Did you know what kind of parenting style you would have when you were pregnant or even before you were pregnant? I always had in my mind that I would be quite a firm parent, that I would tell Erica the rules and stick to them, that I would leave her to self settle and that I would ensure she had nights away with other people.
How wrong was I! I don’t know if it’s because it took us so long to have her or that is just my maternal instincts but I’m pretty much the complete opposite to that! I tell her rules and explain things to her but I’ve never left her to self settle/cry it out and I’ve never once let her have a night away from me! I’ve co-slept and baby wear her quite frequently.
Before I let this blog go any further I want to explain to anyone reading that attachment parenting is only one of many parenting philosophies and I am in no way saying its the only way to parent and that you should all follow this way of parenting. How you parent is completely your decision. I’m simply sharing my thoughts and feelings and after all, this blog and website is simply a diary of our life, if you don’t wish to read it then that’s ok!
So what is attachment parenting?
Simply put, its connecting with your baby as much as possible. It can consist of co-sleeping, baby wearing, breast-feeding and having your baby as close to you as possible by carrying them and cuddling them, it’s about responding to their needs quickly without allowing them to ‘cry it out/self settle’. It’s what some would call natural parenting and how I would imagine most people’s instincts would tell them to re-act and feel towards their child. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to be doing all of these things to incorporate attachment parenting into your life, you can choose a few or do them all. Again, how you parent is your decision and I feel it’s really important that you don’t let others influence that decision. That’s definitely something that has been a challenge for us as new parents however I’d like to think we’ve done a pretty good job of things so far, we are raising a very independent, happy, content, confident little girl who knows 100% that her mummy and daddy are always there for her within a matter of a few minutes, if not seconds!
How Co-Sleeping has helped us!
Wow, this is one HOT topic when it comes to parenting! Some people are so against co-sleeping and that is completely fine (you do you, I’ll do me!) and others love co-sleeping!
I actually believe that all parents have co slept at one point or another, whether they like to admit this or not is a completely different thing!
We have co-slept on a number of occasions, sometimes just the odd night then other times its been for a few weeks. For those who follow me over on Facebook or Instagram (see main page for links) you’ll know that Erica isn’t a great sleeper (now I type that I disagree with myself… she sleeps normally for her age because she’s not a sleep-trained baby!) so I think I need to reword this, let’s try again!
For those of you who follow me on Facebook or Instagram you will see that Erica wakes often during the night, and although this is perfectly normal for her age it can be exhausting. I’m not claiming to be super mum here who survives on next to no sleep and still makes her kale muffins for breakfast – I’m quite the opposite so its blooming hard when they are up 6/7 even 8 times a night just looking for cuddles. So whats the solution…snuggle in bed! Sniff that newborn head at night, feel the warmth of that tiny precious little babies body against yours, stroke her perfect little head and feel those little fingers grip onto yours. You are their safe place, where no harm can come of them…so why deprive them of that feeling? Ok so it’s not for everyone and that’s fine, but if you’re so exhausted and struggling then whats the harm. You can co-sleep safely, I’ll blog about that one day soon but in the mean time do your research, bring them in, enjoy the cuddles and the sleep!
So in a nutshell co-sleeping has helped us function! Its allowed us to feel semi refreshed the next day and be up and ready for a day of fun with Erica and for Jay to go to work in a decent state to earn the pennies! People continuously say to us “Don’t let her into your bed, your only making a rod for your own back” I blooming hate that saying so much so people really need to stop saying it to us! Its our choice how we parent, we enjoy the snuggles and let’s be honest how many 18 year olds do you know that still sleep in the bed with their parents, yea probably none so leave us be!
Baby Wearing and why it matters!
Babies need love and nurture from the moment they are born. They have just spent near 10 months cosied up inside to then be suddenly expelled into the world, no wonder babies cry when they first come out, it must be like getting out a nice warm bath into freezing air (that makes me want to cry, blooming hate getting out the bath so i do!) hence the reason why they are quickly placed into the mothers chest for skin to skin contact and then have blankets and towels placed over them, to build back that safety net that was so cruelly ripped away from them at birth. Carrying them or wearing them in a sling can make babies feel calm and safe and helps with bonding when baby is first born. Not only that but research shows that carrying your baby can help with reflux and colic as well as simple things like reducing crying and making them feel secure.
We started ‘wearing’ Erica when she was just a day or two old, in the Stretchy wrap that came with the Scottish Baby Box and in a more structured carrier. I personally just loved the simplicity of having her that close, cuddling her and soaking up that newborn smell. She would sleep in the carrier and it allowed me to do a few things like walk the dog or chop some veggies for dinner.
We still wear Erica in a carrier now and I still love doing so! She loves it and especially enjoys to be world facing, she thinks its great and goes around the shops saying ‘Hiya” to everyone that will pay her some attention!
Wearing Erica in the carrier was especially beneficial when she was unwell with a viral infection, she just didn’t want to be put down at all so it really saved my arms from getting sore, plus she was happy and content in there so why would I want to leave her to cry in a pram or cot when it wasn’t necessary.
If you want to read more on Baby Wearing and why carrying matters this is a great website to have a look at – Carrying Matters.
Attachment parenting can be one of the above names methods or all of them, you decide. I recently read a blog post boasting about how good attachment parenting is and gave really good explanations into its benefits but then ended abruptly with how it was unsustainable?! I was rather confused, I don’t know how its unsustainable as were just short of a year down the line and don’t plan on changing the way we care for Erica at all. Anyway I guess it’s just another case of each to their own! Some people go even further than us and don’t use prams/pushchairs and only baby wear, their children don’t have bedrooms but instead they have a ‘family room’ where they all sleep together until the child asks to sleep in a separate bedroom … so whats my point here? I don’t really know, I just know we are happy doing what we’re doing and that no one else’s opinions or suggestions matter to us! Feel free to preach them to us, they just go in one ear and out the other!
People have been dispensing baby related advice in written form from what seems like the beginning of time and that is in no way what I’m trying to do here, I just want those people who choose to parent similar to how we do to feel ok about it and not to take any notice of people who tell you your going to raise a clingy, needy baby!
Sarah Ockwell-Smith puts it perfectly ” Babies who are allowed to ‘cling’ are more likely to grow to become Confident, Loving, Intelligent, Nurturing, Good Listeners. Hugging your baby grows brains, bonds and future bravery…never be scared to create a ‘clingy’ child.
So, go forth and cuddle those babies, wear them in a sling, boob feed or bottle feed, share a bed and tell them you love them 10,000 times a day!