When do we stop attachment parenting? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 35 Old 05-26-2013, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I stayed home with my extremely high-need DD for the last three years and I have no regrets about that but I am feeling that it's time for both of us to move on. DD is still nursing like a newborn and I've had enough. 

 

We had to put one of our dogs to sleep last week and I know DD is having a really hard time coping with the loss. She thinks we sent the dog away and she is very angry which I completely understand. I know she needs some time to adjust and cope so this is probably not the best time to bring on more changes but I am starting to feel that it's time to detach a little. I want stop co-sleeping. I want to stop breastfeeding. I want her to go to school full-time. I was considering homeschooling for awhile but I don't think I can take 24/7 mothering any longer. 

 

I know she is still a child but she isn't a baby anymore. I don't feel the same degree of responsibility or urgency to be by her side and protect her from everything. 

 

I used to feel too guilty and anxious about even the idea of leaving her with a sitter for a few hours. I do work a few hours a week while hubby watches her so my work has been the only break I've ever had from her but as I teach young ones, instead of dealing with DD, I get to deal with 20 of them which isn't really that much of a break. I am starting to feel really excited about the prospect of having her in a full-time preschool. I do have a transition plan (6 months of 3hr x 2 days, 6 months of 5 mornings a week, then one year of full-time preschool) but I'm surprised that I am feeling so eager to spend less time with her right now. I thought I'd want to keep her home with me for as long as possible. 

 

Is this just a phase I'm going through, a bad day, or sometimes, is it really time to move on?

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#2 of 35 Old 05-26-2013, 05:30 PM
 
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It can be really exhausting to be EVERYTHING to one person.  It's totally understandable you want your needs to count, too.  I don't think I would bring on a ton of changes at once, but if you're ready to make some changes - prioritize, make a plan, tell her what's going to happen, and stick to it.  IMO, being wishy washy and giving in when they protest is just confusing for small children.  The rule is this, this is what we do.  Most people buck change, especially small children, but your needs count and you're just as important as she is.  It is ok to want some independence for yourself.
 

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#3 of 35 Old 05-26-2013, 06:03 PM
 
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First of all, hugs. I know how draining it is, especially with a first when you don't see the ending to all of this.

Secondly, I agree with PP. If you're not happy with something, you can make some changes - bigger or smaller. It won't make you less of an attached parent.

 

To answer your question, I found that attachment parenting means responding to your child's needs, not keeping her attached to you all the time. I have an 8 y/o and our days of co-sleeping and breastfeeding are long gone. He goes to school full time. When he goes to a playdate, he doesn't need (or want) me to be there with him. He asks to stay home alone and wants his own key. His needs are now different.

 

My 3.5 y/o is still nursing, but only a couple of times a day. She's transitioning to sleeping alone these days, but still crawls in our bed in the middle of the night. I've been SAH with her until recently, when she started preschool.

 

Don't be so hard on yourself. It's understandable to want her to go to preschool.


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#4 of 35 Old 05-27-2013, 12:17 AM
 
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I don't think that setting limits is ending attachment parenting.  Sometimes I set limits because I need them there for my sanity or my dd's safety and that hasn't made us grow apart.  There is a chapter in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding about nursing toddlers and about a mother's realization that nursing was the only thing she did with her child.  She talked about finding other things to do to bond together in addition to nursing.  My dd was close to two when I read this and I found it very helpful because I realized when I read it that I had fallen into the same trap.  I upped how often I held dd on my lap and read, how often I just sat and played legos, and our park outings and it helped my dd cut back a lot. 

 

I think it is very important to find a way to place limits on nursing without feeling guilty if your negative feelings about the nursing relationship don't end after a month or so.  Going through ups and downs is normal but several months of down isn't.  When my dd was three and a half I was completely ready to be done nursing, I had been ready for about nine months but felt guilty about it.  I repressed a lot of emotions but it was starting to really show in my interactions with her even though I thought it wasn't.  I viewed her in negative ways, I resented nursing to the point of feeling rage when she nursed, and I wanted to run away.  I had my tubes tied right before my dd turned three partly because I always wanted one and partly because I never wanted to have another nurse again (a feeling that never went away).

 

My family was gentle and then really persistent and honest about telling me nursing was the problem.  I read a book about nursing toddlers from La Leche League and found a weaning idea that worked for my dd.  I felt like a big weight had been lifted off my shoulders and my feelings towards her changed immediately after she weaned.  It took several months to repair our relationship and I really wish I hadn't made myself continue doing something I despised doing for so long.

