Workshop #5 - Baby’s Early Years; Crying, Night Waking, and Attachment Parenting - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 46 Old 08-16-2008, 01:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Workshop #5 - Baby’s Early Years: Crying, Night Waking, and Attachment Parenting

Welcome to our fifth Natural Family Living discussion: Baby’s Early Years: , Night Waking, and Attachment Parenting. This discussion will key in on Part 2 – Baby’s Early Years: , Night Waking, and Attachment Parenting from Peggy O’Mara’s book Natural Family Living.

Some of the topics we'll discuss are;

Chapter 7 Crying
  • Why Crying Makes Us Uncomfortable
  • Crying Is Your Baby’s First Language
  • Responding to Our Children’s Cries
  • Why Your Baby May Be Crying
  • A Good Cry
  • Tips for Colic
  • Crying in the Older Child
  • It’s Okay for you to Cry, Too
Chapter 8 Night Waking
  • Instinct for Survival
  • Child Development and Night Waking
  • The Family Bed
  • Parent Development and Night Waking
  • Why Babies Wake at Night
  • How to Nurture a Child in the Wee Hours
Chapter 9 Attachment Parenting
  • What is Attachment Parenting?
  • The Art of “Babywearing”
  • The Benefits of Babywearing
  • Getting Started Babywearing
  • The Nature of Dependency
  • Responding to your Childs Needs
  • What Happens when you do not Respond
  • What about Spoiling?
  • The Roots of Attachment Parenting
  • Giving it a Name
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Work, Childcare, and Choices
  • Finding Fulfillment as a Mom
  • The Myth of Quality Time
  • Parenting is not a 9-to-5 Job

Whether you’re a new parent or a more experienced parent, these are topics that you can learn from, share your experience and reflect. You will encounter posts here that do not feel right to you and that’s ok. This is an open dialog and we ask that everyone be respectful of others' opinions. Take what feels right to you and leave the rest behind. Please be respectful to all our members so that the workshop can be a place of meaningful and respectful discussion for all our members. If you have a favorite quote from Natural Family Living, please share it.

We would like to invite everyone to join us no matter where you are in your thinking or feelings. These discussions are meant to be nonjudgmental so please keep in mind when reading members' responses that this is a true discussion based on Natural Family Living and not a place to debate or criticize. Feel free to tell your story; what are/were some of your challenges as a new mother? Do you feel supported in your decisions? What have you learned that you’d like to share? What would you like more information on?

We’re excited to offer this workshop and hope it will give our members a glimpse into the grassroots of Mothering magazine and Natural Family Living.

This workshop will be facilitated by our moderator Shayinme . She is here to guide the discussion and keep it on topic. She will occasionally post references or ask questions to keep the conversation flowing. Please feel free to contact her at any time with questions, suggestions or concerns. Please keep in mind our workshop guidelines and current user agreement at all times.

We are compiling a Natural Family Living Resources Sticky which we will update with each workshop. Please feel free to refer to it for more information. For articles and information on our current workshop, please see the Baby’s Early Years; Crying, Night Waking, and Attachment Parenting page.
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#2 of 46 Old 08-16-2008, 10:02 AM
 
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Welcome : I only have a second but wanted to just post a greeting, I am looking forward to a rich discussion as I am passionate about AP parenting in the early days. Especially because with my eldest who is 16, I dodn't know such a thing existed but when pregnant with my 3 yo. I stumbled into AP and have been there ever since.

Anyway please jump into the conversation.

Mothering since 1992...its one of the many hats I wear.
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#3 of 46 Old 08-17-2008, 12:46 PM
 
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Ok, I'll bump this conversation because I'm newish here and I've been wondering about APing.

I know it basically evolved from carrying DC constantly, whether it be in arms or sling, but what makes APing superior? Why is it so important and what are the basic premises?

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#4 of 46 Old 08-18-2008, 01:08 AM
 
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I am looking for more information about fulfillment as a mom. I was 29 and 32 years old when my daughters were born. They are now 4.5 and 2. I worked before I had them.

Some moms I know became a mother and it was a little bump on the road of life. Others of us hit motherhood like a ton of bricks. Motherhood has really challenged me and changed me. I have done alot of reading and I've really worked hard at being a good mom. I am mostly happy with my handling of crying, night waking, and attachment parenting. I am really struggling with having balance in my life as a mother. What has worked for others? What helps you cope and feel more fulfilled?
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#5 of 46 Old 08-18-2008, 02:20 AM
 
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Ok, I'll bump this conversation because I'm newish here and I've been wondering about APing.

I know it basically evolved from carrying DC constantly, whether it be in arms or sling, but what makes APing superior? Why is it so important and what are the basic premises?
I'm no expert but I'll share what I know about AP as far as babywearing goes.

When a baby is carried in a sling (or even on the hip for that matter but slings and such make it much more comfy) they learn more than they would while sitting in a stroller. The reason for this is because they are at eye level with everyone, experiencing expressions and other movements. This type of learning isn't available to them at knee level in a stroller.

Also, when a baby or toddler is feeling overstimulated, it is easier for them to turn into their mother if being held. Once again, a baby can't really turn away from stimulation while in a stroller.

This isn't to say that a stroller can't be used, I own one and I do use it. But I also use my sling depending on the age of the baby and the situation. The younger the baby is the more they are in the sling. I typically don't start using a stroller until a baby can sit up and then I still bring the sling along b/c they are bound to cry, thus wanting to be held.

I also believe that a baby feels much more secure in his/her environment when attached to mom or dad and this can create a better learning experience for them.

