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Shell 04-13-2004 08:40 PM

Oh my gosh! I just had the weirdest realization about my own upbringing!!!

I am pregnant with my first, but also step-mother to two boys (ages 8 and 12, who don't live with us f/t) who were AP-raised. Dh and I are totally bought into the AP approach, but I have been trying to figure out how to bring my mom into our philosophy. She has always told me that Dr. Spock revolutionized child rearing and that she prescribes to his ideas 100%.

I recently bought Dr. Sear's book on Attachment Parenting, which I though I would send to my mom and let her read. That way, she will get it all in one complete picture, rather than me trying to have to explain it to her piecemeal, and in a not as eloquent way.

Anyway, as I have been reading about AP and thinking about my future life with babe, I had a flashback to my own childhood years. My parents never brought us into their bed, and certainly followed the "cry it out" approach. What I realized as I was thinking about this today is that when I was a kid I threw a lot of tantrums, and then would run to my bedroom and "cry." Well, my parents rarely came after me, and in fact, probably thought it was amusing, knowing full well that I was putting on an "act."

Well, this is really blowing my mind, as I realize that my tantrums were just an extension of their philosophy. I now realize that I had no way of truly expressing my emotions to my parents, because they never took it at face value. I was always trying to manipulate the situation to try and get their attention.

My two step-boys NEVER EVER throw tantrums. They are so incredibly well behaved! Every now and then the 8 year old has a "meltdown" but they are always real, and never contrived.

So now I have the task of bringing my somewhat unemotional mom into my world of thinking. I live in Maryland and they live in Florida. I plan on staying with them for a month in Florida during my maternity leave, and I am sure my mom will spend a couple of weeks with me right after the birth (November).

My mom and I are actually pretty close, although as different as could be. We have gone through some major clashes throughout the years, but are finally in a pretty good place together. She is 67 and my dad is 77 -- and this is their first grandchild. They have been waiting a long, long time to be grandparents, and I fully want to engage them in all aspects of things to the most practical extent possible.

Anyway... I was wondering if anyone else had any experiences with parents who had radically different child rearing beliefs, and how you handled it. I'm a little afraid to send them the AP book, because it could open a can of worms, but it is the only thing I can think of. The book will undoubtedly make them think. (Yet at the same time, I don't want to inadvertently insult their own parenting skills).

I'd love to hear other folk's experiences... or any good ideas as to how to bring my folks along.

Shell 04-13-2004 08:52 PM

I think maybe this thread should be under 'parenting issues,' but I do not know how to move it!

mollyeilis 04-25-2004 12:28 AM

Well didn't Dr. Spock change his own tune later on? Perhaps you could check out a newer edition of his work, review it, and if I'm right, just send her that! She might have been done with child-rearing by the time he figured it all out, and just never knew he'd changed his mind.

Evan&Anna's_Mom 04-26-2004 06:00 PM

I confess that I haven't read Dr. Spock. But, wasn't his central tenet that parents should trust their own instincts rather than outside instructions? That seems like the perfect way to introduce the subject!

Shell 04-26-2004 10:32 PM

I don't know, ladies. The following quote comes directly from Dr. Spock's website:

Some small children go through a period of waking up frightened at night. They may repeatedly come into the parents' room, perhaps crying persistently, and the parents may take them into their bed with them so that they can all get some sleep. This seems like the most practical thing to do at the time, but it can turn out to be a mistake.

Even if the child's anxiety lessens during the following weeks, he is apt to cling to the security of his parents' bed, and there is the devil to pay getting him out again.

A good rule is to take him promptly and matter-of-factly back to his own bed. Of course, there are exceptions, such as illness or true fear, when it would seem cruel to cast the child out into his lonely room. But even then it is best to take him to his own room rather than give him confusing messages.
This is what I am probably up against with my mom!