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#5 of 35 Old 05-27-2013, 12:37 AM
 
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Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post

I don't think that setting limits is ending attachment parenting.  Sometimes I set limits because I need them there for my sanity or my dd's safety and that hasn't made us grow apart.  

 

This statement is right on.  Personally I will end attachment parenting when my child tells me to.  Well, maybe not...

 

Good luck.

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#6 of 35 Old 05-27-2013, 06:08 PM
 
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You and your family just went through a crisis, a life changing event, your dog's death. I was overwhelmed when one of my dog's passed last year. Just clinging as I was dealing with my husband's overwhelming grief, beyond what I expected, caring for my toddler, and I never, to this day, have had a chance to grieve on my own.
It seems you are having thoughts on major decisions, and likely not at the best time for making decisions. In other words, I would just take it one day at a time right now. Find ways to deal with your dog's death, your child's needs and your own but perhaps without any major decisions right now.
I am very sorry for the loss of your dog, a family member. My thoughts are with you.
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#7 of 35 Old 05-27-2013, 06:24 PM
 
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Your transition plan is very gradual, and I wonder if you might, after a few months trial, you might want to accelerate the process.  It's a thing to consider.  You sound eager to get out more.

 

Being everything to any person is hard.  That much love does not come cheap.  You do eventually get exhausted.  And three is a really hard age.  Honestly, the work of a three year-old is to separate herself from her parents and learn to exert her own opinions.  Most three year-olds do this by making their parents crazy.  One of the ways to cope with that is to cut parents a break by putting a few hours of preschool on the schedule.

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#8 of 35 Old 05-27-2013, 06:45 PM
 
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Good advice, and I'd like to add a small piece in regards to homeschooling: don't write off something that is 2 or 3 years away, and because you are overwhelmed with motherhood.  You might still want to have her go to school, but changing the nursing relationship, finding your own time, establishing some sense of separate identities are your first steps.  She will be very different child when she turns school age.  Let that decision lie until you've reestablished a relationship that is healthier and happier for you.  


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#9 of 35 Old 05-27-2013, 09:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#10 of 35 Old 05-27-2013, 09:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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TP 

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#11 of 35 Old 05-27-2013, 09:25 PM
 
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I haven't fully weaned my daughter yet, but a few months ago I cut back from nursing "on demand" when I realized she nursed 13 times in 24 hours on a day I didn't tell her no once. (She was probably 19 months old at this time.) First I cut back to every 2 hours, then to 4 times a day, and then from there I dropped one nursing every couple of weeks or when it seemed time. Now we are down to once or twice a day and it is a lot easier for me to deal with. The cutting back was difficult. She begged and cried a lot, but after a couple of days she would accept that she wasn't going to be able to nurse every time she asked, and she didn't ask as often any more. I mean, I do favor giving your kids what they want/need when possible, but when it's driving you up the wall, something has to give. 

 

Asking her to sit on my lap for another activity didn't help us either. Doing more different stuff helped, and it helped that we started this as the weather got warmer. When she is busier and has more to do, she doesn't ask to nurse out of boredom. 

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#12 of 35 Old 05-27-2013, 10:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you everyone for your thoughtful reply. I needed a perspective and I was definitely ready to ship DD off to a summer camp yesterday when I posted it but now, I feel I know what the real issues are at hand. 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by NiteNicole View Post

IMO, being wishy washy and giving in when they protest is just confusing for small children... but your needs count and you're just as important as she is.

 

You're absolutely right and we need to be firmer about our expectations with DD. I am ready to quit nursing cold turkey and get her to sleep on her own but at the same time, the thought of nursing her for the last time brings tears to my eyes and I think she can feel my ambivalence and takes full advantage of it. 

 

We were very much a baby- and then toddler-centered household and I am starting to feel that she is now old enough to know that there are other people in the universe including her parents and she can't go around expecting her needs to be met instantly every single time. It's definitely time to modify our approach; or else we'd have a very spoiled little girl.

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I found that attachment parenting means responding to your child's needs, not keeping her attached to you all the time. 

