Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Transitional Objects...

On an AP newsgroup that I read and participate on I had a little debate this morning… It was friendly, I don’t think any feelings where hurt on either side so there is no harm done… however, I feel the need to talk about the subject here on my blog…

A question was asked… Are AP’d kids less likely to need a “lovie”, pacifier etc… My first instinct is to say yes… however, 19 responses later revealed that many of the kids have transitional objects…

However, I still believe that AP kids are less likely to need them… First, Pacifiers…It seems that most people that answered that their kids are attached to pacifiers are the ones that didn’t breastfeed for whatever reason… (I will be addressing this in another post ;) ), a few kids had transitional object because of daycare and then a 2-3 others that had kids that picked up transitional objects for no reason other then they wanted it…. and then a few moms had kids that had no attachments to any object…

One woman then mentioned that she was talking to a “PH.D” friend of hers that told her that having a paci etc is not a burden but a ‘gift’… “the gift to ‘self-soothe’”… this is where the debate started (if you could even call it that)…
I'm in Blue she is in Red

As for the pp who talked about the importance of a transitional object because the child learns to 'self-soothe' I respectively don't agree... they are not 'self-soothing' they relying on an object to soothe them... Take away the object, you take away the 'ability'...

Also, I don't see the importance of 'self-soothing' until they are ready to do so, so I would rather them depend on me then on an object... I am also one of those that do not like Paci's... especially for a breastfed baby... I understand that some moms say they need them but in the year that I have been a breastfeeding counsellor I have seen too many cases of nipple confusion and low supply issues because of a paci... and personally I would rather be the paci for my kids...
I don't think that there is anything wrong with a transitional object... Personally, I don't like it but I do know that many kids really need it and it is a lifesaver for moms that can't be there all of the time... of kids that just really need them...


Self-soothing is a good thing at any age! I agree that the bink in the early weeks can interfere with BF and should be avoided.

I am confident I can soothe my child, but I am also confident not to feel guilty or less-AP if my baby can find comfort in his bink or his thumb.

Some babies and children get comfort orally -- no biggie. Others like the feel and touch of something. Also no biggie. Any child who can center themselves with the use of a transitional object is blessed with a gift -- and there is absolutely NO HARM in that gift unless it interferes with developmental progress, which is extremely rare.

Again.. I have see nothing wrong or un-AP with a child choosing a transitional object... and I don't see anything wrong with self-soothing at any age (if the child chooses to do it and is not forced to do it)
But, again, I don't see it as "Self-soothing" when there is a reliance on something (be it a person or an object)
So I personally wouldn't agree with the PHD friend of yours as seeing it as a gift... it is just another thing that the child will have to wean from... (which again is OK if done when they are ready to do it by themselves)
I guess the best way to explain what I mean is to say this...
I think that personality can bring some kids to seek a transitional object even if they are the most attached, AP'd child and any AP mom will recognize that need...
However, I also think that AP'd kids NEED less transitional objects because of the parenting style... KWIM?

I agree with almost everything but your last nine words. :)

I'd say that it may be true that AP children on average may use transitional objects less because AP parents on the whole don't introduce them.

And I think we are just speaking past each other on the self-soothing. I define self soothing as being able to center oneself without the aid of another person, you seem to define it as centering without the aid of anything external. What is interesting about your definition is that I can't even do that [i/]. LOL!

In order to relax, I often need to have a drink of water, or a nice long hug from DH. Sometimes when I am tense at work I find myself chewing on the end of my pencil. These actions all "soothe" me. Indeed, I only know a few [i/] grown ups who can effectively self-soothe completely on their own without any external assistance. Those folks are rare and truly amazing people -- they tend not get to get ruffled by anything.

So I count the use of transitional objects and binks as a means of self-soothing. Most children will give up such objects/habits when they are ready to give them up -- sort of like child led weaning.

Personally I see self-soothing as a way of coping without relying on one fixed object (be it a paci, a bear or even mom)... and though I think that learning how to "self-soothe' is important later on in life... I don't emphasize the importance in infancy, babyhood, toddlerhood etc... Of course, again there are some children that will latch themselves on an object even if the parent is there... and I think that that can be part of a natural progression...
And, personally, IMO, I would rather be that 'object' then having something else...I think that kids need to have us to rely on so that we can in turn teach them how to soothe themselves.. KWIM?
Of course, as an adult I too have things to help me cope and "self-soothe", DH, hot bath, a cup of tea, music etc...
I also don't see anything wrong in having someone to help you soothe as an adult as long as you have those skills in place...
I'd say that it may be true that AP children on average may use transitional objects less because AP parents on the whole don't introduce them.

I agree... BUT, It's not like AP moms keep all teddy bears, blankets etc away from their kids...if a child wants or needs a transitional object they WILL find one..and an AP mom won't take it away but nurture that need...
however, I do think that AP kids need them less...

