Whch ones work for you?

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Joined: 04/10/11
Posts: 1703
Whch ones work for you?

I like many of the principles behind AP but don't do it seriously enough to claim an AP "parenting label." That said, I have been disturbed by the lack of understanding of Dr Sears' principles (http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/attachment-parenting/what-ap-7-baby-bs) with the Time hullabaloo. Out of curiosity and for discussion ... which work for your family?

1. Birth bonding
2. Breastfeeding
3. Baby wearing
4. Bedding close to baby
5. Belief in the language value of babies' cries
6. Beware of baby trainers
7. Balance

Joined: 04/10/11
Posts: 1703

1. Birth bonding
I felt completely dissociated from the babies at birth. I first held one (I don't even remember which) about an hour after birth. The hospital only rooms-in and is very encouraging, though. I feel like the hardest part about this one was all the well-wishers trying to take over in the early weeks.

2. Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is so hard! I can only breastfeed one baby, the other isn't able, and there is definitely a bonding difference. I am not sure how long I will go on breastfeeding and pumping because I feel like it's cutting into our ability to go out and play and see the world. This is a major "balance" struggle for me.

3. Baby wearing
I love it! I also love our stroller. Blum 3

4. Bedding close to baby
They are always nearby and I wouldn't have it any other way. Actual co-sleeping is hard for me, but I like to be able to see/hear/touch them without feeling like they're going to roll out of bed or I'm going to roll over them.

5. Belief in the language value of babies' cries
I spend all my time with the babies for the time being and have learned their cries and needs quite accurately. I don't like to hear them struggle and can't wait for them to be able to communicate in a way that more people can understand and help them out.

6. Beware of baby trainers
Actually, even Dr Sears recommends scheduling multiples. One of the big struggles of parenting multiples is the guilt over doing things differently than you would for one baby. That said, I don't schedule them I just don't have it together enough for that!

7. Balance
And this is the hardest of them all. Sad

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

1. Birth bonding - Didn't get this. I had a c/s. I didn't see DS for a little over 2 hours. At that point I concentrated purely on BFing and just my recovery.
2. Breastfeeding - We still BF. BFing helped us so much to become bonded in those early weeks. I felt that we needed to create that bond that we didn't immediately get.
3. Baby wearing - I BW all the time, but it's not like he's always being held or worn. Even as an infant. And I own a stroller. It doesn't get much use, but it definitely serves a purpose at times.
4. Bedding close to baby - we coslept till 9.5 months. At that point, cosleeping led to less sleep.
5. Belief in the language value of babies' cries - Crying definitely means something. Now weather or not I know the answer to it is another story.
6. Beware of baby trainers - didn't buy any of those books. The closest to "training" we've done is some of the suggestions from No Cry Sleep Solution when we went from cosleeping to him in his crib.
7. Balance - I'm constantly looking for balance. I'm not the perfect AP parent in every way. But I keep learning and trying. I wish I could get some alone time every now and then, but at the same time I don't trust other people with my child. Blum 3

sweetsriracha's picture
Joined: 03/29/11
Posts: 1318

What a great thread!

1. Birth bonding
We had a hospital birth after a planned out-of-hospital birth, and we were able to birth bond pretty well...until he was about 24 hours old and went to the nursery for 24 hours for jaundice. That was horrific, but looking back, I think it WAS the right decision on the part of hospital staff (he had a lot of high-risk markers, including MAJOR head molding).
2. Breastfeeding
Laszlo self-weaned during the days at about 5 months. There wasn't anything I could do about it. We're still nursing at night, though!
3. Baby wearing
We love baby-wearing. I love it while bustling around the house and hiking with Warren and Laszlo. I wore him all the time around 3 months, and much less so now that he's started crawling.
4. Bedding close to baby
I love our co-sleeping as well. Warren has become less enthralled. I think we'll make it to the point where he isn't eating throughout the night or 1 year and re-examine. I'd love to let him pick when he leaves the bed, but I don't think that would be the best.
5. Belief in the language value of babies' cries
Definitely. Jackie put it best that interpretation is a whole different animal, though!
6. Beware of baby trainers
I don't beware anything. I don't let Laszlo CIO, and I don't want to start doing that, however I do know a few AP Mamas who have felt "cornered" into letting their babies CIO on occasion (one of them had a 6 month old who refused to nap for WEEKS) and I supported their decision.
7. Balance
I have balance! I could have more balance, but I'm okay for now. I work full-time, an opposite schedule from Warren. I bike to work for exercise, and I enjoy my job. I return to Mama land feeling refreshed.

