Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fourth Trimester

I am a parent hippie. I'm not ashamed to admit it now, I've been doing a lot of reading on the subject of the 'fourth trimester.' Harvey Karp of UCLA did research on tribes in south Africa where babies hardly cry.

Here, babies cry all the time, why is it different in our culture? Karp's response is that when working women have babies, they recreate life in the womb for the baby. Often, women wear their babies in slings across their body and nurse them 50 times during the day. The wearing brings newborns close to the heartbeat, allows them to listen to the mothers breathing and use their body temperature to regulate, and the walking and swaying is just like walking with a fetus inside.

That is why I have become a parent hippie. I got a wrap and I can wear her around the house, and today I wore my baby to the mall. I can't explain how many looks I got, and how people jumped out of the way when I came walking through. And instead of screaming her head off sitting in the carseat, Z was happy and alert just walking around with me.

I hadn't intended on becoming this kind of mom, but so far its working out pretty well. Z doesn't sleep in her own bed, but we are getting a sidecar type deal for our bed to give her a 'nest' separate from us but not far away. The bassinet is too open and she drops too far and it wakes her up when we put her down. And she sleeps on my chest tummy to tummy. Not condusive to cuddling with the BF, but better for baby.

I hear a lot of criticism from people about baby wearing, holding her all day, and co sleeping. "How is she supposed to learn independence, you should let her cry it out and self soothe," they say. I'm sorry, but until 3 months after her next growth spurt, no. I'm going to pick her up when she cries because she needs me, she wants to be held, rocked and talked to. When she has more reasoning skills and cognitive maturity, then I'll put her down.

Until then, I am a baby wearing, cosleeping, breastfeeding hippie.

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