Sunday, October 23, 2005

Attachment parenting?

We've decided here at the Clutter Museum that 11 a.m. is nap time for Lucas. We're not into sleep training (I can't stand the thought of letting him cry himself to sleep at this age), but we are into productivity (and its cousin, sanity), so we're trying to get him used to taking a nap at this time of day. We breastfeed or give him some extra warm formula, hold him until he's drowsy, and then lay him down in the middle of our bed, where he seems to like to sleep in the middle of the day. If he wakes back up quickly, I turn on some lullabies or read Goodnight Moon to him and then quietly back out of the room. The books by sleep experts say establishing a routine before bedtime is essential to success.

Today it's not going as well as usual. He's crying intermittently. In such instances, I usually rush into the room to pacify him, but Pete has been encouraging me not to be so quick about running to Lucas's side because, as Pete points out, the little guy will usually stop fussing after only a minute, unless he's hungry or gassy, in which case he'll let us know if he needs our assistance by screaming at the top of his lungs. So. . . I'm using all my willpower not to run into the bedroom when he fusses. I've busied myself by doing things that benefit him--washing his bottles, folding his blankets, etc.--making myself believe that this kind of proxy care is a justifiable reason to ignore his fussing. I am, after all, still caring for him when I undertake these tasks.

I probably should feed him, even though he's already nursed quite a bit this morning. But breastfeeding has all along been painful for me--his latch is fine, I've been told, but he has a very powerful suck, and we shared a bout of thrush early on--and at the moment I'm feeling especially tender, so I'm waiting for the formula water to cool down enough for me to give it to him. Supplementing with formula still on occasion makes me feel guilty, but cracked nipples call for extreme measures, no?

As a new parent, I'm trying not to subscribe strictly to one school of parenting advice or another, but I find myself drawn naturally (and increasingly) to attachment parenting. It seems to work well with Lucas. Wearing him in the sling or Baby Björn soothes him, as does bringing him onto the couch or bed with me when he's especially fussy around 4 a.m. I'm even getting used to leaving the house with him; where carting him around used to make me really anxious, now it's fairly enjoyable.

Does this mean we'll have a family bed until he's 8 years old and I'll breastfeed him until he's 4? Certainly not. But I'm enjoying being close to him while he's so vulnerable and so damn cute.

1 comment:

Heather Clisby said...

Even though I am not yet a parent I think the Attachment theory makes sense. When I was in Africa, I noticed that babies rarely cried because they were carried in slingsn ever far from their mothers.