Thursday, August 19, 2010

AP vs. BW

I'm doing it. I'm tackling it. I'm addressing it.

Attachment Parenting vs. Baby Wise (or any scheduling book for that matter)

These 2 things have kept coming up in my thoughts/conversations lately. And honestly, I feel like I'm over it. Well, not OVER it, because I wouldn't be writing about it, but I'm just really frustrated about it.

It seems like between most moms, there is a battle (or rather, a competition) for how we raise our children. Can I hear a hollar or an Amen?!

I remember when I was pregnant with Ellie, my best friend had just read baby wise and had implemented it with her daughter and I thought it was wonderful! She had such a great content, really happy, seemed very well rested, and to top it off, my friend seemed well rested and happy too! That looked like a GREAT combo to me.

But I will never forget when my midwife came over to set up things for my homebirth (about 4 weeks before my due date), she saw baby wise sitting on my end table. She asked if I was planning on doing that, which I responded "yes"- the conversation following that just about tore me to shreds. She had the BEST of intentions- don't get me wrong! She has had 10 kids for goodness sakes...she has been around the block and I totally respect her- which was why it was so hard for me to hear. But the jist of what I heard was that I was going to create mistrust with my baby if I let her cry herself to sleep. And I was showing her that her needs coudn't be met- a sort of abandonment feeling. She encouraged the attachment parenting method by Dr. Sears. More of an on-demand way of doing things. You are prompted by your baby's needs and wants, you anticipate cries before they happen, constantly carry them around with you to encourage closeness and create a strong bond. ALL OF IT DID SOUND SO GREAT, don't get me wrong. But I had experienced first hand, what my best friend had going on, and that way seemed just as gentle to me. Content baby, content momma.

Since that conversation, I have thought about these things a lot. Of course I would NEVER want to deprive my sweet baby of attention & affection, nor would I want them to feel abandoned! But in my heart, I do feel a certain balance that I feel like needs to be met. Just as a baby needs love, affection, attention, all of those things- a mom needs sleep & rest!

I am NOT one of those people who forms an opinion without looking at all of the options. That is something that really irritates me. Like when people say that Baby Wise is the devil, and have never even cracked open the book to take a look for themselves! So, I went out and bought the 800 page Baby Book by Dr. Sears, and spend FOREVER reading and reading. Again it sounded great. And there were some things that I definitely wanted to implement with Ellie to promote that bond and closeness.

The first few months, I stuck with baby wise, and seriously, Ellie was THE HAPPIEST BABY I had EVER encoutered. She was on a 3 hr schedule, really NEVER cried, fell right asleep, and was such a go with the flow baby. It was so wonderful. As she got older, she had a harder time falling asleep, and so I started nursing her to sleep. At this stage in life, THIS worked wonderfully. She loved it & so did I. A few months passed, and she started taking AT LEAST an hour to fall asleep while nursing or rocking...she was so irritable. Adam and I decided that it was time to let her cry it out a little. We knew she was so tired, and it wasn't good for her to not take naps...she wasn't a happy baby when she wasn't sleeping! Babies NEED sleep. So, we tried it for 1 day. She cried 16 minutes her first nap. Then it was 5-10 minutes at the most, for the rest of her naps. About 2 days later, I would sing to her, tell her how much I loved her, cuddle her & kiss her, then lay her down and she was OUT! She does it the same way to this day and has an incredibly hard time if there is ever a circumstance where I HAVE to hold her to go down for a if I forget the pack n' play at a friends house or something. This is what she loves now. She takes 2 really good (at leat 2 hr naps) a day, and wakes up so content and happy.

All of this to say, does it make me the devil that I don't attachment parent to the T? Am I depriving my daughter of love somehow? I was reading a blog not long ago (and not on just this one but others have done it too), and it said something to the effect of - " All of you attachment parents, tell me what you think about....." and I thought, well, I'm not an "attachment parent" so, can I not respond? Is my mothering somehow not good enough to give you a response of worth? I also don't consider myself a "Baby Wise" mom. I consider myself a "do-what-your-insticts- and-logical-thought-tell-you-to-do" kind of mom. Or an "Ask-the-Lord-to-give-you-wisdom" kind of mom and I know he'll be faithful to answer! Just like I'm not the same everyday, my baby isn't the same everyday. We are constantly changing and needing new things.