Have you ever heard of the 4th trimester? A lot of people call the first 9 months (is that right...9 months?) the 4th trimester b/c it is quite a change for a baby to go from the comfort of the womb to the outside world. So, in the 4th trimester, we no longer carry our baby's in the womb, but in our arms.

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Originally Posted by thomrho View Post
I am looking for more information about fulfillment as a mom. I was 29 and 32 years old when my daughters were born. They are now 4.5 and 2. I worked before I had them.

Some moms I know became a mother and it was a little bump on the road of life. Others of us hit motherhood like a ton of bricks. Motherhood has really challenged me and changed me. I have done alot of reading and I've really worked hard at being a good mom. I am mostly happy with my handling of crying, night waking, and attachment parenting. I am really struggling with having balance in my life as a mother. What has worked for others? What helps you cope and feel more fulfilled?
Mothering hit me like a ton of bricks! I didn't expect my first daughter and I had a 5 year-plan that she put an abrupt stop to.

I try really hard to be a good mother also b/c I don't feel like it's just a natural thing that comes to me. I have to work to have sympathy for my 4 y.o. dd and I can become easily frustrated at crying, etc.

I have found that talking with and reading about other like-minded mamas like the ones here at MDC can keep me focused on the mother I want to be. I also avoid complaining about the things that my children do that I know are normal and age appropriate, although annoying or frustrating...this only sets me up to have a lack of patience for later when I need to handle them.


When you say you are having trouble finding balance is that b/c you SAH and aren't sure how to balance your personal time while still practicing AP?
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#6 of 46 Old 08-18-2008, 11:46 AM
 
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When you say you are having trouble finding balance is that b/c you SAH and aren't sure how to balance your personal time while still practicing AP?

Yes. You hit the nail on the head. I am a SAHM. Like you, I had a five year plan...career etc. But now I feel like these young years are too important to miss. I call this time pre-retirement. I've been totally focused on motherhood. In my pursuit of being a "good mother" I feel like I may have failed to maintain my individuality. I am undergoing a metamophosis of what defines me. How do others maintain good friendships, hobbies, and interests while practicing attachment parenting?
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#7 of 46 Old 08-18-2008, 01:29 PM
 
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Yes. You hit the nail on the head. I am a SAHM. Like you, I had a five year plan...career etc. But now I feel like these young years are too important to miss. I call this time pre-retirement. I've been totally focused on motherhood. In my pursuit of being a "good mother" I feel like I may have failed to maintain my individuality. I am undergoing a metamophosis of what defines me. How do others maintain good friendships, hobbies, and interests while practicing attachment parenting?
I'm not one for leaving my DC with babysitters and we've never left them overnight before so I don't get very much time away by myself or with DH.

The way I see it is that doing this toddler thing () isn't who I am...I am still Carrie who loves to garden, kayak, etc. and I will do those things again. But for now, I want to make sure that I am giving my DC a good start in life by teaching/leading them in the right direction.

They will get older and I will look back at how this time passed so quickly.

My sister told me once that after a woman has a baby it takes about 7 years for her to regain her 'self.'

I don't live around people that necessarily have the same perspectives on natural family living as I do but I do have friends. There are times that I don't do things or leave early b/c of the kids but they are my priority. I think just finding like-minded people to hang out with and making quick phone calls when you can, sending emails, etc. can keep you in touch when you feel like you aren't getting around them enough.

Hmm, hobbies. I tried sewing the other day and DS kept turning the machine off. It lasted about 10 min. then he stopped. I guess patience is part of it and organization is another.

I guess making my kids be my main interest helps to feel like I am doing what I love. I love the age that dd is getting to (4). I feel like we can do so many more things with her, have some friendly little talks, etc.
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#8 of 46 Old 08-18-2008, 01:38 PM
 
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interesting workshop. i dont have time to post a long reply right now but wanted to sub.

i have found baby wearing to be the very best idea in the world. my 2.7 yo is still content in an Ergo and gets comforted that way. often he will say "back, back" to let me know he would rather the Ergo than walking, etc. etc. Being pregnant, its the method of least resistance for me now...i don't have to run after him (which im not good at right now) and he can see everything.

Night waking...since we cosleep thats not a huge issue for us. we soothe at night as we do in the day time. the only problem i have w/ night waking is some unexplained night terrors..those kind of freak me out.
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#9 of 46 Old 08-18-2008, 01:40 PM
 
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I would love to touch on babywearing for a disabled mama. How to make it work.

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#10 of 46 Old 08-18-2008, 02:19 PM
 
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I am subbing and jumping in. I LOVE this topic. Some of my greatest times with my children have been in the wee hours of the night out in the living room in the dark, just me and baby! Awwww. Having four kids ranging in age from 16 to 11 months I have done my fair share of babywearing, nighttime parenting, holding crying babies and trying to find my Self amidst it all. I think one of the hardest things for me is going long periods of time on little sleep. There are times it starts to feel like some sort of cruel torture. The thought that this is just a very short time in my children's lives really gets me through those harder time.

I was very committed to being a different sort of parent than my own. I knew I wanted and needed to have a connection with my children that was stronger than any circumstance that could come up. Connecting with my babies in the beginning by holding, caring, responding to their needs and being with them I started the foundation of connection. Throughout the years I have kept that connection as the priority when dealing with anything that comes up. Keeping my eyes on the "connection" prize has helped me weather all the storms of no sleep, crying babies, hurting back and lack of support.

