Category Archives: attachment parenting

Friday Favorites: My Birthday Boy

Well, today’s the day; my baby’s now a toddler.  Today we’re celebrating his first year of life.  I’m very emotional about it but not in the way that I thought I would be.  Instead of mourning the fact that his babyhood is complete, I’m so happy that we have had the time together and that our family is so close and so happy.

A full year has come and gone since he was born.  We’ve now had a full year of breastfeeding, diaper changes, washing diapers, sleeping next to each other, toting him around on our bodies, trying to keep him happy while he cut teeth, and a full year of taking it one day at a time.  It’s been a year of lullabies, cuddles, open mouth kisses, and dancing.  We’ve gone through milestone after milestone and watched our son grow so much.  2 days ago he took his first steps and he has a very large vocabulary.

I’m looking forward to the next year, and every year after that, and every year after that.  Being a parent is an amazing thing, I can’t believe how it’s made me feel and how it’s changed me.

I still can’t believe that it’s been a full year since he was born.  After we were moved to our recovery room in the hospital, Grandma went home and Daddy went to sleep.  It was very late, but my adrenaline rush kicked in even though my body was so physically tired.  I lied there in the bed with my newborn on my chest, skin to skin.  He had just finished his second meal and we were both very content.  He looked up at me, and I looked down at him.  I felt a bond forming, one that had already been there but was now getting better.  Every day we have had these special moments and I love him so much.  I have to say, this past year has been my favorite year of  life.

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Filed under attachment parenting, Babywearing, Breastfeeding, Cloth Diapering, friday favorites, Janelle's Jibberish, knitting

What is Attachment Parenting?

Before I say much, I want to tell any readers about myself a little bit.  I strive for simplicity in life.  I don’t like things to get overcomplicated and I think people in general are just that- overcomplicated.  When making important life decisions, I try to tap into my natural instincts.  I feel that people are still just animals and so deep inside those natural instincts are there.  I often think of scenarios as if I were living in the natural community in a cave somewhere, surviving off foraged food.

When I was pregnant I often imagined what it would be like to raise a child in the natural community.  I decided to try natural childbirth.  I would try to breastfeed as if my life depended on it, babywearing seemed like a must (there are no strollers in the natural community [there are also no babycarriers, just arms, but babycarriers make carrying a baby easier]), and I felt sleeping next to my child was absolutely necessary.  The reason for this is that if I lived in a cave, I would never put my newborn baby in the next cave over just so I could get better rest.  I would protect my child from danger with my life, even while sleeping.  I feel that co-sleeping, for me, insured the survival of my baby.

Now I know that I don’t live in the natural community, I live in the comfort of a home and so these laws of survival don’t necessarily apply to me.  I don’t really care.  Why shouldn’t they apply to me?  In the case of co-sleeping it did.  If he was having irregular breathing or needed me for something, I wanted to be right there. 

These ideals I had developed are the very core of attachment parenting.  Only I didn’t know it.  I began hearing the term on natural parenting blogs and I didn’t understand what it entailed.  I would ask blog authors for more information about it and they would simply point me to a book -” The Baby Book” by Dr. William and Martha Sears.

I had a hard time finding it.  It wasn’t in my local library (hello Southern culture).  In my 34th week of pregnancy I found it at Babies R Us of all places.   I briefly flipped through it and I was sold.  It contained everything I had already decided and more.  More that went along with these ideals.

I was very irritated that these blog authors never explained what attachment parenting was.  If they were going to talk about it, and how wonderful it is for them, why don’t they define it?

Now I’m not irritated at them.  I should do my own research and it’s not their job to educate the world.  They know what it is, most of their readers know what it is, so why go into deeper detail?  I have found that there really is no information online about the topic, only opinions of parents (who rave about it).  The only real information is in the Baby Book.  So if anyone has more questions, I recommend this book.  In fact, I recommend this book to all parents and parents-to-be.  I recommend looking through it with an open mind and making an educated decision about how to raise your children.

That said, I have taken it upon myself to educate readers about it.  I am going to define it by using the information presented in Dr. Sears Baby Book.

First of all, it’s important to remember that attachment parenting is an ideal.  It’s not a set of strict laws.  If these ideals are practiced, even just a little bit, strong bonds form between parents and their children.  The term attached is referring to a great benefit- a child will become attached to their parent instead of a blanket, toy or pacifier.

