bathroom because she needed to nurse so often. I now believe God intended mothers to be within arms' reach of their babies, at least for the short time during which our babies are young, and that this is not such a bad thing after all. And, while I have learned how to sneak a few hours for myself here and there, I do not want nor do I need to leave my girls for days at a time as a way to make me happy. I am not stuck at home because I am nursing. In fact, nursing has allowed me to take my girls anywhere and I'm happy to do so!

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