2+twins 04-27-2004 01:57 AM

I feel your pain. My parents couldn't be more different from me! We're a pretty AP family - we co-sleep, absolutely don't CIO, never ever spank, ebf, try our very hardest not to yell, truly listen to our children and try to recognize their needs, basically view them as real people who should be loved and valued, and oh yeah, we're vegetarians. My parents, on the other hand, value CIO, never ever co-slept with us (not even once - their door was always shut & we'd have to knock and wait for permission to enter), believed in yelling & corporal punishment, never made me feel like my opinion mattered at all (after all, I was just a kid), constantly tell me how I'm being manipulated by my kids (even by the baby), oh, and offer them a dish and call it "vegetarian" and they won't touch it (doesn't matter if they would have eaten it otherwise - us veggies are just too weird). My dad once told me (in regards to using baby monitors) that what they did was put me in my crib with my door shut. They shut their door too and he said that if I really needed them they'd hear me (screaming, I have to assume). Sucks, doesn't it? My point is that they are NOT the kind of parents I want to be and I actually have lots of very bad feelings towards them now that I have my own kids that didn't really surface before. The only advice I could give you would be that if you could find a way to discuss your feelings with your mom in a way that isn't going to sound like an attack (in her opinion), do it as early as possible. I literally have nightmares now at least once or twice a month about my parents doing something to drive me crazy and I always end up yelling at them and telling them that they can't see my kids anymore. My mom is just soooo super sensitive (as am I) that I can't bring myself to tell her how I feel. I guess I feel like they're so past change that all I'd accomplish is hurting her feelings. I really hope you find the answer and if you do, please pass it along to me! Good luck!

eminer 04-27-2004 04:38 AM

I've had realizations like that about my childhood and sleeping by myself. I think it explains why I'm afraid of the dark. My mom thinks it's because she went to me too often when I was crying at night. :-( The manipulation thing was also a common theme. And my mom is a very sensitive, nurturing person.

In some cases, the best way to discuss these things without seeming threatening is to wait until it comes up. Then others can see how wonderfully well-adjusted your baby is :-) and you get to make use of the particularities of your baby to explain how you arrived/are arriving at your habits. It's like, "This is what's working for us..." If challenged, you can always provide the books and theories. If your mom respected Dr. Spock deeply, maybe she will be open to Dr. Sears, in the spirit that "doctors are saying different things now".

Another way to broach the Dr. Sears book, assuming it's true, would be to say, "I really enjoyed this and am planning on using it. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it." You'll probably hear a lot of reservations, but your way of thinking will be out there, in a way that gives it a tone of legitimacy and respectfulness. Acting on the expectation of friendly dialogue, and in openness to your mom's wisdom (where possible), is a good way to start up...well, friendly dialogue.

With my mom, we had a lot in common to begin with (I was #8 and her last, so she was definitely attached), but on some things, she continued to disagree politely. For instance, it clearly bugged her (right after the birth, and thereafter) that I never put dd down, because she felt like dd needed room to stretch out and time alone. That certain things, like nursing in bed and very frequently, were my midwife's advice, probably helped make mom comfortable with them immediately after the birth. On a lot of the differences, though, she came to understand my perspective as she saw dd and me in action. She now thinks co-sleeping is a great arrangement and loves how dd can sleep wherever and whenever. She's commented positively on my ability to nurse naturally and discreetly in public, which surprised her. Etc.

Good luck! :-D


mollyeilis 04-27-2004 01:37 PM

I'm back.

I did a little research since my answer (nothing involving actually looking at the original books and the 1998 revised edition, though), and while he might not think co-sleeping was a good thing, he DID change.

When he wrote his first book, he was looked on as a complete, permissive weirdo. In the 60s, he was blamed for hippies! Child-rearing experts thought he had caused it with his permissive, right?

I googled him and one page I found interesting (didn't copy it down, sorry). It was just after he died, which was right before the revised edition came out in May of 98. So there was a little blurb by him about the upcoming new book, and some interesting tidbits (like the hippie stuff above) from his co-author. You might want to find that page, if you're interested.

I also looked (now this is where I got really scientific LOL) on the book reviews of, and one person said, basically, that if you REALLY read his book, especially the new book, you'll see that what he continues to say is that parents should listen to themselves. They shouldn't just do what some "expert" tells them to do, they should pay attention to their child and his or her needs and wants, and do what is best for them.

So...I wouldn't solely base my opinion on stuff on "his" website that's 6 years after the man himself died...I think just focusing on the fact (if your mom even brings it up!) that he was able to grow and change with the times, and that he was seen as radical when he first came out (and got more so later) and didn't stick with an outdated model will serve your "cause" well.

hypatia 04-30-2004 06:27 PM

I really liked Dr. Spock. He has a very soothing, reassuring style. He really empathiaes with children. He was also a vegetarian and promoted a vegetarian diet for children.