There are “7 B’s” of attachment parenting.  Think of them as tips or suggestions for parents and babies to bond easier.

1. Birth Bonding; meaning that parents should plan for a pleasant birth experience and for early bonding with their babies.  This often means rooming in together at the hospital if at all possible.  Natural childbirth is encouraged, but a mother should never feel guilty about anything when it comes to childbirth, it’s a situation that tends to have its own plan.

2. Belief in your baby’s cries- Read and respond to your baby’s cues; this strongly appealed to my mama instincts.  I feel that babies don’t cry to annoy their parents- they are trying to communicate.

3. Breastfeed your Baby; anyone who has been reading my blog don’t need to read my input.  I am all for breastfeeding.  Attachment parenting is still practiced with bottle fed babies.  There are many situations that can be out of our control and breastfeeding happens to be one of them.  The Baby Book has a section on bottle feeding with love.  Attached parents don’t choose bottle feeding over breastfeeding.

4. Babywearing- Carry your baby a lot; holding your baby close has so many benefits.  This is a blog post in itself.

5. Bedding close to baby; for me and many parents this means co-sleeping.  But co-sleeping is not a cure-all situation and I know it doesn’t work for everyone.  If someone doesn’t want their baby in their bed, keep them in a bassinet close by or in a crib in the same room.  This ensures that in the night a parent will be there for the baby.  They will be able to respond before complaints get out of control and turn into an all-out cry.

6. Balance and Boundaries; Babies are demanding.  That is the simple truth.  It’s hard to tend to their every whim and to be honest, that should not happen.  Setting boundaries at an early age simply prevents problems from developing.  Parents should be appropriately responsive to their babies, and The Baby Book has the answers to every question I have ever come upon.  I feel it’s important to note that when practiced wisely, attachment parenting is not an all out give-a-thon.

7. Beware of baby trainers;  This is something that appeals to my sensitive side and I’ve felt strongly about this subject even before I knew about attachment parenting.  Parents should be warned that when it comes to children, everyone has their opinion and will let you know it.  It’s good practice to listen, and make an educated decision about everything.  For attached parents, warning flags fly when terms like, “Just let them cry it out,”  “You need to get that baby on a schedule”, “You’re spoiling your child because you hold them too much,”  or “You’re still nursing?” are thrown around.  Following these pieces of “advice” lead to a baby who doesn’t trust their parents to help them in their time of need.

Attachment parenting is, in my opinion, a good way to parent.  It’s not the only way and it doesn’t work for everyone. I cannot stress enough to everyone, please do your own research and make an educated decision for your own children, families, and based on your personal situation.

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Trying to get out of this rut

Between a baby with the flu and teething, my life has been absolutely revovling around this child.  My house is a diseaster, the laundry is piled high, I have not been knitting or sewing, and it’s been at least a week since I last cooked a meal.

Because I haven’t been cooking, I haven’t been eating well.  We’ve been eating out more than I would like, and my fridge is not stocked with the usual goodies.  Because of these two issues, I haven’t been sticking to my vegan diet.  That’s right, I’ve been eating cheese (gasp, I know).

His crying and whining has made me depressed and feeling like I’m failing at everything.  I need to shake this and get on with life.  I’ve re-evaluated my priorities and goals.  I have a new plan, hopefully one that will work.

I want to lose about 10 more pounds.  Unfortunately I’ve plateaued for about 3 months, so I need to change things up a bit and work even harder.  I’ve added a spin class to my schedule and been doing push-ups and sit-ups throughout the day.

Mostly my diet needs cleaning up.  A vegan diet needs to be well planned and diverse if one is going to thrive eating this way.  I need to plan better, keep foods ready to eat because sometimes I just get too hungry or busy to cook.  I’ve decided to make a personal chef day once a week.

Once upon a time I was planning to make a career of personal cheffing, so luckily I have a good idea about what needs to be done.  Basically I will plan all my meals for a week, make as many ahead of time as I can and keep them in the freezer and fridge for easy meals.  If I dedicate one day a week to doing this, I think the rest of my week will be pretty easy as far as the food situation is concerned.

Luckily the baby is feeling better today and I hope it continues.  I find myself getting a little depressed and missing his usual happy self.  I know I can handle him better if I’m taking care of myself too.  

Motherhood is so hard sometimes.

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Mama

I have the sweetest baby.  He turned 9 months old yesterday.  We both have the flu right now which is not fun. 

