Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day 2 - Parenting Styles

One of the first things you realize when you're pregnant with your first baby (and for all I know, this continues with subsequent pregnancies) is that everyone wants to give you advice. Most of the time it's well-meaning, some of the time it's "You're planning to do WHAT??" kind of advice.

For the most part, I got pretty good at smiling and saying something like, "thank you, I'll think about that." But sometimes it really frustrated me, especially because I'm such a big research nerd. Sure, I trust my gut a lot, and I feel like my mama instinct is very strong and true, but I also tend to do a ton of research before making decisions. So when people would look at me aghast when I would talk about things we were planning on doing-- like cloth diapering-- I had a very hard time not being super defensive.

I get really tired of hearing people talk negatively about the parenting choices we've made. For the record, we are attachment parenting parents. The definition of attachment parenting according to Wikipedia is:

"Attachment parenting, a phrase coined by pediatrician William Sears, is a parenting philosophy based on the principles of the attachment theory in developmental psychology. According to attachment theory, the child forms a strong emotional bond with caregivers during childhood with lifelong consequences. Sensitive and emotionally available parenting helps the child to form a secure attachment style which fosters a child's socio-emotional development and well being."

In a nutshell, it's about using your baby's cues to determine what she needs, use sensitivity and empathy to build a strong emotional bond with your baby, and especially not to ignore her needs that don't fall into the eat, poop, sleep category. More specifically, I'm referring to ignoring a baby's need for attention, comfort and touch. I believe that not immediately attending to your baby when she starts to cry leads to an insecure child. And I believe that comfort and physical touch are needs as vital to a baby as food.

It makes me so sad when I see a baby being ignored when she is upset because the parent has decided (arbitrarily in my mind) that she's not wet and doesn't need to eat, so she doesn't need the parent's attention. I saw this just the other day at Target-- there was a couple there with a baby a month or so older than Cecilia, and she was bawling in her stroller. With both parents there, my assumption was that one of them would pick her up and comfort her and the other would push the stroller. Nope, they just ignored her. Sometimes one would distractedly say, "It's ok, baby." But that's it. No other comfort. I wanted to say something, but of course, I didn't.

I just wish that everyone else had enough respect for our parenting style to keep their mouths shut too.

I didn't mean for this to get all negative, so please accept an adorable picture of Cecilia to make up for it! :)

4 comments:

  1. I just found your blog and I love this post. I went through the same thing with Audrey when I was pregnant. I don't know how many people told me I'd give up on cloth diapers in a week and the same for breastfeeding. Don't get me started on the comments I got when I said I didn't want a stroller...Every family finds what works for them, but if I can keep my mouth shut about CIO, then the least others can do is to not run me down because I believe in AP, CD, BF, BW, etc. when my daughter is happy and healthy because of it.

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  2. Couldn't have said it better, Theresa! We use our stroller for one purpose-- evening walks through the neighborhood, when it's too warm to walk outside and wear Cece!

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  3. Hi Aimee! Really liking your blog, keep it up. I think everyone finds a parenting style that works for them (and as the mother of a sometimes-stroppy three-year-old, I find the ignoring strategy sometimes works well - but for a toddler, not a newborn!).
    As long as you have a happy, healthy little girl (and isn't she gorgeous?) don't let anyone else tell you your instincts are wrong. You're doing a great job! x

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  4. Yep, Katy, I agree fully with you-- toddlers definitely have a different set of rules than a baby. But it's my belief that in at least the first year of life, if not two years, you can't spoil a kid by giving them lots of attention and picking them up whenever they cry. They're not manipulating you, they're getting their comfort from you, which is what a parent does! And they have consistency of knowing that when they need help, help will be there for them. They don't have that uncertainty that Mom or Dad will only give them attention sometimes.

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