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Differences in parenting style

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

i am wondering how everyone is handling differences in parenting style between you and your partner. 


this is a mom's page mostly; the support groups i've found offline are mom's groups, not "new parents" groups. my partner is actually very much involved in the whole thing, and we are currently discussing our different views on what we consider "the right thing" to do with the baby. 


examples: do we feed on cue, or should we go with parent-led feeding? (he is currently reading a book that lends him the vocabulary for these questions.) DF thinks we shouldn't always be picking S up right when he starts crying. i think he's only 6 weeks and not at that point yet where babies apparently learn they get a certain reaction through crying. he's read that S should be sleeping through the night by this weekend; i haven't really given all these schedules much thought so far. 


another question along these lines is the question to vaccinate - what, how, when, etc. DF and i may differ on that question. how do you resolve such potential issues? 


how do you guys handle such questions? how do you decide what to do in terms of parenting? 

post #2 of 9
When I was pregnant with our first, I had my DH read a lot of parenting articles that I agreed with as well as a few I didnt. Then we discussed what we wanted to do. A big help for him was to read The Baby Book by Dr Sears - it spoke to him because it was by a pediatrition who has also raised a bunch of kids. It really got him on board regarsing breastfeeding practices and not letting babies cry. I also found some articles detailing the damage to baby's brain when they CIO. Basically we discussed until we came to a concensus.
Edited by LivingSky - 11/5/13 at 10:44am
post #3 of 9

My ex was very on board with my instinctual parenting practices, very supportive.  Our relationship sucked but we were of one mind regarding how I should parent the boys (he was a workaholic so his was a theoretical role in the parenting style decision making process).

This time I am mothering my third baby and it is my partner's first and so far he defers to how I want to handle her regarding feeding on cue and not letting her cry, and since I'm with her 24/7 and waking with her in the nights and he works full time, he'd have a tough time getting me on board to do anything different than what I've always done and what my heart leads me to do (and what great results I've gotten in terms of how my kids have always flourished in the first years with APing).


However, he does start to have some slightly mainstream viewpoints that don't gel 100% with mine, in terms of "let's not give in right away when she starts to fuss to feed", and in terms of vaccinations.  But so far his idea of 'not right away' means maybe trying to comfort her for max 2 minutes another way and if that doesn't work he is happy to give her over to my breasts.  So it's more in theory that he thinks setting up habits of not giving her a breast instantly at the first sign of fussing, is a good idea, but in practice he's hardly being a tough guy about it.  

I agree with the pp,  you talk and discuss until you reach a consensus.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

have you ladies read a bunch of books to figure out what you think is the "right" thing to do with your baby? or are you mostly going by your instincts / intuition? Serafina, did you read about AP and then decide it was what you wanted to do or did the instinct / intuition come first and you read later on that it fits the description for AP? eg. i haven't read anything on AP so far, and am wondering how far i fall into that "drawer" because i am really mostly going with my instinct / intuition.. and i'm also somewhat skeptical of many "methods authors are propagating in their bestselling books.


omg, yesterday was just bizarre. preface, DF is really a wonderful dad, very much involved and interested and active and all that. and we're usually pretty much in agreement on how to handle stuff. but someone gave us this book called "babywise" -- for everyone who is not a FTM this may ring a number of bad bells. well, we didn't know anything about it. so DF read the whole thing yesterday and started flooding me with "so this book says we should do xyz, not abc like we're currently doing" etc. everything he read to me i found really upsetting. i told him the book didn't really "sit well with me" and that i feel attacked for the choices we've made so far. i had to hear a bunch of "if you respond immediately to his cries, it's really irrational of you and the baby will learn bad feeding / sleeping habits".


the sudden disagreement between the two of us really colored most of yesterday, and so late at night i finally have the idea to look for opinions on the book over here.. jesus christ. i told DF about the consensus and i think he started feeling really silly / stupid. i then went to the book's wikipedia page and found more serious concern and criticism of the book - how can people be allowed to publish such a dangerous approach to caring for an infant?? ugh! well, DF was very sorry and has apologized multiple times. 


i guess what resonated with him was the whole idea of getting baby on a schedule. i am really not sure how realistic this is at 6 weeks! well, so far i am doing everything on demand here, feeding, pumping when necessary, etc. i agree though that it would be a good idea to start having little rituals during the day like a goodmorning routine (play? some kind of entertainment?) and a goodnight routine (soothing stuff like playing music, cuddling up, reading to baby, ..?). 


we do have some differences still probably, -- the whole vaccination question is still looming on the horizon. S's 2 month appt is next week. we picked a ped who is fine with slow / no vax. while i can meanwhile see DF's point why it might be a bad idea to vaccinate at this point in time, i think i am more in the camp of delayed, selective vaccinating and he is more in the camp of no vax. have others run into this issue? how did you all come to an agreement on what to do? 

post #5 of 9
vc - My ap journey actually began after someone i know sent me a link to mothering.com while I was trying to get pregnant with my first. The whole idea of responding to baby's needs instead of 'training' them was pretty bizarrw to me but it got me reading. Im an evidence based person and everything I could find online that actually had studies supporting it was AP. I found lots of articles that were pro more harsh babytraining methods but I couldnt find any that showed they both worked and didnt do long term damage to the baby. The more I read the more I realized how much it made sense that a baby is programmed to cry for what they need and parents are programmed to meet their needs.
For some reason most books seem to take a more mainstream harsher approach. I dont know why that is but now the only baby book I will recommend to anyone is The Baby Book by dr Sears and the No Cry Sleep Solution (i forget the authors name). Oh and Happiest Baby On The Block. All tthe others Ive read make me mad! I havent read Babywise but Im really glad i havent.

