Well, I have to say that I never thought I would do Attachment Parenting, or “AP”. The first time I heard the term, it was in a blog post by a mama who was pretty extreme into the modern-day AP movement. Until I read some on the subject myself, I thought to be “AP”, you had to be a vegetarian, recycling, super eco-mama. I thought, that’s not me!
Fast forward about a year…I’m pregnant, and reading up on as much as I can to educate myself about birth. I really enjoyed The Birth Book by the Sears, so I ordered The Baby Book too. Both of these books addressed some elements of attachment parenting, like co-sleeping and babywearing. At first, I didn’t realize this was AP. Then the book mentioned it. I liked how even though they shared their opinions on the subject and told the way they did things, they left it up to the reader to decide what worked for them and their unique baby.
I had always thought I’d like to use a sling with my baby and had heard it was great for when they were newborns to help them adjust to the outside world and keep them feeling safe and calm, and I also thought it would make chores much easier.
As for cloth diapers, my mother had used them on me, but that was about 24 years ago, when that wasn’t too far from the norm. I had heard that cloth diapered kids potty trained faster somewhere, too, but I didn’t think that anyone still used them. Last year a friend of mine in Tennessee told me she had cloth diapered her first two children (ages 3 and 6) and wanted to do the same with her next (she was pregnant at the time). She was having trouble finding flats because the Gerber ones aren’t made like they used to be (they are much thinner now).
I decided to try to help her find some online. I looked ALL over the place, and it was very hard to find flats, but I found tons of other styles of cloth diapers—prefolds, all in ones, all in twos, one size…the list goes on. I was amazed at all the diapers there were now and how easy they were to use, not to mention how affordable it would be compared to disposables! Around this same time, her husband was laid off and decided to follow his dream of creating his own business. He asked for suggestions and we both begged him to do a cloth diaper website. Several months after their daughter was born, I found out I was pregnant and ordered my first diapers from them!
The most shocking thing I’ve done as far as AP is co-sleeping. Shocking because I never thought I would do that. It is so taboo (which I can’t really understand the reasoning for now) and I always thought parents were crazy for doing it because their kids would never get out of the bed and all the other reasons you always hear in opposition to co-sleeping.
Well, sometimes, life decides you need a lesson, I guess. Co-sleeping happened completely out of necessity for us. First, my husband lost his job a few days before our son was born and we moved a few days after our son was born. During all that moving, the crib wasn’t set up. A week later we went on vacation with my husband’s family (something that was arranged before he lost his job), and accidentally left a piece of our son’s bassinet at home, so he couldn’t sleep there. At the same time, he developed a horrible case of colic that lasted for almost 2 months. It was essential to have him in the bed because he almost never slept more than an hour, plus I was exclusively breastfeeding and he had to nurse every hour or so (that’s another post).
Our son still co-sleeps with us at almost 6 months old. It makes breastfeeding at night much easier (he still eats 2 or 3 times a night). We finally have room for his crib to be up, and I am trying to transition him to it. He sleeps in it for naps and I put him down in it at night, but he only sleeps about 20 minutes there as opposed to 2 or 3 hours next to me. I look forward to sharing some co-sleeping studies that I read about in The Baby Book and online.
Attachment Parenting has come naturally to me in some aspects, but by necessity in others. I really do feel very connected to my son and like we have a special bond that is stronger than it would have been otherwise. I can tell when he’s about to get upset or when he’s hungry before he shows any signs. I’m glad I chose to use some aspects of AP, and I am looking forward to seeing how my parenting style evolves in the future.