 

I think the hardest part of this for me is that DD is resisting my attempts to make her more independent. She tells me she doesn't want to go to a school if I cannot be there with her. She doesn't want to stop nursing. She doesn't want to have her own bed. She wants me to help her with self-care tasks that she is more than capable of doing herself like dressing herself or putting on her own shoes. It seems to me like she wants to stay a toddler for a little longer when developmentally speaking, she has clearly entered the childhood stage many months ago. In my head, AP meant child-led weaning, etc or at the very least a collaborative process but I am starting to feel that I need to make an executive decision and cut the apron strings as my friends would put it but at the same time, a big part of me is feeling that maybe DD is resisting the transition for her own reasons and I need to respect her wishes. I know I'm over-thinking this a bit but it's so hard to know what is really the right thing to do without losing my mind. 

 

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I upped how often I held dd on my lap and read, how often I just sat and played legos, and our park outings and it helped my dd cut back a lot. 

 

I wish this were true for my DD. If she is on my lap, she takes it as an opportunity to nurse and she is relentless. I'm starting to seriously suspect she has a nursing dependency problem. I know it sounds silly but her persistence is not "normal." A friend weaned her daughter a while ago and she was just as "addicted" as my DD and the way they described the weaning process was as horrific as someone going through a serious drug withdrawal (banging her head against the wall violently, screaming, biting, and all). 

 

I need to do more research into this whole weaning process because I am feeling ill-equipped to cope at the moment. 

 

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I never, to this day, have had a chance to grieve on my own.

 

I hope you'll find your chance soon. We often think of being neglectful with our physical self but the same applies to our emotional well-being. I see how much DD's suffering from her loss and my husband is a huge emotional wreck too although he is doing his best to not fall apart in front of DD. Life has to go on and someone has do the chores and function and that role falls on me. 

 

Our dog was 17 and during his last few days, he had lost his mobility and was unable to drink or eat on his own so we did the right thing and I don't feel guilty about the decision but I am overwhelmed by the loss. We do need to focus on healing as a family first. 

 

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And three is a really hard age.  Honestly, the work of a three year-old is to separate herself from her parents and learn to exert her own opinions.  Most three year-olds do this by making their parents crazy.  One of the ways to cope with that is to cut parents a break by putting a few hours of preschool on the schedule.

 

I'm really relieved to hear that it wasn't just DD and our parenting skills or the lack there of. DD has been acting like she is 2 going on 13. I am suffering from separation anxiety but I think DD will be ready to have her own social life without me soon. Hubby tells me we cannot shelter her from everything forever but I still feel 3 is too young to be away from home for 20 hours a week but I definitely think a few hours of preschool each week at this point is a necessity for us even if I were to stay on campus initially as a classroom volunteer; both she and I need to start the physical detachment process. 

 

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 Let that decision lie until you've reestablished a relationship that is healthier and happier for you.  

 

I hope it gets better. DD and I haven't gotten along well since this "I want to do NOTHING" phase started a couple of week ago. I think she was reacting to our dog's rapid deterioration as she could see that he was not going to be with us for too long. 

 

I do want to homeschool if it remains financially feasible for us. I have my questions and doubts but I need to address them when it is time for her to enter kindergarten in two years. Even then, it doesn't need to be a permanent solution. I need to find a better balance in the family one way or the other. Right now, I'm too exhausted homeschool effectively or simply to take care of myself and I don't want DD to think that when she becomes a mother, she has to live the way I do. 

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#13 of 35 Old 05-28-2013, 07:11 AM
 
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I think the hardest part of this for me is that DD is resisting my attempts to make her more independent. She tells me she doesn't want to go to a school if I cannot be there with her. She doesn't want to stop nursing. She doesn't want to have her own bed. She wants me to help her with self-care tasks that she is more than capable of doing herself like dressing herself or putting on her own shoes. It seems to me like she wants to stay a toddler for a little longer when developmentally speaking, she has clearly entered the childhood stage many months ago. In my head, AP meant child-led weaning, etc or at the very least a collaborative process but I am starting to feel that I need to make an executive decision and cut the apron strings as my friends would put it but at the same time, a big part of me is feeling that maybe DD is resisting the transition for her own reasons and I need to respect her wishes. I know I'm over-thinking this a bit but it's so hard to know what is really the right thing to do without losing my mind. 

 

 

I wish this were true for my DD. If she is on my lap, she takes it as an opportunity to nurse and she is relentless. I'm starting to seriously suspect she has a nursing dependency problem. I know it sounds silly but her persistence is not "normal." A friend weaned her daughter a while ago and she was just as "addicted" as my DD and the way they described the weaning process was as horrific as someone going through a serious drug withdrawal (banging her head against the wall violently, screaming, biting, and all). 