Vaccine wise. We startes out as delayed vaxxers who have become non vaxxers. We were delaying until DH was comfortable with giving shots (I was a non vax from the start) and while we delayed he read more and more about the risks of vaxxing until he didnt want to do it any more. Every time there is an outbreak of something in our area we both research the disease and the vaccine and re-decide whether we want to give the vaccination. So far it hasnt happened but doing the research each time keeps us both comfortable with our choice.
post #6 of 9

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.  

post #7 of 9

Warning, self-indulgent diatribe ahead!


Parenting is one of the most jarring things we will EVER experience as an adult.  Even if you think you have your life figured out (and I was certainly never under that assumption for myself!), along comes a baby and just JACKS IT ALL UP.  I mean, you love this little being fiercely, but they disturb everything about your life.  So, what do we do?  We try to learn and master, the same way we try to learn and master everything - we read, we crowdsource opinions, we discuss with our partners, our moms, our mother-in-laws.  We try to understand and do better because frankly we HAVE NO IDEA how to parent.


I don't have all the answers, but having just had my third kid in five years, what I have learned about myself is that all that reading of books is about the illusion of control.  I thought if I read books on breastfeeding, I would ACE breastfeeding - I mean, I knew every nursing position and way to latch a baby that had ever been written.  But that information meant diddly squat to me when I was dealing with a fussy non-latching baby at 2 am.  None of that was in the book.  And when my high-needs DD2 came along, I REALLY had to throw out the books.  NOTHING worked on her.  Not colic holds, not gripe water, not leaving her to CIO, not picking her up right away.  I felt like a total and complete failure as a parent.  I thought she would be better off with any parent other than me because clearly my books were failing me.


So in a fog of new-parenthood, I left the books behind me.  I fought the urge to use Google to diagnose my parenting questions.  I listened to myself.  And at the time, my intuition seemed like a baseless way to guide my choices.  I remember on more than one sleepless night with DD2 screaming as she fought sleep, DH and I would argue - he would tell me to just let her cry it out in her swing, because it certainly wasn't making a difference to her volume levels whether she was being held or not.  But it made me feel better that she would know I was there, holding her and helping her the best way I knew.  I have no basis for making that choice and defending it made me sound looney, but I did it all the same.


My friends sleep-trained their kids, put them in cribs, and fed them solids at 4 months, so I really looked crazy as time went on.  But listening to my instincts rather than crowdsoucing opinions and reading books was really freeing.  I am still shocked at how freeing it really is.  I mean, it's scary, because suddenly you have to admit than you just DON'T KNOW if you're making the right choices, but not filling my head with books allowed me to really listen to my kids instead of a book.  And I have found out that my kids are night owls who love routines but not schedules.  I have figured out what makes each kid thrive and what makes each kid tick.


Books have their place, but I have discovered that my intuition is more valuable to my own style of parenting.

post #8 of 9

I agree with Aidenn.  My son, now 3, was a terrible sleeper.  For some reason around 3 months he started waking up A LOT at night as in every 45 min-3 hours.  I never slept more than a 3 hour chunk until he was over a year old!  I read so many sleep books.  I spent hours on the internet looking for solutions.  But ultimately I just had to do what worked for me which was to nurse whenever he woke so I/we could get back to sleep ASAP and hope that it would eventually get better.  Now I will admit that around 13 mos we did a little bit of CIO because I had tried everything already and nothing had worked and I was mentally breaking down due to lack of sleep.  I could hardly function during the day and it was seriously affecting me as a person, mother, wife.  But I don't run to the books anymore.  I may look something up here and there but I definitely have chosen to just go with the flow and do what feels right to me. It is much easier this way and I don't feel like I have to keep going until I find the hidden solution. 

post #9 of 9

aidenn, thank you for that. I certainly identify with your statement that reading books is about the illusion of control. At the same time it helps me feel like I'm doing something for my baby, to help me become a better parent. I tend to gather all sorts of information and then distill it into something that works for me.


Right now I do most of the caretaking so DH defers to me for most decisions. I'm sure more stuff will come up as he gets older and we have to start talking about how to discipline a child etc. but for now we seem to be on the same page.

Earlier when we were having such trouble with BFing there were several times when DH mentioned putting A on formula. Finally one night I said what I really needed from him was to not mention that option, that I would bring it up if and when I felt ready. He respected my wishes and now we've gotten to the point where BFing is so much easier for all of us that I don't think it even crosses his mind anymore.

For circumcision I told DH I'd defer to him since the boy is more likely to go ask dad about his penis. Well through a confluence of circumstances we ended up not circumcising (for now). I think it might come up again when A is a year old, which is how long you have to wait if you don't get it done in the first month, and I'm sort of hoping DH will not consider it an issue by then.

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