I am NOT a perfect parent, by far. By having a model to hold up it is easy for me to see when I am off my path. When I choose circumstances over connection it is easy to see how I have vered off. I can then work towards connecting with my children and work through any problem that arises.

Off to "connect" with my kids!!! :

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#11 of 46 Old 08-18-2008, 02:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by janasmama View Post

My sister told me once that after a woman has a baby it takes about 7 years for her to regain her 'self.'

I guess making my kids be my main interest helps to feel like I am doing what I love. I love the age that dd is getting to (4). I feel like we can do so many more things with her, have some friendly little talks, etc.
I realized in reading your quote that I feel alot of the same ways you do about it. This is a season in my life. I also realized what is at the heart of my concern...FEAR. I have known women that lived their entire lives for their children and when their children left home they had nothing left of themselves. They were empty. Some of these women I know have then lived their lives through their husbands after their children left. I don't think that is healthy. SOOOO, maybe I just need to recognize that this is an okay and healthy stage in my life. I will and my children will "wean" away. As they do, I can slowly develop other interests and my self while maintaining a strong connection and support for them. In the meantime, I should enjoy the passions and opportunities this brings. I have made mommy friends I would never have made otherwise. I have learned alot about myself in this process.
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#12 of 46 Old 08-18-2008, 02:56 PM
 
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I was very committed to being a different sort of parent than my own. I knew I wanted and needed to have a connection with my children that was stronger than any circumstance that could come up. Connecting with my babies in the beginning by holding, caring, responding to their needs and being with them I started the foundation of connection. Throughout the years I have kept that connection as the priority when dealing with anything that comes up. Keeping my eyes on the "connection" prize has helped me weather all the storms of no sleep, crying babies, hurting back and lack of support.

I am by far a perfect parent.
I think you meant "I am far from perfect"....but maybe you didn't.

I love you how said "connection prize." I really like that...I too am being a much different mother than my own was. I have found myself to feel sad that I would never have a strong relationship with my mom and I felt that experience had been lost forever.

Then a wise woman told me that it isn't lost forever, I have the opportunity to have it with my DC...I will just be on the mothering side of the relationship. I'm running the race b/c I want that prize!
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I think you meant "I am far from perfect"....but maybe you didn't.

I love you how said "connection prize." I really like that...I too am being a much different mother than my own was. I have found myself to feel sad that I would never have a strong relationship with my mom and I felt that experience had been lost forever.

Then a wise woman told me that it isn't lost forever, I have the opportunity to have it with my DC...I will just be on the mothering side of the relationship. I'm running the race b/c I want that prize!
OOPS! I corrected it to say what I wanted to say. I am NOT a perfect parent, by far! I agree about getting that special mother/child connection this time around. I get to do things for my kids that I wanted done for me and that helps to heal old wounds.
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#14 of 46 Old 08-18-2008, 03:40 PM
 
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I have known women that lived their entire lives for their children and when their children left home they had nothing left of themselves. They were empty. Some of these women I know have then lived their lives through their husbands after their children left. I don't think that is healthy.
This is called Co-dependency and it's another addiction. It's up there with drinking, drugs, workaholics, etc.

I wish I had the option of not leaving DD with a stranger while I had to work, but it wasn't financially feasable. How can I make leaving DC with a child care provider to work fit into AP?

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#15 of 46 Old 08-18-2008, 05:35 PM
 
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I know it basically evolved from carrying DC constantly, whether it be in arms or sling, but what makes APing superior? Why is it so important and what are the basic premises?
Quoting Peggy O'Mara in Natural Family Living:
Quote:
Attachment parenting -- or "responsive," or "in-arms" parenting -- recognizes the strong attachment babies have to their mothers and encourages close physical contact between children and their mothers until the children are ready to become more independent. ...

Attachment parenting is instinctive parenting. You do not need a book to tell you how to do it -- your instincts will tell you what you need to know, and if they do not tell you right away, your child will guide you with her demands. Babies are biologically programmed to let us know what they need, if we just listen to them.
I also think lactivist got it right on the head:

Quote:
Originally Posted by lactivist View Post
Connecting with my babies in the beginning by holding, caring, responding to their needs and being with them I started the foundation of connection. Throughout the years I have kept that connection as the priority when dealing with anything that comes up. Keeping my eyes on the "connection" prize has helped me weather all the storms of no sleep, crying babies, hurting back and lack of support.
It's all about connection, rather than control; relationships, rather than "results"; observing your child rather and figuring out what unfulfilled need is making them act out rather than blindly demanding obedience.

