Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An AP Correction

My last blog entry was about my own personal parenting style and how it compares to the style of Attachment Parenting. I am glad several of you liked the post. I loved your feedback :-)

I am pretty interested in the whole topic of parenting styles because I love being a parent and I love to learn from others. Afterall, I would NEVER have thought about cloth diapering until a college friend began blogging about her cloth diaper journey. It peaked my interest and I began doing it too...the same goes for me with this pregnancy and delivering with a midwife instead of an OB. I am learning as I go and adapting my "style" as I learn and see fit.

Anyway, I wanted to make a quick correction about my last post. Upon doing a little more "research" into Attachment Parenting (AP), I have learned that what I called AP is actually more of Natural Parenting. Natural Parenting would be a bunch of "natural" techniques used in parenting. Attachment Parenting isn't really a set of techniques but rather a mindset that uses baby's cues as the guide.

So, here is a real life example of an AP mama (fictitious, of course)...

Mom's first baby, a girl, loves to be held and snuggled. Mom can't carry her sweetie around all the time, so she buys a great baby carrier and ends up "wearing" the little girl quite frequently. The baby is happy and the mom enjoys wearing her at home and when they are out and about.

Mom's second child, a boy, has a different personality than his big sister. He isn't quite the snugglebug that sissy was. He gets hot in the baby carrier and fusses quite a bit. He doesn't fall alseep and seem to love it like his sister did. Mom discovers that he prefers the bouncy seat at home and the stroller when they're out, so she ditches the carrier and uses those things instead.

This mom is still practicing Attachment Parenting because she is simply adapting her "style" to her individual baby's needs. She isn't saying, "well, I baby wear, and sorry little guy, you're going to have to learn to love it too." She is simply meeting the unique needs of her children.

Make sense? It does to me. This style focuses heavily on baby's needs and preferences. In my mind, mom kind of "goes with the flow" and parents as baby leads.

Attachment Parenting and Natural Parenting overlap quite a bit simply because many babies "prefer" a lot of natural techniques such as being worn, being breast-fed on demand, and co-sleeping with their parents.

Natural Parenting techniques would include natural childbirth, breast-feeding, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, non-vaccinating, non-circumcising, making homemade baby food, etc...you get the idea. I think Natural Parenting is pretty self-explanatory.

I must admit that I am actually rather confused about Attachment Parenting now that I have learned a little more about it. I can clearly see that I don't do a whole lot of Natural Parenting - other than breast-feeding and cloth diapering. I do however believe that I do what is in the best interest of my unique child. I am willing to adjust my "style" for each child I have to some degree. I definitely do not see myself as rigid and unchanging from child to child. This makes me think that maybe I do ever-so-slightly fall into the AP category.

On the other hand, I also believe very strongly that the baby's needs are not the only needs in the family that are important. My needs as well as the needs of my other children must be taken into consideration.

This is why I will not co-sleep. I need my sleep - and so does my husband. I need "deep" sleep without the fear of rolling over on the baby. I also need time alone with my husband. A child in the bed would very much interfere with the health of our marriage - to me, without a healthy marriage, a family will fall apart. I realize that a lot of families successfully co-sleep and have healthy marriages and feel that they get adequate rest. That is perfectly fine if it works for them. I do not aim to judge. I am just saying that it isn't what will work for me and my husband. Plus, I truly don't think it would be fair to my other children. They would LOVE to sleep in-between my husband and me every night, but we do not allow this. I think they would feel that it is unfair if their new brother did.

I will also begin to "sleep train" my baby around 8-9 weeks of age with the goal of baby sleeping through the night by 12 weeks. This has worked nicely for both my previous children and I will try it again with the third. If baby no. 3 doesn't adapt quite as easily, I will try other techniques that I have not previously tried. I can't "make" the baby stay asleep, so all I can do is do my best to teach him how to fall asleep and stay asleep as best as possible. The rest is kind of out of my hands, haha. I will be doing a follow up post all about how I have done this "sleep training" in the past and how I plan to do it in the future for those of you that are interested in the specifics. :-)

If this baby like to be worn in a baby carrier, that is fine! I will gladly wear him. I love to snuggle and kiss my children!

Of course, I will cloth diaper that cute tiny bum.

I will very much try and breast-feed exclusively for a minimum of 6 months - hopefully for a full year. I do realize though that if I fail at this task, I will not have failed at motherhood. Forcing breast-milk to a baby that has some sort of milk allergy is never a good choice. Either is continuing to breast-feed exclusively if baby is losing weight. These medical issues require mom to adapt. I am 100% willing to place baby's needs above my own "breast-feeding goals."

Anyway, I just wanted to clarify the difference in Attachment Parenting as a "mentality" and Natural Parenting as the techniques so often used. I am leaving a little more confused than when I came. I thought I was not very "AP" but now I see that maybe I do have a few AP tendencies. Fortunately, I don't care how you label me. Labels do not make or break a mom. In fact, I'm not sure why we even have labels. Its really quite confusing to me!

And just for kicks, here are some recent pictures of how my new little guy is growing :-)


  1. Loved your pics of your growing belly! Can't wait to hold your newest little fella. Love you and your precious family.

  2. Your belly is precious!

    And you know? I totally like this definition of attachment parenting better! Because I support the fact that you have to do what works for your family and baby.

    This is why I'm so undecided on co-sleeping. I like the idea, but if it doesn't work for me, my husband, or baby, I'm not married to it!

    Thanks for this!