Tuesday, March 9, 2010

MY Natural Parenting

I've never really sat down and thought, "What kind of mother am I?" I thought it was simply the norm to breastfeed whenever your baby needed it, to wake up every time your child cried at night - and then bring them into bed with you, or to give them attention when they need it.

I do what I saw my mother do with us, but I guess that just isn't how America work these days. Now formula is what everyone uses, if your kid cries at night - let them scream until they vomit, if they bug you for attention - ignore them while they "tantrum." Boy am I glad that my mom didn't raise us that way.

Extended Breastfing
Cloth Diaper
Attachment Parent
Baby Wear
And whatever else works for us.

We co-sleep and I love it. Even if my annoying husband tried to kick Sophie out of the bed when she was a baby, I stuck to my guns and told him to bug off. When a baby wakes up ever 1-3 hours to eat, it is sooo much easier just to plop out one of the girls and fall back asleep. I tried a few times to get up, fill a bottle with warm water, measure the formula (getting it all over the floor), mix the bottle, then try to wake up the husband so he could feed her - all the while with a screaming baby. I prefer option 1 by far.

"Well she doesn't breastfeed anymore." True, but that doesn't change the fact that she feels safe and secure in bed with us. Occasionally she'll steal my pillow, or scoot down to the bottom of the bed, but I don't mind. Whenever I had bad dreams, I would go snuggle into bed by my daddy. Not once did they wake up and tell me to go away, and I don't plan to do that to my kids. Sure, she has her own toddler bed, and I'll help ease her into it, but I won't force it.

Maybe it is just us Hispanics, but when a baby is hungry, out comes the boob. It isn't considered weird, or gross to see a mom feeding her baby. So you can see a boob, get over it. I would feed Sophie whenever she was hungry, be it here at home, with family, at a restaurant, or anywhere else. At first I would try to put a blanket over us, but it was just silly to cover her. If you have been around when Sophie was a baby, you've probably seen my boobs. She nursed for a delightful 18 months... I miss it. :(

Crying-It-Out = cruel. End of story. When Sophie actually went to sleep at a normal hour (last fall), every now and again she would fight bedtime. I'd plop her in the crib and let her cry for only 10 minutes, it was physically painful for me to just let her cry. Ask the husband, I broke to pieces a few times. After exactly 10 mintues (ok sometimes I only made it 8), I would go in and comfort her. She often fell right to sleep. Only a handful of times we had to repeat after 15 minutes of cuddles.

Even before I found "The No-Cry Sleep Solution," I wasn't uncommon for me to spend 1-2 hours getting Sophie to sleep. I wasn't upset because she wouldn't sleep, that is simply how it was for her. Eventually she learned, she grew, and sometime between 18 months and 2 years she started sleeping through the night. That's right. I got up countless times for almost 2 years. So don't complain when your newborn won't sleep until she's 2 or 3 months. I dealt with it for 2 years!

Last summer I made a stash of cloth diapers, I wanted to try them earlier, but couldn't make myself spend the insane amount of money on brand names. I have a few GDiapers on their way in the mail right now, I'm super excited. Thanks to a lovely mama of CafeMom.com. Cloth isn't gross, it is actually just like disposables. Instead of tossing out the diaper, you stick it in a pail until you wash it. Easy peasy.

I love the way we do things, and refuse to change for anyone else. While I do love attachment parenting, I don't take things to the extreme. If Sophie wants to watch "toonies" so be it. We are stuck in the house more often than not, so who cares if she watches Noggin? Her vocabulary has gone through the roof because of her shows. We eat popcorn almost every day, I'm addicted to it. I give her juice with high fructose corn syrup *GASP*, and candies, and cookies! Guess what she normally asks for though? Apples, oranges, grapes, yogurt, crackers.

Do I wear the stamp of natural parenting? Kind of, but that is ok with me. We do things that work for us, while others do things that work for them. Hopefully my kids go the same way both my mother and I have.

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