 

I need to do more research into this whole weaning process because I am feeling ill-equipped to cope at the moment. 

 

I would caution you against weaning cold turkey, it might not go well. I tried once with ds around 3 and couldn't do it.

What I did with my dk was to cut them back to 3 nursing sessions a day (no night nursing). Now that she's almost 4, we'll drop another nursing session and will likely take another couple of months before we drop another one.

It's normal for her to resist weaning, it's the best way they can soothe themselves. And the fact that your friend went through the same thing when she weaned cold turkey should tell you that it IS normal.

My dd fell and hurt her knee the other day and she told me: Mom, I NEED to nurse because I got hurt.

 

You may make her even more clingy if you "cut the apron strings" in all aspects at once.


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#14 of 35 Old 05-28-2013, 11:41 AM
 
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You're absolutely right and we need to be firmer about our expectations with DD. I am ready to quit nursing cold turkey and get her to sleep on her own but at the same time, the thought of nursing her for the last time brings tears to my eyes and I think she can feel my ambivalence and takes full advantage of it. 

 

Your feelings are bittersweet, and in my experience, that's a big part of mothering. I felt this, am still feeling this, many times my children went through transitions, never to visit a particular phase again.  My eldest graduated high school 5 days ago! Talk about being teary!   It's kinda sad. It's sweet, too. Don't try to avoid these feelings.  Don't not do something that's developmentally appropriate simply to avoid sad, difficult feelings.

...

 

I wish this were true for my DD. If she is on my lap, she takes it as an opportunity to nurse and she is relentless. I'm starting to seriously suspect she has a nursing dependency problem. I know it sounds silly but her persistence is not "normal." A friend weaned her daughter a while ago and she was just as "addicted" as my DD and the way they described the weaning process was as horrific as someone going through a serious drug withdrawal (banging her head against the wall violently, screaming, biting, and all). 

 

Yes, you might be over thinking this.  Don't pathologize and label her behavior quite yet.  Who knows, if you had weaned her a year ago, she might now be having the same head-banging, screaming and biting fits with some other issue.  She sounds like an intense 3 year old. Sorry, not sure how reassuring that is! Lol! But not all difficult behavior is abnormal. It's *very* frustrating for you, no doubt. It's a bummer and I feel a lot of sympathy for you.   

...

 

I'm really relieved to hear that it wasn't just DD and our parenting skills or the lack there of. DD has been acting like she is 2 going on 13. I am suffering from separation anxiety but I think DD will be ready to have her own social life without me soon. Hubby tells me we cannot shelter her from everything forever but I still feel 3 is too young to be away from home for 20 hours a week but I definitely think a few hours of preschool each week at this point is a necessity for us even if I were to stay on campus initially as a classroom volunteer; both she and I need to start the physical detachment process. 

 

I found a parent participation preschool for my son and me.  It was a fantastic experience. Frankly, I learned a lot about the wide, wide range of normal for preschoolers, and ds had a few hours of fun 3 days a week.  You might take a look around for something like this. 


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#15 of 35 Old 05-29-2013, 07:07 AM
 
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I just wanted to add another vote for taking your own needs into account doesn't mean the end of attachment parenting.  Everyone's needs in the family are important, and need to be balanced for a functioning, happy family.  A three year old can handle limits to breastfeeding, activities that don't involve mom, etc.....   You have given her such a strong foundation these last three years so she should feel very, very secure and loved and is ready for a gradual process to begin of doing things with others and leaning on you for constant attention/affection/stimulation/entertainment less and less.  And it's a gift to her!  Her relationships with others (friends, care providers, other family members, community, etc) will enrich her life and she's old enough.  Plus having opportunities to be bored and entertain herself without you rushing in before she has time to get creative and use her imagination is a good thing.


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#16 of 35 Old 05-29-2013, 08:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Our dog's passing seems to have brought out a lot of anger she was brewing inside for months. It was a time for me to step by and reassess my relationship and parenting choices with DD; threats work wonderfully with her so I've been resorting to it a bit much and I think it was starting to hurt our relationship. Everyone' feedback has really helped in making me realize that I need to make some positive changes.

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When she is busier and has more to do, she doesn't ask to nurse out of boredom. 

