Attachment Parenting Past Babyhood: How Does It Continue?0
Back when Ben was a wee baby, we were left trying to figure out what to do with his marathon loud crying sessions along with his need for lots of constant soothing. We tried anything and everything to soothe our sweet boy and over time figured out what really worked. Surprise! It was not the nearly $300 baby swing or the fancy posh crib we had bought!
We were not that couple who had any firm ideas about parenting before our baby actually showed up. The only thing I knew for sure what that I planned on breastfeeding and having the baby sleep in a bassinet next to our bed for the first 6 months. We didn’t set out with a parenting philosophy or a style, we just followed our instincts and parented Ben the way that felt most natural to us. It turns out that we were attachment parenting our first born baby.
This meant we were doing lots of holding, massaging, rocking, slinging, soothing and nursing in attempt to meet the needs of our baby. All of these tricks would eventually calm him and he flourished and grew into a kind caring toddler that is an expert sleeper. Off course he is a normal toddler with the odd tantrum and usual toddler antics but he is an easier toddler than he was a baby and that is for sure.
To find out more about AP really means go here.
I’ve done my reading about what AP is all about and from that I have discovered many tools that helped us figure things out when parenting a fussy baby. AP seemed so easy to do when Ben was a baby and we had to meet all of his physical needs. Both my husband and I wore Ben in a sling, I breastfed on demand and we safely co slept for the first 10+ months (until he was annoyed by our snoring and tossing in the bed). All of this felt really easy and natural to both of us and it met all of our needs.
The thing is, I no longer breastfeed and Ben sleeps alone in a crib in a different room. We don’t wear him in a sling and we don’t have the challenges of soothing him to sleep through out the night. The other day I started to wonder what it means to be an AP to a toddler. Right now there is less physical care and more verbal and emotional parenting and so it is not as obvious to me. How do you AP a toddler? Is it all breastfeeding and bed sharing or is AP more than that?
I know that AP is really nothing extreme and does not define what type of parent I am. However, I do feel like I am reaping the benefits of having used some of the tools back in the day! My husband hates being defined by a title like ‘attachment parenting’ and would rather just be known as a dad who was cool with sling wearing and co sleeping and meeting the needs of his baby.
It turns out that attachment parenting is really just instinctive loving parenting and helps children grow up connected. Dr. Sears has a great website that talks about this very thing, www.askdrsears.com. Another great website discusses the science of attachment parenting , www.parentingscience.com.
Did you set out with firm ideas of how to parent your children? Maybe you didn’t even know that you were using some of the AP ideas?