Preparing for a Little One: Baby Wise vs. Attachment Parenting

 Preparing For A Little One

If you have a second to vote for me for Top Military Mom Blog I would love it!!!

*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on tv…so there’s that.  And again, the whole deleting comments like the Chinese government is still happening people*

Thanks everyone for stopping by for another week of Preparing for a Little One. I think the whole idea behind this series and link up is pretty fun. I would have thought it was so fun to have been able to read something like this when I was pregnant. Now that I’m a mom of three, with three very different experiences I’m so excited to be able to share what I’ve experienced and learned.

This weeks topic is Baby Wise vs. Attachment Parenting. Before i even start I must tell you that I don’t practice either one fully and the thoughts and ideas that go along with each of these can vary so much.  If you don’t know much about either one the internet is full of helpful information.  The gist of it basically is the Baby Wise philosophy, and other similiar ones like Tracy Hogg’s E.A.S.Y. book, build off a more structured idea.  Schedules and things like that.  Attachment parenting is a bit more baby and child led, positive and peaceful environments, and things like baby wearing, co-sleeping and baby led feeding are concepts you will hear a lot when discussing attachment parenting.  We do a very mixed bag and its sort of our own style of parenting.  We base our parenting on a general philosophy and I think with each kid you have to find what works for them.  What works for one might not work for another.  I firmly believe that if you go into something with too rigid of an idea it doesn’t work out well.  Parenting books aren’t something that I usually advocate for, especially ones that highlight one specific style of doing something.  The reason being is that I have found that those are the exception and not the rule.  When parents read books like that and find that its not working for them they think they’re the one with the problem.  They believe that they are supposed to fit into some mold and that’s just not how it works.  Now that I have three kids I can tell you that each one has been very different.  Operating off a specific set of values that we want to instill in our children, we tailor that to each of our children’s specific needs.

Baby-wearing Phillip at the pumpkin patch at about a week old

I did a lot of baby-wearing when they are little, we do not co-sleep and I breastfed to varying degrees, the most with my youngest.  I struggled with breastfeeding, especially with my first baby, so Brian was almost exclusively formula fed. Phillip is almost 100% a breastfed baby, having self-weaned himself (much to my great and utter sadness) before he was one. I did Babywear them all, Ami the most and for the longest. My two boys didn’t love it, which was kind of a bummer for me, especially with Phillip because he’s my last baby.  We chose not to co-sleep because we don’t see the benefit compared to not co-sleeping.  I did bring them to bed with me during the last feeding before getting up during the day.  When Phillip was born I believe that I had this subconscious thing take hold of me.  I knew in my heart this was it so I adopted a lot of practices that I hadn’t with my other two, co-sleeping being one of them.  We had a very difficult time getting him sleep anywhere but with us in bed.  I realized how easy this would be if I didn’t have two other kids, but it was very difficult to keep up the feeding on demand, co-sleeping and baby wearing.  It is more than just a parenting style, it is a lifestyle and one that takes a lot of commitment, and both parents need to be fully invested in it.

Carrying Phillip around at The Battle of Bull Run in Manassas, VA

While I appreciate certain aspects, as well as the end goal of attachment parenting, there are some parts that bother me. Mostly what bothers me are the attitudes that I have encountered. And granted, it could be just the people that I have come across. My biggest problem is the idea that putting my child on a schedule, teaching them to self-soothe and not sleeping with them will somehow rob them of an attachment to me and that their bond won’t develop properly, or that letting my child cry at all is killing off brain cells (yes I’ve been told that, and no I’m not even joking a little bit).

        This type of experience is outlined perfectly in a statement I read on Dr. Sears’ website when talking about what Attachment Parenting is: Attachment parenting teaches you how to be discerning of advice, especially those rigid and extreme parenting styles that teach you to watch a clock or a schedule instead of your baby; you know, the cry-it-out crowd. This “convenience” parenting is a short-term gain, but a long-term loss, and is not a wise investment. These more restrained styles of parenting create a distance between you and your baby and keep you from becoming an expert in your child.

That type of thinking is frankly very offensive.  That the way I parent is for my “convenience.”  This whole paragraph bothers me on so many levels I wouldn’t even know where to begin.  The very thought that I’m somehow damaging my children and that I couldn’t possibly be attached and bonded with them is ludicrous.