 

This is very true. DD hasn't asked to nurse when we are out and about for over 18 months. When she is at home and wandering around without nothing to do, she wants to nurse forever just as I tend to snack out of boredom all day long if I'm not managing myself. We have a playroom with toys, games, and puzzles but I need to change the set up a little. She was on a train phase for the longest time but I think she is ready for open play and independent art projects. 

 

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It's normal for her to resist weaning, it's the best way they can soothe themselves. And the fact that your friend went through the same thing when she weaned cold turkey should tell you that it IS normal.

My dd fell and hurt her knee the other day and she told me: Mom, I NEED to nurse because I got hurt.

 

You may make her even more clingy if you "cut the apron strings" in all aspects at once.

 

I can handle a couple of nursing sessions a day; what is driving me crazy is the constant asking/negotiation for it through the day when we are at home. I might need to sit down with her and explain to her that she can only nurse twice a day when she turns three and see how she responds. Structure might indeed work. 

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I found a parent participation preschool for my son and me.  It was a fantastic experience. Frankly, I learned a lot about the wide, wide range of normal for preschoolers, and ds had a few hours of fun 3 days a week.  You might take a look around for something like this. 

 

DD has out grown her toddler classes so she is ready for preschool. It was really hard to find a quality parent participation preschool in our area but I think we finally found one and are signed up for the summer. I'm really excited but so nervous at the same time; I know DD would do just fine but I hope I can get along with other parents. 

 

Quote:
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Her relationships with others (friends, care providers, other family members, community, etc) will enrich her life and she's old enough.  Plus having opportunities to be bored and entertain herself without you rushing in before she has time to get creative and use her imagination is a good thing.

 

Thank you for your kind words and I hope I have prepared her well enough to make a successful transition. I know at some point, I have to trust DD to be independent enough to be away from home but I wouldn't have minded that she home-schooled for the next 15 years until she became this little rebellious creature with a rather unpleasant attitude. I need to get over this latest development and make sure I'm doing what is best for her rather than sending her away to somehow "punish" her for growing up. 

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#17 of 35 Old 05-09-2014, 12:35 PM
 
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When do you stop Attachment Parenting? When you want your son or daughter to start feeling emotional distress and disconnection- and then to start acting it out in all of the ways mainstream youth act-out their distress.

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#18 of 35 Old 05-09-2014, 01:46 PM
 
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Laurie, that's pretty unhelpful.

The idea behind attachment parenting, I was told, was that if we support and respond to our children, we will help them develop a sense of security that enables them to develop independence in age appropriate ways, at the right time for them.

That explanation is very vague. There's no indication of what support is in practical terms, which makes the philosophy useful to many families. Over time, I've seen AP applied in more and more prescriptive ways. It used to be that AP was responding to your baby's first sign of discomfort, and feeding on demand in infancy. Now, it seems that parents are supposed to constantly carry their children in precisely the right kind of wrap, and the constant connection is expected to go well beyond infancy. At some point, this is no longer sustainable. We need our children to develop independence, and we usually have at least a vague schedule. We need thirteen year-olds to be okay at home alone for sn hour. We need seven year-olds to put on their own shoes. As parents, we need some space to connect with our partners. Failing to help our children grow harms them too.

Generally speaking, humans are resilient. They get over the traumas of weaning and potty training and learning that adults prefer to pee all alone with the door shut. Looking at the kids I know, the happiest and most secure are those whose parents have clear boundaries. It doesn't seem to matter exactly what those boundaries are, within reason, just that they're known and consistent. Wean at 6 months, nurse on demand until elementary school, either way is fine. The place I see kids struggle is when parents try to achieve an ideal that they really can't cope with - the mom who tries to nurse on demand, and says she nurses on demand, but loses her temper with a preschooler who wants to nurse for the sixth time in two hours. That family would be better served by a stated limit, consistently enforced. "No more nursing" is that kind of limit, and if that's what Mom needs, that's what she should do, not "you can only nurse five times every two hours", and definitely not "as much as you want, I'll just grit my teeth and get through it."
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#19 of 35 Old 05-09-2014, 07:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It was really strange to see this old thread again. MeepyCat, thank you for your thoughtful post. It made me reflect about the past year. 

 

My DD was a high-need baby and in that respect, she hasn't changed much except that she's gotten even more intense. Trying to be sensitive to her needs often meant not meeting my own needs. I tried to keep it up and be the perfect mother to her but I started cracking after 3 years of having no time to myself. I was getting very resentful and angry deep inside and that had to stop. 

