attachment parenting

Love needs no training

By | parenting | 8 Comments


The sleeping babe at your breast knows nothing but this moment with you. The waking babe at your breast wants nothing but this moment with you. The giggling sighing watchful or weeping babe needs naught but love, arms and time. 

When the sleep trainers come with their fearful ways, pay them no attention, especially pay them no money. For their wiles are not for human babies who need faces, love, arms, safety and a firm anchor in an unfamiliar world. Bless them all for they are lost in this disconnected painful world where normal ways are demonised and mothers’ love parodied, denied, forsaken is but a dim glow of memory for most of us. 

Turn your face from them and heal your own wounds as you tend to the babe in your arms, on your back and in your bed. For each time we fulfill a baby’s needs, we heal the human race a little. We give a human faith in humans. We show them the world really is full of love and that they will want their world to be love filled as they grow. 

We make revolution every time we gather a baby to our breasts whether we feed them with our milk or milk from other mothers. We choose love over corporations, over cynical money makers. We choose logic and biology over myth, superstition and self hatred. 

When did parenting our children, regardless of the time, become a choice? When did it become undesirable to feed and comfort hungry or distressed babies? Take back your power, choose to parent your tiny human who is not a baby shark set free to fend for itself from birth. Surrender to our biology. Accept our need for love and nurturance both for our babes and for ourselves. And if exhaustion and lack of support strike you, seek them out for you are human, not reptile, and you are made to live in community. 

Do not give your trust to those who seek to profit from your uncertainty. Trust your baby because she knows what she needs and will let you know. Seek out other families who will normalise babies and sleep. Let go the pernicious ‘sleeping through’ myth and instead dream together, holding the babe in your arms for this is but a moment in all your long life and you have a long time once they leave home to sleep like a starfish if you wish it. You will never have this precious time again so don’t spend it fighting, spend it marvelling, loving the perfection of human evolution.

Some normal sleep resources

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Helping Your Baby to Sleep: Why Gentle Techniques Work Best Anni Gethin & Beth MacGregor
Sleeping Like A Baby Pinky Mackay
The Family Bed Tine Thevinin
Three in a Bed: The Benefits of Co-Sleeping Deborah Jackson
Nighttime Parenting: How to Get Your Baby and Child to Sleep Dr William Sears
The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Babies Elizabeth Pantley
The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers Elizabeth Pantley

Articles and Websites

Cosleeping and biological imperatives: why human babies do not, and should not, sleep alone

A motherlode of awesome James McKenna information.

Mother–infant cosleeping, breastfeeding and sudden infant death syndrome: What biological anthropology has discovered about normal infant sleep and pediatric sleep medicine

Nightwaking protects against SIDS

Sleep “training”: a review of research

When will my baby put himself to sleep?

What if my five year old wants to cosleep?

My toddler wants to breastfeed all night!

Need vs habit?

Breastfeeding, cosleeping and Sudden Unexpected Deaths in infancy





To the woman at the shops with the weeping babe

By | parenting | 55 Comments

I saw you today, at the shops, my sister. I saw you pushing a pram, perusing scarves, unable to respond to the bleating, hiccupping cries and jagged breaths of your newborn. I heard the babe cry out over and over, “Help me. Hold me close. Comfort me. Show me I’m not alone.” and yet in your aloneness, you were kept from responding. Was I seeing the trauma of your babe’s birth in action? The fragmented care of a brutal maternity system which prizes compliance above wellness? The ugly effects of industrialised parenting and the mould into which we are all shoved in this 21st century Sparta? I saw your babe’s face as she shut down and stared blankly at you from the pram and I felt my heart break for you both.

I hid weeping behind the clothing racks, pained for you and for your babe that this is the normal of parenting now; the bereft mother who struggles to relate to her baby. I feel the more keenly for you because I too have been that mother, savagely denied my birthright of connection with my first child and because the babe who would be in my sling right now is missing from my arms, never to return. I wish I could nurture you a little, mama, so you could connect with your earthside babe as I cannot mine.

If you are like most women, your pregnancy has been punctuated by testing, by scaremongering, by the slow whittling away of your instincts and connection to Self and Other within. Your babe has experienced the onslaught of ultrasound, almost definitely twice but most likely more. A sugary drink was probably fed to you after a day’s starvation and your belly babe struggled to regain equilibrium in an environment now hostile, with a beating heart and who knows what else? By the time gestation was nearly finished, as your babe’s body began to prepare for life earthside, harsh drugs were probably used to evict her from that perfect dwelling place, and make a once safe place dangerous. Did strangers ram a painful screw into your scalp, little one? I am sorry. Did someone puncture the cushion on which your head rested, while the drugs denied you oxygen with each mechanised wave of pain that wracked your mama? Was your beautiful birth cocktail of love hormones ripped from you and your brain changed? I am sorry. This is how birth is done to babies now in my world and in your prehistoric innocence you journey earthside unwittingly, to wrestle with a system which does not recognise your intrinsic humanity, or capacity to dance from your mother’s body.

Mama, did you feel fear as you submitted to induction? Did you try curries, walking, sex despite your unwieldy body, or even castor oil, in an effort to have some control over inducing yourself before giving in to the people you trusted to care for you? Did you feel relief when the drugs entered your body and took the agony of chemically induced labour away even though you didn’t realise just how much it was going to do damage to your babe and you? I am sorry. We should be doing better for you. Was your babe cut from your body, wrapped up, wiped, injected and removed from your sight, for who knows how long? I am sorry. I wish you could give birth in your own way, without drugs to dull the keenest experience of your life. Held in love, nurtured, in bliss, walking that hard path to a new you, a woman who knows what she can manage and feels her own strength in the world.

But all is not lost because your human brain can find ways through even this most terrible pain and injury. What can you do? Buy a soft, cotton sling, hold your babe near your heart and your breast as you move through the world. Take to your shared bed, sleep together, dream together and in that dreaming, weave again a cocoon for you both, from the untouched remnants of your primal self who still remembers how to parent these helpless, pink, hairless babes. Offer your breast without timetables, or rationing, revel in the hormone rush of oxytocin and show her the world is predictable and safe. Bathe together and marvel as your tiny one remembers the giant sea of her gestation, close your eyes and remember back to the bliss of feeling those tiny limbs as they swam in your body. Share the joy of unfettered mammalian parenting with the world so other women may awaken their memories of parenting without recourse to punishment or the casual brutality demanded of us today.

I wish that through this pain you may birth yourself and find the woman in you who seeks only that which nurtures, and casts aside in future, that which does you harm. I wish that your next birth will be eye opening, life changing and that the first hands to touch your babe will be yours.