The Continuum Concept, written by Jean Liedloff, is a must read for any mother with small children. When I was planning for the arrival of my baby, I researched the most eco-friendly beds for new borns. I was drawn to a bed that had the ability to softly and gently rock. It was like a precious baby hammock.
After bringing Isabella home, I couldn’t imagine her sleeping in another room or apart from me. For all of her life her needs were automatically met. She had constant contact with me. What a harsh and shocking greeting for her to to go from the womb to anything but being close to me all the time. The crib idea was completely tossed!
When Isabella was nearly four months, I heard about a book called the Continuum Concept by Jean Liedhoff. She spoke of her experience living with an Indian tribe in South America. She observed the calm and confidence of the children and noted the children co-slept and were carried from birth, until they chose otherwise. While being carried or kept close, they learned the workings and everyday living of the tribe. Breaking away to sleep on their own was the choice of the child. The author spoke of a child led attitude, such as the child being allowed to choose what felt comfortable and when (nursing, being carried, etc). This child led, not child focused, attitude very much encouraged the security and self-confidence of the child.
Ms Liedhoff writes that babies are authentic of their expression of needs and being left in a room alone crying is terrifying. The term “self-soothing”, is a more accurately translated as shutting down in fear or resigning to being ignored. She also writes of the long term effects into adulthood, such as insecurity, neediness, fear of abandonment, co-dependence, violence, and lack of compassion for humanity. Her conclusions were based on the cooperativeness, respectful attitudes, contribution and peacefulness of the children in the tribe. She also notes the children choose to contribute to the sustainability of the tribe without force, shame or being bribed.
After hearing her interview I immediately bought her book. I found it an eye opening and thought provoking read. All of the people that I have told about the book are grateful to have read it and gave them some valuable perspectives and ideas for raising their little ones. The Tot’s Cafe puts this book at our top 10 of must reads.