Attachment Parenting – Our Journey
When I became pregnant with my daughter, Aubrey, I was 21 years old, freshly married and scared to death! I read all the books, including the “What to Expect” series. All these books talked about were a sort of “one size fits all” kind of parenting.So, when Aubrey was born, we practiced the “one size fits all” parenting style advocated by these books. We encouraged her to fall asleep on her on, meaning we let her cry herself to sleep. We encouraged her to feel comfortable playing alone, meaning she did not need anyone to entertain her. I did however KNOW that breast milk was best, and since I did not know that there were resources out there about HOW to breastfeed, I pumped.Fast-forward 5 years. I unexpectedly got pregnant again. This time I found myself alone. So, instead of re-reading all the more “mainstream” books, I turned to my heart as I searched for the kind of parent I wanted to be and the kind of child I wanted my son to be (as well as the direction I wanted my parenting with my older daughter to go). I was not going to have help this time, so it had to be something I would understand, stick with and love.I had no idea what attachment parenting was. I did not know there was a name for how I instinctively parented my children, especially my newborn son, Zachary. I just followed my heart. I was steadfast in my resolve to breastfeed. I sought so much help in this. I had all kinds of problems in the beginning from problems with too much milk, to problems with the pace that my milk flowed. We struggled through different problems, but it was a struggle that made me, as a mom, feel SO good! I knew that I was doing the best thing possible for my little boy and myself. We eventually “got it” and it was/is the best thing in the world for both of us! (Zachary is now 3 and still nursing strong!)Then while at a La Leche League meeting someone was wearing a ring sling. I thought it was amazing, I mean think about it, to be able to hold your baby AND get something done! WOW I thought – So I bought one. Imagine I could have my newborn son with me and still tend to my 5-year-old daughter and get work done around the house. I searched, high and low, to find the perfect baby carrier for me. I learned how many different types there were. I searched for one that would “fit the bill” for my tastes – When I did not find one on the market that catered to my needs and wants, I designed and then created my own (that was 3 years ago now). It was not until then, that I accidentally bumped into the name “Attachment Parenting”; I started reading, and was amazed and shocked that there were other mommas in the world just like me. Mommas who loved their children enough to listen to their hearts AND their children’s cries! I also learned that our co-sleeping is actually something that A LOT of parents do, is actually GOOD for kids, and is especially good when you are breastfeeding. I was introduced to cloth diapers. At first I thought “NO WAY; are these people NUTS?” But later I loved the idea of cloth diapering so much, I started straight away with my then 8 month old little boy. The “additional” work is minimal and I know that I am doing just a little part to save the earth. Not to mention the money I am saving! Another added benefit to our choosing cloth, is my son, who has sensitive skin has never had a diaper rash.While Attachment Parenting International sets forth guidelines, for me and my family, attachment parenting is more about instinctive parenting, listening to my heart and doing what comes naturally to me, not about some set of guidelines I “must” follow.Now my son is 38 months old (just a bit over 3), my daughter is almost 8 and we are STILL practicing “Attachment Parenting” daily. Through positive discipline, avoiding long separations, baby wearing (my son, and even my daughter on occasion), breastfeeding, co-sleeping, cloth diapering – and much more! (I even wrote an E-book on creating goals using Positive Parenting!)I am confident, that my kids are so well adjusted, because of the way I “parent” – they both know they are loved, respected, and cherished for the people they are (and the people they are growing up to be).
— Jennifer Sprague, owner of All Natural Mommies, a company devoted to helping moms nurture their children, naturally. Jennifer has several years of teaching experience, and has a passion for helping children live happy, healthy and secure lives.