So, if I were you, I would read Dr. Spock. Then I would tell your mom you read it, and pick things you like about the book to discuss with her. Ignore the bad stuff. There is a lot of good stuff in there, so it shouldn't be that hard. It will probably really warm your mother up to know that you read her old favorite. Then, once you've found some common ground with her discussing Dr. Spock, you can talk about how Dr. Spock reminds you of Dr. Sears, blah, blah, blah, and gradually work in ideas that go beyond your mother's comfort range.

Shell 04-30-2004 07:35 PM

I promised my mom that I would read the Dr. Spock book if she would read a Dr. Sears book. We both agreed. We aren't adversarial about it. I'm going to get a Spock book from the library.

Even if Dr. Spock did change in later years, I need to get myself in the mindset of his writings from 35 years ago -- because that is her frame of reference. While Dr. Spock might have changed, she has not! And she isn't the type who will start doing a ton of research on it either. They are VERY set in their ways.

I'll be sending her the book next week -- we'll see what happens! I'll keep everyone posted, but it may be a few weeks until she reads it.

MisfitMama 05-03-2004 09:19 PM


I think that you have a great idea and I hope you will remember to tell us how it goes. I wish I had thought of it when I was pregnant! My sister and I did a book-swap like that, and it was great. Then, when my baby was 10 months old, my aunt gave me _Children, The Challenge_, which was the book that she and my mother raised us by. (Supposedly.) I started (respectfully) telling my mother which things in the book I did not agree with, and she was appalled - she didn't even remember them being in the book! (There's some amazingly brilliant stuff in there, and some totally psycho stuff in there, too!). I think it helped me understand my own childhood (like you said) and it made it easier to discuss our opposite beliefs, since we were actually discussing a book.

Your mom might never agree with you, but I think it will be great that she will at least know *why* you are doing things. Hopefully this will bring you closer.


kofduke 05-04-2004 10:04 AM

Get the book "Raising America" by Ann Hulbert. Its' a review of parenting advice-givers since the late part of the last century. It's facinating to see how much the advice has changed, and how much it's stayed the same!

Shell 05-04-2004 11:34 AM

Thanks for the reference to the "Raising America" book -- I am going to try and find it at our library too. Sounds like a very interesting book, and one that really is appropriate to my situation. Thanks!

Shell 05-23-2004 12:37 PM

Well, Mom read Dr. Sear's AP book. An interesting dialogue followed.

Her main critique was that "every page" of the book said to "trust your instincts" but that every other page of the book told you exactly what your instincts should be.

I thought that was a valid critique. Even though the book says over and over that these are just guidelines and not rules, and that every couple needs to do what feels right, it does sort of suggest that if you don't want to breastfeed, co-sleep, baby wear, etc., then you don't have nurturing instincts and you are a controlling type of parent. (I know it doesn't say that outright, but it is hard to read that book and not feel that way).

My dad then jumped on the phone, to tell me a little "story." I love my dad. He said, "Once upon a time there was a new mother whose new baby son swallowed a nickel. The mother panicked, and called the doctor, the nurse, the hospital, the neighbors, the relatives, the school -- to figure out what to do. A couple years later a second son was born. The second son also swallowed a nickel. The mother deducted it out of his allowance."

The point of the story, my mother explained, is that you can read all the books in the world that you want, and have all the intentions to do something one way or another, but until the kid is born -- you won't really know what your "instincts" will be. You can only learn to parent experientially, and that it is only natural to "over plan" for the first baby.

And of course, I totally agree. In other words, they are slightly amused that I am reading all these books and developing all these parenting philosophies. But that is okay. Whether they know it or not, they now have "references" for some of the "strange" things that I very likely will be doing -- extended breastfeeding, cosleeping, etc. I think they think that when the time comes, I won't be doing any of the things mentioned in the book. When I mentioned to her that we planned on co-sleeping, she expressed that she thought it was dangerous (could roll over on the baby) and that it could ruin my marriage (no sex), and that we will never be able to get the baby out of the bed (of course, we won't be trying to).

