Initial Thoughts on Attachment

When I was pregnant, I read a good deal of books on both pregnancy and babies. Some of what I read related to attachment parenting, and although I liked the idea, I was not sure to what extent it would work for us. Now that I actually have my baby and have been with her for a few months, I can comment on how it has been working so far.Ā I am no Mayim Bialik, but I am definitely doing many things AP-style.

Co-sleeping

Before she was born, we got an Arm’s Reach co-sleeper crib. When we were in the hospital after Audrey’s birth, she slept with me in my hospital bed because I was in pretty bad shape so I wasn’t going to be up and down getting her out of the bassinet whenever she needed to nurse. Once we got home, it was pretty much the same situation – it was at least a week until I could move around semi-comfortably. It was just easier to have her in bed with me. After that, we just couldn’t get her out of the habit… she would sleep in the bassinet or in a crib for naps, but at night she just sleeps much better, deeper, and longer in the bed with us. And when she sleeps better, I sleep better. Her co-sleeper is now used as an expensive shelf holding baby wipes, washcloth for night feeding messes, her toilet, and some other random baby items.

Elimination Communication

We started EC a few weeks after Audrey was born, once I felt physically well enough to work on it with her. Audrey caught on right away and would pee the minute I set her on her little Baby Bjorn potty, and it got to the point that I was catching all of her poo’s! Once we started getting out more and then starting work and day care, it got harder. Audrey started going poo more in her diaper, and now I am trying to get back in the habit of pottying her at predictable times. I think the most important thing with our new schedule is to make sure I potty her before we leave and whenever we get home, and whenever she wakes up in the morning or after naps. I am hoping that if I am consistent, then part-time EC will be successful and I can have her potty-trained very early!

Baby-wearing

I thought that I would do this a lot, but now in practice I really don’t wear Audrey too often! She does not want to be worn all the time, and when I try to wear her while doing household activities, she kicks around and whines until I take her out. She does, however, like being worn in the Moby Wrap sometimes while I am grocery shopping or the like. She is far too strong and active to deal with it for long though, so I can only really wear her as long as she will nap! And now her naps are 45 minutes max…

Breastfeeding

…Check! 3.5 months and counting. Audrey refuses pacifiers and bottles, so I think it’s safe to say there is no nipple confusion. In fact, I think I may actually shun the wisdom next time around that says you should hold off giving your baby any nipple substitutes, because if I am going to work, it will be much better if my baby will actually drink out of a bottle! Luke actually just discovered that he can get her to drink from a cup… If he pours the milk in her mouth she’ll drink it down. She just doesn’t want to suck on silicone! I don’t know how this one is going to end up- I don’t have a plan for weaning. I am probably just going to let Audrey nurse as long as she wants it, and wean at her own pace. I intend to breastfeed exclusively as recommended for at least six months, and start feeding her solids sometime between 6-8 months when she seems interested. I know Luke is pretty eager to start giving her food, but it’s important to be patient, wait long enough before we start, put some thought into the foods we start her off with, and take our time with weaning!

There are a lot of things I do that are not really attachment parenting… I watch TV, and Audrey will to. I know it’s good to limit or even ban screen time for babies and toddlers, but I figure if she is playing and interacting all day then a little screen time won’t hurt. I just know that in the future, we are definitely going to have to set limits on TV and computer time so it doesn’t get out of control!

Daycare

Also, I am a working mom. I did not give up my career for a variety of reasons, so Audrey is spending a few days a week at a great little day care near home and work, she’s hanging out with Luke on Wednesdays, and I am working from home on Fridays. Before I went back to work I took her everywhere with me- shopping, social events, etc. so she became comfortable with a lot of situations and people early. She is getting used to going to day care now, and what I have realized is that despite our lack of a strict parenting style, Audrey is a perfectly attached baby. She knows who we are and loves us, and she knows we’ll be there for her so she does not freak out when we part. She is comfortable with the ladies at day care and only whines if she is hungry or tired, and when I get there she seems content and is happy to see me. Since she is starting at such a young age, I foresee no reason why she would ever get separation anxiety going to day care or school.

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Finally an update!

I realize that I have been slacking here, but what can I say? I have a baby who likes to be held constantly, and I have no patience to type with one hand! šŸ˜‰Ā For once I have an evening where she is asleep right now with Luke, and I am not quite ready to go to bed, so I can give an update! I want to go over a bunch of things quickly, and hopefully later I can do some more in-depth posts.

MY RECOVERY

This has actually been a long process for me. I know I didn’t get a c-section or anything, but I feel like I might as well have! Because of the physical trauma from the difficult birth, I had trouble walking at all for at least a week and couldn’t sit normally for a couple weeks. There was all the initial bleeding and healing that I was expecting, but there was also throbbing and itching that has gone on and on!! I finally felt good enough to go on a walk for the first time a few days ago and have been trying to do some physical activity every day. I think the exercise is helping, my only problem now is some itching. I don’t know the reason for that, but I have an appointment with Judy this week and with the OB-GYN who attended the birth in a few weeks so hopefully I will be 100% and maybe have answers on these residual symptoms soon!

BABY’S GROWTH

I can’t believe how much Audrey has grown… she will be 6 weeks old on Wednesday and she is now topping 10 pounds. She is getting too long for her newborn clothes, but I figure it’s a good workout for her legs when she pushes against the fabric, right? I am packing away the newborn clothes slowly and have two 0-3 month outfits (what’s the difference?) someone gave us from Gymboree that fit her perfectly, and soon enough she’ll be in her 3-month clothes! At her one-month check-up she was 21.5 inches (75th percentile) and up to the 50th percentile for weight. All that breast milk is doing her good!