After a few sleepless nights and a few really long days, my efforts have been rewarded.  My baby called out “Mama” and reached for me when he was feeling his worst.  He’s been saying it so much now!  I can’t believe how he’s growing and how smart he is.

I love my baby more than anything in the world.  I hope he gets feeling better soon.

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Happy Father’s Day to my love.

My husband is in the military and currently he’s attending a year long training where it’s tradition to get a tattoo once this training is completed.  He didn’t have any tattoos and he didn’t want this to be his first.  He had an idea for a tattoo that he wanted. It was to get our son’s footprints on him from the ink blot card we recieved in the hospital.  I loved the idea, I thought it would be very sentimental and meaningful.  What better time to get said tattoo than Fathers Day weekend? 

Friday evening after he got out of class we drove to the tattoo parlor and had the tattoo done.  I was impressed how decisive he was.  I went through all the typical emotions most people go through before getting their first tattoo. I had a little panick attack before they started because this is a decision he’s going to have to live with for the rest of his life!  I had similar emotions with naming the baby.  Derek wasn’t nervous at all because he had put so much thought into it and was sure about this.

When I saw the completed tattoo for the first time, I was surprised at my reaction to it.  I saw so much more than just ink in a cut, I saw a story, a memory of when he became a father.  A flood of emotions came over me, and still does everytime I look at it.  I think today in honor of Father’s Day I will share some of this story.

Before the birth of the baby I had a serious obsession with natural childbirth.  I had some medical complications and my Dr. felt induction was necessary.  I was very reluctant, but followed through for the safety of myself and the baby.  As it turned out I was a “speedster” (definition of my type of labor in the book, Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way) meaning that when labor started, I immediately started at the most painful part.  My husband was so wonderful helping me handle the pain, but when I had no relief from the contractions I started to consider the epidural.  He reminded me of my wishes to go through this naturally.  This conversation was so memorable to me.  I told him that I wanted it, and he was supportive. 

My labor was quick.  I was fully dilated and ready to push by 2 p.m.  When I first started pushing, it turned out the baby was facing my side, so they decided to let me rest until he turned on his own.  6 hours later the baby still hadn’t budged and it was really time to get him out now.

I pushed as hard as I could with every contraction for an hour and a half.  My husband and the nurses cheered and praised me with every push.  The baby still hadn’t turned despite several attempts by nurses to turn his head as I was pushing.  Finally my Dr. had to leave, and his partner was to help me.  She was master of the vacuum extractor and it had come to the point where it was the vacuum or cesearian.

Several pushes later the baby still hadn’t turned and had made very little progress.  He just couldn’t get over my pelvis. The Dr. took a serious tone with me and said “I can only use the vacuum with a few more pushes and then we’re going to have to consider our last option”.  I panicked knowing she was referring to a C-section.  I looked into my husband’s eyes and pushed with all the energy that was remaining. 

My  husband looked down, looked at me and said, “I can see his head!  He’s almost here!  You only have one more push to go!!”  These words of encouragement changed everything.  As I saw the emotion on his face, I witnessed the moment he became a father.  Derek had seen part of his baby and that moment he realized how real it was that he was almost to meet his son for the first time.

They removed the vacuum once the baby was crowning.  My husband was right, one more push and out he came.  After he was breathing well, he brought our baby to me.  The three of us shared some very special bonding time.  It was far too short however, and the baby had to go to the nursery for his newborn exams.  Derek was able to carry Dylan to the nursery and stayed by his side the whole time.

Meanwhile, I was getting stitched up and missing my family very much.  I was crying tears of exhaustion and sadness.  I called the nursery several times because I wanted them back.  When I heard a baby crying in the hall I immediately recognized it as my own.  There they were, Father and son.  Derek was carrying the ink blot cards and pushing the baby who was in the bassinet.

I was so impressed with how immediately we all bonded, all three of us.  The next few days (and weeks and months) we enjoyed each other.  Once we got home, Derek took such wonderful care of us.  He cooked and cleaned and did everything he possibly could to make things easy on us.  The military was so great, he had so much time off.  He didn’t have to work for a whole month.  After that he still had plenty of time off to be the the baby and me.  He had so much time off because he was preparing for this intense training and we were in between moves.

We chose to try attachment parenting for our parenting style.  This has worked so well for our family, and we have all three slept by each other’s sides every single night.  This nightime bonding has made up for how much he works while he’s in this training. 

