Throughout my years of struggling to get pregnant, I had a lot time to contemplate what kind of parent I would be. When I became pregnant, my husband and I spent the entire nine months discussing our parenting philosophies. We wanted to ensure we were on the same page in order to present a united front from day one. I never specified that I wanted to practice attachment parenting, instead I just sort fell into it.
The three hallmarks, so-to-speak, of attachment parenting are breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and baby wearing. The idea is that you can nurture the emotional parent-child bond through physical closeness. By doing so, you make your child feel safe, thus building trust and strengthening your relationship.
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Attachment Parenting: Breastfeeding
Before becoming a parent, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I read a ton of books and took classes. When the big day arrived, it turned out breastfeeding was not nearly as easy as I thought it was going to be. However, my daughter and I persevered, and she is one milk lovin’ fool.
I was not, on the other hand, planning to co-sleep. I was planning on her sleeping in the beautiful crib that took her dada hours to assemble. But she was having no part of that crib and here we are, two years later, still co-sleeping. It may not have been part of my original plan, but it has worked well for our family.
I had not considered baby-wearing as part of a parenting style, per say. I thought of it more as something that would be functional in my day-to-day life. As it turns out, baby-wearing pretty much saved my life and allowed me to actually be productive in those early days of motherhood.
My daughter turned out to be a marathon nurser, putting the “attachment” in attachment parenting by being nearly permanently attached to my boob 24/7. I could not do anything, but nurse her.
Attachment Parenting: Baby-Wearing
I am not complaining. I loved holding her and staring at her sweet face for hours on end. But a girl has to pee and eat from time-to-time. I am not saying I did not learn how to use the bathroom or feed myself one-handed while nursing, but when I bought a Baby Sling , my life became infinitely easier.
I tried a Moby Wrap because it was all the rage, but I could seriously not figure it out, despite watching several YouTube videos. (If you are interested in one, click on my link to purchase one on Zulily for 50% off or just message me and I’ll send you mine.)
When my daughter outgrew the sling, I began searching for something new that could grow with her. I also wanted something that my husband would not mind wearing, as well. Around the same time, I began teaching online from home. I needed something that would allow my hands to be free, but provide her with the closeness and security she had grown accustomed to. Bonus points if she could also nurse while in the carrier. And so, I became a full-fledged baby wearer with my life-changing baby carrier.
Baby Wearing is NOT Just for Babies!
Now, here is the surprising fact about baby-wearing...it is NOT just for babies! I thought my baby-wearing days would come to an abrupt halt once my daughter became mobile. She has developed the typical toddler aversion to anything constraining. This girl hates car seats, strollers, high chairs, and shopping carts with a level of passion and disgust that is truly something to behold. It’s just that sheloves her newfound independence more than even the movie Frozen! And yet she still loves to be held in her carrier.
I can surmise that although she loves her freedom to explore the world, she also still craves the closeness we so often shared when she was an infant. She uses this time of close physical proximity to fill up on the security and confidence she needs to go back into the world and investigate all that it has to offer. Like recharging her batteries.
I often use this time to still accomplish tasks, like teaching my fabulous students or doing a load of laundry without worrying about her little inquisitive self running amok while my back is turned. This is the time I savor. I relish the feeling of her still being little enough to fit in my arms. I kiss the top of her head while squeezing her tight. Someday she will be too big, but for now, I am storing every snuggle in my heart for later reflection. Like charging my own batteries.
*For more information on attachment parenting, check out http://www.attachmentparenting.org/.