BREASTFEEDING

Speaking of breast milk, breastfeeding has been amazing. I was fully prepared for it to take some learning and be tough at first… I read lots of articles about the benefits and challenges so I would be fully prepared. I didn’t realize how natural and simple it could actually be. She was very alert when she was born, and after a short recovery period, my midwife Judy helped her latch on (I was still flat on my back getting stitched up). From then on, it was pretty non-stop!

Audrey was very clear about when she was hungry, and I just had to place her on my breast and she would start suckling. At first she would nurse on the colostrum for about a half hour at a time every couple hours. My milk came in after 2 days- right about the time we came home from the hospital. She started nursing for much shorter periods – five to ten minutes at a time – but much more regularly. She would go on eating binges when she was awake, nursing for five minutes at a time every 15 minutes to a half hour. I am thinking this was due to the size of her belly, that she just couldn’t hold that much!Now I think she has gotten quite efficient with her nursing. She will eat for 5-10 minutes and it will last her a lot longer. She nurses more often when she is awake, every hour or so (she is awake for longer periods now) and sleeps for 2-3 hours at a time.

The thing thatĀ surprisedĀ me the most was the hormone rush that came with breastfeeding. When she latches on, I actually feel the oxytocin pulsing through my veins. I feel so happy and like I want to cry all at the same time… so full of love and joy. I know that some women can’t breastfeed and some women just don’t want to, but the thought has crossed my mind that I actually feel bad for these women that they never get to feel the emotions and bonding that come with it.

Later I intend to post about it all in a little more detail- about nursing in public, dealing with the initial pain, etc.

MY BODY

I was really surprised at my body… I’ve learned that it’s true- the days after birth, a woman’s body changes the fastest that it ever will. With birth you immediately shed a bunch of pounds from the front in the form of an infant and a whole bunch of fluids. My belly was palpated several times to feel that my uterus was firming up and retreating to its original size and shape. I had a lot of fluids coming out of me for a few days, and I had to keep pads in for a few weeks to deal with the residual bleeding. I thought it was interesting that my belly went back to flat. I barely gained any fat in my abdomen, so it actually looked pretty good, but the funny thing was that my abs were (are) completely destroyed. I always had a small layer of fat on my belly, but it was super firm underneath. Now I attempt to flex and it’s all just mush! One day I’ll be firm again, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be starting from scratch creating these muscles again.

BABY POTTY TRAINING

I had originally intended to begin EC (Elimination Communication, or infant potty training) much sooner, but it took me much longer to sit on my butt, straddle the toilet seat, or really just move than I had anticipated. We started a couple weeks ago when she was a month old, switching from disposable diapers to cloth and a BabyBjorn potty! It is actually going shockingly well. Audrey hates going potty in her pants, and will hold her poo until she feels the cold seat of the toilet against her behind! She hasn’t gained bladder control yet, but she goes pee in the potty regularly as well. I’ll definitely do more in-depth posts on this!

Well, Audrey woke up and I am back to one-handed typing so it’s time to call it a night!

Pregnancy & Baby Reading List

When I get interested in a topic, I like to read pretty much everything there is out there about it. That way I have a library of information and a variety of opinions from which to create my own philosophies. As much as I hate to admit it to the many people who want to impart their knowledge and advice, including my husband, I don’t believe what people tell me until I’ve read the same thing from several reputable sources. There are just so many opinions out there, and I feel the need to figure out what I believe in my own way!

When it comes to pregnancy, childbirth, and raising children, there are tons and tons of opinions. It can be tough to sort through and figure out what is right or wrong, what makes sense to you, and what you can see as a part of your lifestyle once the baby arrives. I don’t believe anyone when they tell me I will feel any certain way once I am in labor, or once I actually have this baby in my arms.

For now I am smiling and nodding, and in my spare time reading and researching. In the future I am sure I will talk about a lot of decisions I’ve made (and later, how those decisions are working out for me!) but for now, I’ll go through a few of the books that have been fantastic resources.

  1. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth: This book is really great… the first half is filled with inspiring stories of natural childbirth, then it goes on to discuss the state of childbirth and how to give yourself the best opportunity to have the birth you want.
  2. The Diaper-Free Baby: As an environmentalist and penny-pincher, I have always hated the idea of using disposable diapers. They seemed like a lot of work, but I figured I’d use cloth diapers because I assumed there was no other way, until I read Beyond the Sling by Mayim Bialik (Blossom) and discovered the concept of elimination communication (EC). I promptly ordered a couple books on the subject (I haven’t read the other one yet) and am in love with the idea!
  3. Vaccinations: A Thoughtful Parent’s Guide: The crunchy community seems to be dead set against vaccines, whereas the conventional community shoves them in your face. I am neither, and don’t see why I have to be… I have linked to a number of articles about vaccination and understand that while some vaccines are effective with minimal side-effects, there are others that are ineffective or even dangerous. I think it’s crazy that babies receive so many vaccines in the first year of their lives, so I am researching and sorting through to figure out which we will allow our baby to receive, and which we will decline. This book provides a well-balanced perspective with a lot of research to back it up, and although I am looking at other sources as well, it is a great help in helping me understand Ā each decision.

 

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