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

1. Birth bonding- This was definitely important to me, and I was lucky to have it. I have to admit when I first saw her I thought, "That's not my baby!"- and we're talking straight out of me onto my chest... she just looked very foreign to me. But we were never separated in the hospital until I was ready to shower off, so we got all the time I needed to get used to her odd little face. And now she's a mini-me, so there is no way I could think, "that's not my baby" anymore. Smile
2. Breastfeeding- We're still nursing and luckily were able to start that relationship within Beni's first hour of life. It's been an amazing experience for me, and I do think equally satisfying for her. I look forward to it with the next baby too!
3. Baby wearing- We are definitely a baby-wearing family! DH loves it too. And we have strollers- a few actually- one jogger here, one jogger where we live and an umbrella one for traveling... but they don't get much love.
4. Bedding close to baby- I wouldn't have it any other way- but my DH did take a bit of convincing about the bed-sharing. He loves it now too, and has expressed that he'll miss Beni in our bed when she's ready to move on. At this point our bedroom in Laos has our bed, and DD's toddler bed...and we'll be putting in a co-sleeper as well. I'm not sure how it will all progress, especially with the two kids... but... we'll figure out what is going to work for us. Luckily, we have two other king sized beds in our house, not to mention couches, etc, so, when DH and I desire intimacy, we have plenty of other choices of where to get it on. Smile
5. Belief in the language value of babies' cries- I'm with Jackie on this one... always responded... didn't always know what she wanted/needed! Smile
6. Beware of baby trainers- When I was pregnant, and before I had really started reading parenting books, I had one friend recommend Baby-wise. I think I added it to my amazon wishlist, but then ended up getting a Dr. Sears book first AND looking through baby-wise at a bookstore and realized that it wasn't up my alley. I did also read/use some of NCSS, and I used Jay Gordon's method to night wean...
7. Balance- This is admittedly the hardest one! DD came along (planned) only 9 mos after our marriage began, so, it's been a crazy few years of settling into marriage and parenthood all at once, with long (6-12 week) separations happening regularly (at least once a year), and with living on separate continents from both of mine and DH's families of origin. DH and I are in pretty regular conversations about how we plan on moving forward, and ways in which we can strive for more balance... it's certainly a work in progress!

So yeah... I have NEVER claimed to be perfect at ANY of these, but, they are all important to me and things we strive for!

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

Great topic! I honestly haven't read any of Dr. Sears' books but I feel like I understand the intent of each of these AP principles.

1. Birth bonding
My birth experience was very important to me, almost to a fault. I am very fortunate to live in a city where I had options that would help me to achieve the birth I wanted. I chose to use a birth center and had a truly picture perfect natural water birth. For me, it wasn't about overcoming the medical establishment and toughing out a natural birth. Initially, I just wanted to experience that which only a woman can experience. As I did my research in preparing for my birth, I came to realize that much of the medical establishment lacks respect for the birthing experience and that I would have to advocate for myself if I wanted to have the experience that I considered ideal. I was fortunate and the joy that I felt bringing my DD into the world is still fresh in my mind. The weeks and months that followed were made all that much more sweet riding on the high from my birth. It devastates me when I hear horrific birth stories that didn't have to be horrific. Even C-sections can be performed in a way that maintains respect for the mother and child. The practice of holding the child in the nursery for hours on end immediately following surgery is barbaric and proven to be a poor practice. I just wish the mainstream medical community could come to realize the importance of birth bonding both during the birth and immediately following. If women were treated with the respect they deserved, a great many women would take away so much more than a distinct feeling of failure.

