Archive for 2017

Breastfeeding and Avoiding Poor Attachment

Sunday, December 3rd, 2017

How do we avoid poor attachment with our baby?  Let’s look at what some of the experts are saying about “poor attachments”?  William Gairdner in his book, War Against the Family, says that experts unanimously agree that “poorly attached children are sociopaths in the making.”  So, according to him, how do we avoid having poorly attached children?  Gairdner gives us the answer using 3 key words which pertain to the mother:


He stresses that “the pattern of attachment developed in infancy and early childhood is profoundly influenced by the mother’s ready availability, her responsiveness to his need for comfort and protection, and her sensitivity to her child’s signals.”  In other words, the mother has to be there to read the signals of her baby, and she has to respond to him in a sensitive manner.

He adds that the need for the baby to have this kind of care has been consistently shown to be true based on the work of three researchers, (Mary Ainsworth, Mary Main, and Alan Stroufe) each working at 3 different major universities.  Thus mothers must be available, be responsive, and be sensitive.  With breastfeeding these three characteristics are more likely to be present in the mother. 

Gairdner also states:  “Young children need an uninterrupted, intimate, continuous connection with their mothers, especially in the very early months and years.”  We are all here today to celebrate the reality that breastfeeding gives children what they need.

It’s uninterrupted.  The mother has to be there to nurse her child.

It’s intimate.  With breastfeeding there is a special closeness between mother and child.

It’s continuous.  Certainly nursing for one, two, or more years is a continuous event.

And prolonged lactation provides that one consistent person or caregiver that is said to be so important during the early years.

Gerald Campbell from Impact, a group based near D.C., claims that the #1 problem in our society is alienation, an emptiness, “an aloneness that cannot be tolerated by the human heart.”  Campbell lived with the homeless for three years.  He learned that even if you gave them a house and a good job, they would still be lonely.  As he said, what people need isn’t what is worn on their backs, it’s what is in their hearts.   According to Campbell, what people really need is “love, understanding, mercy and compassion, and commitment” from one person who learns to give of self “without any conditions or expectations whatsoever.”   From my viewpoint and from the standpoint of the baby, this one person would be his mother.  And isn’t that what breastfeeding is all about?  A mother learning to give of herself by showing love, understanding and compassion to her baby.

I heard Gerald Campbell speak in September of 1997 and was quite impressed.  He spoke ill of daycare and emphasized the value of the mother’s presence.  In his own words, “Personal relationships–whether within a family, among friends, at work, or with strangers–have become increasingly self-centered….The family today resembles more a collection of detached individuals than a community of love.  Too many Americans feel abandoned and alone.”

According to Campbell, the first three years in the life of a child are crucial.  If the child does not have a mother or that one person who offers consistent care, he says that “eventually, the child will become fearful of all others and, driven by rejection into an egocentric existence, he will succumb to a hedonistic and utilitarian self-indulgence whose emptiness can only be a lifelong burden.”

That’s why the attachment parenting and the breastfeeding that you do during the first three years of life are so important; it can have a lifelong healthy influence on your child.  And they may keep him or her from being a lifelong burden to others.

Sometimes the importance of those first three years comes up unexpectedly.  There was an article on “The Big, Bad Bully” in Psychology Today, their Sept/Oct 1995 issue.  Being a big, bad bully is very common behavior among school-age children, and at that time was almost always ignored by teachers.  The victims suffer physical or verbal abuse, continued social persecution or rejection.  What the researchers found out to their surprise was that they were studying younger and younger age groups for the cause of bullying.  First, they studied aggression in adult criminals, then adolescents, then younger children, and finally two year olds!   As one researcher said:  “If you had told me I was going to be studying two year olds, I would have said you were crazy.”  The researchers learned that bullies are made, not born.  That bullies are formed by “parental behavior or by neglect,” and it “begins in the early caregiver/child interaction.”
(Sheila Kippley, part of keynote address, LLL So. Calif. State Conference, May 1998)
More on attachment next week.


Breastfeeding and Natural Mothering

Sunday, November 26th, 2017

Natural mothering is essentially taking care of your baby with the equipment God gave you—your breasts, your arms, your back, and your time.  A mother involved in natural mothering tends to rely on her own natural abilities and body to meet her baby’s needs.  Due to the frequent nursing involved with natural mothering, she is likely to remain close to her baby.

