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Cache or Carry?

May 8, 2010

I woke up today to the little Barracuda giving a serious soliloquy.  He has been becoming more and more vocal, but this was the first time I had heard him go on talking too himself.  It was so cute I just snuggled into him.  He looked up, caught my eye, and burst out laughing.  I know it’s only going to get better the older he gets– but I’m loving each of these stages so much.  I wish there was a pause button.

At his four month (and a half) check-up last week, the doctor asked how he was sleeping.  I have serious issues with that question.  Yes, I am known to adore my beauty sleep.  Yes, I have had maybe three or four solid eight hour nights since he was born.  Yes, he still gets up every three hours to nurse.  Yes, he sleeps with me.  No. I really don’t mind.

The doctor, however, firmly suggested that it was time for the baby to move to his own bed in another room.  I smiled and nodded, but all I could think is- why?  Am I missing something really huge here?  I am new at this and I don’t know any other mothers who co-sleep.  What I do know is that the evening/nighttime is the only chance my child gets to nurse on demand.  Why would I take that away from him?  I have no problem with him comfort nursing.  I love how he sighs and closes his eyes when he nurses for comfort.  It’s as though all his baby troubles are rolling away and he’s completely blissful.  If only we all had something like that :).  Why would I take it away from him?

Another room?  I read, once, on another blog, an interesting point.  Namely, that there are two types of animal mothers.  Cache or Carry.  Cache mothers ( cats, rodents, birds) will hide their young somewhere and leave them while they go for food, water, etc.  Carry mothers keep their young with them at all times, either in their arms (i.e. primates) or within sight (i.e. large four legged animals).  We are of the Carry type (obviously).  Of course, we are living in modern times where Mama really can’t (and doesn’t have to) cling to her child 24/7 for their safety and well-being.  Still, how do you explain to an infant, with thousands of years of pre-programmed instinct, that they are just as safe and watched over by the little white baby monitor as when they have their mother in line of sight?

Obviously, I don’t want to screw my child up, but I figure at this early stage, the things he wants are going to be base and instinctive and unlikely to be detrimental to his well-being.  That’s my take on it, anyway.

Disclaimer: I am 100% not judging parents who sleep apart from their children.  I only have one little tyke and a husband to split my attention between and I am ridiculously ideological.  I would not be surprised if, ten years down the road, I wrote a post scientifically explaining the benefits of having these little genetics-driven creatures sleep in the barn* so as to give their bone-weary parents a few moments of peace and quiet.  I do 180s like that.  A lot.

*Disclaimer on the Disclaimer:  I wouldn’t actually make my kids sleep in the barn.  It wouldn’t even make a good threat if they are anything like I was as a child.

Anyway, this weekend is the last one I have left to use for packing.  I’m really trying to not freak out.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 8, 2010 1:26 pm

    Thank you for your nice comment this morning and for taking the time to introduce yourself! You have a lovely blog. 🙂

  2. May 8, 2010 1:44 pm

    Hi, I arrived here via Writing Living Epistles (my darling daughter’s blog). She would heartily agree with you about babies and nighttime. It’s not only the way she is parenting, it’s the way she was parented. I can absolutely attest to the fact that babies do eventually sleep through the night, that eventually they sleep in their own bed, that nursing frequently at night at this stage is actually good for them and for you as well (in that it helps space your next baby further away to give your body time to recoup), and that it absolutely doesn’t mess them up emotionally. For all those who worry about the impact on the marriage, let it be known that I’ve been married for nearly 35 years and my husband was totally supportive of the long nursing and the family bed. In fact he was the one who encouraged me to continue when my youngest was still nursing multiple times a day at an age when her brother had already been weaned for 6 months.

