My sister has been at it again. I think she is secretly enjoying writing for my blog – which is why I have given her this space. I love hearing her take on parenting – from a Danish point of view. We all know that each child is different, but how quickly and in which way do we recognize the differences?! My sister shares her experiences with us – with a definite Danish twist!
I always thought it was a little bit gross that my Mom breastfed me till I was almost 2 years old. Little did I know…
When I had my oldest daughter, Cecilie, my milk flow was delayed. It took 3 days for the milk to come in, so I had one hungry baby and a set of very sore nipples when the milk finally kicked in. I remember it as a surreal feeling of victory being able to feed my baby so intuitively and relatively easily! Cecilie loved to be fed, she would fall asleep in my arms, wake up and have some more, and sleep again. Of course my in laws felt I was spoiling her and it was the road to damnation or worse. Cecilie only slept 1½ hours at a time, so I was on demand. I had a feeling at times that for 18 years I wouldn’t be able to go anywhere, because maybe she was hungry! Now she is 17½ and the fear luckily didn’t hold true!
When Cecilie was 3 along came little sister Nina. I was ready for this baby, I was already a mother, I knew how to breastfeed and I was a pro. HA! This was an entirely different baby – who was much more determined than her sister in her eating style. Nina ate with a vengeance! It was as if she sucked the life out of me! But having a baby who nursed very quickly worried me… Did she eat enough? She must be hungry for more etc. Never mind the fact that I had one fat and very content baby, I still worried, because she didn’t eat as expected.
In Denmark, babies sleep outside. I know it sounds horrific to Americans, but putting a baby down to nap INSIDE sounds equally horrific to a Dane. How can you then give them the peace and quiet to sleep? And you can’t really walk them to sleep that way… Sleeping in the cold builds stamina, the baby buggy is a quiet place that exudes safety and comfort for the baby – are some of the thoughts behind the outdoor sleeping. Mind you, the buggies are insulated and somewhat built as a baby tank! Nina was born during a cold January with temperatures below freezing. She not only proved to be a determined eater, she was also a good sleeper. In the morning I walked Cecilie to her day care with Nina in the buggy ready for nap no 1 of the day around 9 o’clock, and she was out. Stone cold (!) for up to 6 hours… She would wake when we walked over to pick up Cecilie again after her nap time. Nina also slept at night – longer and more calmly than her sister – that is for sure.
But for a while I thought Nina was a regurgitating baby. I fed her, she fell asleep and then she cried a little. I misunderstood her signals, so I buttoned down, hooked her up and fed her some more – resulting in her throwing up on me, in her buggy, on her snowsuit etc. Not a good thing. Finally I stopped treating her like I would have treated her sister by comfort nursing her. I just put her down and trusted that the small cries were just signals of her letting go and falling asleep. And sure enough – she was out! And the major clean ups were no longer necessary!
Through that experience I learned to see each child for her needs and wants and not just treat them the same! That has been a useful lesson for the next 14½ years!
What are your thoughts on leaving babies outside during nap time?
How quickly did you realize that your second child had a different temperament than your first?
Thank you for reading. Please share your thoughts!