Every day he never ceases to show his love.  He chooses to spend all his time off with us, and our weekends are very special because of him.

He always has such wonderful things to say, constant praise and support for our decision to breastfeed.  He never fails to make me feel special and always tells me I’m a great mother.  Dylan adores his father.  His face lights up and he squeals everytime his daddy comes home from work.  That boy really loves his daddy.

I love Derek so much.  The past 8 years have been the very best of my whole life.  We have a very close relationship.  Not only do we love each other with all our hearts, but we are each other’s best friend.  I didn’t think anything could improve our relationship.  Once the baby was born, it changed everything.  Now we share a closer bond and more love for each other and our son. 

I hope Derek has a very happy first Father’s Day.  And I hope he knows how much I love him.

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A Special Day

Today was one of those days that was special.  We didn’t do anything too out of the ordinary, but I had so much fun with my baby.

This morning I woke up and we went for a jog.  He got a little scared at the end and started crying, so we walked the rest of the way home with the baby on my hip and pushing the jogging stroller.  He cuddled up really close to me.  It melted my heart.

We went to the morning knitting group at the LYS.  He was so social and wanted to visit with everyone.  He was in such a great mood.  That’s nothing out of the ordinary, this child has the sweetest disposition.  Everyone wanted to hold him and tickle his thunder thighs. 

The conversation ventured into how cute my baby is.  Everyone admitted that he is the cutest baby ever.  I couldn’t believe this!  I was sitting with several grandmothers too.  Of course I think my own child is the cutest baby ever, but to hear other people say it is something that is far beyond flattering.

After everyone left, I picked up some new needles to try.  I browsed through the pattern books and bought “Vintage Baby Knits”.  This book has the sweetest patterns and many woolie patterns too.  It was highly recommended by my new friend.  I smelled all the soaps and let Dylan smell them too.  I think he really enjoyed this.  We of course, had to buy a few bars of them.

We stopped at the Fabric store to pick up a few things for some sewing projects I’m going to be working on.  I was wearing the baby on my front and enjoying the smell of his hair and kissing his head every few minutes.  As we were browsing through the fabric, he started laughing at all the fun patterns. 

He has this new laugh lately that just melts my heart.  It’s a strange little squeal, it’s the cutest noise I’ve ever heard.

After all this, we sat in the air conditioned car and enjoyed each other’s company while he nursed.  He fell asleep in my arms a few minutes later, and then we drove home.

The past week and a half have been hard because he cut 2 teeth about a week apart.  He’s been in pain and it is painful for me to see him this way.  He’s been very clingy and irritable.

Today was special because he’s his pleasant self again. I thought it would be nice to write about it and commit it to memory.  I love this little boy so much.  I am the luckiest mama in the whole world.

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Solids… actually enjoyable!

Hello Friends!  I’m sort of back from my vacation.  This is going to be a 4 day weekend, so DH and I are going to be enjoying every second together.

I just wanted to write so that it didn’t seem like I fell off the face of the earth, although it feels like I did.

Recently my baby reached a huge milestone- eating solid foods!  I have to admit, I dreaded this. A lot.  I’m not sure why, I suppose because of the baby books I have been reading.  They drill it in your head “no solids until 6 months!  If you start them  early they will have so many health issues” and so on.  Well, he reached 6 months 2 weeks ago and I wasn’t sure what to do. 

I knew he was ready for solids because he showed several signs.  He’s putting EVERYTHING in his mouth, he no longer has his tongue thrust reflex, he sits unsupported and was teething.  Yesterday he got his first tooth!  But mostly his poop changed.  It was still exclusively breatfed poo, but I could just tell his digestive system was ready for something more.  None of my books talked about this as a sign, but I know my baby and something had changed about it.

I started him on rice cereal for the first week.  The next week it was mashed bananas, and this week it’s sweet potatoes.  So far he just loves everything!  After he tried other foods he doesn’t really like the cereal anymore.  I don’t blame him though, it tastes like chalk.

Right now as I type I’m feeding him his sweet potatoes.  He enjoys eating and I enjoy feeding him. I made the potatoes for him, so far I haven’t given him anything from a jar and really don’t want to.  Making the food is fun!

So far the poopy diapers haven’t been a big deal.  I don’t know what I was so worried about.

Anyway, just wanted to say hello to my blogging friends out there.  I hope you all have been well!

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Filed under attachment parenting, Breastfeeding, Cloth Diapering, Exercise & Nutrition