And from Attachment Parenting International:
Quote:
The essence of Attachment Parenting is about forming and nurturing strong connections between parents and their children. Attachment Parenting challenges us as parents to treat our children with kindness, respect and dignity, and to model in our interactions with them the way we'd like them to interact with others.
Attachment parenting is only "superior" if your goal in parenting is attachment, relationships, connection, and healthy interdependence rather than pathological in/dependence. In infancy, it's "superior" because it is biologically appropriate parenting: babies expect (near) constant contact, to have their cries responded to, to have access to the breast, to sleep with their parent(s). These are not new-fangled ideas, but biological directives. Yes, we can override these needs to a certain extent and "get away with it", but why would we want to, without pressing reasons? See Our Babies, Ourselves by Meredith Small for a great discussion of the cultural/biological negotiations that shape our parenting.
Quote:
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How do others maintain good friendships, hobbies, and interests while practicing attachment parenting?
One, as others have already said, I think we have to keep in mind that no matter HOW one parents, the early years are simply intense. But again, quoting Peggy:
Quote:
Although attachment parenting may sound like an all-consuming approach to parenthood, it is, in many ways, the easiest, most natural way to raise children. The more contact you have with your child, the more adept you become at reading his body signals, and the more responsive you can be to his needs -- often before he even articulates those needs. The more your child is held, the happier he will be, and the more you will want to be around him. The more you hold your child and nurse him on demand, the higher your levels of prolactin and oxytocin... will soar...
and
Quote:
There are many ways to maintain a career or outside interests from home. ...children do not need to be the center of attention to be well-adjusted -- they simply need to be kept close and integrated into the activities of their parents. ...they need to be the observers in order to absorb and learn as the adults around them go about the business of daily life.
I think that last part is key, and is something that often gets lost when we pursue attachment with our children. I have a very strong belief in benign neglect (which babywearing is a perfect example of, and I can expand on that more later); that is, while we need to meet their needs, which in the early months and, to a lesser extent, years, that involves access to our bodies, and our occasional attention, not necessarily our complete attention at all times. Our children need to be on our radar at all times, but not in the center of our universe at all times. I love the image of having a baby orbit YOU as the center of hir universe; we do not orbit THEM (although to be sure our lives change radically when they enter our universe), and we do not deny our importance in their lives and shut them away, but rather WE go about OUR lives, and welcome them to orbit us, watch us, learn from us, touch us, suckle from us.

ETA Peggy said it better than I could:
Quote:
Responding to your child's needs doesn't mean making your child the center of your universe. In fact, the opposite is true -- for the first few years, at least, your child's universe centers around you. Attachment parenting means honoring your child's needs for closeness -- it does not mean giving up your own life.
So, to bring this back from high fallutin' orbit () back to the mundanely personal, that means that although I gave up knitting once my child was old enough to start grabbing at it, I've just set it aside in favor of pursuits that are more child-welcoming. We're gardening for the first time this year, in part because Naked Baby loves digging in the dirt and playing outside. I've picked up baking (and need to go taste my blackberry scones, which have been cooking while I was typing this , and Naked Baby loves to help me stir. I don't have "playdates", but I make an effort to regularly get together with other people and let our kids play around us while we have adult conversation. Although for the first couple months, I used the time to catch up on my fiction reading , when he was a bit older I had moderating to meet my intellectual needs. I've continued to study midwifery. I'm looking into attending school in the evenings and weekends when my partner is available to care for Naked Baby, now that he can go for a few hours without me.

I also cannot underline enough the importance of having other involved adults; ideally, if you have a partner, they are a FULL partner and equally involved parent, even if they don't have the breasts. ANYONE can babywear, and babies benefit from having a different perspective and rhythm in life, and attaching to other adults, and moms benefit from getting the physical break while their babies' needs are still being met. If you don't have a partner, maybe a parent or a sibling or a close friend can fill this need for you.



I have more, but my baby needs me, so I'll be back later.
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I also think that we are able to learn our babies cues faster when we AP, thus allowing us to meet their needs. Then, in normal conditions, we may not feel as though our baby is 'just crying' or 'crying all the time' b/c the problem seems more obvious.

Does that make any sense?

I agree with Arwyn that a partner that is a full partner makes a huge difference by giving support. I remember my DH would cater to my everything while I would nurse constantly in the early months.
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Originally Posted by janasmama View Post
I also think that we are able to learn our babies cues faster when we AP, thus allowing us to meet their needs. Then, in normal conditions, we may not feel as though our baby is 'just crying' or 'crying all the time' b/c the problem seems more obvious.

Does that make any sense?
Yes, absolutely. I always say that although I may not know what it is, there is ALWAYS a reason for my baby (or toddler!)'s cries. He's not "crying for no reason", but he may be crying for no discernible reason. Doesn't make it any less frustrating, to be sure! But it also helps me remember that there is hope, and that because there is a reason, I can figure it out, even if the reason is just that he needs to cry right now. If we believe our babies cry for no reason (or no good reason), we are literally hope-less, and we have no reason to pay attention to them. That's a sad place to be in (I know, I've been there before!).

Peggy again:
Quote:
Your baby cries because she wants something... your baby's wants and needs are the same. If she cries out for you, it is because she needs you. Yes, she is "manipulating" you. Babies are biologically designed to manipulate their parents -- to communicate their needs and have those needs fulfilled -- in order to ensure their survival.

Quote:
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I agree with Arwyn that a partner that is a full partner makes a huge difference by giving support. I remember my DH would cater to my everything while I would nurse constantly in the early months.
Oh yes! As Mothering's t-shirts say, Real Men Support Breastfeeding! My partner also has one that says "Real Men Wear Babies" -- and he does.


OK, to continue my post-extravaganza:

Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelBee View Post
I would love to touch on babywearing for a disabled mama. How to make it work.
I'd encourage you to visit our Babywearing forum. The Babywearer also has a forum specifically for Disabilities, Chronic Illness, Special Needs and Babywering.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShwarmaQueen View Post
How can I make leaving DC with a child care provider to work fit into AP?
Again, it's all about maintaining connections. It's OK for your child to have connections with multiple people (it may even be good for them!), but you want to make sure that whatever care provider you use is going to be meeting their needs in as close a way as possible as you would yourself; find an Attachment Parenting daycare! All the better if they will wear your child, feed on demand, take their cries (or tantrums) seriously, etc. I've also heard from many work out of home parents that cosleeping and night nursing really help build that physical closeness with their child -- I know my partner loves cosleeping and babywearing because he can "bond" with Naked Baby even though he works in an office 40 hours a week. (He also comes home every day for lunch, which also helps.)