2. Breastfeeding
I've also been fortunate in that BFing has been fairly easy for me. Sure, it took about a month before my nipples didn't feel like they were being chewed off by a ravenous Gila monster but at least I never had to worry about how much my DD was getting because she gained weight like gang busters. I contribute my success to having a wonderfully supportive DH and a network of caring BFing moms. BFing was my everything in the early months and continues to be a great source of bonding with my nearly 20 month old DD. I went back to work at 11 weeks and despite trying everything under the sun to get her to take a bottle, she straight up refused. I was dead set on never allowing a drop of formula to touch her lips and its not like it would have made a difference if I hadn't been because she never would have drank it anyway. It was stressful at first but we made it work. DH would bring her to me at lunch and I'd get to cuddle and bond with her before heading back in to work. I'm lucky in that I'm able to work flexible hours. I probably average 45-50 hours of work per week but I'm usually able to squeeze it in where I'm able to instead of insisting that my child (who knows nothing of the importance of a 9-5) conform to my schedule.

3. Baby wearing
BWing was God sent. I'm so so glad I discovered my ringsling and figured out how to BF on the go. BWing meant more to me than just keeping baby close. It was the only way DH or I were able to make our busy lives work during that first year. I'm still grateful for it in those times when DD is having a "toddler moment" because it affords me the opportunity to chuck her up on my back and immediately make her happy. DH and I both have back issues and DD was 20 lbs by age 3 months. So, we're also quite grateful to have an awesome stroller. I've never been made to feel like using a stroller is somehow a parenting failure. Its simply a tool just as breast pumps and car seats are tools.

4. Bedding close to baby
We didn't intend to bed share but that's just how things worked out. We had an Arm's reach co-sleeper all set up and ready to go but soon discovered that the only way any of us were going to get any sleep was bed sharing. I feel like co-sleeping and night nursing were a huge contributor in keeping me from dropping out of my PhD program. Because DD wouldn't take a bottle, she would nurse a ton at night and then just wait until she saw me at lunch. She also slept quite well in between nursing. We've gradually transitioned her away from co-sleeping. First, at 6 months, we started putting her in her crib in our room to start off the night. Then at 1 year, we moved her crib to her room. When she would wake, she'd come back into bed with us. At 18 months, DH and I both needed to make a change. DD wasn't the content little bundle barely making a dent in our bed space anymore. She was a bed-hogging boob-fiend who kept us both up for much of the night. We decided to night wean and work towards getting her to STTN in her own room. It took quite a bit of work (mostly by DH) but we now have a toddler who is content to spend the night in her own room and come into our bed in the morning for boob. So, co-sleeping worked great for us for the first year. After that, we made the executive decision to end it.

5. Belief in the language value of babies' cries

The one tenant of AP that I hold most sacred is avoiding CIO at all costs. Luckily, BFing, BWing, and co-sleeping naturally make for less crying. As DD has gotten older, I've come to realize that some amount of crying is inevitable. For us, its just important to recognize why the child is crying and attempt to remedy the situation. When DD was an infant, that meant cuing into her different cries and learning to recognize which cries meant she needed a diaper change, boob, entertainment, etc. Having her close so much of the time really helped quicken the learning curve. Now that she's a toddler, her protests have changed and even though she's not quite verbal yet, her communication is phenomenal and I often just have to get down to her level and help her work through her frustration in order to figure out what it is she needs. I'm not fond of ignoring tantrums. I much prefer to try and keep them from happening in the first place. Usually, that means slowing down and taking the time to help her recognize her emotions and pinpoint a solution.

6. Beware of baby trainers

Same as Jackie, the closest to a training book I've even bothered to read was the No Cry Sleep Solution. I found it very unhelpful. Instead, DH and I have had frank discussions about how to handle certain situations and we work together to come up with solutions that make us both comfortable. When it came to getting DD to STTN in her room, that meant having him tend to her at night. There was crying, oh boy was there crying, but we both knew that it was her *angry* cry and not her *terrified* cry and had decided that it was OK for an 18 month old to be angry. We also felt that it was fine for her to cry if DH was there with her. It was the difference between letting her experience anger and frustration versus abandonment and despair. Aside from that, we've never really had to bother getting her on a "schedule". Perhaps it was the way we've parented or perhaps we just lucked out and got an easy kid but her schedule hasn't ever really been an issue.

