Attachment parenting is a big deal right now. Last time I checked it was at the top of the mom judgement pile- is that still the case or have we moved on? I'm mostly surrounded by people who do not practice attachment parenting and probably wouldn't know what the phrase meant. That doesn't matter, they're good moms.
I'm an obsessive researcher and when I was pregnant with my first son I started scouring through blogs to see what life looks like as a first time mom. I was happy to see easy to use cloth diapers- I hate trash so I bought some! I was also happy to see baby carriers like Ergo and Moby wraps- I dislike being tied to a stroller, so I bought them! Breasts produce milk for a reason and formula was never even considered as an option, so we nursed on demand! My little man rarely cried, if he did I answered it because he needed something- "CIO" wasn't an option until that rough "I have a voice and will be heard" 9mo old stage! I love my sleep and had realistic sleep-through-the-night goals so I put the cradle right next to my of the bed so baby was within easy reach.
It all made sense to me, though I'd still never heard of attachement parenting.
My first son is naturally very routine oriented and from birth wanted to be laid down while awake and go to sleep on his own. Only when sick or teething would he lay on me or be rocked. He and I had a hard time bonding. Some emotional baggage encouraged me to keep him at arms length. He was loved, cuddled, and talked to however the kisses and affectionate feelings were lacking. I also think my expectations regarding how his birth *should* have gone hindered me.
I don't feel guilt over this, just sadness. I missed a part of motherhood. My son missed a part of his babyhood. I rest in the fact that God knows me. He knew what he was doing when he led me to my husband. He knew what he was doing when he gave us children. He knew it would be painful for me. But he knew the pain was self-inflicted- I needed to see it so it could be replaced by freedom.
Our relationship didn't start to really grow into what it should be until the birth of my second son, Isaac. Kartsen was 21 months old.
I am a serious sleeper- like a rock and I LOVE IT. I seriously love to sleep. Worst part of motherhood? Waking up. I enjoyed my 3am time with Karsten (bad nurser) but not so this baby. I had a toddler who was a little traumatized by this whole thing to deal with and wanted nothing to do with missed sleep. Isaac was a good sleeper but would wake up 3 or more times to nurse
A few nights in a row I fell asleep with him next to me while nursing. I was horrified. This was around a month old and still in the danger co-sleeping age. However, he only woke once to nurse! I decided I was open to him staying in bed with us if I set up some precautions.
Isaac goes to bed in his cradle and around 4 wakes up to nurse and stays in bed with us. This has been the routine since he was 2 months old. This isn't a how-to or why you should post. As a past nanny and parenting coach I remember repeating to parents the dangers and inconveniences of co-sleeping. I know what they are. The dangers were addressed. As far as the inconveniences- I don't care.
I experienced an unexpected benefit from co-sleeping. The same benefit I experienced on those rare nights Karsten would lay down with me. Connection.
I don't connect easily. My laziness has led to deeper love and learning what it really means to nurture. How often can a parent say THAT?!
Tonight, right before Karten went to bed, he leaned back against me and I kissed his cheek and he smiled this "I love you" smile. And again I said a prayer of thanks for my needy little attached baby who the Lord has so used to heal my heart.
So there 'ya go! Do you co-sleep? And remember, co-sleeping doesn't only mean in bed with you! it also means next to the bed in a co-sleeping attachment or bassinet as well. I'm not advocating co-sleeping for others. Good moms co-sleep. Good moms don't co-sleep. Some people should not co-sleep and it should always be done safely.