A portion of the Soft Laundry post is my muse for tonight. The blogger writes:
It seems to me that we women are crippling ourselves and missing out on some rich opportunities by insisting that each of us as an individual must possess a complete Holy Grail of All That Is Womanhood.
Immediately upon reading this passage, I had my seed for a post.
I think there's more to the way in which we mothers are crippling ourselves. We truly have "become so sensitive and divided" that we are constantly in fear of being judged. Our parenting styles, if they are not "textbook," are hidden. And so I have decided to come clean.
My name is Lisa, and I follow Attachment Parenting. While there are many definitions (and it sometimes follows the more user-friendly title of "Peaceful Parenting"), Attachment Parenting generally consists of the following principles:
- Preparation for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting
- Feed with Love and Respect
- Respond with Sensitivity
- Use Nurturing Touch
- Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally
- Provide Consistent Loving Care
- Practice Positive Discipline
- Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life
I bed-share. Not just with my husband, but with my 10 month old son. He no longer has a "nursery" where he is expected to sleep. In fact, Daddy's computer and desk have been occupying that room since late November. My son's crib was moved into our room as a last ditch effort to get him to sleep where he "should" sleep, but it's now an expensive clothes hamper/storage unit/sometimes play area. We recently purchased a bed rail that fits our Queen size pillow-top mattress, and the bed was moved from the middle of the room to the corner so one side is against the wall. When my son goes to sleep at night, he is placed in the middle of our bed without a whimper or a sound. There are no pillows around him, and he is safe and secure. And when it is time for my husband and I to turn in, we lie on either side of him, breathe in his sweet scent, and all of us have a wonderful night's sleep. Don't worry. I'm told he won't still sleep with me when he's 18. Which is fine -- he probably won't smell so good, then.
I am practicing baby-led weaning. My son has had solids, but I have no intention of weaning him from breast milk any time soon. And while we're at it, I might as well tell you that my son does not use a pacifier. I am his source of comfort and security when needed. He will take a few ounces of expressed breast milk (EBM) from a bottle if hard pressed, but at the moment, bottle-feeding is hardly necessary and therefore is not a concern. When I head back to work, he will take either a bottle or a sippy-cup of EBM. My son is not stupid. He will not starve himself.
I respond to my son's cues. I don't give in to his every whine. I am his mother -- I can tell the difference between his cries. I know when he is hungry, when he is in pain, when he's frustrated, and when he needs comfort. But I do let him know that I will answer when he cries out to me, and act accordingly. Is he spoiled? Hardly! Does he feel secure? I hope so.
I refuse to allow my baby to cry it out. Parents are often asked if their babies are sleeping through the night yet. First off, what business is it of the asker? And secondly, why is this, of ALL things, deemed the indicator of successful parenting? Did you know that there are actually reasons why we should not want our babies to sleep through the night (and good reasons as to why they may not be)? In any case, "crying it out" (CIO) is often purported to be the way to get your child to sleep through the night. And yes, it often works. But I don't support the reasons why it works, nor do I want to put my child through this unnecessary form of torture. Why am I against CIO? This blog post sums it up rather nicely.
Again, don't fret on my behalf. I'm also told that someday, I won't be able to get my kid out of bed for anything. Until then, I'm going to snuggle up next to his warm little body and bid you all a good night!