Originally Posted by flower01
A baby's cry signals it's "needs," not it's wants. I think the biggest concept that has guided my AP thinking versus mainstream techniques is the idea that babies manipulate their parents. Completely get rid of that idea...attend to your baby when it needs you...and take care of yourself. Allow your child opportunities to be independent when you see it happening...
Sometimes I think the term "Attachment Parenting" can mislead people who are not familiar with it. It is not about forced or prolonged attachment. It is not about fostering a sense of dependency. It is actually often quite the opposite. It is about meeting emotional needs of babies and children by providing a foundation of security and respect.
First, you need to re-center the thinking on babies. Babies are really "cave babies". Babies don't "know" the things we know. When they call out in the night, what they are saying is "I've woken to find myself alone. I could be in danger! What if there is a wild animal out there? What if it gets cold? If my mother is gone, how will I eat? Oh, NO! This is life threatening! And all I can do to save myself is cry! Help! HELP!" They don't "know" that they are safe in the room next door in their comfy bed just a few feet from you. They just know they are alone and completely helpless and don't know if anybody is out there at all. So they cry. If you understand this, answering their cry is a logical and loving thing to do. It is not a manipulation.
Though how it manifests changes, the idea stays the same. The idea of telling your child through actions and deeds "I am here to care for you, protect you, nurture you and I will be all the time." Once the crying baby in the night sees she is not alone afterall and mommy is here, she settles right down. After the toddler sees that he is heard and understood, after the pre-schooler knows that if he falls or is scared of thunder that parents will be kind and loving and help them, after the child sees that when the ball game was lost she is still special, after the teen who is grappling with identity and wondering where he belongs, after they all see that their parents are there, caring, protecting, nurturing, all the time, they are able to see what was happening, come to terms with it and move on. THAT is true independence. Being able and ready to move on to the next stage.
So AP is about establishing this listening relationship in infancy by understanding a baby's cries as descriptions of need and it establishes this listening and respectful relationship as time goes on. Sometimes the need is to hold them close. Sometimes the need is to give them a nudge to push themselves and do more than what they thought they could. And often, it is about giving them wings and a safe place to try them out. But it is never pushing them out in the cold, feeling that they are alone. Alone is not independent. Independence is the confidence and ability to solve problems for yourself. That can still include love, mutual repect, caring, and asking others for help when you need it. Alone is just... alone
Independence is a slow process. You have 18 years to get there. You don't need to do it all at once.
As for the "AP checklist"- they are just guides... suggestions. The breastfeeding and the babywearing and the co-sleeping and all that... They are all borne of the idea that these things reduce the amount of physical (and following, the emotional) distance between you and the baby. And, being close enables you to "hear" them better, to answer the needs and for them to know YOU and your limits and needs as well. Of course, not every thing works for every family, and "not doing everything" doesn't mean that somehow you are "kicked out of the club". If you are there, listening, connecting... that is the idea.
Sometimes it can seem overwhelming or even "martyr-ish" because at first it is easy to slide in to a mindset of "do EVERYTHING for the baby, even if it kills me!" because, especially the first time around, it is not easy to rate a baby's cry and needs so everything seems high priority and your "bag of tricks" hasn't had a lot of experience to fill itself on. ANd, as babies near the end of that first year, they DO start getting "wants" (though often the wants contain some measure of need... the baby that "wants" to splash in the dog bowl is really learning, which is a need. Just we need them to do it a different way!). And, there is no way around that the process can be demanding. But AP is NOT about martyr-ing yourself. If something isn't working, try something else that can satisfy you both. And, if that is impossible, then you need to determine whose needs are more severe for each issue. If the baby wakes often during the night and mom is sick or needs sleep for depression or whatever, then instead of bf all the time, a bottle and daddy in the night might be what needs to happen, even if the baby would rather nurse, they are still comforted and fed. If co-sleeping is ruining your marriage, how about a crib in the same room? Really, there are so many times when a half-way can work wonders.