Quoting Peggy:
Quote:
Honoring the mother-child attachment does not necessarily mean giving up working when you have a child. Women in all societies have always worked. In tribal cultures, women might gather food or weave baskets, with their babies either carried with them in a sling, or cared for by other members of the village. ...many women maintain their careers once they have children because working brings them personal fulfillment.
I'd also encourage you to explore the Working and Student Mamas forum.

I do believe that whenever possible, babies should be with their mothers near-exclusively for as long as possible -- six weeks, three months, six months, a year, three years, whatever you can manage is a gift not only for your child but for yourself. As much as I'm grateful that technology has made pumping and feeding expressed breastmilk possible, it is so much easier to get it "direct from the tap", and children benefit from having that consistency of care, and the ease of access to the person who smells and feels and sounds most "right" to them. But, it is entirely possible to practice attachment parenting and pursue outside interests and employment. It is NOT a one-or-the-other dichotomy, and anything that sets it up as an opposition is just fueling the "mommy wars", and should be thoroughly ignored. In many ways, I think the specific "tools" of attachment parenting (breastfeeding, babywearing, cosleeping) are even more important for the WOHP, to build that relationship in the time available.

From Attachment Parenting International again:
Quote:
Babies and young children have an intense need for the physical presence of a consistent, loving, responsive caregiver: ideally a parent. Daily care and playful, loving interactions build strong bonds. By providing consistent, loving care from early infancy, parents strengthen their relationship with their child and build a healthy attachment. If neither parent can be a full-time caregiver, then a child needs someone who is not only consistent and loving, but has formed a bond with them and consciously provides care in a way that strengthens the attachment relationship.
and
Quote:
Working and Alternate Caregivers

* Explore a variety of economic and work arrangement options to permit your child to be cared for by one or both parents at all times
* It is extremely important to have continuity of care with a consistent, loving, caregiver
* Parents should expect and encourage their child to form an attachment to the caregiver
* Frequent turnover of caregivers can be very damaging to the attachment process
* Make the transition to a caregiver well in advance of any separation so that it is a gradual process and is comfortable for the child
* Minimizing the number of hours in non-parental care as much as possible provides the best opportunity for a child to build secure attachments with parents
* Holding and cuddling helps parents and babies reconnect after being apart. Include the child in day-to-day tasks, and spend non-work time with family

And thus ends (I think ) my postapoluza for today. Back to your regularly scheduled workshop!
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#18 of 46 Old 08-19-2008, 11:40 AM
 
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Arwyn, WOW, your postapoluza was incredible.
I feel that I've gleened some much wisdom just from your posts.

Thank you for the info about WOH and AP. I work 34 hrs a week and sometimes worry that some irreperable damage is being done to ds because of it. I stayed home with my older two. Even though I stayed home with them, I didn't know about AP then. Most of my parenting w/ them was probably more AP because I used "mommy instinct". Actually I listened to the wisdom of my mother, who told me to parent by what "feels" right. She was a very wise woman.

I enjoy all aspects of AP, but my favorite is co-sleeping. When ds wakes up in the morning and smiles at me, my heart melts. He then reaches over and touches (more like hits, but he tries ) daddy's face to wake him. These are memories and connections I don't think any of us will forget.

I do have a question about how to help my teenagers understand better what they should do to really connect with their little brother (btw, he's 13 mos). They will both be leaving the house in the next few years and I want to make sure he has connections and memories with them. DS#1 seems more intuned with ds#2, I think it's because he knows he will be graduating this year and going to college, so he wants to get as much time in as possible. I just want to suggest things to help that.

I also would love to hear someone talk more to the concept of us keeping who we are, maintaining hobbies or other intests without feeling guilty. (Big problem for me) I agree with a pp that said we undergo a metamorphasis, but that should just be part of life right? I sometimes wonder if my changes, feeling good about who I am, is because I am over 40 or if its part of the new mom that I am with my LO.

Looking forward to reading much more on these issues. Sorry for the ramblings.
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#19 of 46 Old 08-19-2008, 12:02 PM
 
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I also would love to hear someone talk more to the concept of us keeping who we are, maintaining hobbies or other intests without feeling guilty. (Big problem for me) I agree with a pp that said we undergo a metamorphasis, but that should just be part of life right? I sometimes wonder if my changes, feeling good about who I am, is because I am over 40 or if its part of the new mom that I am with my LO.
FUNNY THING. After I posted about creating balance between our needs and the needs of our kids, I came across the following (edited by me) in the book, First Things First, by Stephen Covey. It made me realize that there are basic needs we must all fulfill for ourselves and needs that we need to help our children in fulfilling.


Quoted parts that really intrigued me:

There are certain things that are fundamental to human fulfillment. If these basic needs aren’t met, we feel empty, incomplete.

The essence of these needs is captured in the phrase “to live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy.”

The need to live is our physical need for such things as food, clothing, shelter, economic well-being, health.

The need to love is our social need to relate to other people, to belong, to love, to be loved.

The need to learn is our mental need to develop and to grow.

The need to leave a legacy is our spiritual need to have a sense of meaning, purpose, personal congruence, and contribution.



