Part 3: “crunchy”/”attachment” Parenting (Am I really THAT Mom?!?!)

Apparently I practice what’s been deemed “crunchy” or “attachment” parenting, etc. Yet to me it’s just what comes naturally – I just use my “motherly instincts”.
What I mean is that I am a baby wearing, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, co-sleeping mama! So it boggles my mind when I see some posts on Facebook with moms complaining about their children. Let me make it perfectly clear right now though that I 100% admit that I am not perfect & that my children are not perfect! Most especially I’ve found that we don’t fall into the “normal” category and here’s my issue. What in the world is “normal” any ways?!?! I feel like when it comes to parenting that our societal norms as americans are messed up! We look at other countries and still view their ways as “savage” yet when it’s really what’s the most practical and natural! Cloth diapering aside because that’s a post for another day…so let’s just go alphabetically and start with baby wearing.
It really upsets me when I hear about parents that let their baby just “cry it out”. Note yes I understand that sometimes you need to put your baby down and walk away to calm yourself down – Tedy had colic and Troy was away so many evenings after feeding him, changing him, etc I would just have to put him in his swing and let him deal with his “witching hour” so that I didn’t lose my sanity. I also understand that sometimes you need to put your baby down to get dinner ready or take a shower or get some other household chore done, etc. What I’m talking about is the folks that put the baby down as a way to “help them learn independence” or the parents that say that they can’t go anywhere because they have a baby. I love wearing my babies! Sophia enjoyed it as well she HATED the swing and happily snuggled into the sling as I worked. She also loved when daddy would wear her and she could be front facing seeing all that was going on. Sophia is our oldest child and wearing her just came naturally to us. It helped her to calm down and it helped us to still be able to get work done. Also, it really helped her be independent. I truly believe that baby wearing helps children build a positive sense of security. I didn’t wear Tedy as much but did what he liked which was to be swaddled really tight and held. Now with Ceci she likes to be worn in the sling as well she can comfortably nurse in it and then sleep or she can be propped up and explore the world by mamas side. I love the book that I got at the World Breastfeeding Week event because it’s a children’s book that talks about the various ways babies are worn throughout the world and how other cultures do their work with babies on their hips or backs!
Ok next would be breastfeeding but I just covered that in my last post so we will move to what I’ve found to be the most controversial thing about my form of parenting and that’s co-sleeping. We are proudly a co-sleeping family and have had all 5 of us plus the dog in one bed! We’ve been through many forms of co-sleeping because we have lived 5 different places in the past 4ish years! When we had Sophia we were living in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment in Nashville. For the most part Sophia slept in her pack & play at night but it was right by our bedside. Yet I would often nap with her or Troy would rest with her on his chest. Then Sophia and I lived with my mom for a couple of months (this was in that time frame of when I was very sick and was diagnosed with my gi disease). My mom lives in a small 1 bedroom apartment and we were fortunate enough to borrow a pack & play from church friends and Sophia slept in it in the room either with mom or with me. Then Troy and I moved to Williamsburg, Virginia and we rented a place big enough for her to have her own room. Yet once she could pull herself up she was climbing out of her crib and crawling into our room. Instead of fighting it we would let her crawl into bed with us an we’d all go back to sleep. We found that her climbing was more dangerous so we got her a toddler bed when she was about a year old. Once she had her toddler bed we didn’t have issues with her and occasionally she would walk into our room and crawl into bed with us. Then we bought our house in Williamsburg and Sophia’s room was on the other side. After our routine of singing Ben Fold’s Lullabye and saying the Rosary she would fall asleep. Yet she started having severe night terrors and would run around the house screaming! It was the strangest thing to me and so we took her to be evaluated. Luckily there wasn’t anything medically wrong but the pediatrician said it was just a stage she was going through and that we may never know what triggers her night terrors but eventually she will grow out of it. She still has night terrors on occasion but once she calms down again she snuggles with us. Then Tedy was born and again the pack & play was next to our bed. As I said before he was a breastfeeding champ! Also for about the first year of his life Troy was gone at Army BCT & AIT. Also Tedy had colic so many nights I would put Tedy into his swing to sleep to help with the bubbles. Yet Tedy woke up every two hours to nurse until he was about a year old. So I would nurse him in bed with me and it was so relaxing that I’d fall asleep. When he woke up again a couple hours later I’d adjust and nurse him and fall back asleep continuing this way throughout the night. So even though he was nursing so often I was still able to sleep. Looking back I wonder why we even got Tedy a crib because he didn’t like it. Honestly I can probably count on one hand the number of times he actually slept in his crib! Just like Sophia once he could stand he would climb out. So instead of fighting with him we adjusted the crib to a toddler bed. Then we moved to Ft Stewart and went from our 4 bedroom 3 bathroom house to a tiny (smaller than our Nashville apartment) 2 bedroom 1 bathroom apartment! For about a year we had 3 beds lined up and shared a room. Looking back it was then that we slept the best! Now we have 4 bedrooms yet sometimes I wonder why we even bother. Then I realize that we were just born in the wrong time that we really are old souls that like big full houses of friends and family. Ceci’s crib is next to our bed and because she has reflux she will happily sleep in her bouncer in there for most of the night but then when she’s up early we just go to what’s always worked with her and I nurse her in bed so I can get a few more hours of sleep. Yes the kiddos have their own room and some nights they’ll sleep there and other nights they’ll crawl in with us. We don’t have any issues with it. The issue we have is how societal norms look down on it. Yet the older we get the thicker our skin grows and we do what works for us and our family. We’ve found that whenever we fight it and attempt to let Tedy “cry it out” that those nights are miserable and we barely get any sleep! So now like I’ve said we just do what works for our family and I love it! Think about it for so many years this is how families lived. Even still there are many cultures around the world that live like this and it’s what helps keep them healthy and happy.
You don’t have to agree with me but my advice to all families when having issues is to find what works best for you and your family because that’s what’s the most important and there really is no such thing as “normal”!

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3 thoughts on “Part 3: “crunchy”/”attachment” Parenting (Am I really THAT Mom?!?!)

  1. Yes as we know what is “normal”? What works for you is what you do and should continue doing – those who don’t like it – oh well keep your opinions to yourself about how others get by. Again Great Writing – Love ya’all

  2. Katie Richard says:

    The part about wearing the kids and the breast feeding I can say much about. I never really wore my kids but I always put them to sleep holding them, rocking them in the chair or laying down with them. I will still sit in the chair and hold Madison and nap with her. Both of my kids somehow always ended up in our bed. As working parents when they wake up in the middle of the night it was easier to bring them in bed and get an extra hour of sleep then to stay up trying to put them back to sleep. ( as we all know I love my sleep). Now When they wake up in the middle of the night they just crawl into our bed. They each have their own spots. Most people don’t agree with how I parent my kids so I get how you feel. Most people don’t agree that my kids do not have a bed time in the summer when Their father is home and they don’t have to get up early in the morning but this works for us. We also let them fall asleep on the couch, floor, their own bed where ever they happen to fall. Again they are my kids and it’s how I choose to raise them. It’s all in what works for your family just like what works for my family is different

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