I'm glad they read the book -- and that we had an agreeable discussion about it, and not any prolonged arguments. I know them well enough to know that they will "let" us do what we want, but that they think we will be sorry for it down the road. In other words, my mom said that we might raise the first kid this way, but we will never, never raise the second this way.

As a reminder as to why this stuff is important anyway... DH and I are planning on spending a month at my parent's house in Florida (dh and I live in Maryland) when the baby is about six weeks. I didn't want to have a month of "put the baby down, you are spoiling him/her" and "it isn't right to have the baby sleep with you. You'll never get the baby out of your bed."

Meanwhile, the pregnancy is progressing nicely (week 17) and we are growing more and more excited! My folks are coming to visit us in two weeks; they are actually going with us for our sonogram, at which we will find out the sex of the baby. My parents have an "agenda" of things they want to do with us that weekend. This is their first time seeing us since we got pregnant. I am SURE I will have updates for you all after this weekend, and that the discussions with them on attachment parenting will continue...

Piglet68 05-23-2004 12:55 PM

I'll move it. It is a Parenting Issues subject...

tracymom 05-23-2004 01:10 PM

Book recommendation: "Spock on Spock: A Memoir of Growing Up With the Century," Dr. Spock's autobiography written with his wife Mary Morgan.

It is very interesting reading. I've always meant to get the new "Baby and Child Care" edition but never did. My mom said she liked Dr. Spock but not everything and just took what she wanted (so even though she was a ff and did let me CIO at least once that I know of, she was pretty AP in THAT sense!)

Elana 05-23-2004 01:12 PM


I found this thread interesting! My MIL sounds a bit like your mother. They couldn't really understand why I wanted to give birth at a certain hospital, insisted on not giving a bottle/pacifier, used a sling, etc.

The one thing that I stuck to was: this is what's good for me. I think that if my MIL felt that I was judging the way she parented, she would have been pretty defensive and trying to convince me that I was wrong. I took the "this is what I learned and find easiest"... I felt that that helped her open up and accept my way.

It's pretty clear that generations change and Dr. Spock was the "IN thing" to do. Now Dr. Sears is the "IN thing" to do. It's a bit shallow, but it also works.

The only major issue that kept on coming up for a while was what happened when I wasn't around. I had to make the things important to me very clear. and if I felt that they wouldn't stick to my guidelines, I wouldn't be able to leave my girls there very often. Now, my older dd is 4+, and my MIL is a big part of her life, so things did work out. I even hear her, from time to time, boasting to her friends that her granddaughter still nursed at the age of 2.6, and that her DIL had 2 natural births, etc... :LOL

(I just reread my post and realized that I didn't mention DH even once! Wow, I have to think about that one - I know he was in on everything too )

kerc 05-23-2004 07:00 PM

Her main critique was that "every page" of the book said to "trust your instincts" but that every other page of the book told you exactly what your instincts should be.
your mom has just put into words what I have been struggling to come up with for lo these 18 months! My dd is not like the sears kids. She doesn't react the same ways. SOme of the things in their books I notice developed after they had several kids -- in other words older siblings tp hang around and help out. anyhow, i found the sears books to be very, umm, well for lack of a real word: I felt like I wasn't a good mom because I was trusting my instincts and my instincts weren't always what was going on in the book.

But cool that you're initiating this conversation with your parents. I think it is neat that they will be that involved.

Were you formula fed? I was and dh was and i think MIL changed her tune on the baby in the bed issue when she began to realize that most breastfeeding moms end up with baby in bed for some span of time. And i think it helps that we have explictly said for us parenting is about making choices that work for everyone in the present. Baby is likely going to change day by day and as such right now our parenting "tricks" change -- so no baby won't be in bed with us forever.

Arduinna 05-23-2004 07:15 PM

wow, great OP. My dd didn't do the tantrum thing either.

Anyway, my parents were progressive for their time. 1960's and I was BF'd and CD'd. But they didn't do GD which was where I had the battles. I did a combo of " I'm the mom and this is how I'm parenting so deal with it" combined with explinations about how dd is behaving in an age appropriate way regardless if it's like you think she should act.