 

So it was time for some changes in our family dynamics and for DD to accept that other members of the family have needs too. When younger siblings come along, this probably happens very naturally but as DD is an only child, we had to work really hard so DD could understand why our expectations shifted. It hasn't been easy but as she matures, she is getting more thoughtful. 

 

As for preschools, it turns out, I wasn't ready to drop her off at a traditional preschool with 24 children and 2 teachers. Instead, we found an alternative education program with 5:1 teacher ration. She won't be going full-time but that is okay. I am also considering homeschooling her again. :) Both she and I still have our moments but I can honestly say I love spending time with her, as long as I get a break here and there. My priority now is to find more time for myself so I can start living healthier. It's true that you have to take care of yourself first. I kept on putting that on the back burner and I shouldn't have.  

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#20 of 35 Old 05-10-2014, 10:12 AM
 
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It was really strange to see this old thread again. MeepyCat, thank you for your thoughtful post. It made me reflect about the past year. 

 

My DD was a high-need baby and in that respect, she hasn't changed much except that she's gotten even more intense. Trying to be sensitive to her needs often meant not meeting my own needs. I tried to keep it up and be the perfect mother to her but I started cracking after 3 years of having no time to myself. I was getting very resentful and angry deep inside and that had to stop. 

 

So it was time for some changes in our family dynamics and for DD to accept that other members of the family have needs too. When younger siblings come along, this probably happens very naturally but as DD is an only child, we had to work really hard so DD could understand why our expectations shifted. It hasn't been easy but as she matures, she is getting more thoughtful. 

 

As for preschools, it turns out, I wasn't ready to drop her off at a traditional preschool with 24 children and 2 teachers. Instead, we found an alternative education program with 5:1 teacher ration. She won't be going full-time but that is okay. I am also considering homeschool her again. :) Both she and I still have our moments but I can honestly say I love spending time with her, as long as I get a break here and there. My priority now is to find more time for myself so I can start living healthier. It's true that you have to take care of yourself first. I kept on putting that on the back burner and I shouldn't have.  

I agree with you that MC's response was thoughtful. Laurie, I suggest that if AP and the way of communicating and respecting eachother is valuable for parenting, it is also valuable for how we communicate with our fellow mothers. What's good for the goose...and all of that. :-)  

 

I think a lot of what we come to lump in with "AP" does focus heavily on early childhood but that's only if we are thinking of AP as a sort of check-list. There hasn't been a single person who I admire about the subject that thinks or talks about AP in this way. If we look at AP more like how MC describes then, yes, we don't ever stop responding to our individual children in ways that respect and support who they are. But, that looks a heck of a lot different at 13 (or 35!) than it does at 1. 

 

I'm so glad to hear that you found a way to protect and support yourself as a mother. I recently heard of a stay-at-home mother who kept her children home with her on "take your daughter to work day" and told them that the first lesson of motherhood is to put your oxygen mask on first. I just loved everything about this story!  

 

When I am in a pickle with balancing my needs and the needs of my children (especially the older one) I often think about what I would tell my own daughters if they came to me with some problem that pits mother's needs against a child (or seems to). In an ideal world we find a solution that meets everyone's needs. And this is something that we tend to forget or run too long on empty to find.  When a consensual solution can't be found more often than not if I imagine I'm giving my own daughters advice I lean heavily towards supporting the mother (or parent) first. I also think to my own mother and what I want for and from her. I want her to be whole and fulfilled!!  

 

Sometimes it helps to take ourselves out of the equation when making these tough decisions. 


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#21 of 35 Old 05-10-2014, 11:00 AM
 
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Nenegoose, that's such a great update! The preschool program sounds fantastic.

I'm slooooowly working up to taking my kids jogging with me (the process involves slooooowly jogging), so there's lots of ways to approach the self care thing. An hour by myself is such bliss that sometimes I don't make it out of the locker room at the gym.
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#22 of 35 Old 05-10-2014, 02:00 PM
 
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Very interesting thread. That preschool with the low teacher-child ratio sounds like a great solution - hope it works out well.

 

Just wanted to chip in to say that, while I totally agree that the parents should always put on their oxygen mask first, I think it's also important to recognize that when we have conflicted feelings about cutting the apron strings (am I mixing enough metaphors here I wonder??), those feelings might actually be conflicted for good reason.

