Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Preparing for a Little One: Attachment Parenting {Guest Post}

Original Post over on Wifessionals.

If you would have asked me before if I practiced attachment parenting, I probably would have laughed or just not known what the heck you were asking me about.  My experience has been less research- based and really just the way we parent.  It kind of just happened.   If you Google on the subject, a list of about 7 or 8 activities pretty much defines what researchers call attachment parenting.  Ultimately, it comes down to being there for your baby’s every want and need while making them feel safe and secure.

Birth Bonding – The hospital we delivered at makes sure this happens.  They are huge on the skin-to-skin and “magic hour”.  The staff wants to make sure the parents get that initial bonding time with their new baby.  Although I think the bonding goes a lot further than the first hour, it was amazing to have them on board with the idea.  The birth was still crazy and I didn't end up having the full hour of just quiet bonding time, but don’t worry – there is plenty of time to bond with your baby!

Breastfeeding – Research says parents should be there for the baby’s wants and needs.  I believe this can be done breastfeeding or formula feeding.  I formula fed my first while I’m still breastfeeding my second, 11 months in.  I think they focus on breastfeeding because it is quicker to give the baby the need.  I feel bonded by both of my girls, but the nursing bond is 100% true.  Maybe not in the beginning, but you will get there, I promise.
Nurturing touch – This goes back to the safe and secure aspect.  And the fact that you are “attached” to your child will form the greatest bond and relationship.  I do practice baby-wearing, but only on occasion, and it was more when the girls were younger.  They are both active, so I don’t “wear” them very much.  Although, I do feel like I hold them A LOT ;)  For me, cuddling and loving on them is just as effective.
Bedding – Co-Sleeping or bed-sharing.  We bed-share, something I didn't think I would be doing, but here
I am!  With our first, we would bring her in bed with us if she woke up in the early morning hours.  She would go to sleep in her crib and now her bed, so it hasn't been an issue.  With our youngest, it was a convenience to have her in the bed with us since I was breastfeeding.  She still nurses once on most nights.  I love her in bed with us and I know she feels very secure, but I’m questioning when you stop.  I’ve tried moving her to the crib (without letting her cry it out) and I haven’t been successful.   I know at some point she needs to learn to be independent and fall asleep in her own room.

Constant Loving Care – For us, it hasn't been an option for me to stay home.  Thankfully we have my husband’s mother watch the girls while we both work.  We choose to put our oldest in day care part-time.  Wherever the girls are, they are receiving loving care.  I would love more than anything to be able to stay home with them and have constant care with one of us.  As parents, we have to make the best decisions.
Positive Discipline – Children learn by example.  Even if testing boundaries, remaining calm and positive will go so much further in teaching.  I’m conscious to try not to be too negative around them.  I don’t want them growing up being pessimistic, negative, or not confident.  I do think the way you go about talking to them, especially disciplining them, can effect that.

Balance – This is so.so.so. hard.  I’ve been a mother for almost 3 years now, and I still struggle with this.  You shouldn't feel guilty for wanting to get away with some friends,  get away with your husband, or even get away alone.  It’s healthy.  You can’t be the best mother you can be if you are angry, worn out, and stressed all of the time.

I am by no means an expert and I truly find my style a little bit of “my own”, although I do identify a lot with the attachment parenting.  If anyone has any questions (or advice) at all, please do not hesitate to e-mail me!

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