Before T Rex was born I declared there would be no babies sleeping in the bed. My rationale was for a variety of reasons but mostly I was terrified of SIDS and I just did not want to promote unhealthy sleeping habits.
This declaration did not even last a night. Newborn T Rex wanted to nurse every 2 hours - probably because my milk was taking its time coming in. Thus, it was just easier to put him in the bed with us so I could nurse him on demand. We removed all pillows (neither of us uses them for our heads anyways) and blankets. We tried several times to move him to his crib but he was such a poor sleeper that it was so much easier on all of us to have him with us.
Bebe Sister co-slept with us exclusively until she was about 3 months old. Then she was pretty much sleeping through the night and actually she would not fall asleep unless she was in her play-n-pack next to our bed. If she'd wake up, I'd put her in with me and she would usually go back to sleep for a couple more hours. This is how we still do things. She's not a really snugly kid at night - she really prefers her bed unless she's restless. T Rex - total opposite. We prefer co-sleeping but I think the kids will tell you when they are ready for their bed - some sooner than others. However, everyone still sleeps in our room - just not necessarily in our bed at the same time.
And am I worried that they'll be a teenager and still sleeping in our room. Nope. Kind of the same rationale as being worried about potty training. How many teenagers do you know that are not potty trained? But potty training is a whole other topic because we're into elimination communication and cloth diapering. I don't know if that's also an aspect of attachment parenting or not. Probably.
|Bebe Sister carrying her bear piggy back style.|
Then I attended a new moms class on infant massage and learned about the benefits of baby wearing. The pediatric physical therapist told us about the many infants she treats for flat heads because they were "car seat babies". Her recommendation is that car seats should be for the car - period. But for those shopping trips or times when you need your hands free she recommended a sling or baby carrier with the baby facing toward the carrier's chest (or after age one riding on the back, too).
I took her suggestions to heart. In fact, I think our infant car seat only ever came out of the car a total of 8 times in its two child lifetime (about 20 months total use). Yes - sometimes a pain when the baby is sleeping but I enjoyed the closeness of having the babies close to me and knowing the carrier would not fall off the grocery cart or the baby would not get a flat head. Again - this is very much in the style of attachment parenting but we just did not know it. It just felt right.
Breastfeeding. That's a post in and of itself. I was very skeptical about breastfeeding. I really did not have many women in my life who had had a positive breastfeeding experience. However, I felt very strongly that it was the best option for our child. I kept setting small goals and before I knew it I had hit the year mark and T Rex was still wanting to drink mom's milk. It was only at 19 months that I was forced to wean him due to some dehydration issues related to being pregnant. But for a couple months there I was pregnant and breastfeeding - boy, did I feel maternal - tired as I was!
Bebe Sister is still interested at 14 months and I plan to allow her to nurse as long as we're both enjoying the experience which is about what the World Health Organization's recommendation for breastfeeding is. I know most people would consider this "extended breastfeeding". Honestly, I don't. However, I guess this is just another aspect of attachment parenting that we did not realize we were practicing.
In a nut shell, we're not in a hurry to rush through various stages of childhood development as our society seems to be pushing for these days. We hold our children close - literally. Our kids gain independence in due time. And when they do, I find them to be full of confidence because we've been at their side - again, literally - through all these stages. We embrace and enjoy every aspect of their growth because we know some day we will be sitting in our rocking chairs remembering what it was like to hold those tiny babes in our arms while we rocked.
Are you an attachment parenting family? Do you practice any or all of these - co-sleeping, baby-wearing, or extended breastfeeding? Was it a conscious decision or were you like us and just fell into the practice?