Me and all three of my very loved, bonded and attached children

I guess the point I’m trying to say is that balance is key. In our home we strive to achieve balance in all we do, especially with our children. We want to have a home filled with love, honesty and patience. We want our children to be on a schedule, but not live by it. The ability to be flexible and ebb and flow with the needs of each one of our children, and our life in general is just as valuable. We have a very close bond with our children and in my personal opinion taking anything to the extreme can be damaging. Personally for us, this is what has worked and I haven’t seen a negative outcome yet. There are struggles with both types of parenting styles. Finding a schedule, keeping it, getting in a feeding rhythm and helping them discern their night from day. I have several friends that practice aspects of attachment parenting, several of while who have eventually had struggles, like when to stop co-sleeping, how to get a child to sleep in their own room, a spouse who grows weary and wants time with their mate in their bed, breastfeeding on demand multiple children, because a second one has come and the older one still wants to. Each comes with their own difficulties and hurdles to jump. I know the decision that I’ve come to and what I would appreciate the most is some respect for my parenting decisions. Like I said, I find it extremely offensive and troublesome when the bond with my child is called into question. Parenting isn’t for the weak! Find people who are like-minded with you and share in your triumphs and struggles and grow together. Parenting is a journey and develops over time. No is perfect right out of the gate, and I firmly believe you can’t go into it with hard and fast rules for many things you want to do. I think that only leads to frustration.

I know I didn’t get specific about some aspects of my parenting style. But I am always here and willing to talk via email. To offer advice, suggestions, elaborate on my experiences and just be a listening ear for you. This is such a huge topic I feel like I could have go on forever and ever!

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My “make it work” moment *plus recipe*

In general I feel like my philosophy on life, for this particular moment in life that is, is “make it work”.  Really I think we all go through moments like that, moments where all you are doing is making it work.  Right now in this moment I want to tell you that is perfectly okay!  Okay, maybe that was mostly for me but it really is for you too.  So, my “make it work” moment from yesterday.  What do you do when you have no spaghetti sauce, and no tomato sauce or paste….and, the spaghetti, including ground turkey is already cooking?

“Make it Work” Spaghetti Sauce

1 can of whole peeled tomatoes (blended in the blender)
1 can of tomato soup
1/2 can of water
sea salt
(all to taste)

What you get is kinda of a thin sauce, but it complements the meat so well.  My kids loved it and I loved it.  It’s kind of satisfying to be able to pull something out of nowhere, especially in the kitchen.  It feels like some sort of Martha Stewartish validation of the home.  I’m not really sure, but it was amazing.  Toss in some amazing new pasta I discovered (did you see the veggies in there?)

Do you have a “make it work” recipe or story?
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Preparing for a Little One – Dealing with Post-Partum Depression

 Preparing For A Little One

This is my second topic with these lovely ladies and I am so happy to be a part of it.  Its not because I think I’m super awesome (*cough cough*) but I being the mother of three, with so many different experiences I would only hope and pray that God would use me to bless another mama.  Motherhood is scary, if not just for the most obvious reasons, but for all the mommy drama that can go along with it.  I’d like to think that I approach it from a real and relaxed viewpoint.

Here are some of my other posts in this series that I never got the chance to link-up, but wanted to cover anyway!

1.To Vaccinate or Not
2. Tips for Recovery

This weeks topic is dealing with Post-Partum depression, and this is something that I have talked about here, and here.  Its the real deal and the stigma attached to it is also very real.  What person wants to admit that they can’t handle everything?  As a military wife I’m in a lot of situations where I’m left to handle most everything by myself.  It happens more often then I’d like, but this is the life we both chose and I’m cool with that.  However, just because I chose it doesn’t mean I can’t vent about it and can’t admit that I can’t do everything by myself.  The same goes with after having a baby.  

