I didn't start out with a parenting philosophy at all. I just assumed that what was true for my mom would be true for me. I planned on breastfeeding Christina for the first year, then weaning her. I planned on Christina sleeping in her crib the first night we were home from the hosptial, and every night after that. I planned on Christina sleeping through the night at six weeks old.
Remember the saying : "Want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans." Well, God sure laughed at my plans!
I was blessed to have a great delivery nurse when I checked into the hospital January 19th, 2007 to be induced (I wish I could remember her name!). I told her that I wanted to try and have a natural birth, with no drugs. She was incredibly supportive, saying that she had a natural childbirth with her children. We ended up having a while to chat, since I got checked into the hospital semi-unexpectedly (I'll explain my whole childbirth experience in a later post) and it was about an hour before Sean, my parents, or my in-laws showed up. She explained that she followed the philosophy of Attachment Parenting, which includes co-sleeping, baby-wearing, breastfeeding on demand, and overall just trusting your baby's needs and responding to her cues. I had never heard of Attachment Parenting, so the nurse recommended that I check out The Baby Book by Dr. William Sears.
As it happened, after a few hours of very painful, Pitocin-induced labor, I decided to have an epidural. Even though I changed my mind about natural childbirth, my nurse was totally understanding. And as it turned out, her shift ended about an hour before Christiana was born, so I ended up with a different nurse when Christina was delivered.
Anyway, fast forward to the next evening, January 20th - Sean's and my first night at home with our baby. I was incredibly hormonal and emotional. While Christina was quiet during the ride home in the car, once we got home she would not stop crying. And then I couldn't stop crying. Sean had to comfort me while helping me to change her diaper, something I was convinced I would never get the hang of! Mostly, the whole first few months of motherhood is a blur of sleeping when I could (which wasn't often), and trying to keep Christina happy (which wasn't easy).
Christina had colic for about the first four months of her life. When she was awake, she was mostly crying (at least, that's what I remember). I tried everything. I would put her in her bouncy seat, I'd put her in her swing, I'd rock with her in the recliner...and she'd be happy for maybe 10 minutes. Then she'd be crying again. The thing that seemed to calm her down for the longest time was when I walked around with her in my arms or in a sling carrier. So, I quickly became a "baby-wearing" mama. I would wear her in the sling while I did dishes or folded laundry. And if I had nothing else to do, I would pace back and forth across the living room while watching TV, because if I stood still she would start crying again. Even once she was past the colic, she loved being in the carrier, close to me. So most of the time when we went out, I put her in the sling instead of bringing a stroller. Once she got too big for the sling to be comfortable for me anymore, I bought an Ergo Baby Carrier, which worked for us until she was about 2.
And as far as food, I tried giving Christina baby food when she was six months old, and she would have none of it. It didn't matter what flavor it was, it all made her gag. I think it was the texture that bothered her. So she breastfed pretty exclusively for about the first year/year and a half. After that the only thing she liked was crackers, cookies and other carbs (which, if you've read my earlier posts, you know hasn't changed much). I kept nursing her as well to make up for the nutrients she wasn't getting from a balanced diet. But she never did like baby food.
All this to say, I'm a big fan of Attachment Parenting, but I totally don't judge anyone who decides to do things a different way. I know some moms who read a bunch of parenting books before they ever had kids and consciously decided what approach they were going to take. But most parents are probably like me - just feeling things out and doing the best we can with the information we have. We all have our different parenting "methods," but as long as we love our kids and have their best interests at heart, I think they'll turn out alright.
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