 

One of the PPs commented that we mustn't hold our children back from developmental stages because of our bittersweet feelings. True. We mustn't forget though that just because some kids are ready for certain challenges at a certain age, that doesn't mean that all kids are ready at that age - and that this may have nothing whatsoever to do with the parent's attitude. For example some kids just aren't comfortable yet with long separations from people they love, being in big groups etc - even after they turn three. My DD is highly sensitive and she had huge problems with those things at that age. We didn't push it and tried to find solutions that would work for everyone and give me some breathing space, such as exchanging childcare with friends who she knew and trusted.

 

Now at 5, without any 'pushing' at all, she's far more independent and outgoing. Those first few years were very tough at times but I'm really glad we never went against our guts and tried to force her to do things she wasn't ready for, even if other kids her age were.

 

I was  helped enormously in all this by the work of Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate (who wrote a book called "Hold on to your kids"). One of the things they emphasize is that if a child is securely attached, the day will come when they'll become motivated to spread their owns wings spontaneously and become more independent. This can be very hard to believe when they're not yet at that stage but I can testify to its truth! In the case of our DD, the transformation was so profound that tons of people have commented to us on how much she's changed. It's been a beautiful thing to watch happen.

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#23 of 35 Old 05-11-2014, 08:52 AM
 
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I havent read the posts yet, but off the top of my head i would answer the question by saying 'never', as long as we are parenting, then  good parenting requires attachment, connection, knowing our children, caring for our children. That can take different forms.

 

The problem in talking  about it, is that as children grow, there is so much  more diversity as far as the specific parenting challenges are concerned, whereas as babies, they are simpler, and as parents, we have more in common.

 

Also, the early year lay the groundwork, so take on a particular significance.

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#24 of 35 Old 05-11-2014, 08:56 AM
 
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First of all, hugs. I know how draining it is, especially with a first when you don't see the ending to all of this.

Secondly, I agree with PP. If you're not happy with something, you can make some changes - bigger or smaller. It won't make you less of an attached parent.

 

To answer your question, I found that attachment parenting means responding to your child's needs, not keeping her attached to you all the time. I have an 8 y/o and our days of co-sleeping and breastfeeding are long gone. He goes to school full time. When he goes to a playdate, he doesn't need (or want) me to be there with him. He asks to stay home alone and wants his own key. His needs are now different.

 

My 3.5 y/o is still nursing, but only a couple of times a day. She's transitioning to sleeping alone these days, but still crawls in our bed in the middle of the night. I've been SAH with her until recently, when she started preschool.

 

Don't be so hard on yourself. It's understandable to want her to go to preschool.

I agree with the bolded (and the rest). AP isnt just nursing your child round the clock, especially if they are 3.

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#25 of 35 Old 05-11-2014, 11:10 AM
 
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About the little ones begging for more when mama has met, and gone beyond, her limit-  they're little and selfish and want what they want.  Mama knows her limits, little ones don't know or care about mama's limits.

 

Refute this, please!


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#26 of 35 Old 05-11-2014, 11:42 AM
 
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I can't refute that....but I can say that I'd probably phrase it differently. I'd say that young children are fairly egocentric and that's OK and a normal part of development. One of the ways that they start to learn empathy is when we care for them and honor them...and also when we do the same for ourselves. Also, like with what WS said, there is also the danger of putting off some real need of our kids in favor of honoring "mom". My instincts in that regard, however, is that a mother able to recognize her own boundaries, needs, wants and etc. is probably better able to recognize these valid in her own children. Wishful thinking...?  Ha! 


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#27 of 35 Old 05-11-2014, 01:41 PM
 
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Here's my 2 cents. 

 

Nursing does not equal attachment parenting. Co-sleeping does not = attachment parenting. These are just some things that some parents use to facilitate a strong attachment relationship. Attachment is a "relationship"--one which causes an offspring to be secure and safe. There can be secure attachment, anxious attachment, ambivalent attachment, disorganized attachment.

 

I have seen breastfed children that had an anxious attachment pattern. 

 

 "Attachment is one specific aspect of the relationship between a child and a parent with its purpose being to make a child safe, secure and protected. Attachment is where the child uses the primary caregiver as a secure base from which to explore and, when necessary, as a haven of safety and a source of comfort (5)." (ainsworth)

 

To say that breastfeeding is the same as attachment is disrespectful to those that couldn't or didn't have the ability to breastfeed (i.e. adoption). Let it never be said that adopted babies are not attached! 