As far as "overplanning" your parenting before the child arrives. I got that same rhetoric when I was pg with dd from pretty much everyone. Imagine their surprise when I didn't end up learning that "spanking was for the better anyway" and that I'd raise a spoiled child ect. Yes, we each have to find what works best for our kid. But, I've never heard that statement about "overplanning" from someone that didn't think I'd eventually figure out that THEY were right about how to parent afterall.

captain optimism 05-23-2004 08:30 PM

My mom said that she got all her breastfeeding information from Dr. Spock, ca. 1965. This is interesting to me--I was at my MIL's and found an early version of his childrearing manual, and he has just stupid bf'ing advice. But my MIL bf'ed too and just ignored what Spock wrote about formula in the earlier book.

Spock isn't the only person who advocated teaching independence, and independence is the big value that grandparents seem to harp on about keeping the child close at night. What I decided to do about this was to emphasize that this way is supposed to create independence in the long term.

Your parents sound great to me, Shell. My dad does that thing of using a humorous anecdote as though it were an instructive text from the holy writ! I figure, they are going to find fault with our parenting, no matter how closely we follow their philosophies. AFter all, these are their grandchildren---and, this is a big expression of our differentiation from them.

Shell 05-23-2004 10:40 PM

A couple of things, since the questions were raised...

My two older brothers (we were all born in the sixties) were bottle (formula) fed, as was I. The difference, however, is that at the time my mom had me, she had decided to give breastfeeding "a try." This was fairly radical back then, because virtually no one was breastfeeding at that time. But unbeknownst to her, the doctors in the hospital gave her medication to "dry her up," and she was unable to breastfeed. There was no discussion about it. It was just done without her knowing. Makes me so sad. I think she was sad, and a bit bewildered too, but not distraught over it because she was still under the influence of popular culture at the time.

Yeah, my parents are great, but we are as different as different can be. Arduinna, you hit the nail on the head -- my folks will be waiting for me to realize that they were right after all. And like other events in my life, they will be waiting a long, long time. They have been this way my whole life. Having a baby is one of the first things that seems to be bringing us together in a long while. They have an extremely narrow view of the world, and have generally not understood most of the choices I have made in my life.

My parents are getting older. My mom is 67 and dad is 77. This is their first grandchild. I am really excited about spending a month with them with our newborn -- because this may be our only chance to spend this kind of time together. I am hoping that this will be a beautiful time for us -- but I will be walking on eggshells much of the time, I am sure. I really want them to enjoy this experience to the max. It will be hard for them to realize that now I am the parent. I can understand that, I guess. It will be interesting...

Red 05-23-2004 10:54 PM

Dr Spock rocked! My parents never, ever, even considered co-sleeping. Are you nuts? That would be something pedophiles did! But I remember taking naps with my dad, when I was about 3 or 4.

Dr Sock said, take your babies out ffor walks in the fresh air, love them, snuggle them, listen to your own instincts, and, AND he recanted what he felt was wrong, later on.

This is YOUR baby. DOnt' worry about mom. My parents thought I was whacked, but it was my choice to screw up. Just insist that you're doing what YOU think is best for YOUR baby. Be polite, be grateful for any help, do things your own way.

Absolutely send them the book! Tell tehm you feel that this is the way you'll parent and while it may seem naive (they'll like that) you'd like them to know where you;re coming from.

Do not hold against your parents their mistakes! Do you want your own held against you? We all make horrible decisions from time to time. I hope my kids are forgiving. I've done some dumb stuff. So did my parents. So did their parents. And theirs. I just hope to do a bit better than my parents and hope my kids will be a bit better than me!

You're parents probably don't expect you to parent like they did anyway!

Bleu 05-24-2004 12:49 AM

A number of people have kind of touched on this, but I just wanted to point out how cultural these values are, and how pervasive the parenting beliefs were. I'm not thinking of any one on this particular thread, but I do read other people really seeming to castigate their parents (especially mothers ) harshly for their anti-AP practices. I believe that the vast majority of parents do the best they can with the resources they have at the time. In some cases, that "best" is terribly, terribly inadequate.