Another blog friend (Sarah) put on her blog about how she was going to try letting her baby cry-it-out, and that as far as she was concerned, the attachment parents could burn her at the stake! I thought that was hilarious! But it really made me think about how much of an issue this is, and how insecure it can make you feel as a mom.

I know it may seem like I'm downing Attachment Parenting-please hear my heart, I'm not. I think it's wonderful. But I also feel it's a bit of a cult if you are an AP parent. And same goes for BabyWise. I say Love & Accept people. LOVE & ACCEPT. God made EVERY single baby different, and every baby is will require different things. So, lets not make it out to be a my style vs. your style kinda thing. I think that we should give up the competition, and trust that each mom really does generally know what the BEST is for her baby.

There it is. I addressed it. What have you guys encountered with this issue? Anything? Ever feel inadequate with your parenting skills because of competition? I'd love to know that I'm not alone in this!!!


Sarah said...

What a fantastic post! And not just because you mentioned my thoughts, but I really feel the same way you do. You've been a momma longer than I have, but one thing I have learned is to take EVERYTHING, be it from a book, person, website, radio show-whatever-with a grain of salt. Everyone does things differently and of course there will be other mommas out there who think whatever you're doing is not okay. Stay strong and stick to what feels good for you and baby. YAY! Did you notice that I am now back to blogger and LOVING it?! :)

Ashley Baker said...

I am a friend of Becky Claflin... that is how i found your blog. I just had my first baby 6 months ago and definitely struggled through this battle. At the end of the day every parenting style is different and every baby is different.I'm with you- take the best of the views and find out what works with my baby and don't impose it on other parents : )

Anonymous said...

wait, I'm supposed to join a side?! ahhh! :)

I co-slept with Kaiden until he was 3 months and then put him on a schedule. I see pros and cons with both sides, but I do agree that babies on schedules always seem more happy and content (along with their parents). I've also noticed that parents who never let their children learn to sleep on their own (using the cry it out method), they then have much bigger problems when the child hits toddler age. My neice for instance didn't fall asleep on her own at night until she was almost FIVE. Crazy. I also think that AP parents should make sure they aren't putting their children before their marriage such as always having the baby included on date night or sharing the bed every night with a baby in between spouses. If an AP parent can accomplish that, then more power to them!

And really, the bottom line is that all moms believe that their methods are the BEST, otherwise they'd do it a different way. I think it becomes so easy for moms to try and pick apart their differeces instead of focusing on the fact that we are all just moms who love our children and are learning new things every step of the way.

Well, I better go see what other clubs I'm missing out on! haha!:)

Capribythelake said...

Man, I SO agree with this post!
I wrote a little bit about how I "balance the parenting styles" here:

What I didn't say in the post (to not offend some friends) is that all the AP parents I know (my closest friends and Sisters) all had kids that NEVER slept. And, there is something super damaging about a child that doesn't sleep, everyone needs sleep, and I think behavior problems, healthy problems etc all come from lack of sleep. I was a FULL on devoted AP parent BEFORE I actually became a parent, ha! I loved the old days when I "knew everything" didn't you? ha ha. But I think you have to look at each child, and if it isn't working, you have to be flexible, and not just stick to a parenting philosophy even if it DOESN'T work for that child. I am still very mcuh an AP parent, but now I'm in the middle, and do many things AP parents would scoff at! ha!
I've learned to never judge, to never push your beliefs (lovingly share) and to know that every mama knows her kids best. Great post!

Capribythelake said...

Oh, and one more thing- I agree with the other comment that many AP parents put the attachment to their babies ahead of their attachment to their husbands. I mean, you can totally co-sleep and have a sex life (I did!) But when no one is sleeping and you make your husband sleep in the other room? You destroy your marriage- and that is much worse on the child then letting them cry it out.

Leigh Steele said...

i love that you write what you feel. you are authentic.
you are so loving to ellie.
balance, indeed.
as long as it comes from a place of LOVE - which yours does. :)

taqfamily said...

I get irritated that everything always seems to be a competition in this world. Like you said, every baby is different (and so is every parent!). I agree with you and say do what you feel comfortable with as a parent and let people think whatever they want! What works for you and baby is all that matters :)