Now I've got your attention.
I'm tired, its late. I'm probably going to make a huge amount of spelling and grammar mistakes. I need to vent though. I watched something today, and the subsequent things I read following it have prompted this. So bear with me…
I've written quite a few posts before about the way I parent Bella, and how enjoyable it's been so far. To cut a long story short we did all the things that came natural to us with her, forgot about what society deems normal and did the things that whilst they might've been sometimes tiring for us, they suited her and most definitely benefitted her. In turn we were happy. After a while I realised this had a name – attachment parenting, or AP for short.
The basic explanation of attachment parenting is that you're responding to your child's needs. You're nurturing them, you're feeding them when they need feeding, you're responding to them and their needs by cues, you're being close to them at all times. Breast feeding, baby wearing, bed sharing (or co sleeping) are the main points but not exclusive. The good thing about AP is it isn't rigid. There's no schedule, no pressure, no getting stressed because baby won't feed four hourly at 7 days old. You're led by your baby. Here's the big thing, and don't tell anyone – we've been doing this since the beginning of time. Yep. Are you suprised that Mary and Joesph didn't push baby Jesus around in a bugaboo?
Seriously though. For a long time we had babies, and fed and nurtured them how we were meant to. Then certain aspects of our lives changed. Things evolved. Rightly so, some things had to but with that become other changes that I don't believe do benefit us. Parenting is one aspect of this. People are in a rush these days. People have become fixated on schedules and routines. Some people have to, work and financial pressures. I get it. But think back, back before someone invented and started charging the earth for a pram. Mums strapped their babies to them. Before cots, mums slept with their babes. Before Gina Ford and the other unqualified parenting 'experts' started trying to make a mint out of tired and vulnerable mums. People just went with their babies. Baby led. Think of the third world countries, they still do these things.
Having babies is a big business. Look at the likes of Mothercare. They stock a huge array of prams. How many slings and wraps? Just one baby bjorn uncomfortable baby carrier the last time I looked. Huge amounts if artificial feeding paraphaneila, yet imagine if they had someone in there offering free breast feeding support. Imagine the trade that'd bring them. I'll just pop to Mothercare and see why my nipples feel like they've been in a vice, but whilst I'm there I'll have a mooch at the cute babygros. Oh shit I've just slent £38 on stuff I didn't need. Same when you whip to Asda to get a onion and come out with £56 of stuff you dint need! Get me? They aren't stupid though, they're selling the most expensive things that parents to be want, they have their scans and then rush in and buy everything they see. It's such an exciting time. We've all been there. Yet really all a baby needs is a boob (or bottle if that's your choice), some warm clothes, nappies, something decent for them to be carried in and lots of love.
Anyway. Back to AP. My gripe with it? Everyone else's gripe with it. That's what. As I've mentioned before, I've had lots of eye rolls at different things, for example at the fact Bella slept in bed with us for the first 4 or so months. She is still cosleeping but in her own cot. Because I believe she's safer there and research backs that up. When I've heard people talking about AP it tends to be met with disapproving looks. Why? Because that person didn't do it so it must be wrong? Today it was all over the news about the This Morning interview here it is with the one and only Katie Hopkins who is slightly outspoken and judgmental (that's being kind), she was joined by young Mum Peaches Geldof who follows AP with her two sons and they had a bit of a debate. KH believes you are bringing up brats by following AP. She thinks its a ridiculous concept. But then this is the woman who won't let her children play with other children If they have common names……
I also agree with the belief that there is meant to be a fourth trimester. However we'd never be able to birth a baby if there was because of the head size and pelvis diameters. So nature was kind to us. What that does mean is that babies are born quite immature in many ways. Think of a cat, it has its kittens. Its lies there and bar getting up to pee, poo and eat. It just lies and feeds her babies. Constantly. They snuggle in. How soon do the kittens get up and move around? A few days maybe. Think of a human, it takes months and months for this process. So I believe that we need to recreate the womb and make a fourth trimester. Mimic what was on the inside. So wear your baby, feed your baby. Skin to skin. Nurture. Don't worry about anything but tending to your and your baby's needs. I'm not saying your newborn will get up and walk 🙂 but you catch my drift.
Whatever your opinion and anecdotal evidence you simply can't ignore the facts. Children brought up via AP are proven to be confident, they tend to thrive developmentally and this is due to touch. Babies need to be touched. Look at prem babies in NICU, they respond to touch so much. Babies are born with a small amount of brain formation and that is developed by their needs being tended to and touched. Being responded to is such a simple thing, yet with babies they are often left to cry before being responded to. AP babies tend to be more smarter. Research has shown that a baby will develop and become smarter by two simple things – physical contact such as skin to skin and responding to the infants cues from the caregiver.
AP – It feels right to the parents – come on be honest. How many of you have heard someone who has let their baby cry it out say it didn't upset them or their baby? Exactly. If it doesn't feel right it's because it isn't. For the parent and most of all the baby. The AP baby will learn to communicate quicker. It will grow better. It forms healthy relationships and learns how to love, because it's used to being unconditionally and openly loved. 'The baby will be independant. Yes. This is true! So any of you sceptics reading this I will happily provide you with evidence 🙂 from a parents point of view, AP is easier.
If you were able to ask a baby they'd want to be attachment parented. What baby wouldn't want to be close to mum or dad? Snuggle in when it wanted, feed when it was hungry or thirsty? What baby wants be left to cry in a cot? Exactly.
