Before I had a child, I assumed that I would be much more of a Type-A, schedule following, mainstream sort of parent than I have actually turned out to be. In fact, most people would probably classify me as a liberal, “granola” type parent. I’m not a fan of labels, but I’d like to think of myself as a parent who is just trying to raise her child the best she knows how with a back to basics type of mentality. My choices might not be the same as yours, but they’re what work for us, and that’s what counts!
Once Stella was here, I suddenly found myself questioning why people parent a certain way instead of just following along because “it’s what you do.” Stella made me care more. While I wouldn’t think twice about grabbing a processed bag of Cheetos for myself (case in point – I ate a grab bag of them post delivery while I was being stitched up!)… with Stella, my goal is to exclusively breastfeed for at least six months because I know that breast milk is the absolute best nutrition for her, and when we start her off with adult foods some day, it will be bananas, avocados, sweet potatoes, etc. No processed food for my baby. If only I cared as much about what I put in my own body!
I think my parents had an awesome parenting “style,” and I’m sure it has influenced my own choices. Leading by example. Teaching the importance of love and respect. Not getting too shook up about things. Co-sleeping when needed. Spacing of vaccinations (doing most all of them, but on a delayed schedule). Using cloth diapers. Faith and love for God.
All of those words describe aspects of my childhood, and they also describe how I’m hoping to raise my own child.
Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t always think I’d feel that way. Prior to TTC and our IF troubles, I had never thought for two seconds about natural parenting or my interest in it. Now though, I find myself becoming passionate about issues that I never thought I’d care about.
I’m not a strict schedule kind of Mom at all (thus far anyway). We have let Stella set her own schedule, and then we have followed/reinforced it. She goes to sleep about 8:45-9:00 every night because that is what she set, so that is what we follow. I also nurse on demand – I never thought I’d be so comfortable breastfeeding in public! I absolutely love that time with her. Sometimes it’s every 90 minutes, sometimes it’s every 4 hours, and sometimes at night, she’ll even go 6+ hours. No matter what, she is growing and thriving and I’m happy that I can provide that nutrition for her.
We use cloth diapers for multiple reasons. I like that it’s organic cotton on her tush. I like that it’s cheaper. I like that I’m not filling up landfills with disposable diapers. I like that they’re cute and give her a bubble butt. Does that mean I don’t keep a stash of disposables on hand? Of course not. They’re handy in a pinch! However, I love our Bum Genius Elemental AIOs, and even our daycare lady says they’re easy and stylish.
We also don’t subscribe to the CIO method, at least not at this age. She’s crying because she’s hungry, or lonely, or cold, or wet… and those are all things I can fix for her. In general, I’ll get up once to nurse Stella around 1am, and if she wakes up again before morning (which often happens around 4am), I just pull her into bed with me and we cuddle and sleep until morning. We don’t generally co-sleep full time, but I love those early morning snuggles – and I’m pretty sure she does too! I truly believe that you can never spoil a baby by holding her too much.
As far as attachment parenting goes, I honestly have never read a book on it and don’t know how it’s actually defined, but I suppose I practice some form of it. I have my awesome BOB jogging stroller that is used occasionally, but Stella loves being in the moby wrap, so most times, that is what we use. Whether it’s grocery shopping or a walk around town, the girl loves to be held close while she checks out the world, so that’s what we do! Same goes for co-sleeping. I can’t imagine having her in a different room in that big crib of hers at this point. Some day – of course. Right now – I love having her next to me in the co-sleeper or cuddled up in my arms.
The Family Bath. This is a practice that I honestly didn’t realize was “odd” to some people until I mentioned it on here a couple of months ago and people were asking about it. Stella loves the water, and sometimes we’ll give her a bath in her little tub (a freebie from a friend), but for the most part, she either takes a bath with me or a shower with whichever of us is showering at the time she needs a cleaning. It’s faster, it’s convenient, and it’s bonding time (because believe me, you’re holding that girl tight! LOL). The first time I showered with her, Charlie thought it was odd. Then the next week I handed her into him for a clean up, and he loved it!
The biggest thing I’ve learned is the importance of parenting TOGETHER. Whether it’s regarding sleeping arrangements with a newborn or discipline for a toddler, you have to be on the same page. Charlie and I were raised very differently, and it seems like every week we find out a new (and often, fairly major) difference of opinion we have about parenting. That being said, as long as we keep communicating, I’m sure Stella will turn out a-ok. 🙂