I can’t say that I ever really looked at the group of parenting practices considered to be part of the attachment parenting philosopy and thought “I want to be an attachment parent.” Instead, I’ve done my best to follow some great advice I received from a friend (and Mom of a now pre-teen), which is to follow my instincts.
After reading an article about what it means to be an attachment parent on one of my favorite parenting websites, www.kellymom.com, I discovered that my instincts have led me down that path. Not that the label matters.
For those of you who might be just beginning your journey into parenthood (i.e., by being pregnant), I’m sure you’ve already learned that you will never suffer from a shortage of parenting advice. Some of you may be as fortunate as I am to have parents and in-laws that keep most of their parenting opinions to themselves, but even then, that doesn’t make you immune to the occasional side-ways comment or judgmental glance when your way doesn’t match someone else’s way or, even better, the generally accepted way in our society.
For the most part, I’ve kept pretty quiet on my blog about some of the decisions and parenting tactics we’ve implemented in the Parr-Crumpler household. Not that I’m ashamed or uncertain of my choices– quite the opposite– but because I don’t want any wonderful parents that I like and respect to think that just because my choices are different than their choices that it means I am the least bit judgmental about those choices. Because I’m not. I only know what’s right for our situation.
Which brings me back to the importance of instincts when they are applied with best intent for your family’s future and understanding of behavioral and developmental principles at play. It is these same behavioral and developmental principles that lead to expert proclamations of what is normal and typical at what age. The experts also say that every child is an individual, but it’s hard to remember that when advice-givers quote what a child “at that age” should or shouldn’t be doing.
With Remy, there are times when we’ve introduced things or set parameters earlier than generally accepted ages and there are times when we’ve waited a bit. The common thread has been loving observation of Remy’s progress and needs at a particular time, and this approach has worked well so far. When we first look for readiness before implementing something, the implementation goes quicker and easier than you would think. The idea that if you don’t make a certain change “on time” that it gets more difficult to make the change later just doesn’t hold water when you consider it from the perspectives of a child’s developmental readiness.
So this is why we’re still nursing occasionally during the day and more frequently through the night and early morning. The poor kid has been teething almost non-stop for the past 6 months and it hasn’t made sleeping through the night without waking a reasonable expectation. To make this process least disruptive to my quality of life as possible means that we co-sleep after his first early AM feeding. I have hopes that once his slowly-appearing teeth are mostly in (except for the final sets of molars), we should be able to make more progress this summer getting him to sleep more soundly and more independently. This is what my instincts are telling me.