I know I tend to post a lot about my daughter and thoughts on parenting, so I thought I’d share a little bit about my parenting style. Please take note that I am still learning and I know my style will grow and develop (and may change) when I have more kiddos God willing.
Before I had my daughter, I had a totally different vision for the kind of parent I was going to be. Like a lot of other moms, I had her bassinet ready to go in our bedroom ready for Mariam to use for the first 6 months until she was ready to move to her crib.
I also planned to be the type of parent who gives my baby plenty of tummy time, simply by putting her on her play mat for at least 15 minutes a day. She’d just be a chill baby.
I would plan my meals and cook them the same as soon as I got over the first few weeks of my postpartum struggle.
I was going to start exercising as soon as I could, when I was given the “okay” from my doctor. I was even going to be on time to my 6 weeks postpartum checkup appointment.
My husband and I were going to spend time together and hang out while baby girl took her naps or slept through the night (when she was at the age ready to do so).
Everything was going to go perfectly! Only a few minor changes to life, no biggie. Can’t wait to have another baby ASAP.
Nope. None of the above happened.
I know I may sound like I was super naive, and maybe I was a little, but I truly thought all of this because I wasn’t very educated about…well a lot of things.
Fast forward through months of researching natural birthing techniques and savvy baby products (that we would later never use), baby girl arrived.
The first night after her birth would be a clue to how the next year would go, but I didn’t know at the time.
She would not sleep alone in her bassinet. Ever. She mostly slept in my arms, on my chest, or right next to me (yes, safely).
Swings didn’t work. Heating pad on low in her bassinet before laying her down (and removing the heating pad) didn’t work. Sound machine, swaddling, pick-up-put-down, lovey, pacifier, trial and error, trial and error, trial and error. NOPE.
Yes, I’ve been advised numerous times about ALL the ways I could have done things differently and helped Mariam sleep alone. I also learned about all the moms who did have babies sleeping through the night at six weeks, the moms whose babies self-soothed to sleep, the moms who had a chance to unwind after their baby went to bed. Reading about these moms made me feel like a failure.
Well did you know that, in addition to all the factors that go into how one takes care of their child, babies have different temperaments which can affect they way you parent? I didn’t until I had my daughter and realized that her temperament wasn’t very laid back when it came to sleeping alone.
Co-sleeping, breastfeeding to sleep, the rocking chair off Amazon, and doing everything one-handed became my best friends.
I did not have family around to help me most days. And my husband was working all the time, so I did what I had to do to survive and get some rest.
I guess you could say that I became an attachment-style parent of sorts. I appreciated the baby wraps that I could carry Mariam around in while I did housework. Also, she was and still is on my hip most of the time, and I was never okay with not attending to her cries (and no, I’m not saying that other non-attachment style parents let their babies cry all the time. Sheesh). I like to have her by my side most of the time, even as I do chores around the house (I’ve learned to really enjoy it). I try hard to be THERE emotionally. Some days it’s exhausting, but I get through those days.
I will say that I do think I’m more attached to Mariam than she is to me. I’ve learned to take the way I chose to parent and turn it into tools to help me be aware of (and ready) Mariam’s feelings and developmental milestones.
And no, attachment parenting doesn’t have to drain you. You do what works for you and your family. For example, as much as I enjoy co-sleeping with my daughter, my husband and I are looking to get her to sleep on her own soon because that’s what our family needs now.
You do you, boo boo.
I plan to write more about attachment parenting and how it’s played a role in Mariam’s growth.
DISCLAIMER: I have yet to become super-educated on any parenting styles, so don’t yell at me for anything I’ve said. Kindly advise.
What parenting style did you follow the first year of your baby’s life? Did it change or do you still follow the same style? I’d love to hear from you!