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2022 г. январь 19 д., среда - Информационный портал
  Мама и ребенок > Кормление
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One Father's Perspective on Demand Nursing
I wanted only the best for my child. Yet then, as now, the issue seemed to be: who will control?

It didn't make any difference to me whether or not he needed to nurse every 45 minutes. It wasn't I who had to be available constantly, day and night. In the morning before leaving for work, I would set my wife and child up for "nursing and napping" in the rocking chair. I'd put the phone, books, notebooks, a glass of juice, clean diapers, and other necessities within reach. At night, I was useless, and soon learned not even to wake up.

The pressure to control my child, however, was dramatic. Friends, acquaintances, relatives, and even people I didn't know required that our baby be controlled. The implication was that if we did not regulate his demands on our time and energy, he might grow up to be spoiled rotten or become a second Hitler.

For fathers, the control issue is particularly difficult. Most of us were trained to exercise self-restraint at every opportunity. As boys and young men, we were told to be tough because it is a cruel world out there. Similarly, as fathers, we feel charged with the duty of making sure life is not too easy for our offspring so that they can learn self-control, responsibility, and determination. Combined, these factors can easily prevail over a father's desire to support demand nursing, a practice that allows an infant to control the process. After all, we would never let an infant take charge of our armies and weapons of war, our diplomatic endeavors, or anything else in life.

Not surprisingly, as my wife nursed our firstborn on demand, I experienced this pressure to conform our childrearing methods to some prescribed standard. The hardest part was that I found little support for our efforts to do what we thought was best for our child. Even my most "liberal" friends felt compelled to direct their relationships with their children, rather than let their children guide the way.

While my wife nursed our second child on demand, I continued to struggle against the impulse to control my offspring, not always successfully. Many times I longed for someone to tell me that we were doing the right thing, that my kids would not grow up to be "sissies."

As our children moved out of diapers and away from the breast, I slowly realized that the control issue extends beyond infancy and breastfeeding. Observing them closely, I questioned the social norm of imposing rigid restraints until I became convinced that controlling my children was not in their best interest. I could see with my own eyes that they were not "spoiled rotten" brats and certainly not sissies. I did not need to manipulate them, or mold them into perfect human beings; they already were perfect human beings, each with a unique set of feelings and needs to be respected. Nor did I need to impose suffering on my children "for their own good" in order to feel like a good parent. (A) Now my children are older, and my perspective has broadened. Taking an honest look at a world rife with violence, hatred, and suffering, I cannot help but question the common practice of imposing discipline on children to toughen them for the cruel world. Could there be a fundamental error in this type of thinking? Might the methods used to control our children be an essential part of the problem? I wonder if Saddam Hussein's mother engaged in demand nursing . . . I wonder if career criminals or residents of death row got to nurse on demand...


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