Posted by: mommytoo | August 26, 2008

attachment parenting…

i have been reading this book on attachment parenting, for the last few months, off and on.  overall, i’m really glad i read it.  i started reading it when we were in a pretty different place, parenting-wise.  nate was a couple of months old — and we weren’t sure when we should have him on a real schedule, whether we should worry about him sharing the bed, and lots of other stuff.  during that time, we’ve come to rely a lot on our intuition, and mostly on our understanding of him.  the book really encouraged me to value my own knowledge about my own baby, and to largely ignore people who don’t know him.

for example, we rock (actually, we jiggle) nate to sleep every night.  once pajamas are on, i sometimes read a book and rock in the glider, and then we get into bed (either he’s in ours or he’s in the co-sleeper with me on the bed).  if he’s still really awake, i talk to him for a while and then sing.  sometimes it takes one song, sometimes 2 or 3.  he lays on his side with his passy, i jiggle his tush, and he gradually falls asleep.  if he wakes up before we go to bed, one of us goes back up and jiggles him some more.  if he’s in our bed and he wakes up during the night, d always wakes up at the same time (synchronous sleeping!) and he eats, and goes back to sleep.  the bed-sharing has gotten difficult, but it’s hard to change on vacation.

i think some people would consider this a deeply flawed bedtime routine.  he never has to fall asleep alone, he never has to fall asleep without a passy (sometimes he even nurses to sleep!), he always gets some sort of rocking/jiggling to help.  it might be a difficult transition to sleeping alone, not getting jiggled… and sure, he could get reliant on his passy.  he doesn’t have a strict bedtime, either — when he acts sleepy, that’s when we put him down.  he naps anywhere from 2-4 times a day, not always the same times or even lengths of nap.

but this is working for us.  he’s a happy, serene baby.  we’re happy, mostly serene parents.  we love the whole experience.  he feels safe, secure and – here it is – very attached.  we don’t let him cry, but who knows whether that might change as he gets older and cries more for show, as bigger kids do.  for now, when he cries, he is telling us something, and we’re responding, and he’s learning that whenever he needs something he can tell us, and we’ll do our best to help.  that’s where this book has really come in for me.  it sort of sanctions what we were already doing, and gives me hope that it will make sense in the end, when he is a secure, loving, respectful, independent boy –> man.

there are a whole bunch of elements to attachment parenting, and i take it all with a grain of salt.  we don’t practice all of them the way he describes, but you can definitely pick and choose.

the book is completely heterosexually oriented.  there is not a single mention of same sex couples, and only brief mention of adoptive parents.  and the heterosexism is all over — lots of talk about how dads should also bond with the baby, and mommy this, daddy this, yada yada yada.  that got really irritating after a while, and it was no small thing for me.

i also could maybe have just read one or two chapters, and gotten the point.  but i have a hard time not finishing a book, and i didn’t want to miss anything.  i might recommend the introductory chapters with the lists of what they recommend, and even the beginning of each chapter, to get more of a sense of what each element entails.  the whole thing is somewhat repetitious by the end of the book, but good for someone like me, who has strong parenting intuition and doesn’t want to get rattled by people telling her she’s spoiling her child!

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Responses

  1. When Jack was very young we parented him totally differently from how we “planned” to – particularly in the sleep department. I initially felt sort of ashamed and embarassed that he was sleeping with us, given that was not what we planned. But, it felt so natural and right for us that we quickly got over it, even when people would shake their heads at us. We have our mother’s intuition for a reason, you know?
    I am sure Nate will grow to be a great boy and man. How can he not with his two awesome moms?

  2. your sleep routine sounds quite similar to ours. jude does not do the pacifier at all, and rarely puts herself to sleep, so i nurse her off to sleep as we read stories. she falls asleep between us and then we move her to her bassinet. she’ll sleep a good 4-5 hours after that.

    on bad nights, she spends half the night in bed with us. shrug. it works for us for now. anything that makes sleep possible. that’s my parenting technique thus far :)

    nate, btw, is absolutely gorgeous.


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