People had not begun to seriously question the authority or legitimacy of medical doctors dispensing advice about parenting. New mothers were cowed by the doctors' edicts and snapped to, overwhelmingly -- particularly, I think, certain kinds of mothers, like those who lived in suburbs away from the small towns or ethnic neighborhoods where they grew up and where their families still lived. The isolation was pretty stunning for suburban moms, away social support from people they'd known whose values they shared. So "expertise" was particularly sought. I also think a large number of the grandparent's generation walked into parenting with some substantial baggage from the way they themselves were raised. Dr. Spock might not have been so great but it beat the hell (use of this expression is deliberate) out of the way many of them were raised. Think about it: as AP parents, many of us know we wanted to do something different from the way we were raised, so we sought a text to help us re-imagine how childhood and parenting could BE. Lots of today's grandparents did the same. They wanted to raise their kids better than they were raised and turned to self-proclaimed experts for ideas and validation.

I would agree with the posters who questioned "instinct" -- I've always kind of felt that our real instincts are so cluttered up with messages from 30+ years of socialization that who the hell knows what's instinct and what's, well, "programmed"? I felt really validated when I read more or less that same point recently in The Continuum Concept. And I think that many people come from backgrounds where their first impulse -- their "instinct," arguably -- on hearing a whiny toddler might be to give the kid a smack. So I think questioning "instinct" isn't a bad thing. At least I thought that until my baby was born and I felt this incredible, primal need to be glued to him at all times, felt (okay, still feel) almost physically uncomfortable, like a junkie needing a fix when we're apart too far or too long. Hmmm, obviously I'm still kind of muddled in my thinking about "instinct"!

I wanted to echo and amplify the post from way back in this thread (I think it was this thread, anyway) about grandparents feeling guilty or defensive in the face of AP practices. I agree that dynamic is at work. But I think there's something sadder going on as well: children who were raised with anti-AP practices missed out. But so did their grandparents. There's no do-over. I think many of them feel gypped, and wistful for all the intimacy they could have had with their children while they were small, if only they had felt "permitted" to.

My last point (sorry for this disorganized post -- I'm trying to structure it better to make it more readable, and I'm just nowhere in achieving that, I'm afraid!) is that I don't think most parents who practice CIO, Dr. Spock and the rest of it did it because they, individually, were selfish, insensitive assholes. I think many of them earnestly believed they were doing the right thing and that their child would be damaged of they didn't do what they were doing. And here's my admission: I feel that way in many regards, too, and I did need the validation of Dr. Sears, Katie Allison Granju, Mothering Magazine, et al not just to feel "legitimized" to do AP-ish things, but even to know what they were. I never saw anything AP-ish before I had Bleuet. It never occurred to me to co-sleep, and once I heard of it, I was pretty puzzled about why it would be beneficial. I can put myself in the place of the CIO mom who can't figure out why her baby is crying in the crib easily.

So, I guess I just wrote an apologia of anti-AP parents. Not sure if it belongs in this thread. I now want to read all the books everyone else mentioned!

Shell 05-24-2004 01:54 AM

I absolutely know that my parents did the best they could with the resources they had. While I do not agree with the parenting methods my folks used, they didn't use "those methods" out of spite! Love was certainly a big part of their equation, and I agree -- they did what they did so that we would be well adjusted kids... according to the experts of their time. There was no shortage of love in our house, but it was couched in a faulty definition of disipline and order, and communication was often on a "need to know basis."

And yes... I do feel sad (way beyond wistful) about not being raised in the AP approach, and I imagine that when my mom watches me breastfeed she too will feel sad for that missed opportunity.

So the question is... have we arrived? What I mean is, while my parents prescribed to CIO, etc., they didn't beat or whip me like they might have a generation earlier. So, I'm part of the generation who can be thankful that all my folks did was make me cry it out, sleep in another part of the house and be put on a regimented schedule. But what about our kids? What will they say a generation from now? It is hard to imagine how they will rag on us, when the center of the AP approach is so loving and responsive and child-centered. But who knows... maybe our kids will be sexually dysfunctional (as opponents of co-sleeping might say) and will lambast us for having them actually share our bed. Who knows! They'll find something, I imagine! But maybe not... Hopefully not. That is what we're all hoping for, right? What we are ultimately hoping for is a way of parenting that our kids will look back fondly upon and will want to adopt for themselves.

tracymom 05-24-2004 09:33 AM

Originally Posted by Shell
I imagine that when my mom watches me breastfeed she too will feel sad for that missed opportunity.
my mom watched me bf DS2 one day looking kind of wistful and I said, "What is it?" and she said "I was just thinking I should have done that with you." I said, "Mom, you did the best you could with what you had. You thought your breasts were too small (she had literally no breast tissue), you were alone 300 miles from home, and you couldn't drive. Do you really think you could have made it work? I have YOU." It's what she needed to hear that day. She was a very AP bottle mom, btw. A neighbor told her she needed to prop the bottle and mom said, "I haven't got a thing more important to do than hold this baby."

