Monday, May 14, 2012

What's Your Parenting Style?

Authoritative, permissive, disengaged, attached? So many to choose from. I'm sitting here watching the Attachment Parenting guru Dr. Sears on The View. He is so nice and positive, very grand-fatherly, not at all what I expected! While I think he has some wonderful ideas and views on parenting, and I'll bet he is a fantastic pediatrician, I just can't imagine that I would still be a good parent or good wife if I practiced everything he preaches.

Dr. Sears has 7 Baby B's he says are ideal for parenting your children.
1. Birth bonding
2. Breastfeeding
3. Baby wearing
4. Bedding close to baby
5. Belief in baby's cry
6. Beware of baby trainers
7. Balance

The first "B" is something I totally believe in. Closeness immediately after birth. That one is pretty obvious. Even if there are medical complications that keep mom & baby apart for a period after birth, there is a catching-up period that makes to bond just as strong as if nothing ever happened.

Breastfeeding is definitely something I practice and believe in. No, breastfeeding does not mean you will have a perfect baby. All my babies were breastfed for a period of time, and they all cried and have had belly issues when they were newborns. So did my friends' babies that were formula fed. I believe it is best for baby and mommy, and I loved that it was convenient. I loved never having to pack bottles or powdered formula that spilled out into my diaper bag, and I loved never having to get up in the middle of the night and make or warm a bottle. I did not love waking up every night to feed the baby because I was the only one that could, but you win some and you lose some. It was still the best thing for my family.

Baby wearing. YESSSSSSSS!!! This has saved me with Colby Jane. I have a Moby wrap and man, when 5pm rolls around and she's on a crying jag and I need to cook supper, I can almost always put her in the Moby, she will go to sleep, and everyone gets what they need. I am looking into getting a ring sling now because the Moby has A LOT of fabric, and with summer coming, we'll burn up in it. Ring slings have less fabric and are more breathable, but take some practice. Here is a link to some good information on types of carriers/slings/wraps. You can purchase them through this site, or even rent one to try it out. There are lots of good pictures and descriptions to help you decide what you might like to try.

Bedding close to baby. This one I practice for a period of time. While Dr. Sears does approve of full-out co-sleeping, I am not a fan of this. I do NOT sleep well with a tiny baby in the bed. I'm scared that the baby will get rolled over on or smothered by the covers. I do on occasion let them sleep on my chest with me propped up on pillows, usually after the early morning feeding when I'm just dozing anyway. I don't make a habit out of it though. Holt and Lacey were both sleeping in their crib in their own room at about 2 months old. I think Colby Jane will be in our room much longer though. She and Lacey will be sharing a room, and Lacey is still sleeping in the crib. It has just dawned on me though that I could convert her to the toddler bed "setting" of the crib we have and move the pack & play into her room for the baby. I'm in no hurry though, especially until Colby Jane starts sleeping through the night (STTN).

Belief in Baby's Cry. There is NOT crying it out (CIO) in attachmed parenting. Period. I am a violater of this belief. Sorry to disappoint you. I let Holt CIO at about 3 months old, and after 3 nights of that, he has STTN ever since. He's now 6. I also let Lacey CIO at around 8 months. She also survived, and still STTN. I did not see any decrease in their trust in me or long-term psychological damage. I know my study of only my 2 children so far may not mean anything to some, but our bedtime routine had gotten so long and ridiculous trying to get the baby to sleep, Ryan and I both agreed to try the CIO method and it worked. It helped us have time for ourselves. With each child, after letting them CIO, we were able to give them a bath, read a story, sing a couple lullabies, and lay them down. Within 15 min, they were dead asleep. When it comes to a newborn however, crying is the only way they have to communicate with you. I believe in responding quickly to a newborn's cries. I run the gammut of interventions to soothe them: feeding, diapering, cuddling, playing. I just can't take a newborn crying. But as they get older and start to show some personality, you learn what to respond to and what to (try to) let them work out on their own.

Beware of Baby Trainers. This one is really saying to beware of me, but the only thing I do that this one disapproves of is the CIO method & sleep training. It also advises against rigid/strict parenting styles that put baby on a schedule & encourage parents to watch the clock instead of watching their baby. I can see how you can put a formula-fed baby on a feeding schedule because they usually get the same sized bottle everytime their fed, therefore their appetite is pretty predictable. I have always nursed on demand. I've never understood how a breastfeeding mom could nurse a baby on a schedule. Breastmilk completely digests in 90 minutes, and sometimes less depending on the fat content of her milk. And the fat content of breastmilk fluctuates throughout the day, so therefore so does baby's appetite. Dr. Sears warns that this type of parenting is "convenience" parenting and only yields short-term gains and long-term loss, and not a wise investment. I wonder if baby is screaming her head off, and the clock says it's 30 minutes until it's time for her to eat, do you just let her cry? How sad to deny baby food when that's what she is crying for.

Balance. This one is not very clear to me as it kind of as it seems to contradice everything else he says. On one hand Dr. Sears says give everything up for your baby. The relationship between parent & child is more important than any other relationship. But then he throws in this last "B" that encourages you to be careful to not neglect your own personal needs or the needs of your marriage. Sorry, but the only time I have to attend to the "needs" of my marriage are at bedtime, and after I've given every ounce of my being to my children throughout the day, and then my husband and I go to bed, in the same room as any number of our sleeping children, that kind of puts a damper on things.

Not mentioned specifically in his "Bs" are his views on gentle discipline. I do not practice this view. My husband and I believe in spare the rod, spoil the child. We spank. Dr. Sears would be appalled at how I'm potty training my 3 year old, but all I will say is she is VERY strong-willed, and I've tried every other option. My pediatrician completely approves of my method, as she practiced it with 2 of her own 6 children.

So, I will say that I do like some of the attachment parenting views, but as with most things in life, I will take what I need and leave the rest. I must be doing the right thing because I have been blessed with the 3 most awesome kids on Earth!

No comments:

Post a Comment