    It’s not easy to swim against the cultural tide, particularly when it’s your doctor who’s pressing you to turn and swim with it. One of the moms in our LLL group says she simply smiles and says uh huh to people who make comments. I learned early on that there are some things you simply don’t mention to the doctor. When they ask how the baby is sleeping, simply say, “sleeping like a baby,” or “very well, thank you” if you don’t want to be hassled. If you don’t mind going toe to toe with your doctor you can let your idealogue self out instead. I’m pretty sure our pediatrician how no idea how long either of my children nursed or where they slept. We simply didn’t discuss nursing after they were on solids (except a couple of times when my daughter was a toddler and ill) and the sleeping question just never seemed to come up.

    Enjoy that baby and continue on the path you’re going you’ll do fine.

  3. May 8, 2010 2:37 pm

    We thought about sharing our bed with our kid(s) but we realized that yes, we’ve had children – but we still have to maintain our own husband and wife relationship. Which means we need some time alone together, which never happens in the day time lol! Also, we need the ability to enjoy **ahem ahem** … and we can’t do that with a baby in our bed. That baby will also only get older and more observant! It is absolutely imperative that we maintain our marital relationship so that we can have a joyful relationship with our kids as well. Back in the old days, or even in tribal villages today, there are/were oodles of aunties and grannies and older girls to play “pass the baby” and thus keep the little ones happy without mom totally burning out. I see a lot of my friends ending up burned out but they don’t seem to know why. A year or so passes and the once cute haul-everywhere baby is now a clingy toddler that won’t back off for ten seconds. Folk say to me, “Wow last year she was so put together. What happened? She looks haggard?!” I want to say: she never gets a break from her kid. Never gets any space. Neither does the kid – and look at the wee one, most of the time all they do is cling to mom and whine. Even in close-knit villages with co-sleeping and the like, mom gets a break. Other women help out and take the kid(s) off her hands throughout the day. They aren’t stuck to mom like glue around the clock like they are here in the West.

    Yes, there are cache and carry animals but they are animals. We are not. We were made in the image and likeness of God so there’s a huge depth to humans that is not found in even the nicest of animals.

    Besides, even little kids need some space as well. Otherwise they end up whiney and clingy and insecure.

    I’ve divided our livingroom in half with a long safety gate. If I need space to fold laundry without invading helping hands ripping it apart or I want to put the infants down on sheepskins without them getting pounced on… or maybe I just need to sit down for ten minutes and type an email while sipping some coffee, you know, I can do that now. And no one minds. Kids can get frustratingly clingy and so it is very important that they learn how to be able to be comfortable and feel safe without having to be on top of any nearby adult. I’ve been a guest where the kids of the house won’t stop climbing on me because they are so used to being physically attatched to an adult. “We co-sleep!” says the proud mother but then, in the next breath, she confides that things are tense at home (because no one ever gets a break from each other) and, “we haven’t been able to conceive again.” (Because we never have a chance…) I’ve noticed that after a year or so the husbands often appear withdrawn or distant and mom doesn’t understand why. She doesn’t see that the marriage relationship is being ignored and sacrificed in order to dote on the kid(s). It’s a tricky thing, being a mom. Hard to find balance sometimes.

    It’s no judgement on you, just a view from the other side of the coin. God bless!

  4. May 18, 2010 2:29 pm

    I’d read about the cache vs. carry animals, too. I thought it was interesting, made sense, and made it easier to snuggle with my little guy when I wanted to be doing my own thing. Also, about the co-sleeping, my mom said that when you plan to co-sleep, plan on doing it for 4 years. Not 4 months, 4 YEARS. I think you are okay continuing, despite what your doctor is saying. It does not hurt your child to co-sleep (provided it’s a safe environment), and if you feel rested enough and don’t mind doing it, why should you move him? I’d think that’s hurt your rest. I personally have my son in the room next to us, and get up. We started with him in a bassinet at the foot of our bed, but we’d take him into his room to change him when he got up anyways, and then he started preferring his crib to the pack n play, so we let him sleep there. We both agreed we didn’t want to co-sleep so we’d have our space. But I know lots of people who do it and love it.

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