Attachment Parenting Starts With The Baby
All parents I'm sure would be delighted to have an easy baby. This dream baby is soon sleeping through the night. He's happy to breastfeed, take a bottle or drink formula. You can leave the baby with other caregivers like grandparents, sitters or even daycare. In fact, because parenting is so easy, why not have another one right away?!
What happens when your baby doesn't fall into this description? What do you do? I wouldn't choose attachment parenting if it wasn't what I considered to be the best option for my baby. In fact, I'd never even heard of it until I was driven to look up certain behaviours and challenges on Google.
I believe attachment parenting starts with the baby.
The first night I got my baby home, he screamed for hours and hours and was inconsolable.
Then, over the next month or so, nighttime feedings were frequent. It's true, newborns need to feed every couple of hours. The first few nights I set my alarm to ensure I could wake him up. Then I turned off the alarm because my baby obviously didn't have problems remembering to feed. At this point we had him in a bedside bassinet. It was working okay.
When we moved him to his brand new crib he flat out refused it. I spent many nights moving him in and out of his crib 10+ times a night. My back was killing me! I wasn't getting any sleep. I was a wreck.
My baby is also an incredibly light sleeper. Any tiny sound wakes him up. With him in our room, it is a huge inconvenience. Sometimes I can't even roll over in bed without waking him up and needing to get him back to sleep.
For the first 4 months or so, he’d wake up into a full out cry. There was no in between. Just zero to 100. An additional challenge is that we live in row townhouses and everytime the baby screams, I imagine him walking up the neighbours. It’s a lot of pressure trying to your baby quiet at night.
Damian suffered tremendous separation anxiety from mommy (me). He didn't immediately take to his dad and would scream endlessly when I left him. Same if I left him with my parents. It became so that I couldn't leave him with anyone else. He's almost 11 months old and I've only been out two nights past 9 PM without the baby!
In the beginning, we screwed up. We didn't use bottles consistently or often and then let them lapse. So when we tried to reintroduce them, he refused them. He only wants the boob. Another reason I can't be separated from him for too long.
It's not all bad.
Baby Damian is extremely in-tuned with both his environment and the people around him. I soon learned that I had to emulate positive emotions and vibes if I expected him to be at his best. There’s no faking it with him. For example, if I want him to fall asleep, I need to be relaxed and resting and completely unrushed. If I want him to feed, I need to be full of smiles and fun, with genuinely no attachment to him actually eating. If I want him to be happy with other caregivers, I need to be patient and willing to consistently attempt short visits with consistent people, increasing the duration over time while increasing his comfort.
And he does this really cute thing where he presses his forehead against mine and just stares into me for a few seconds. It’s such an amazing way of connecting with another human being! Why don’t we all do this to really “feel” each other?
After discerning that I have an ultra sensitive child and taking the time to understand his needs, I feel better about the whole experience. The baby and I will get through this together and with his daddy and the support of friends and family.