Sunday, April 11, 2010

A: Attachment Parenting

This is the first of my ABCs of (my) Parenting series:

I wouldn't consider myself to be horribly hard-core about being AP, but I fit into that category in more ways than not. Sadly, I find that AP tends to leave a bad taste in most people's mouths, but it's really just about gentle parenting and following the needs/cues from your baby. It was a natural approach to parenting for us, and it just so happens to have a name.

There are eight principles of Attachment Parenting:

1. Prepare for pregnancy, birth, and parenting: I am ridiculous when it comes to researching, and we really got a lot out of our Bradley childbirth classes. Being knowledgeable about my body was a huge point in why I had a successful pregnancy, labor, and post-partum experience. That's not to say that all of it was great and wonderful, but I knew to expect that and was prepared for it.

2. Feed with Love and Respect: I am exclusive breastfeeding and feed on demand. Honestly, watching the clock would be just too much work for me. AP allows me to fit in my lazy parenting ;) We also plan on making his baby food and modeling healthy eating habits.

3. Respond with Sensitivity: Because we parent "on demand," we've learned how to differentiate his cries. It was exciting when we realized that we could quickly pinpoint the problem and calm him down by fixing it. In these regards, we are also not fans of "crying it out." I figure there's a reason he's waking up/crying- he's either hungry, hurting (teething- quite a suck situation), or just needs a hug. One of those three calms him down and gets him to sleep a lot faster than letting him cry.

4. Use Nurturing Touch: I'm a huge advocate of babywearing. I love it. Jeffrey loves it. It's super easy to get things done, and you don't have to lug around the awkward car seat. A win in all regards. Jony is actually going to be getting himself a carrier so that he can participate (my carriers are a bit much for him, he says)

5. Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally: We take this on a night by night basis on what works. Since he's teething and hitting all sorts of developmental milestones, he's not sleeping very well. At all. Therefore, it's still about survival. So, yes, that means little guy is sleeping with us a good amount of time at the moment. He always starts in his crib, but lately he's been waking up with us.

6. Providing Consistent and Loving Care: I'm lucky that we're able to have me stay home, so this is pretty easy to accomplish. It's also nice knowing that the grandparents are head over heels for him when we have them babysit. He's always with someone who adores him (but, really- who wouldn't adore him?)

7. Practice Positive Discipline: As a Psychology minor, this hits a major chord with me. Mainly, it's the only form of "discipline" that works. It's all about positive or negative reinforcement. No spanking or yelling will be going on in our house.

8. Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life: This is a hard one, but it's a great one to remind yourself about all of the time. I'm constantly trying to work at remembering that I need to put Jony or myself first before Jeffrey at certain times. Sure, Jeffrey needs to be #1 way more than we need it, but balance is way too important to let it slide.

So, that is the basic principles of our parenting. Honestly, isn't it everybodies? Everyone interprets the principles a little bit differently, but it's all about doing what comes naturally. The word on the street identifies AP as the wierd, extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping, anti-vaccinating, babywearing, cloth diapering moms. A lot of them are, but it's not what AP is about.

A lot of these principles will be coming back into play as the alphabet continues...stay tuned for the letter "B"!


Lacey said...

I knew I'd be a fan of this series. I'm with you 100% on every bullet point. Our babies trust that we will be there - no matter what. I think it could be called Selfless Parenting because that's truly what it's about - giving yourself to your child and never resenting the time spent on their needs.

Kismet21 said...

It all makes sense to me and sounds like how we are parenting. Then again, I am a dirty California hippie :)