Today’s Guest Post is from the super Rachel from Activities 4 Kids.
Rachel is a Brummie mummy to two toddler boys and in her life BC (before children), she was a teacher so is passionate about anything that helps children to learn and develop, and is always looking for fun things to do with her Children.
Two years ago, when Harrison was a newborn, I read about a ‘new’ parenting style called ‘attachment parenting’ – and the basic gist seemed to be all about breastfeeding for extended periods of time (past six months – yuk!), co-sleeping (err, no!) and wearing your baby (what, like a designer bag?). No thanks.
Harrison was bottle fed (no interest in boobs), slept in a cot and went in a pram. Then Alex came along.
At fifteen months (and six teeth) he is still breastfed. He sleeps in bed with us, and up until he began walking at nine months, was ‘worn’ regularly in a carrier or a sling. Yep, I’ve turned into one of those weird hippy attachment parents. Except, I’m not hippy. Or very weird.
Why the change?
Well, Alex took really quickly to breastfeeding unlike Harrison. I only intended to feed for six weeks but that came and went and breastfeeding was so much easier (and cheaper!) than faffing about sterilising and making up bottles. Alex was gaining weigh beautifully and I was losing weight beautifully. At almost fifteen months he is still a boob monster. We’ve tried all sorts of bottles and beakers, and although he is happy to drink cows milk from a cup, he still breastfeeds about four times a day and regularly throughout the night. I think that we are going to have to leave him to wean himself!
The reactions I’ve had when I’ve breastfeed have been really positive, with only two or three negative comments from strangers. He doesn’t tend to feed much in public anymore but I imagine I may get more comments and looks as he is clearly walking and talking!
Co-sleeping was never intentional. Like a lot of breastfed babies, Alex fed a lot through the night and took a long time to settle in his Moses basket or cot. He wasn’t sleeping, I wasn’t sleeping and was exhausted – bad enough normally but with two under eighteen months, it was horrible!! We got to the point where breastfeeding came so easily that I could feed him without waking up properly, so co-sleeping just happened. We follow all the guidelines to make sure we do it safely but the more I read about it, the more I feel that it is totally natural!
In the next couple of months we will start slowly move him unto a toddler bed in our room and then into his room even though he still feeds every two or three hours still. I’m hoping that the distance between us will make him not wake up out of habit. We aren’t in a rush though. It is an arrangement that means we all get a fairly decent sleep and we are all happy. I’m pretty sure he won’t want to co sleep when he is older, so for the time being we are making the most of the cuddles!
Baby wearing was simply just more practical. Harrison was only sixteen months old when Alex was born, and although a very confident walker since twelve months, he still needed his pushchair. Their dad used the car for work, and trying to use a double buggy on public transport was a nightmare, so it made sense for Alex to go in a sling and Harrison in the pushchair. Now, we rarely use the buggy as they’re both confident walkers.
We’ve had comments from people saying that by carrying him in a sling he would never walk (he was confidently walking around shops at eleven months!). Alex is a bit clingy at times which may be down to the way we’ve done things. However, he is also fiercely independent. At playgroup, he toddles off and plays and doesn’t look back at us.
I don’t see myself as an ‘attachment parent’. Instead I see myself as a parent who goes by instincts and does what feels right for us, which may be completely different for another family, or even another baby! I hate the labels! If we ever have baby number number three, we might do things differently again!