Back on topic, remember that the first words in Baby and Child Care are "Trust yourself. You know more than you think you know."

Piglet68 05-24-2004 11:00 AM

Bleu, I thought that was a fabulous post!!

It's so true, you know? My mother was raised by nannies (ahma's in Hong Kong) while Grandma was a total socialite (don't get me wrong, they went through hell during the war, but afterwards, Grandma was hardly ever there). When my aunt was visiting us last year, she told me stories about my mother getting beaten quite badly when she was only 2 by her mother b/c she had taken a slice of pineapple of her father's birthday cake (which Grandma had made in surprise for him). The more I hear about her upbringing the more I see that, even though she was Spock all the way, she was light years ahead of her own upbringing. And, to be fair to my Grandmother, as the daughter of one of her fathers' concubines, she was way down on the totem pole. Her upbringing was positively medeival.

Really makes me wonder about what you said, Shell....are we "it"? What will our children do to "improve"? It is my goal and hope that they won't feel that way, that they won't go through their adolescence thinking "when I have kids, I'll NEVER do that to them" (as I often did).

I also wanted to say something in defense of Sears, and this again points to what Bleu said. I sincerely doubt that most of us are closely in touch with our instincts due to cultural values and influences, and the way we were raised. That's why I liked Sears so much, because he said "trust your instincts" but then went on to describe what those instincts are likely to be. When Bleu described that need to be with her baby, feeling like she needed a "fix", that is exactly how I felt, too. Our society has drummed it into our heads that if we honour that instinct (which is more likely to be treated as hormonal hysteria) then we will spoil our kids, make them gay, make them name it. Women's bodies are treated as nothing more than potential steamrollers to crush the life out of your cosleeping baby. Nobody speaks of the sheer awe and wonder of the way Nature has made us fab mamas...our whole sleep physiology changes when we cosleep, to ensure a loving and safe bond with our babies. So while I appreciate Shell's mum's comments about Sears saying "follow your instinct" and then "telling you what your instinct is", I also think he NEEDS to do that. I wonder if I would have recognized my instincts for what they were, something to be honoured and something that was GOOD for my baby, if I had not read him. I would perhaps have fallen victim to the guilt that my desire to be so attached to baby would ultimately be a detriment. Sure, Sears can't write for every individual mama, but I would bet that he has the majority described pretty well.

kerc 05-24-2004 11:53 AM

wow this thread has been really thought provoking for me. I find it so invigorating (is that spelled right?) to discuss parenting like this. Not the kind of conversation I get with my graduate school friends (single male geologists).

So while I appreciate Shell's mum's comments about Sears saying "follow your instinct" and then "telling you what your instinct is", I also think he NEEDS to do that. I wonder if I would have recognized my instincts for what they were, something to be honoured and something that was GOOD for my baby, if I had not read him. I would perhaps have fallen victim to the guilt that my desire to be so attached to baby would ultimately be a detriment. Sure, Sears can't write for every individual mama, but I would bet that he has the majority described pretty well.
After a little bit more reflection on it, I think the content of the Sears book is probably on track, it is the tone that I don't like. And I think really missing is a section in there on what to do if you're alone (maybe single or far from family members or just without an AP support network). How to find that support network -- i.e. that things like LLL meetings happen, etc. The parenting practices in the Sears books all make lots of sense to me (obviously, otherwise I wouldn't come to MDC), but I have struggled with a lack of support network. I wish I had sought out like minded friends before Erin was born, instead of 12 months after.

Korwynne 05-24-2004 01:11 PM

I just found this thread (I've been overwhelmed trying to coordinate my first swap so haven't been reading a lot the past week or so)

I've got a mother who is always telling me how strange co-sleeping is, etc and that "We would have NEVER done that".. and that nursing never even occurred to her as a possiblity, but she's glad she didn't do it because she didn't have the patience and wasn't calm enough to do so... and a MIL who has never commented on the whole co-sleeping thing but is continually making comments about how now that DS is 17 months and finally has some teeth (didn't get any until almost 15 months) and is biting due to the pain of teething how I'd better "hurry up" and wean him.. and who is very proud of the fact that she was in a test group for disposible diapers so she "got out" of using cloth with DH (I disposible diaper though, so she's telling me this to try to have something in common though) so I understand...