I guess we'll have to agree on disagreeing ;)

Anyways… I really don’t think that there is anything wrong with having a transitional object as long as it is not because there is a lack of parental attachment, and I think that the need comes up less in AP kids then in non-AP’d kids... I also think that those that do choose an object for themselves often do it later on and it is truly a ‘transitional” object to help them on their own path to independence.
I even have to admit that both boys do have Teddies (well an Owl and a mouse) that we gave them with the hope that they would become favorites… however, neither of them did…both do like their blankets that they sleep with every night but they are not missed if they are not there…

so what do you think?
Do AP'd kids NEED lovies paci's etc as much as non-AP'd kids?

7 Comments:

Anonymous Juli said...

I'm not an AP mom myself, although I nursed both my daughters for 15 and 20 months respectively. I think you're right about kids finding that object if they need it, even though my girls never did. I WAS the paci, and to be quite honest, it might have been nice for them to have a blanket or something when I was completely burned out. I also don't believe in nipple confusion at all--a newborn is a smart little creature intent on survival, and it knows that a bottle will give it sustenance faster than the breast. It's a preference, not confusion, but parents whose kids preferred the bottle invented the concept to assuage their guilt. This is why its' probably best not to introduce the paci until a few months down the road, if at all. Mine never cared for them, but again, that would have been nice once in a while...

10/26/2005 03:54:00 p.m.  
Blogger Sara said...

I attached to a blanket when I was a child. I had the ratty thing until I was eleven years old. My mom did some AP-like practices, but our attachment was insecure, our lifestyle unstable.

Neither of my girls has attached to an object. I offered my first baby a pacifier in the car when she would scream, but she never accepted it. I stopped offering after I figured out how to nurse her in the carseat. She takes toys with her when we go places, but there's never been a special one. She's got lots of blankets, but she hasn't attached to any of them.

My unpopular opinion is that a child only attaches to an object if their attachment to their mother/caregiver is insecure, if something is lacking. I think that offering a substitute sends the message to the baby that mom refuses to supply that comfort. I cringe when I hear the term "sucking needs." It's not a need to suck. It's a need for nourishment, comfort, safety, all met simultaneously by breastfeeding. I feel sad when I see babies and toddlers with bottles, pacifiers, and security blankets. No. They're not self-soothing. They're coping.

10/29/2005 03:08:00 a.m.  
Blogger K said...

I guess I am just part of the reality-based community that is so out of vogue these days, but the research just doesn't suggest this -- yes, pacis, etc., can be used as an unhealthy substitute by neglectful parents -- but some babies like them. Some babies don't want to comfort nurse -- especially when they start crawling and exploring. Can't exactly hover over baby every second of the day with your nipple in their mouth.

10/29/2005 09:48:00 a.m.  
Blogger paxye said...

Yeah.. my older ds didn't want to comfort nurse... which is why he never sucked anything when he wasn't eating... I have never actually met a kid that needed to "comfort nurse" when they were on the ground playing... and even the experts that think pacis are important say that pacis should not be used in 'awake' times but for going to bed and for sleeping...
In my reality-based community moms love to be there for their kids even if it means nursing for comfort once in a while and respond to the needs of their kids without using a pacifier to shush them...

10/29/2005 06:29:00 p.m.  
Blogger Sara said...

K: I want to chime in on this "reality-based" concept. To me, reality-based is based in natural reality. What you are referring to, I would call conditioned-reality, a cultural creation. In our conditioned-reality, mom's must rely on substitutes. Our culture whispers in our ears that we can't be expected to devote our entire lives to our babies, that we have to have some individual time.

I wrestle with these feelings myself, but I do my best to stay rooted in natural reality in which I feel that a mother should devote herself to her babies while they need her to. It's only for the first few years that babies need such intense care.

11/03/2005 02:08:00 p.m.  
Blogger Kim said...

Hi, I just had to comment! I'm an AP/CC mom of a 2 year old boy who has an attachment to both a bink and a "silky" (those silky, satiny blankets). I can say that it it not for a lack of attachment to me...I'm a sah mom, never leave him in the care of sitters, bf on demand, am completely tuned in to his needs, share sleep, bf several times throughout the night, am always willing and available to offer him comfort when he seeks it, use only gentle guidance (no punishments, shaming, rewards, yelling, spanking), etc...I could go on and on! Even when he does come to me for comfort, he asks for his bink and silky as well...and then asks to nurse while holding and carressing his silky. I think they just add another level of comfort rather than being compensatory for a lack of comfort. I also have to say, both the bink and silky are not used all day...they're used mainly during naps and bedtime and also when he has hurt himself or is not feeling well, etc. And they're only used by his own choice...I never offer them to him as a help to soothe. So yeah, I guess you could definatley say that AP-ed babies and toddlers usually don't require such "soothies" as a genreal rule, but don't be so quick to say the use of them signifies some lack of attachment...some kids simply just like them, IMHO!

11/08/2005 03:52:00 p.m.  
Blogger paxye said...

Kim..
I agree completely... which is why I said clearly in my post...
"I think that personality can bring some kids to seek a transitional object even if they are the most attached, AP'd child and any AP mom will recognize that need..."

I see nothing un-AP with a child having an attachment to an object.. but I do think that AP'd kids don't need them as often....

11/08/2005 06:59:00 p.m.  

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