Updated: Jul 1, 2020
What makes Nurturing Touch's approach in the care of mothers and babies different to what you may have heard so far?
Why do you think we have so many "experts" and "baby whisperers" today in our modern society? It does feel like we have more unsettled babies in our communities..doesn't it?? Why is this? This really got me thinking too.
Many modern day "baby experts", "sleep consultants", "baby books", "social media posts" and a like, provide much of their advice and directive from a society driven, medicalised and adult led perspective when it comes to the care of babies. Many of these experts have very little education in current research, baby sleep science and lack solid evidenced based knowledge in baby physiology and cognitive development. An example given to be recently by a father was, its like wanting to build a house and the person you go to for advice, guidance and to build the house, has very little education and or training/experience in the area of building houses...now would you be comfortable with this?
One of the major issues is we have moved so far away from understanding what is biologically normal for our babies that when they become earthside (or 4th trimester & beyond), we just don't know enough about what's going on for our babies as parents. Much of our education and information comes from out of date, old fashioned and heavily medicalised approaches, that focus on this need to create emotionally independent and routine driven babies, in the believe that this will create highly functional and independent adults. If you look at the research now in regards to Infant Mental Health & how this translates into Adult Mental Health, this approach couldn't be further from the truth. When I stand back and observe this approach to me it feels like we are trying to push a square peg into a round hole and as a result parents and babies are becoming increasingly stressed.
An example of this was a mother I recently worked with, said she felt pushed into a corner by her partner, family and society to book a sleep trainer because her daughter was 9mths old and waking 3 times a night - fed and resettled in 10mins otherwise sleeping 12hours a night & naps were 3x 45mins. This was seen as "A problem" but for some this is only a far off fantasy, right? On reflection now 6wks later, the mother feels guilty that she left her baby to cry alone for up to 12mins at a time and angry at herself for not standing up for what she felt was instinctually WRONG. The strict sleep schedules, nap timings and non-response approach has left this mother's mental health at very low point, she feels trapped and caged in at home and as a result of reduced responsiveness and no feed to sleep, she lost her milk supply. I hear and see this time and time again....kind of like "We have won the battle (we achieved a little more uninterrupted sleep) but lost the overall war (the bigger picture and bigger impacts)".
We need to remember our babies are born with strong biological blueprint to behave the way they have done for thousands of years for a reason and that doesn't include prescriptive one size fits all sleep and feeding schedules that are driven by the clock on the wall and/or spending large amounts of time away from their mother, for example. In my experience working with new families, if we don't try to understand things from the baby's perspective, what we are then left with is increased crying times, unsettled behaviour, medical diagnosis of reflux & colic, anxiety and stress around sleep & feeding expectations, parental confusion in recognising baby's cues, sabotaging breastfeeding and a baby trying to communicate with us and not having their needs met.
So the original question was "What makes Nurturing Touch's approach in the care of mothers and babies different to what you may have heard so far?" I hold current, academically peer reviewed international qualifications to educate, support, guide and empower families to take a "BABY LED" approach to getting to know their baby. My focus is on gentle, age appropriate, respectful and realistic expectations of what our babies are cognitively and developmentally able to manage. As a result this leads to lower stress for both baby and parents, reduction in crying times (for both mother and baby) and overall better outcomes for the health of the family. My gentle strategies are just that, gentle and responsive. This has been proved in Infant Mental Health research to build your baby's confidence in you to meet their emotion and developmental needs and as a result reduces their stress levels and sleep comes more naturally. While doing this, I address the parental issues around needing sleep, rest & relaxation, daily supports, time for parental connection and teasing out what's important to each parent.
Get in touch if you want to learn about a "Baby Led" approach to getting to know your baby.