What helped me was to read up on the literature and philosophies available during the time (it helped that DH and I are 2 weeks apart in age, so it was the same time period).. that way I had the background I needed to discuss things with them.. and I "overprepared" for my first... because I wanted to be able to say "yes, I read the literature, and no, we're not concerned about sids in the family bed.. " and be able to back up anything that became an issue.. I also wanted to be prepared for things BEFORE they happenned... there's nothing like a co-sleeping child trying to practice skills in their sleep (which a lot of kids do, co-sleeping or not).. having a little one trying to crawl or stand when they're next to you is a bit different than having them do them in a different room, I would suspect.. I probably would have freaked out with some of the things they were trying to do if I didn't expect them.. I found it easier to know when to expect growth spurts, etc... but I guess I was overprepared Really, the main thing for me was wanting to be able to explain the "why" of things we were doing and why that was the best choice for our family.. and believe me, it came in handy.

And it continues... MIL was telling me Saturday that it was a horrible idea for me to be teaching DS to stick out his tongue at me.... stopped her short when I explained that he's a bit tongue tied, and getting him to do things like stick out his tongue is stretching it out a bit (he can stick his tongue out twice as far now!) and that I'd much rather have a little one sticking out his tongue than having to have it clipped as its such a gentler alternative... LOL - she just looked at me and said "oh"

What helped me the most with my mother and MIL was when I read that the first three months should be considered the fourth trimester and babies NEED to be held/worn as much as possible... that it reduces the risk of colic, etc.

kerc 05-24-2004 02:16 PM

What helped me the most with my mother and MIL was when I read that the first three months should be considered the fourth trimester and babies NEED to be held/worn as much as possible... that it reduces the risk of colic, etc.
and that's in the really popular book/video about how to calm a crying baby -- how to have the happiest baby on the block by Harvey Carp

Embee 05-24-2004 10:56 PM


I totally get where you're at right now... I was there (realizations and all) 3 1/2 years ago. And you know? I've found that I didn't really have to do any "getting my mom to my kind of thinking" tricks. I simply need to follow my own heart and instincts because I was now THE MOM. My mom was certainly taken aback by many of the choices DH and I have made, and I admit early on there were some uncomfortable times between us. However, as time has passed and I have made my choices confidently and QUIETLY clear, my mom has seen that there is indeed another way to parent a child. My son is amazing and she loves him beyond words. She doesn't question one thing I do. Not one thing. And every once and awhile, I even ask her for advice or experiences she had as a mom. There is a general feeling of mutual respect between us. The comparison we've found is a difficult one to make. She hadn't much access to parenting literature at that time and also had a large family which she raised largely on her own. Me, OTOH, chose to wait until my 30's to start a family and have decided, happily to stop at one. I have a hands on DH. Two people, two totally different situations, two different times.

As for not knowing what you'll do until they "come out." I'm not so sure I agree with your Dad (a cute story though). The fact is, I HAD instincts that many traditional or "mainstream" books wanted to refute and disengage. I went looking for information to support how *I* felt and was soooooooo relieved to know there was indeed another way. This empowered me to feel confident about my choices and helped me shape a philosophy for raising my son. Sure, I've changed some things here and there to meet his needs or mine when it was appropriate, but overall, I did have a strong feeling about the HOWS and the WHYS and have brought them into my actual parenting.

So, while being long winded here what I'm trying to say is... don't worry so much about swaying people to your way of thinking. Simply raise your child the way you feel is right and feel confident in that. Chances are your confidence will speak volumes and if your parents are respectful of your choices (and they should be, they raised you 100% right, right?) then they should give advice only when asked. AP is really such a state of mind... a way of raising a child with a different mindset. The example you gave of running to room was certainly one I lived myself. The difference between my mom's thinking and mine would she would have certainly seen it as an "act" as you said. For me, I'd have seen it as a call for attention... when my son is doing something for attention it's usually because that's exactly what he needs.

The best to you and go forth in confidence.

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