The absence of bottles and pacifiers alone tends to help mothers and fathers learn to do the parenting themselves and to be there for their babies.

The breast becomes a source of emotional “nourishment” as well as total nutritional  nourishment in the early months.  The mother involved with natural mothering soon learns to offer comfort nursing to her baby.  This emotional aspect of nursing is very important to the baby.  The person who says to a nursing mother, “You don’t want to be a pacifier to your baby, do you?” doesn’t understand the importance of comfort nursing.

When I first attended La Leche League meetings in 1964, pregnant with our first baby, I couldn’t understand why mothers nursed their babies so much at the breast.  I was obviously observing some comfort nursing.

The breastfeeding mother who does not use bottles and pacifiers  soon realizes how much her baby needs her, and she dreads leaving her baby.  Separations are painful, and she does everything possible to avoid them.  The understanding father picks up on this and supports his wife.

Nursing at night while sitting up is very fatiguing so the nursing mother soon learns that the family bed is a necessity and a “luxury” as the baby nurses on and off during the night while mother sleeps.  The family bed is truly for family.  Dads enjoy the contact with their baby, and moms wake up rested.  During sleep, mom and dad are nurturing their baby emotionally.  They are giving their baby a sense of security in the darkness.  They are providing their baby with a closeness to his parents, the two most important people in his life at this time.  The baby has the closeness of his mother and her breasts as needed and his feet are often stretching out seeking physical contact with dad.  All is well with this baby who receives this kind of care from his parents.  This baby is very lucky indeed!
(Sheila Kippley, part of keynote address, LLL So. Calif. State Conference, May 1998)

Breastfeeding and Attachment Parenting

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

The following is part of a talk I gave some years ago in Southern California.

My topic tonight is attachment parenting in a detached world.  If you as a parent said to your two-year-old child:  “I don’t love you anymore,” what would happen?   Your child would cry!  Your child and each person needs to feel loved, to feel special.  Love means helping the one we love.  It means service.  It means trust.  It means that someone likes to be near you.  It means sharing in someone’s pain or discomfort.  It means being inconvenienced.   It means sacrifice.  Parental love is caring love.

Babies especially need to experience the love of their mother and soon their father, and that is what attachment parenting is all about:  Conveying love to your child in various ways.

On the other hand, by detached parenting I mean ways that will be perceived by the child as less loving due to less involvement or distancing.  For example, some mothers who let their babies cry-it-out for 15-30- and even 45 minutes say they do this because they love their children and are teaching them that they are not the boss in the home.  I can’t judge any mother, but my point is that the baby will perceive that behavior as less loving than being picked up and comforted.

Some would define breastfeeding as attachment parenting.  Yet there is the rare situation where a nursing mom can be detached.  Some might say:  It’s certainly not bottle-feeding your baby.  Yet some of us know bottle-feeding moms and parents who are very attached to their baby.  In fact, the first couple we knew who took their baby everywhere with them were bottle-feeding their baby.

Thus attachment parenting is not necessarily defined by the type of feeding we give our baby.  However, I have promoted natural mothering for over 30 years [now 50 years], and I am convinced nature’s way is best.  Mothering is really what breastfeeding is all about.  Through breastfeeding, as mothers, we learn to give of our time, and we learn to give our child that special emotional and physical care to show that he is loved.  With breastfeeding the child receives plenty of that important lap time with mother.   Natural mothering, I believe, is at the heart of providing the best experience for the baby during the early years.

Breastfeeding offers an easy learning environment for the mother.   She learns how to be patient, how to be inconvenienced, how to be unselfish in providing the proper care for her child, and therefore she learns to love better.  I believe that both my husband and I are better parents because I chose to breastfeed.

And, most importantly, the breastfed baby or young child at a critical age is feeling loved and is learning how to trust.    The world tells us that we should strive to have that good baby, but my conviction is that the baby teaches its mother how to be a good mother, especially when she breastfeeds.
(Sheila Kippley, part of keynote address, LLL So. Calif. State Conference, May 1998)