When I stepped into my role as a mother, I didn’t really give much thought into how I was going to parent.
My main instinct was to survive.
Yes, I breastfeed, I still sometimes co-sleep, my children use disposable diapers, I’ve made baby food from scratch AND fed my son store bought food pouches.
I breastfeed because it did not occur to me to do it any other way. I also continued to nurse my first for as long as I did (18 months) because I was lazy and he hated the bottle. It was easier for both of us, and frankly, I enjoyed it because I liked being the only one who could do that. How long will I nurse my second? I don’t know. At least 6 months and until whenever he chooses not to anymore, or when I have nothing to offer. We’ll see.
We did not ‘sleep train’ the toddler using any particular method – sometimes he cried and we let him for a little while, sometimes we did not. Sometimes I cuddled with him until he fell asleep, sometimes my husband put him to bed and sat by his bedside until he was drowsy but still awake. Other times, we’ve escorted him back into bed when he woke up screaming and running out of his room, and with a firm word, put him back in and walked away.
Am I sleep training the baby? If you call intentions to implement some kind of bedtime routine, then put him down in his crib drowsy, then yes. But if he cries, I will pick him up whether or not that’s ‘wrong’ or goes against this ‘training’ because I can’t stand watching my little bundle of chub cry plus the noise drives me *fucking crazy. Right now, I put him down on his quilt (made for him by the awesome Jessica), sometimes on the couch, sometimes on my bed, swaddle him,give him his pacifier and stroke his head until he falls asleep. Sometimes I lie down with him because I’m exhausted. Other times, I leave him be. If I can be so inclined, I move him into his cot (the quilt is so useful to do that without waking him up), if not, he stays where he is. The point is, he is sleeping.
I had visions of babywearing but now I have 3 slings and a baby carrier that sit unused in cupboards and drawers because my children do not like to be worn. Huh, who knew that occasionally, children dictate how things will be.
Before, I told myself that my children will only snack on fruit and nuts and never ever eat fries for lunch. Eh, my son sometimes only ever eats fries for lunch. And dinner. On good days, he’ll eat from more than one food group. Some days, I worry a little that he’s not getting enough nutrients, calories, just not enough. But I know that he will never starve himself, and I know that there is no point in forcing anything down him. We go with the flow here.
I have a vague idea that when my second is old enough (5 1/2, maybe 6 months old), I’ll try baby-led weaning (yet another label, I hate labels). If he can hold food in his hand and sit up well, I’ll give him a small piece of something. A banana, a baby rice cracker. I’ll also probably feed him some pureed food I will make from scratch, because I have a few recipes I want to try. What will work? Who knows, the baby will decide.
I already see how different both my children are from each other, and so I adjust my parenting style with each of them. How they sleep, eat, play, interact. So no, I’m not an ‘attachment parent’, or a ‘helicopter parent’ or whatever. I’m just a parent doing what I think is right at the time for my kids. I’m just a parent who loves her kids. I’m just a parent who will do what it takes to survive.
*I apologize to my regular readers who never see me swear on this blog, but in this instance, there was no better word. I’m sorry if you were offended, but I’m not sorry I wrote it.