Parenting styles seem to be quite a debatable topic, as social media mothers usually harass others for whichever opposite style they follow. Let me start this off by saying, I am not like that. I don't judge other moms for their choices on parenting, I know very well on how every parenting style is suited for the parent, and I also know first hand that judging is naive. You do you! And this just explains why I did, me.
Before I became pregnant with my son, I was basically the most non-maternal person you could imagine. I didn't light up when a baby entered a room. I didn't get filled with joy when I heard friends or family announce they were having babies. I enjoyed my full nights sleep and independent lifestyle so much, that I even convinced myself I may just never have kids. Then, I became pregnant. I still can't say I was "maternal", however I was protective of this little being. We couldn't find his heartbeat, I had medical issues, I basically was constantly petrified I would lose him. I was put on extreme bed rest from 16 weeks till I went into labor. I had doctor appointments almost every week trying to see if there was any improvement. He seemed perfectly healthy and growing, however my body was just not coping with pregnancy. It was the day I went in labor. I was two weeks early, but determined as I was so proud we made it this far. I was keeping strong and tough, knowing that this was the last part of this scary pregnancy and then I realised... This little being was coming into the world now. The nurse told me it was time to push, and I looked at my husband in pure fear while I bursted into tears. I could see the shock in his eyes, as I don't think he was expecting the person that was so determined the entire pregnancy to suddenly become weak. Before I could panic any longer, Leoh Emerson was born on this earth. They plopped this 6 lb 13 ounce baby on top of me, and then I realised, this little being is a real life human. I always wondered what he would look like, and there he was. Right in front of me.
From the beginning of the pregnancy, people asked if I would breastfeed. I became open to the idea mid-pregnancy, but was quite private about my body that I couldn't imagine sharing it with a little baby. It wasn't until two months prior to labor that I heard of attachment parenting, and realised this could very well be something that I feel comfortable with. I struggled with attachment myself. I have a hard time with emotion and connecting to others. I'm naturally shy and to myself. I wanted to see more about attachment parenting for my son of course, but also for me. I knew that I struggled so much with emotion, that I wanted to know what it would be like to feel "attached" or "in tune". When the nurse asked if I was ready to try breastfeeding, I said yes very unconfidently. It was weird enough just having to experience labor in a room full of nurses, let alone trying to breastfeed for the first time in front of them too. Lucky for me, my tough little man latched on right away, and our journey began.
Was it weird? Yes, of course it was weird. I was that "non-maternal" mother remember? I was that person ready to never have kids, and now I was one of those "hippie-like" moms I always saw in Starbucks. But after a few days, it was beautiful. I watched him as he nursed, and was at complete peace. Was it painful? Yes, for about two weeks but then it was a breeze. We did all the attachment parenting nonsense. We co-slept, we bed-shared, we did baby wearing and kept strong on breastfeeding. This had impacted myself so dramatically, because as I said, I struggle with emotion and connection. I was so in tune with Leoh, so connected and attached, that I never felt anything like it. He was a happy, healthy and energetic little baby, what more could I ask for. He wasn't perfect (which is normal obviously), he didn't sleep through the night, and he didn't eat foods properly till around a year old. Now, let's forward in time. He's two years old, he's independent, he's confident and he's fearless. He rarely gets shy (unless he's trying to be cute), he likes to be the center of attention, he eats every type of food you could imagine, he's so lovable and he's strong-minded to say the least. He's still breastfed, although he doesn't nurse often, (lately just for his nap), + he still co-sleeps (he has his Spongebob toddler bed in our bedroom). Does he cry when you leave the room? Nope, he waves bye to me, says "see ya" and carries on with whoever is entertaining him. Is he attached to you by the hip? Nope, he runs off quite often, exploring his freedom. When do you plan on weaning him off breastfeeding? He's began weaning himself, I simply just tell him when I can't, but if he asks for it, I don't turn him down for it. He drinks 9-16 ounces of cows milk after his dinner, and loves it. The rest of the time, he really just digs his juice. How did you get him out of the family bed? On his second birthday, he got a Spongebob toddler bed with Spongebob covers, and pillow set. (He likes Spongebob obviously). He was so excited about his bed that he jumped in it right away, and began going to sleep in it. I would lay down with him till he fell asleep, and if he woke, I would bring him back into our bed to nurse him back to sleep. He began asking me to go into his bed rather than come into ours. Then, my husband tucked him into bed, kissed him goodnight and let him fall asleep on his own (and no, we never let him "cry it out"), sure enough, with no hesitation, no fear and no doubt, he fell asleep on his own without us lying down with him. He's done this every night since then, and he then started sleeping through the night. In the morning, he jumps into our bed full of energy, and ready to conquer the world. Now, let me correct something here by saying, not all attachment parenting methods worked for us in the long run. Most did for us, however, I discovered that a few may have been suited for me, but not suited for Leoh. (1) Baby wearing was lovely when he was itty-bitty, however, he got big. He got big fast. It was hard to carry him, and he would much rather have been crawling (or running when he could). He liked the pram (stroller) better when he got older as well, as he enjoyed a bit of space too and liked feeling like a "big boy". (2) I used to have bad insomnia, therefore, I wake quite often in the night. I thought that Leoh was waking me up, but since he began sleeping in his bed, I've discovered I was the one that was most likely waking him up. Now that your pregnant with your second baby, will you do attachment parenting again? Yes! Of course. I loved it, but I will take what I learned with Leoh as well. I will breastfeed, co-sleep and baby wear, I will keep the babies bed next to ours however, will probably avoid bed-sharing since I believe I impacted Leoh's sleep for a long time due to that. I also know that you cannot plan what will happen when your child arrives, because it's always different! Will you breastfeed Leoh when your new baby is born? I will. I will breastfeed the baby first and foremost, but I do plan on allowing them both to breastfeed, which I believe will help their attachment as well.
Basically, this was my way of saying, this is why I did it, and how I did. I am going to be entirely different than others because I'm a different person, and Leoh's a different kid. However anyone else raises their kids is their way, and high five to doing so!
Thanks for reading! If anyone has any questions, I encourage you to ask. You can comment below!