This is me *comforting* myself. With an iced coffee. Why?
Well first of all, it’s a brilliant way to enjoy ice cream without sharing with your children (“oh sorry sweetie, it’s *coffee*, you wouldn’t like it...”)
But more importantly, it’s because I’m a grown up and I am able to select this form of comfort from a wide range of options available to me.
Other options, though not as delicious, include seeing (and hugging) my own mum, snuggling with my husband, a deep discussion with a friend, a *quick* lie down or a long, hot shower... alone.
And yet, I often hear people complain that their baby or toddler is only doing something “for comfort...”
Why do we have this double standard?!
Why we are so scared of our children seeking comfort, or doing something because it helps them to relax or feel safe?
We do it multiple times a day! We just have the ability to do it in more creative ways because... well, because we’re adults.
I get it - someone told you that your child needs to learn to comfort themselves....
Guys, the reality is that before too long your child *will* seek comfort in other ways. Of course they will. They don’t have to be taught to do that. It will come naturally as they grow and become more interactive with their world. They will start to seek comfort in objects, activities, food and yes, other people (cue dramatic crying as I imagine my son loving another woman more than me).
But even when they are old enough to easily find comfort in other ways, don’t you still want them to know they can come to you? For them to *choose* to come to you?
I can’t help but feel that as hard as it can be some days, I would prefer my children - no matter how old - to choose me over something laden with sugar.
So let them learn early on that the best form of comfort can be found in the arms of loved ones - day or night. Because as much as I’m going to enjoy this hit of sugar and caffeine, nothing really compares to the warmth and security of hugs, and of feeling safe and loved (even when you’re in your 30’s)…
Georgina Dowden is a mother, midwife and lactation consultant (IBCLC).
In her day to day life, she looks after her two beautiful children and also supports other families on their parenting journey.
If you would like to get in touch sleep/settling support, click here:
Home visits for breastfeeding support available if you live in the Northern Rivers of NSW.