It reduces the risk of sudden infant death, that's a huge thing. When some safely bed sharing and co sleeping are extremely beneficial.
There are no time constraints. You don't comform to Gina Ford. You do what feels right. And if that's putting your child to bed at 8pm, fine! That's ok, AP isn't about rules, its flexible. Some people need a little routine. We do. After dinner we all congregate in the lounge. Chat, play games, and around. 7pm miller takes Bella up to the bath and does her bedtime routine. We've been doing this since she was about 7months when she no longer seemed to want to be downstairs with us until we went to bed, so he takes her up and does bedtime. She's happy being left in her cot, because she's confident and knows we will be there for us if she needs us.
However, if she wants to be cuddled and stay down some nights if she's teething or whatever, we do it. It doesn't hurt. I'd say nine times out of ten though she is whacked and after her bottle is flat out. Here's the thing with crying it out – babies don't learn to be good and go to sleep after screaming their guts up. Nope. They have a stress hormone kick in called cortisol and it makes them give up. So they aren't learning. Unless you call learning giving up on believing in their parents learning. There's nothing good about it is there? Babies don't understand. I don't mean to make anyone feel bad or inferior. Hell, I did it with my first baby, on the advice a health visitor who told me I needed to sleep too. I was sleep deprived, suffering from PND and open to anything. I think I lasted about 5 minutes. Anyone who can listen to their baby screaming their hearts out for a cuddle is a tougher person than me. But the trouble is, Gina Ford et al don't tell you this do they? They don't tell you crying for long periods is bad for your baby? Nor does your mums neighbours daughters gran who said it never hurt any of her 12 kids. Yep that old chestnut… No one does because then these books wouldn't sell. Why do you think there's no research to say crying it out is good and works
I truly believe AP forms good healthy bonds between mum and baby. I have seen something somewhere about letter rates of PND with AP, and I can see why. I believe it enables mums to breastfeed for longer. Look I could go on, I think its safe to say AP has huge benefits and its what we have been doing since day one. It's been given a name and that's probably part of the reason why folks snarl at it, because they feel its a new age fad.
I think a huge misconception is that people think parents who do AP are hippies. Placenta munching, birkinstock wearing, free spirited hippies. Guess what? I didn't eat my placenta. I do have birkinstocks though because I was walking around the bath & west show in 2012 and the shoes I had on were killing me. I went to a stall selling birkinstocks and thought sod it, they feel soooo comfy. So I bought some. Anyway, I do wash. I am a bit of a free spirit. I don't home ed my kids (I don't want grey hair at 34) and I don't wear tie dye. I am a girly girl, I wear make up daily. I love shopping. I would love a boob job one day, I have regular spray tans. I couldn't be further from the misconception that seems to lie around the type of AP parents. Yet I love doing this, it feels so natural to me and so right. I've enjoyed Bella immensely since the day she was born, despite our obstacles. As mentioned before she was Prem, she spent time in scbu. I fought to be close to her. Then when we were home we were back in and she is lucky to be here today due to bronchiolitis. Then my dad suddenly died. Through all of this my baby being so close to me has helped me so much. She's been a great source of comfort, she's been something to focus on in those dark days after my dad died. During those nights we spent by his bed she was there, as she had to be for me to feed her. She never left my side for the first 4 or so months.
I needed her and more so she needed me. Being with me, feeding her when she wanted to, wearing her when we were out and about or doing housework, or just curling up and snoozing by my baby was the best thing ever and its benefitted her and me in so many ways. I'm pretty sure if I didn't have all those endorphins rushing through my body when I was dealing with dark thoughts that I'd have been suffering from some type of depression. Being with someone as they die is horrific, more so when its your parent. Bella was my sunshine on a rainy day, my light at the end of a tunnel. She kept me focused and kept me going. Yes I and two other children and of course they helped me too. But I had this wee baby who needed me to eat, drink and be healthy so I could provide her with milk. She was there when everyone else was at work or school. She was there during those long nights when I'd go over in minute detail how close I was to losing her, how I saw my dad breathe for the last time. She picked me up when I was down, just through being there and us parenting in her AP style.
So why do folks think AP is so crazy when its so natural and beneficial to the baby? I think I've nailed it. I think its because it makes them feel inferior about their own way of parenting. There I said it. To me if someone is happy and has no doubts about the way they've brought their children up then when they listen to someone who has done, or is doing AP they'll just ask questions because they're curious, they'll not judge or rubbish it. Whilst were on the subject, why is it ok for someone to pass comment on someone AP anyway? Since when did this become ok? As with mums who formula feed, they're allowed to guffaw at someone who is breast feeding their year old baby, or in the case if a friend yesterday who was bf she baby in public, and had a woman walk past with her baby and get a nasty comment about feeding the baby in public. Why is this ok? but can you imagine the uproar if a BF asked a FF mum to put away a bottle of formula because it offended her. Hmm exactly.
I'm not saying its for everybody, we've all got to do what's right at the time. Sometimes I believe a style of parenting is done because it fits in with the parents. Sometimes its lack of knowledge, this was certainly the case for me 11 years ago being a young, ill informed mum.
This post isn't for point scoring, its not to raise the breast v bottle debate. It isn't for my way is better than your way. My way is better, for me and my children. What anyone else does is their business, what I'm saying is don't think because it isn't your way its wrong, and maybe don't knock it people you've tried it 🙂
Peace out peeps x
Linked blog posts on parenting from me
Some useful Facebook pages I browse