Gosh this seems like eons ago, and it really was more than a decade ago so I am scraping the memory bank for what remnants I can find here, but if I can recall summer 2003, about to give birth to my first, I hadn't given anything much thought. I was 23 though, so I guess having a strong baby fever/maternal instinct was about as far as could reasonably be expected, having never had any experience with small kids or babies, nor read anything. However, I know that my mother was an AP mom, after searching for a better way than she was mothered. My mom was left in a crib with a bottle of formula propped next to her, as her sister, only one year older, was a really spirited and demanding child, and my grandmother was thrilled that her second baby was a really non-demanding, quiet little thing that didn't yell or put up a fuss to be left to her own devices much of the time, as she had her hands full with a demanding toddler (ok, all toddlers are demanding, but this one wasn't quite typical, but that's a long story). So my mom wasn't held much or breastfed and all of that carried on into the rest of her upbringing by a mother who was unintentionally distant (did not have the skillset to be emotionally intimate, responsive, or natural with her children after growing up without a mother of her own). My mother remembers vividly thinking she was dying when she got her period because her mother had never told her what to expect in that department, so it was a shock. No "I love yous" or snuggles, either. My grandmother wasn't a cold person, it just didn't come naturally after growing up under harsh circumstances on a farm during the depression with no mother of her own and basically being the woman of the house, taking care of her father and the kitchen from a shockingly young age.
ANYHOO, my mom read every book she could get her hands on when pregnant with me and decided firmly on natural childbirth(homebirth) and to follow baby's cues and her own instincts. She lived thousands of miles from her own mother but when visiting, her mother admonished her for holding the baby so much and told her repeatedly to "put that baby down!" I guess there was a pretty popular notion that 'babies are not playthings' and need to be handled less in order to allow them their "peace" for development, lest they suffer from too much distraction, from parental cuddles and 'fussing all over them'. The idea of feeding on cue was certainly also contrary in my grandmother's eyes and she tried to dissuade my mother from doing so, but my mom was a hardcore AP extended breastfeeder and would hear none of it and never let me cry anything out.
So when I was pregnant over a decade ago now, I didn't give it much thought but certainly the legacy of my mother's style of parenting (of course I don't remember the infancy but I do remember that she practiced TCS with me as I was older, as I certainly always felt taken seriously, 100% of the time, and relished in her respect and always strove to live up to it). The idea of forcing an infant onto an arbitrary schedule held no allure to me, and as I didn't have any other demands on my time/energies, I was happy to enjoy the magical first year of my first child's life very much letting his needs and cues dictate our daily life. I have such fond memories of that time! It really wasn't until my first child was 15 months and I was pregnant with #2 and losing my milk supply, that needs of other family members (i.e. the fetus and the pregnant mommy) began to compete with baby's needs, but by then he was old enough to handle adjustments in his life.... that might not have been welcome, at least at first.
I came to mothering.com when pregnant with my first & also read Babywise. I found the book at a flea market I believe, and picked it up. When pregnant, I didn't dismiss everything it said, there were some appealing aspects. But I certainly didn't memorize the practices, and by the time I had my own baby in my arms, smelled his head, and my breasts were bursting to feed him, and my preemie fell asleep after 3 sucks every time, every last idea from that book was erased from my mind and I have never given infant-scheduling-books another thought since then. I have never questioned AP practices with an infant, as the results have always been so fabulous, I've never had a reason to second guess just following my heart and relishing all that closeness and skin to skin contact with my little ones during those first months that go by so very fast. It's over in a blink, so I don't want to miss a moment of snuggles, closeness, feeding on cue, co-sleeping, babywearing.... it just doesn't last and when I look at my 8 and 10 year olds and remember how their faces were within kissing distance of mine 80% of the time during the beginning of their life, I get teary missing those days, while of course at the same time being thrilled at the little men they are turning into and stuck in a oxymoron mix of emotional mommy feelings!
I highly recommend The Continuum Concept to start getting your mind thinking about what babies are born hard wired to expect (after all, babies have not changed one bit in ten thousand years, so what sort of treatment did babies receive ten thousand years ago and what sort of needs did they have then? That's a good starting point for prioritizing baby care even today) and perhaps even more so, A General Theory of Love for a primer on the human brain, how it develops from birth to either become a healthy, happy human being or one with mood issues (and a synapse to synapse breakdown of what depression actually is, physically in the brain) and problems being happy. They are both mind blowing, life changing books for me. I am about to re-read them, as it's been years.
as for vaccinations, I'm a non-vaxxer but I'm not sure if I will be with this one. If you don't have older kids in school and out in society, picking up every last thing going around and bringing it home, non-vaxxing is reasonable, but the issue becomes more complicated if you have older kids out in the world in a place where there is a risk of them picking up, for example, pertussis and bringing it home to your small infant, where there is a risk of death if they catch it. When I had a baby/babies at home with me all day, I didn't even consider it, and my ex husband was on board. They weren't going to daycare and out and about in the world, so I decided the risk was negligible that we would somehow pick up, for example, whooping cough. But now I'm not so sure, and we will give it thought. My best friend's 3 year old daughter had it as a baby (two big brothers in elementary school) and was hospitalized. Very scary. You have to weigh the chance of getting the illness (how many cases per year in your area, what groups does it travel within, what sort of lifestyle are you leading, are you mixing and mingling a lot?) with the possible harm the illness could cause, with the risks associated with taking the vaccine, and the efficacy to be expected if you do take it. It's a complicated equation and no clearly right answers, in my opinion. Since it's your first child you can consider delaying everything until the child goes to daycare of even school. It's awesome if a kid gets to have the first two years with all the immuno-benefits of mother's milk and no vaccines, just to let the immune system build up naturally before being accosted. Hopefully you and your partner will be able to agree, whatever that decision ends up being. I am a huge believer in no cocktails, so don't let anyone tell you that you cannot source your own individual vaccines if you choose to get only certain ones, and bring them yourself to the pediatrician's office and have them administer it. You do NOT *have* to accept their bundled cocktails, nor on their schedule.