I remember it very clearly, the first time I dealt with this.  I knew about post-partum and baby blues.  I think most moms go through this, whether its just the overwhelming reality that you have a little life in your arms or sheer exhaustion I’m not sure.   There are many ways people say you can avoid this – breastfeeding, support, rest, whatever.  I appreciate all those things, and I did and had all those things.      Dwelling on all the reasons I should have been fine is probably part of the reason I got myself into the predicament I did.  Granted I had a hubby working a ridiculous amount, but still.  It took me eight months to admit that I had a problem.  Eight months!!  I was stubborn and thought I could handle everything.  I told myself plenty of times that if I started to feel bad that I would get help, but I didn’t; and when it lasted longer than six weeks I still didn’t get help.  One day I looked at my husband and said, “I think I’m depressed.”  He was relieved.  While he had expressed concern, what’s he supposed to do?  So, I went it and began a low dosage of Lexapro.  It was the lowest dose, just to get me over “the hump,” so to speak.  It immediately changed everything.  Admitting that I couldn’t, and didn’t have be perfect, was probably just as helpful as getting some medication.  There was no shame in it.  I was on the medication until I became pregnant with my daughter, and didn’t go back on anything until recently.  I didn’t experience any issues going off of it, or stopping the sleeping pills I occasionally took (as that was also a problem related to the PPD).  So, if that is something you’re concerned about, don’t let that stop you!

So here’s some quick tips for you:

1) get help right away.  Keep talking to your doctor.  They’ll know when it goes beyond normal post-delivery hormone withdrawl.

2) don’t tell yourself you can handle everything!  We weren’t meant to handle everything.  That’s why we have friends and family!!

3) know that just because you get help doesn’t mean you can’t be, and aren’t, Super Mom – Because you are!!

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Preparing for a Little One: To Vaccinate or Not

Preparing For A Little One

Disclaimer: While I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and ideas, this is clearly one of those “mommy wars” type topics and this is just not the place for that.  So in the words of my awesome friend Taylor over at Dear Olympia…, I will delete comments Chinese Government Style! LOL!!!

**A note on my photographers!  If you happen to be located in NorCal or California in general.  Please look them up.  They are absolutely amazing!  

Instead of giving you a ridiculously long list of the reasons that we chose to vaccinate I want to talk about some of the things people say to me when they don’t agree with me.  First of all, from our perspective its not really a matter of choice.  Its not like we sat down and really thought about it, and did any sort of investigative work.  That’s not to say we just willy nilly run around like sheep just following the heard.  I say that to illustrate exactly how important we feel the decision to vaccinate is.

1) People have said, “oh its a big scheme by pharmaceutical companies to make money.”  I’m not really sure how to respond to that without sounding sarcastic.  I don’t mean to be.  When it was common for people to die from these diseases, I’m don’t feel like anyone was out to make money, and only now when people don’t die daily from them do I hear that argument.  Anyone heard the phrase “prevention is key?”  My husband and I firmly believe that in order to keep these diseases from coming back prevention is key.

2) What are the odds?  I once had a conversation with someone talking to me about the odds of their child being exposed to this.  In her mind the odds weren’t great and that was reason enough.  She was upset about the fact that the Tetnus and Pertussis were combined.  And here’s a perfect reasoning for my argument previously mentioned.  She does very limited vaccinations, however one that she did want to get is Pertussis.  Why?  Because we are seeing a rise in Pertussis.  Anyway, back to this discussion.  In my book, when it comes to the health of my child, any risk is too great of a risk.  If we were in a car accident and someone the blood of someone in another car that had HepA got into a cut on my child, well to me there’s no need to further discussion.

3) They wouldn’t die from the diseases today.  Okay, that’s nice but why wait to cause my child suffering when they can prevent it.  Mumps can sterilize a boy.  Do I want to tell my son that someday?  What about Polio?  My husband’s grandfather died of polio, and I worked with several people who had physical disabilities because of it.  Tetanus can be life threatening, even with modern medicine.  And just because you clean a cut out doesn’t mean the bacteria can’t get it.

4) If you breastfed then your immunities pass on to your child.  Breastfeeding may enhance immunitiy to your child, but I haven’t been convinced that somehow your child will be protected from life-threatening illness because you breastfeed.  And in any case, the argument is usually, “I was vaccinated so I pass on that immunity.”  To me, that doesn’t add up.  Not to mention the fact that some woment don’t breastfeed and some people have issues, and I’ll just leave it at that.

my oldest, who is almost 7 now!

I think I’ve covered most of the important issues for us.  I want everyone to feel confident in their own selves as a parent.  and while I appreciate everyone’s right to make their own deciions, I feel like vaccinating isn’t really a topic of debate.  I feel like everyone should vaccinate and it concerns me that my newborn could be exposed to someone who in’t, because I do venture out when they are younger then the age to vaccinate.  Its really not a matter of me not respecting everyone’s choice as a parent.  It is just my personal feeling that vaccination should be a given.

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