This is kind of branch off the “cop-out” thread, but my pet peeve is when people say that AP isn’t about following a set of rules.
Why not? Seeing AP as a set of rules has had nothing but positive effects in my family.
Rule#1 – NO CIO
There’s no excuse. End of story. I don’t care what the circumstances are in anyone’s life. No adult is allowed to take out their own frustrations or inability to cope on a baby. The same people who let their babies scream inconsolably for hours would never dare, in a million years, ignore their boss, or a police officer. If you can set your problems aside for other adults, you can bloody well set them aside for your infant.
Rule#2 – Breastfeed
I had breast surgery when I was only 19, and I was told by everyone, including my midwife, that I would not be able to breastfeed. But breastfeeding is a rule of AP, so I decided that my baby would spend as much time as she wanted at the breast REGARDLESS of whether she was getting milk. Supplementing with formula doesn’t prevent you from letting your baby nurse. Even if they get a teaspoon, it’s better than nothing, and the nuzzling and sucking is what your baby has been programmed to expect. I know there are some women who cannot breastfeed (very few, but some), but that is no excuse to never let your baby nurse. The only women who should not have a baby at their breast are those who are taking medications that would poison their little ones.
In my case, the MIDWIFE WAS WRONG. I can breastfeed, and I would never have known that if I didn’t see breastfeeding as an absolute rule.
Feeding your baby formula because you can’t produce enough milk is no excuse to stop breastfeeding. Use both.
RULE #3 – Baby bonds with a primary caregiver
Before I had my first baby, I thought daycare was a fine thing. But then I realized that daycare is only fine for the parents. We scaled down our life, so that I could stay home. We moved to a smaller house, in an older neighborhood, and lo and behold, found ourselves surrounded by like-minded people who have done the same thing. I have a whole community of families who are making sane choices for their children, right outside my front door. I would never have known it if my husband and I hadn’t decided to follow the AP rules and give our children ONE primary caregiver to bond to.
RULE #4 – Wear your baby
I refused every baby gadget that was offered to me (and they were all offered, at one time or another) so I never had the option of putting my baby in a plastic substitute for Mama’s arms. No stroller, no playpen, no crib, no highchair, no saucer, no nothing.
Carrying Joy for the first few weeks was just murder. My back hurt, my feet hurt, my arms ached, my shoulders cried every night. But babywearing is an AP rule, and I followed it. Five years later, I am 20 pounds lighter than when I first got pregnant, fit and strong, and all because I carry my children. I don’t pay membership dues to any fancy health care club – I carry my babies! The best, and cheapest fitness plan going.
RULE #5 – Cosleep
Babies need a grown up nearby. They can DIE if you keep them isolated behind bars in another room.
I hated sleeping, all three of us, in our queen sized bed, at first. It was crowded, it was noisy, it was distracting. But co-sleeping is an AP rule, too, and I followed it. I decided my furniture was NOT more important than my children and dismantled my beautiful Quaker set, which sits now, safe and sound in the basement. We are now four, in two queen size beds, side by side in the master bedroom, and all very comfortable and happy. Every night I go to sleep, looking at the faces of my beautiful little girls, thinking how soon it will all be over, and that I will never regret one minute I spent cuddling them, listening to them breath, asleep.
Now my husband has an office, I have an office and the kids have a school/playroom. It’s brilliant. What a waste of space to have all those bedrooms.
Nothing but good news all around for our family. So why shouldn’t AP be a set of rules, when following them can have such marvelous repercussions?
Here’s to the Rules! Too bad more people didn’t follow them.