 

Each mother knows her child. Attunement to the child is the key feature of the attachment relationship.

 

I still "attachment parent" my 19 year old son, because I attune to his needs and try to continue on with a secure and loving relationship. 

 

Mixing up 'processes' with actual attachment and relationship may be one reason why you are experiencing conflict and guilt. Know yourself, know yoour child, know your relationship. Proceed from there! 


 
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#28 of 35 Old 05-11-2014, 03:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just to clarify, and I realize my update might have gotten lost in the shuffle, the OP was written almost a year ago ago. It was truly a dark period in my life and perhaps DD's life as well. Putting a beloved family dog to sleep traumatized all of us and in retrospect, none of us was coping well. I should have been more supportive of DD emotionally but I was simply too exhausted from not getting much more than 3 hours of sleep per day for 3 years. Perhaps, I should have titled the thread more like "How could I gently transition DD to early childhood from toddlerhood" but I'm glad that many of you could understand where I was coming from regardless. 

 

What I did not mention int he OP is that not long before the dog's passing, we found out that DD has a medical condition that could potentially be fatal. It doesn't affect her day-to-day functions and chances are, she'd lead a healthy full life but it was still a very difficult news to process and it probably pushed me over the edge. It wasn't something I was ready to talk about a year ago and I still am not very comfortable talking about it in public but yes, I was overly anxious for many, many months. 

 

I don't know why I kept on going and going without seeking more help. My DH tried to convince me that needing a break does not make me a bad mother. He also thought this martyr mentality on my part was not serving anyone any good but until I was ready to hear it, it fell on deaf ears. 

 

Anyhow, DD is thriving at her school. It's truly an ideal setup and environment. We are very fortunate that it was available to us as an option.

 

We're still learning to become better parents to DD. We still have a massive failure here and there and I really need to find a way to take better care of my own health but I'm trying the best I can under the circumstance.

 

ETA: Happy Mother's Day to you all. 

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#29 of 35 Old 05-11-2014, 05:20 PM
 
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Happy Mothers Day to you too, NG!  Please don't beat yourself up for not realizing that you got into a bad pattern. That's something for all parents to deal with in one way or another! ....and continue to deal with. Even at 12, there are times when my oldest daughter's needs change and I have trouble keeping up. I'm going to just assume that's normal. <3  And we all do do our best and can't always get it just right. I was recently at a party and all the parents seemed just totally shattered. Tired, no interests outside of their kids. It was nice in a way for me to realize that I'm not there right now...but it was also a nice reminder that we've all been there from time to time. And, isn't that what self-care is all about. It's an ongoing, evolving process, right?  It's not like, "Oh, well I took care of myself two years ago..."  There isn't always time for everything and sometimes we get behind on ourselves. Doing the best we can is the best we can. <3 


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#30 of 35 Old 05-11-2014, 09:08 PM
 
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I would caution you against weaning cold turkey, it might not go well. I tried once with ds around 3 and couldn't do it.

What I did with my dk was to cut them back to 3 nursing sessions a day (no night nursing). Now that she's almost 4, we'll drop another nursing session and will likely take another couple of months before we drop another one.

It's normal for her to resist weaning, it's the best way they can soothe themselves. And the fact that your friend went through the same thing when she weaned cold turkey should tell you that it IS normal.

My dd fell and hurt her knee the other day and she told me: Mom, I NEED to nurse because I got hurt.

 

You may make her even more clingy if you "cut the apron strings" in all aspects at once.

:yeah

 

I have a high needs three year-old, too, and I also am planning to homeschool.  Something I read on a homeschooling website that stuck with me was the advice not to make any homeschooling decisions or to draw any "I can't do it!" conclusions when you have a three year old, because three is a notoriously difficult age.  It is a challenging combination of toddler needs and a teenage-style push for independence, and many of us need to take it a day (or an hour!) at a time.  As much as it can stretch me to my limits, I try to remember how much harder this stage of development must be for my DD; she's still pretty new here.

But it is not wrong to look for balance in your life or to set limits so that you do not feel as resentful. Maybe there are some parks & rec-type classes (art, dance, tumbling?) she could take that wouldn't be as stressful for her as going to school, but that would give you a moment to breathe? Even if you needed to participate with her a little or be present, you would not have to be the center of her attention and the provider of all entertainment during those times.


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