Tuesday, July 9, 2013

"Good job!"

Check out this thread about Praise & Elimination Communication on Mothering.com.  It's something we have discussed a fair bit as a couple, not just regarding EC but all kinds of other skills and behaviors.  I have read that one way we can teach our children patience, encourage intrinsic motivation, and strengthen productive risk-taking is to praise efforts and work rather than focus on results (the "good job" comments).  I will post the reference to my reading when I find it in my stack; nevertheless, it makes a lot of sense to both of us, so we've begun to practice this kind of praise already just to get ourselves in the habit.  When others see our girl use the potty and say, "Good potty!" I feel conflicted - grateful they are supportive, yet concerned about the angle on the praise.  It will be interesting, as we go along, to figure out how and when to have the conversation about that particular activity and appropriate praise, since it seems like both the pottying and the process vs. product praise goes against most people's experience, including mine for the most part.

What do you think?

Downward Dog Nursing

Over the past few months, our baby has become a versatile nurser!  I link to the definition of "versatile" because, in checking to see if I used the word appropriately, I found I had used just the right word!  My goodness, this kid changes readily, turns with ease from one activity to another, and can move herself all over the place - up, down, laterally, flexibly.  

Crawling to nurse

When she turned about 6 months, she could sit unaided quite well and learned to crawl distances.  Normally, we read about how this new behavior changes babyproofing requirements and stimulates new interests.  I hadn't considered how it might change our nursing experience.  Suddenly, when she wanted to nurse, she could look over to me and move herself closer!  It was only a few days before she could then crawl over and into my lap.  Whereas before, of course she made her desire known with eye contact, reaching, or nuzzling, now she could also stop her own activity and come to me.  When through, she could crawl away to resume play.  What a difference!  My own emotional reactions to the transition surprised me; I felt excited, amused, disoriented, relieved, and hesitant.  

We nurse on demand, and our baby likes to eat and cuddle frequently.  It has become like my own frequent habits - pulling hair from my face, washing hands, drinking water, adjusting my posture, nursing our baby.  When we changed the rhythm and way we nursed, my mind needed to adjust.

Downward Dog Nursing

With her new skills and abilities in movement quickly came highly versatile positions for nursing!  The first was the lap sit nurse.  Oh man, this was great for me!  She could come to me, sit upright with legs around my belly, and nurse upright - while I ate my own dinner!  No one needed to wait to eat anymore.  (Of course, now that she is interested in my food, this has gotten tricky at times...)

At about 6.5 months, she could pull herself up to standing, and you know what that meant for nursing.

With increased leg musculature and better balance, the crouch nursing session ensued.  If I were sitting on the floor playing with her, she would crawl over, pull herself to a stand on me, then crouch to nurse for as long as she could.  Hilarious!

Lying down, she has perfected the "downward dog nurse" as we call it.  Starting in a side lie, she flips over to her belly (still nursing) and raises her hips high up ("helium pelvis", our yoga instructor used to call it) in a lovely pose.  I laughed at myself when I realized I had checked to see if her heels were on the floor - something my legs have never flexed to do.

The changes we have made in nursing mirror the changes in our growth together.  Don't you find that as transitions occur, we rarely mark the turning point in our minds?  I look back and am not quite sure when I could think of something other than helping my infant to nurse during feeding, but at some point, oversupply diminished and we both got the process down pat, and I started reading books again. That was months ago.  Now I've got an acrobatic nursling and am loving every day of our lives, wondering what the next transitions I'll look back upon will be.