Sunday, May 13, 2012

Attachment Parenting

There's a lot going around about Attachment Parenting since Time Magazine put the woman breastfeeding her three year old on their cover. (By the way, I am not offended by the caption. I am secure with my abilities as a mom and in no way think this woman is "better" than I am, or any of the other moms I associate with.) I think its funny how people think this method of parenting is so extreme. I would consider myself an Attachment Parent. Dr Sears says they aren't rules, but more like suggestions, and to do them to the best of your ability. I'm not as extreme as some (I probably won't be breastfeeding a 3 year old) but I'm sure I'd still be considered extreme to some!

1. Birth Bonding: I learned after Mikey was born to tell people who wanted to visit to please wait until the next morning. I only had minutes with Mikey before he was passed around to loving family members. I was determined to fix this when Patrick was born. I got to hold him skin to skin, and nurse him for a whole hour, when *I* decided I was done. He probably would have kept going. He was rarely in the bassinet they give you. If visitors or his dad weren't holding him, I was. He never went to the nursery, except when they had to take him for his hearing test etc. This is the natural thing to me. I WANTED to be with my new baby constantly.

2. Breastfeeding: The first time was harder. It hurt. But I pushed through and succeeded for 6 months. I had babysitters feed him bottles of formula while I was at work. I never pumped. My supply went down and I didn't do anything to stop it. I knew better the second time around. It was SO easy. It didn't hurt at all, and he was a pro from the beginning. (Probably because I gave him such a good start immediately after he was born?) I pumped after work. Breastfeeding seems like the lazy option. No bottles to wash. You don't have to get up and make a bottle, especially in the middle of the night. You don't have to worry about bringing enough formula with you when you go out, or what temperature the milk is. Add in all the bonus nutrition and different uses for breastmilk and it's a no-brainer for me.

3. Babywearing: I have a Moby Wrap. (A homemade one) I don't use it ALL the time, like some people. I used it more when he was teeny. It was cold outside, why would I put my months old baby in a stroller where I can't tell if he's warm enough? Would he be warm enough without my body heat? Also, in the grocery store. Putting the infant carrier in the front part of the cart is dangerous. Putting it in the basket part leaves no room for groceries. Baby wants to be carried the whole time. So what do you do? You wear him! Hands free to push the cart, basket free for groceries, and he's happy. Problems solved. I have had people tell me I hold my baby too much. Nope, I just love him and he just wants to be with me.

4. Bedding close to baby: The night after we brought Mikey home from the hospital, I didn't want to put him even three feet away from me. I wanted him right there where if I opened my eyes, I could see him. I wasn't planning on bed sharing, but from that night on, we did. When he started sleeping through the night he could sleep in his own bed, but even now that he's almost 5 he prefers to sleep with us. If he starts out in his own bed, he usually ends up in ours by morning. You know what? We love it. With a baby it's so much easier to do those night feedings. I have never been awake feeding a baby all night. I just nurse him laying down and drift back to sleep. If he stirs in the night, I nurse him before he wakes completely and he can fall back to sleep easier too. It's easy. It's natural. Can you imagine being a baby who is with your mother constantly, then suddenly shoved into this cold world and forced to sleep alone? How is that comforting? Where is mom?? People are scared of rolling on baby, and I get that. If you're a deep sleeper, of course don't put a baby in your bed. Somehow I have a sense of where he is even when I'm sleeping. When you're pregnant, you don't roll over onto your stomach, and you get used to that. Why would that change when you are suddenly not pregnant anymore? I keep my baby in front of me, and I'm not going to roll on top of him, because I haven't rolled that direction in months!

5. Belief in your baby's cry: Babies cry for a reason. Something is wrong. Even if they just want the comfort of Mom's arms or to hear her heartbeat.

6. Beware of baby trainers: I don't cry it out. Baby just wants to be with me. Why is that so wrong? I don't feed or nap on a schedule. Baby lets me know what he needs and I do it for him. It makes you closer to your baby and you can understand what he needs.

7. Balance: Know when to take a break. Know when to get a babysitter and go out. Know when to put the baby down and spend time with your spouse. You can't take care of a baby if you aren't also taking care of you and your marriage.

That's not so hard, now is it?