Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I Didn't Know I Was 'Attachment Parenting'

When Aaron was a baby, I was so hung up with his wakefulness that I focused most of my reading on books to do with sleep. Adrian slept 22 hours a day for the first couple of months (which worried me) but is now sleeping 'normally' (i.e. much less!!). Even though he's not 'sleep trained' yet, I don't feel any anxiety about it. He doesn't sleep through the night and I actually hope he does NOT plan on learning to do so anytime soon. I like the quiet time alone with him at night. And he's good about waking up only to feed and then going straight back to sleep.

In the day time, Adrian is contented to sit in his rocker some of the time. Other times, he plays for a few minutes alone on his mat. When he fusses, I pick him up. In fact, he's in my arms quite a lot of the time. And I do this without thinking that I will spoil him. I'm so much more patient with Adrian than I was with Aaron.

I carried Aaron even more but I remember being very concerned about it. I always felt that I parented 'intuitively' with him but I always feeling guilty. And everyone around me was saying that I would spoil him. Well, I think he's turning out to be a very sweet boy and not at all spoilt. He's a typical three and a half year old from what I see.

This time round, I'm doing things even more intuitively, not reading as much (because I just don't have the time) and paying even less attention to what I read. Although, I did come across something encouraging on the Dr Sears website yesterday. It looks like I've been Attachment Parenting (AP).

In a nut shell, AP is listening and responding to your baby with your mind and your heart. And, in my opinion, not listening to the array of unsolicited advice mothers of newborns receive. Maybe they should have called it Common Sense Parenting.

Here are the 7 tools of Attachment Parenting listed on Dr Sears' website. I've added some brief comments.

1. Birth bonding (Naturally)

2. Breastfeeding (Cheapest, most convenient way of nurturing and spending more time bonding.)

3. Babywearing (This is needed to save my arms from dropping off. Adrian's 6+kgs is already heavier than the standard size bag of rice we buy.)

4. Bedding close to baby (Right next to him. In fact, I'm tempted to co-sleep for ease of night feeding but have held of doing that for now. We're still trying to convince Aaron to spend the whole night in his own bed.)

5. Belief in the language value of your baby's cry (We're pretty good at reading his various cries for food, attention, nappy change and plain old 'I need a cuddle')

6. Beware of baby trainers (So far, the only "training" that we're doing is car seat training. We have been trying to have at least one car ride a day. No sleep training, early toilet training or any other training happening here.)

7. Balance (I'm still working on this. So far, I've been trying to balance time between Aaron and Adrian. I haven't even attempted to carve time out for myself or Richard yet.)

So there you go. If you're a new mother and worried that constant carrying and undivided attention will spoil your baby - stop worrying.


Mike said...

This reminds me of the pacifier story.

First kid - Pacifier hits the floor. Mother grabs it and boils it in hot water to sterilize it.

Second kid - Mother picks up pacifier of the floor, wipes it off and gives it back to kid.

Third kid - Mother takes pacifier out of dogs mouth and sticks it back in kids mouth.

Bilbo said...

"Common Sense Parenting." That's a good phrase. I don't think a good parent needs a lot of books and unsolicited advice if she (or he) listens to the child and to his (or her) heart. Good job!

kelly said...

both of your boys are so fortunate to have such a good mother...and you are the first mother that i know that telling me 'you are more patient with the 2nd kid than the 1st'...I hope i can be like you when the 2nd baby arrives in few months time but for the moment i just don't think i am capable to do it.