Each of these needs is vitally important. Any one of these needs unmet, reduces quality of life. Any one of these needs, unmet, can become a black hole that devours your energy and attention. Other needs tend to be ignored, and quality of life suffers in every dimension. Any one of these needs, unmet, can drive you to urgency addiction. As you respond time and again to urgent, unmet needs, you tend to become and excellent crisis manager. You may begin to prioritize the crises and do the urgent more efficiently, thinking, “If I’m busy, I must be effective.” But these activities don’t bring quality-of-life results. They don’t meet the underlying needs.

Only as we see the interrelatedness and the powerful synergy of these four needs do we become empowered to fulfill them in a way that creates true inner balance, deep human fulfillment, and joy.
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#20 of 46 Old 08-19-2008, 12:44 PM
 
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So true, I find that when I get caught up in the day to day, without feeling connected to the people around me, I am missing the need for love. I find that I become one of those that think "if I am busy, I must be effective". This must mean, we need to slow down and make sure we connect, daily, with those around us.
I notice, also, that I sometimes become so "busy" in parenting that I do not feel that I am learning anything, upon slowing down, of course I am learning. I think even with a toddler, we learn, if we open our eyes to it.

I definitely agree with the "black hole" devouring our energy. I used to let this happen. I think the turning point for me was when my mom died 6 1/2 yrs ago. I realized that life is short and we don't get a second chance at it. I have changed my attitude toward my dh and kids, and life in general. I just wish dh would have that realization, but that belongs on a different thread.
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#21 of 46 Old 08-19-2008, 10:42 PM
 
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Arwyn, WOW, your postapoluza was incredible.
I feel that I've gleened some much wisdom just from your posts.
Aww, thanks! I'm really just repeating wisdom I've picked up from hanging out here (and with some amazing parents in real life, and reading approximately a thousand books ) over the past several years. I feel really lucky I'm able to share it again now.


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Originally Posted by ricemom3 View Post
I do have a question about how to help my teenagers understand better what they should do to really connect with their little brother (btw, he's 13 mos). They will both be leaving the house in the next few years and I want to make sure he has connections and memories with them. DS#1 seems more intuned with ds#2, I think it's because he knows he will be graduating this year and going to college, so he wants to get as much time in as possible. I just want to suggest things to help that.
Babywearing! Like I said, anyone can babywear, and it's such a huge bonding experience. Have your teens wear your little one, especially when they're doing interesting things like working in the yard, going to a store you normally don't shop at, going to places you normally don't go (skate parks? not while skating, obviously, but to watch), or even just walking around the neighbourhood or doing chores. Whether on the back, the front, or hip, babywearing provides such an excellent opportunity for both physical and emotional closeness, and is simply an amazing foundation for a relationship, whether with parents, siblings, grandparents, babysitters, whatever.

Obviously you can't force this, without breaking the very relationship you seek to create, but often times siblings find it a fun thing to do, if it's introduced in the right way. They get to do something a little weird, a little cool, that maybe looks a little dangerous or at least daring, and can learn an unusual new skill. It's worth a try, at least.
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#22 of 46 Old 08-19-2008, 11:28 PM
 
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I also would love to hear someone talk more to the concept of us keeping who we are, maintaining hobbies or other intests without feeling guilty. (Big problem for me)
I remember my mom saying that in college (before I was married) was my season for *me* I could do what I wanted when I wanted, and basically live a very selfish life. Now that I've got kids they do take up a lot of time and energy and attention. Of course I also have a spouse who needs time and attention, and I've got a house to clean and meals to cook and a dog to walk...I don't have so much time for me anymore. BUT, if I totally neglect myself, I end up with nothing left to give. It can be hard to find the happy medium, but I have learned to not feel guilty about taking some me time. I have a knitting circle that I go to one night a week. For a while I walked the dog with a neighbor so we chatted while we walked. Before we moved I went to a once-a-week playgroup where I could talk with other moms, and we had a monthly book club too. I allow myself nap time for computer time (and with a newborn it's nursing time on the computer too, ). I have realized what things "fill me up" and I do a little something pretty much every day, because it helps keep me going, and makes sure that I have something to keep giving.


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Have your teens wear your little one, especially when they're doing interesting things like working in the yard, going to a store you normally don't shop at, going to places you normally don't go (skate parks? not while skating, obviously, but to watch), or even just walking around the neighbourhood or doing chores. ...
Obviously you can't force this, without breaking the very relationship you seek to create, but often times siblings find it a fun thing to do, if it's introduced in the right way. They get to do something a little weird, a little cool, that maybe looks a little dangerous or at least daring, and can learn an unusual new skill. It's worth a try, at least.
As an oldest child who was well into my teens when the last few were born... :
I heard somewhere the 'you love who you serve' and I have repeatedly found this to be true. When I married DH and adopted my first son he had a lot of anger issues about me--he wanted daddy (DH is his bio dad and had been a single parent since DS was 5m old). This 3yo would throw tantrums and yell "I hate you" and "I want daddy" and so on. He couldn't understand this new person who was changing so many things in his life...let me tell you it's hard to love a kid who tells you he hates you (particularly when you never got to see his cute innocent baby stage) But I also knew we were in this for the long haul so I set about learning to love him and earn his love too...I discovered that the best thing to do was to serve him. I made extra efforts to make his favorite foods for lunch, take him to parks, play games with him, read him his favorite stories, etc. I know that's a bit of a tangent, but the same principle applies to teens and much-younger siblings--if they care for them, they will connect with them. Obviously you don't want to make them resent the little one by asking them to change every diaper or carry the kiddo everywhere, but asking them to help with things (different things) on a regular basis will help them develop a loving relationship.
BTW, I would not ever assume that they are available to babysit...if you want teen sibling to babysit the little one, then hire them as you would anyone else--schedule it in advance, and pay them something for their work. I think a LOT of teens resent little siblings because they have to babysit all the time and it impairs their own social life, you know? But most teens would rather babysit their own sibling than someone elses kids if they got treated the same (ie, scheduled and paid). Don't take the teens for granted--respect them and that respect and love will filter down.

