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Sunday, May 13, 2012

How I Fell into Attachment Parenting.

Recently Time Magazine featured some Attachment Parenting Bloggers in their Front page article on Attachment Parenting. Attachment parenting is a concept set forth by Dr. Bob Sears. It is not an all or nothing proposition. It often goes hand in hand with some of the Natural Parenting Concepts.  I found myself falling into both of these categories but they seemed to be a natural fit for me.
When you think of attachment parenting you do  tend to conjure up images of  breastfeeding toddlers, family beds and baby wearing? Attachment Parenting is so much more than what we see on the cover of Time Magazine.  I stumbled on Dr. Sears while I was pregnant, and to our family it felt right. As the first ones in our our families to have children we had not seen anyone else parent in a while either. I had never heard of Attachment Parenting before I read The Baby Book by Dr. Sears while pregnant with Pi.   I loved that it was written by a mom and a nurse and a pediatrician. I valued their insight and qualifications.  Before reading The Baby Book I had heard of some of the concepts common to Attachment Parenting,  “the family bed” ,  “baby wearing”  and certainly breastfeeding. I made plans to breastfeed for a year because that was the recommended amount of time 14 years ago.  I did not commit to attachment parenting. I sort of fell into it.  It felt right. The family bed was not a conscious decision,  Her actual bedroom was on a whole different floor from our our room and that seemed too far away at night time for such a little person. We roomed in with Pi at first, with her in the basinet. Pi did not gain weight well,  nor was she an efficient nurser. She seemed to nurse better at night, so we had frequent night feedings, Having had a c-section it was easier to bring her bed with me and nurse. It was not so easy lifting her back up into the bassinet. (I had had five weeks of bed rest before I had PI). Enter the Family Bed.
When Pi was a baby people asked me how long was going to breastfed her. I was planning on a year. After all you bottle feed a child for a year. Makes sense, right? Pi was not an easy child to nurse, she needed frequent nursings, my nipples were inverted and she would take her time nursing. I started attending some La Leche League meetings to meet some other moms. Fourteen years later, I am still in touch with some of those same moms today. Pi and I took our nursing relationship day by day first 6 months came and went, then 9 months, then a year. All of the sudden I was nursing a 1 year old. She was still nursing about 4 times a day at this age, and not really a big eater. She did not start solids till about 8 months old. Enter Extended Breast Feeding.
Pi was a bit of a “high needs baby”. She did not like to be put down, and preferred to be carried, not in a stroller or in a baby carrier either. Grocery shopping was near impossible for her. She had to be carried at some point in order to be happy. We already had a Kelty Baby Back Pack, a gift from my mother. She had used one with my brothers when I was a kid. Pi, however was too small for a backpack at 3 weeks old, so my husband decided we needed a sling. Enter Baby Wearing.
Quite often we we think of Attachment Parenting, the images above are what come to mind. However when one reads the API (Attachment Parenting International) website we learn that these are not tenants of attachment parenting.

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