Why I Will Never Wear My Baby Again!
The recent Time Magazine cover may have created a new debate about Attachment Parenting, but for me it has me flashing back to my “I can’t believe I did that” experiences as a first time mom. I am not against attachment parenting, but I can tell you “I will never wear my baby again!”
When I had my first, I didn't know there were so many different schools of thought on parenting. I just read all the books, took the classes, listened to my doctors and tried to do what was best. My son was a crier, he never stopped crying and never napped. They called it “colic”. I called it going out of my mind. What was I doing wrong? Why were other babies so calm? I had to find a solution!
According to the Dr. Sears, attachment parenting school of thought, the solution was to soothe your child however you can, and attend to their needs. Don’t let him cry, keep him close and you will nurture a secure child. So I did. All day, all the time, every nap. As soon as I put him down he would cry. So I picked him back up. That was what I was supposed to do right?
I was the “sling mom” at playgroup. The one who always wore the baby, jiggled around, walked around the block until their baby went to sleep while others just passed out in their car seats or on a blanket. I felt trapped. I never had a break. Sleep when the baby sleeps they say, well, I couldn't because I was holding him. He couldn’t nap without me. He would play and then when he got tired he would cry uncontrollably and back in the sling he went. That was the only way I got any peace is if I carried him. I tried the a swing, even a baby hammock, nothing worked. This went on for 4 months. I understand using the sling when they are newborns, but I had created a monster baby who couldn’t self soothe. I was caught in this trap.
Sounds crazy, right? But somehow in my days as a new mom I got convinced that if I didn’t do these things that I was taking the easy way out and my child would suffer emotionally. I was burnt out, sleep deprived, and my back went out. It was time for it to stop. So I hired a sleep trainer and she saved my life!
She let him cry it out. Yes, cry it out and you know what? He didn’t even cry that much. He cried more in the 4 months that I was carrying him and soothing him to sleep than he did when I just put him down. He was old enough to soothe himself and fall asleep on his own. It was a miracle. Put him down and he went to sleep. Genius. It wasn’t about just sleep either. I think there is something to be said for independence and allowing kids to do things for themselves even at a young age (as long as it’s age appropriate). It is wonderful to nurture and protect your children, but the world will not always revolve around them and there needs to be a balance. I mean seriously, I was letting him take a nap in a crib, not abusing him.
Now that he is 4, I can say my son is not traumatized. He is a loving, well adjusted, and great sleeper. While I breastfed both my kids until they were one, I know attachment parenting is not my style. So if you’re a first time mom, know you won’t be scarring your child for life if you don’t do it a certain way. Bottom line- do what’s right for you and your family and don’t feel bad about it!