~Jenni, rural frugal Alaskan, eternally married to Dragon
loving my wild things DS Wolf (12), 3 angels, DS Bear (6) & DS Eagle (3)
 

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#23 of 46 Old 08-20-2008, 12:03 AM
 
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For me, attachment parenting is the most instinctive, easiest way to interact with my babe. All the other ways seem ridiculously complicated -- elaborate sleep rituals, fancy gear, sterilizing bottles, hours listening to them scream. Attachment parenting, for me, is so intuitive. It really feel right. I'm glad we can give ourselves permission to listen to our instincts with our babies.
I use the "benign neglect" interaction frequently. My little one is perfectly content riding in the sling close to mama or daddy, watching the world go by. If a group of friends are sitting around the table, he'll quietly observe the conversation for ages, taking in the rhythms of adult interaction. When we're outside, his whole body relaxes as he experiences the breeze, the smells, the sights and the sounds of the outdoors. He's gathering information about the world and he doesn't need batteries and flashing lights to do it.
AP, to me, means interacting with my child as though he's a human, not an inconvenient object. It's a little bit of an interesting realization that your baby is a real person. And like any other person, you build a relationship and get to know each other. I feel like I know my son so well, and AP helped me do that.
I work full time, but DS came to the office with me for the first five or six months. He still comes with me one day a week, and now he's with a babysitter three days a week, along with her four year old niece. They're both great. When the babysitter puts DS in a sling, the little girl puts her baby doll in the sling too. I go over to nurse a couple of times a day. I do sometimes think about going freelance, working from home, and spending more time with my boy. I'm thinking about it more and more seriously.
Oh, and cosleeping is the best. It makes nighttimes totally painless. He does go to sleep in his crib, but we move him to the bed when we go to sleep. When he wakes in the night, there's no crying, no screaming, no trips down the hall. He just sort of gropes around for a midnight snack, and I barely wake up. It's true that if you want to avoid being a sleep deprived zombie with a newborn, you need to breastfeed and co-sleep.

Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007 . Now married to my Incredibly Nice Guy and new mama to baby Arthur.
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#24 of 46 Old 08-20-2008, 10:12 PM
 
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How do others maintain good friendships, hobbies, and interests while practicing attachment parenting?
Honestly, I don't know the answer - it is something that I really really struggle with actually.

I wanted to mention that dr. sears and the attachment parenting website both say that mother self-care is a vital part of AP - you have to take care of and nurture yourself to be able to give to others, including your children. So I would say that you really need to make maintaining good friendships, hobbies and interests a part of your AP practice. I'm still working at that though and haven't gotten there yet.

Co-sleeping with two kids (one who won't go to bed before we do) and SAHMing means that I have virtually no time without my dc.

I thought I'd also add that my sister says her parenting philosophy is "do what works" and for me that sums up AP: baby-wearing, co-sleeping etc. tend to be what babies like. But I also like that it means adjusting your approach for your family and for each of your children.

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#25 of 46 Old 08-21-2008, 01:47 AM
 
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I have a new baby coming in about 6 weeks and my 18 month old is very attached. If I sit on the couch he must be holding/hugging me or sitting on my lap. I love it. He's so adorable. I also need to carry him places just b/c of his age and b/c he wants to be although he is getting a tad better about walking and holding my hand. He also sleeps with us some nights and needs to be held by me when he is sleeping.

But, I'm worried about how I'll still do this with him when the new baby comes. I don't think that he will at all be ready for 'giving me up or sharing.'

I know that some things fall into place and I can just see how it goes but I'm curious if some other mothers experienced children less than 2 years apart and what the experience was like for them to care for a newborn and still AP the older toddler.

Wearing two slings is not an option for me. I actually can't wear a sling, I need a wrap that goes over both shoulders b/c I have a neck & shoulder problem that can be easily re-injured.
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#26 of 46 Old 08-21-2008, 05:19 AM
 
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I'm not one for leaving my DC with babysitters and we've never left them overnight before so I don't get very much time away by myself or with DH.

My sister told me once that after a woman has a baby it takes about 7 years for her to regain her 'self.'

I guess making my kids be my main interest helps to feel like I am doing what I love. I love the age that dd is getting to (4). I feel like we can do so many more things with her, have some friendly little talks, etc.
Janasmama, you really gave me a new outlook by typing that! I've wanted to be a mommy ever since I could push my doll in her stroller when I was a little girl. Now I'm a mommy and it's nothing that I expected... It's so hard!! Although, I find gets easier every day. She is 11 months old now and so much fun.
Unfortunately, I have things going on in my life right now that aren't so fun. And, as far as attachement parenting goes, it's very hands on and sometimes I feel like I'm just making things harder for myself. However, I have an amazing baby and receive nothing but positive comments about her and my parenting so I know my efforts are paying off.
She is my main interest and I am doing what I love. That is the perspective I'm going to view my life as mommy from now on so thanks!
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#27 of 46 Old 08-25-2008, 01:47 AM
 
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I am probably THE most selfish mother here. My son sits in a chair all day while I get distracted on the Internet - which makes us both cranky, annoyed with each other, and generally frustrated. I wish I could learn to just *turn it OFF*, but even when my husband turned off the internet while he was at work, I found ways to ignore my baby. I can't believe I'm admitting this. Please don't kill me. I am trying to develop more of a relationship with him - I can't help but feel maybe I'm afraid to trust myself.