7. Balance
Like with most families, balance is something we're constantly working towards. Specifically, we struggle with balancing shared responsibilities and finding adult-time. Because we're both stressed out grad students, we often find ourselves with little time for house work. Its often a source of contention but we work hard to prioritize. Ultimately, its come down to accepting the fact that there's likely always going to be dog hair on the floor and dirty dishes in the sink (at least until DH graduates and gets a real job that will allow us to get a maid ;)). We're both dedicated to finding solutions that we're BOTH comfortable with. That doesn't mean we're always happy but at least we talk about it and are on the same page. We're also getting better at having adult time. Getting DD into her own room was a move towards balance. Trusting others to watch DD while we get out together is another move towards balance. Sharing child care and household chores is another. We didn't get into being parents that both work full time + thinking this was going to be easy. We also didn't chose the parenting method we're working with thinking it would be easy. However, we both feel like its the easiest and most effective method for us, our DD, our beliefs, and our sanity. Our method isn't set in stone and we're always adjusting. If that means moving away from the Dr. Sears prescribed way of doing things than so be it. I don't think he so much as invented the AP approach as he described an approach that works for a certain subset of people. By documenting this approach, he has provided a sense of common ground for many parents.

tink9702's picture
Joined: 09/28/08
Posts: 2977

I'll start by saying I didn't even know what AP was until Olivia was about a year old. I'm still on the fence if I'm an AP parent, but I do find the AP approach much more in line with what I believe than the traditional way of baby rearing/raising.

1. Birth bonding
I was lucky enough to bond immediately with Olivia. I had a NB on my hands and knees and lifted her underneath me to my chest. She stared me right in the eyes and I fell into immediate love with her. It was a wonderful experience!

2. Breastfeeding
We are still going strong with this one at 17+ months. I'm not sure when we might end, if I'll make the decision or she will. I do want to get pregnant this year, so it will be interesting to see what happens with that. I was unable to BF my son - he never latched, I was full-time working, couldn't keep supply up with the pump. it caused me to be depressed and feel like a failure. I was immensely relieved to be able to BF Olivia. Now, with some perspective, I can say that it really was Ethan's choice to not BF and I should not have beat myself up so much about this one. You do what you can, with what you have!
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3. Baby wearing
Love to BW! Makes life easier with two toddlers and Olivia loves to be worn. I don't wear her as much anymore becuase she wants to be more independent, but we BW when she or I need/want to.

4. Bedding close to baby
We part-time co-slept because of the BFing. She was in our room until around 12 months and then moved into the room right next to ours for a couple months, then moved in with her brother. We've had a tough time with this one honestly. DH and I also havne't been on the same page about this one too. I think I struggle with this one the most I guess.

5. Belief in the language value of babies' cries
Totally believe, don't always understand!

6. Beware of baby trainers
I've read a bunch of books mostly about toddler discipline and anger etc. My DS is quite spirited and challenging. I take what I can from the books and move on with what's right for us.

7. Balance
Balance is difficult but so very important. I think I mostlly have achieved balance with personal time. I'd like a little more DH time but with only one babysitter I trust it's dififcult to find. Balance with Work is harder - I honestly don't want to be working, but I know that will happen once we can pay off student loans. I think ALL women have trouble with balance.

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

"TiggersMommy" wrote:

I don't think he so much as invented the AP approach as he described an approach that works for a certain subset of people. By documenting this approach, he has provided a sense of common ground for many parents.

I don't think he's ever claimed to inventing it! But I do think he is credited with bringing an awareness to these methods... like, so many of us choose them instinctively, and he made us conscious of it, and maybe points out what else could work or support our goals.

From his response about the Time magazine article, he said, "AP is not extreme. It’s very natural and instinctual. It’s the oldest parenting style in the world."

I love reading everyone's responses... it is refreshing to read how different takes, different children, different parents make these concepts work (or not) differently for everyone.

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