the reward of sleep deprivation .

Long before parenting styles and formula were a trendy thing to do, mothers innately followed their instincts with their babies.  Breastfeeding and bed-sharing were the norm and nearly every parent was challenged with lack of sleep through the first several years of a child’s life.  When following those instincts, studies show that the trust and connection built between parent and child are naturally strong, children tend to grow up healthier physically and emotionally, are statistically safer in regards to SIDS, and develop a strong self-esteem and sense of security.  Fast forward to today – formula that is full of chemicals and synthetic vitamins is seen as the easier choice, isolated crib sleeping is more convenient, and methods to sleep train are abundant.  For some reason, society says that babies need to be sleeping through the night, when biology says the complete opposite.

It’s a known fact that breastmilk is specifically designed to be the best thing for a baby and is easy for babies to digest, causing them want to eat more often than formula fed babies.  Because they eat more often, they naturally wake frequently at night (obviously). That frequent night waking is biologically vital in regulating the breathing in an infant’s sleep, which is linked to lower risk of SIDS. Not to mention that night nursing is vital to keep up breastmilk supply and can help decrease fertility for natural spacing between children.

Contrary to popular belief, babies are not capable of manipulative crying – their cries are simply their only form of communication and they use it to communicate their needs.  (And yes, it is a need for them just to be held.) Choosing to detach from your babies’ cries and isolate them in order to “train” them to sleep can permanently harm your child.  Studies have shown time and time again that it damages their brains as it permanently increases their stress hormones and causes them to emotionally disconnect from you since their cries now inhibit a response from you.  If you choose to sleep train, you are sending a clear message that their voice does not hold significance.  If you cannot even respond to their night cries as an infant, what makes you think that they will feel safe enough to come to you with their needs as a teenager?

It’s often forgotten that children are not even developmentally ready to sleep through the entire night until they are several years old.  The expectation for a child to sleep a full night without waking is beyond ridiculous – I don’t even know many adults who don’t wake up at least once. It’s our job as parents to selflessly sacrifice our sleep to comfort, protect, and nurture our children.  The sleep that is taken from us is worthless in comparison to beautiful gift and privilege of having these babies.

God calls us to be gentle shepherds to our children and there isn’t any way that you would be able to convince me that sleep training is not harsh.  Gentleness and sleep training cannot flagrantly co-exist when one is following Jesus.  There is no place for seeing your child as an inconvenience to you – regarding sleep or any other area for that matter.  We are called beyond our selfishness to choose our children over a mere eight hours of rest. Yes, it can be super hard. I’m living it.  My almost one year old has consistently woken up at least every two hours every night of his life (sometimes more, rarely less).  But, this is God’s calling on my life and I want to embrace it and choose to be joyful even in the hard moments. And there are often hard moments.  God uses hard moments to break our selfishness and refine us into parents who better reflect all of the goodness that He is.  There is so much reward in sleep deprivation.

 

Links to check out for more info:

Proving the Risk of Harm in Early Sleep Training

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/moral-landscapes/201112/dangers-crying-it-out

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5 things that surprised me about motherhood .

Before becoming pregnant, I had nannied for ten years and was well versed in everything about babies.  I felt fairly confident going into motherhood with all of the experience that I had behind my belt.  I knew that it’d be different now that this baby was my own, but I wasn’t sure which parts I wouldn’t be prepared for.  Over the past eleven months (plus ten months of pregnancy), here are the things that surprised me the most.

 

 1.  Pregnancy is overwhelmingly hard for some women.

I’m so thankful that I had a healthy pregnancy, but the physical and emotional changes that took place on my body took a toll on me.  I had hopes of loving everything about being pregnant, but it was honestly miserable.  I was surprised at how severe morning (all day) sickness was for me, how hard is was to watch my body morph into a size I never knew, and how the hormonal changes completely overtook me with depression.

 2.  Birth is powerful and can impact you and your baby long term.

I have always loved birth and knew that how my baby was born was really important, but I was surprised at how much certain aspects of the birth have affected me.  It has been eleven months since I’ve given birth to my son, but I still think about it every day.  There are so many moments that I love and some painful disappointments. But more on my birth story later. 

3.  Breastfeeding is more than just milk.

I’ve known about the powerful nutritional benefits of breastmilkbut I didn’t know how many other advantages that breastfeeding has for mom and baby.  Breastfeeding helps to strengthen your bond with your baby, can be a source of security and comfort, and can increase your child’s IQ. It is literally the most perfect food made – so amazing.

4.  My passion for protecting children became unwavering.

 Before becoming pregnant, I was fairly timid about voicing my opinions and often collapsed under pressure into the more accepted opinion. That completely changed once I became a mama – my mother bear instincts escalated ten-fold and I don’t back down as easily, especially when a child’s well-being is at stake.

5.  Our parenting choices are looked down upon.    

Our family lives an unconventional lifestyle when compared to mainstream families, especially in the Christian community. We practice peaceful, attachment parenting, which involves extended breastfeeding, bed-sharing, gentle discipline, etc. It’s been surprising to constantly hear negative comments about our choices and lack so much support, especially when we have research (and strong mama instincts) backing us up. 

the first one .

I’d dreamed of becoming a wife and mama since I was literally three years old. I would dress up as a bride, constantly carried my baby dolls around everywhere I went and, much to my parents’ dismay, even pretended to birth them in the middle of my preschool room. My mama instincts have always been rooted deep within me. Growing up, I’d make career goals and life aspirations, but they were fairly scattered ideas that were constantly evolving with my current interests.  I burned out quickly in college as I never really had a strong desire for a formal education.  My brain and my heart were at odds constantly about the future.  My heart had been yearning to raise up a family of my own, while my brain was busy prepping for the realities of my mama dreams not coming true.

Fast forward to now – twenty-five years old – and I am living out my longest desired dream.  It takes my breath away sometimes.  I want to capture every moment and embrace it all – remembering how much I wanted this and how long (well, it felt long to me) I waited for these days.  I have hopes that this blog will be a place to hold memories of our unconventional hippie life, an outlet for my unabashed thoughts, and a reminder of the Lord lavishing on me the amazing gifts that my heart desired.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.  – Proverbs 13:12

 

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dressing up in 1st grade