I don't feel like a mother - I honestly sometimes feel too young to be one (I am 21) and so much like a kid myself. My birth was extremely impersonal (emergency C-section, didn't see son till he was 3 days old) and I wonder if that has had an impact on how I view myself and how I view my son. I also wonder if I am so afraid to screw him up that I don't want to have anything to do with him. I do love the little guy, but I have a hard time doing what I feel a mother should do.

I am getting really good at picking up on his cues however - of course, I judge myself by how well DH can pick up on them And Toby and I both love babywearing, especially now that I have a mei tai!

Kris - married to Nate since 12/06, mom to Toby since 1/08. Also servant to two felines. Done having babies for medical reasons.

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#28 of 46 Old 08-25-2008, 01:57 AM
 
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I am probably THE most selfish mother here. My son sits in a chair all day while I get distracted on the Internet - which makes us both cranky, annoyed with each other, and generally frustrated. I wish I could learn to just *turn it OFF*, but even when my husband turned off the internet while he was at work, I found ways to ignore my baby. I can't believe I'm admitting this. Please don't kill me. I am trying to develop more of a relationship with him - I can't help but feel maybe I'm afraid to trust myself.

I don't feel like a mother - I honestly sometimes feel too young to be one (I am 21) and so much like a kid myself. My birth was extremely impersonal (emergency C-section, didn't see son till he was 3 days old) and I wonder if that has had an impact on how I view myself and how I view my son. I also wonder if I am so afraid to screw him up that I don't want to have anything to do with him. I do love the little guy, but I have a hard time doing what I feel a mother should do.


Do you have some toys that you like to play with? I'm kind of a kid myself because I was robbed of my own childhood so I find it easy to 'play' or 'pretend.'

When I feel like I'm not spending enough time with my little ones I always look for a toy set that I like to play with. This helps me interact with them in a way that they enjoy. If you don't have any, look around on the internet and find something that you would buy if you were a kid. Even if your child wouldn't ordinarily like it, at this age they will just because you do.

Then when we give them this attention, our babies cry a lot less which can help is feel less resentment towards them and in turn that brings us closer, enabling us to do the things that we know we should do as mothers.
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#29 of 46 Old 08-25-2008, 12:24 PM
 
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My problem is that I have a split personality. We adopted our first child and I definitely did not AP with him -- I took a much more authoritarian approach and am now having problems doing AP with him bc of this pattern I have set. Now that we have the baby, who I started AP from the beginning, I am seeing ways of breaking this pattern with my older child and using more AP, but it is a constant struggle -- so easy to fall back into what I've always done -- while it just comes naturally for me with the baby.
Any suggestions on how to change to AP with an older child would be welcome.

Lucky wife to DH and mom to DS (10/02) and sweet DD (7/08) and DSD (3/93) and assorted animalia
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#30 of 46 Old 08-25-2008, 02:00 PM
 
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I am probably THE most selfish mother here. My son sits in a chair all day while I get distracted on the Internet - which makes us both cranky, annoyed with each other, and generally frustrated. I wish I could learn to just *turn it OFF*, but even when my husband turned off the internet while he was at work, I found ways to ignore my baby. I can't believe I'm admitting this. Please don't kill me. I am trying to develop more of a relationship with him - I can't help but feel maybe I'm afraid to trust myself.

I feel like this somedays, too. The internet is addicting. I've found myself thinking "Couldn't you just stop fussing so I could finish reading about how to be a responsive parent?" Then I realize how ridiculous I'm being. None of us is perfect.


I don't feel like a mother - I honestly sometimes feel too young to be one (I am 21) and so much like a kid myself. My birth was extremely impersonal (emergency C-section, didn't see son till he was 3 days old) and I wonder if that has had an impact on how I view myself and how I view my son. I also wonder if I am so afraid to screw him up that I don't want to have anything to do with him. I do love the little guy, but I have a hard time doing what I feel a mother should do.

I know you've probably heard this before, but you are the best mother for your child. Look at all the great things you're doing as mother -- just by reading this I can give you a couple.

First, and most importantly, you are looking for ways to be the best mother you can be. You're not making excuses, you're analyzing you are, where you are, and where you want to go. As your son grows up he'll learn from you modeling this type of behavior.

Second, you got off to a rough start with C-section and you're trying to build up a bond with your son through babywearing -- that's awesome! It can be hard to get past a difficult birth and you're taking steps to do it. I'm sure you're doing lots of other great things as well, so give yourself some credit.

Also, young moms can be fantastic moms! I haven't been there, but I've met some amazing young mamas.


I am getting really good at picking up on his cues however - of course, I judge myself by how well DH can pick up on them And Toby and I both love babywearing, especially now that I have a mei tai!
You're only going to get better at picking up on his cues I know I've learned a lot! I'm still not always super great at figuring out what she wants right away, but we always get there. Using AP ideas helps me to feel that even if I don't get it right the first time, my daughter trusts that I'll get there eventually. I think that AP gives me a bit of leeway to make mistakes because underneath there's the bond that I've been building with my daughter little by little. One frustrating day (or week, because I know I've had one!!) won't destroy the bond that we've formed.

On a totally different note, I hope I didn't totally mess up the quotes. I've never done it before so I hope it works!
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