I remember as I was soon to be expecting my first child, wanting to do everything just right, and being stressed over the controversial subject of scheduled vs. attachment parenting. I wrangled over which one was the “right” way. I had friends that practiced both that I greatly respected. I remember talking with one mom who was so pro-scheduling that she had it all down to a wonderful system of when the baby ate/slept/played. It seemed so orderly and beautiful.
But, another friend of mine was more of the persuasion of attachment parenting. She wore her baby often and felt that it was a time in her life to give herself to the child and be there for them whenever they wanted her, whether for nourishment or comfort. It was so motherly and also beautiful. Both these moms were wonderful mothers and doing such faithful jobs being mommys. So what was I to do?
I even went so far as to call a pastor friend of ours, asking him which was the biblical view? Do you know what he told me?…
Both. We see the Lord towards us as One who is to be obeyed, respected, and feared. Our religion is not “me centered” but God centered. But, then we see our tender Father nourishing us and portrayed as a nursing mother, ever shadowing over us, caring gently and oh, so lovingly condescending to us.
I was left realizing that there was not one RIGHT way. But, I had to find our family’s own way.
So what has become our family’s style over the years? A bit of both. 🙂
With my first baby I rocked, nursed and cuddled him to sleep so much that by the time he was able to pull himself up in the crib, he could not fall asleep on his own. As soon as I would lay him in his crib, he would pop right up! I knew that I wanted my children to be able to lay down for a nap without me always needing to lay with them or nurse them. So we began the painful time of trying to reteach my little one to fall asleep on his own. I can remember patting him on the bottom lighter and lighter and tiptoeing away afraid to make a sound.
With my second baby as he got a few months old, I began to find times when he was sleepy to lay him down and let him fall asleep on his own. He gradually learned how to put himself to sleep and it was gentle without the trauma we had with the first.
So now with baby #7 am I attachment or scheduled parenting? I am both. I use a baby swing, want them to learn how to have quiet times without needing to be held every moment and teach my babies eventually to fall asleep on their own. But, I co-sleep with my babies, and I nurse them on demand for the first good while. I do not worry if they are really hungry or just needing mommy comfort. I want to be there to give that to them. As the babies get a little older I try to encourage them into somewhat of a a pattern, but I am not bound by the clock. The time will come for me to teach him discipline and self-denial. Eventually, I will have them spend some quiet times playing in their crib or playpen, and even blanket train them. But for now, long hours of cuddling and comfort are what I am all about.
Is there one right or wrong way? No. Every mother has to find what is right for her and her family. Pray and ask the Lord to direct your steps. It may be that you are more one way with one child and another way with your next child, for each child is unique and special. But, if you are like I was, I would encourage you...do not stress about it. The Lord gave you to be this child’s mother and will give you the wisdom on how to walk before Him with this little one.
And you other moms out there? How have your worked this out practically in your lives? I am also looking for a good baby wrap this time around…any suggestions? I have never liked the front pack carriers or slings I have tried. They have been hard on my back. I am hearing good things about things like the Moby.
So give me your thoughts!