Este post fue duplicado debido a su extensión. Para la versión en Español, hacé click aquí.
I’ve always loved children. I’d have three of my own by now, ha! It’s been a while since I started researching about different types of parenting and education,and there’s one that got my attention: Attachment Parenting. Perhaps because it’s about raising your kids through indiscriminated love, and there’s nothing that I like more that holding and smooching babies 😛
My friends Lu and Fede have a gorgeous toddler called Manuel (AKA Manu, like me!), and they decided they would give Attachment Parenting a try. So I asked Lu to tell us about her experience in order to demystify, inform and may be help other moms (or moms to be).
- How did you first learn about Attachment Parenting? Why did you choose it?
It came naturally. In some way I inherited it from my mother, because I was raised a little like that; but it also has to do with the rest of the process, from the pregnancy, the choice of the doctor and wanting to have a respectful birth, where the focus was on the baby and mom.
But most importantly, it came from the search of something more natural, that would make us all happy: baby, mom and dad; and without being extremists. Because, truth is, maternity isn’t as rose colored as in the movies, and there’s too many rules to follow and voices to hear that are supposed to be there for your own good, but sometimes turn out to make your life more difficult. So you end up in the middle of a very frustrating situation when things don’t turn out “as they should”.
We were really stressed regarding sleep training. Even before Manuel was born we had read about it and knew what we ‘had to do’ for him to sleep all night. But we were soon frustrated and no matter what we did or rule we imposed everything was the same or even worse! That’s when I told myself that there should be something else, and that we couldn’t be the only ones ‘not fitting with what was normal’, so I started doing some research and found out about the work of Spanish Pediatrician Carlos Gonzalez. Through him I found a lot of people just like us: wanting to experience parenthood in full contact with their child, breastfeeding on demand and for as long as the child and mom want, lifting him up any time you or the child want, hugging, kissing, letting him go to sleep without tears, encouraging healthy eating according to the child’s times and learning abilities, teaching without threats, bribes or reprimands but limits; in short, keeping in mind that your baby is a person and must be respected as such. Because what’s nice about parenthood is enjoying the little things as time with a child goes by sooooo fast! Nature is wise, we should trust in it.
- Did you discuss it with Fede before deciding on Attachment Parenting? Did he agree immediately or did it take some convincing?
I was the precursor, haha. And then I started buying books, reading a lot about the subject online, I got into forums. You must be careful though, no to become a fanatic and bury yourself in the theory, but adapting everything to your own family. I used to text Fede about Attachment Parenting, told him about what I had read, and he was always supportive. We share a vision about most things, and if we don’t, we talk it out. There’s times when it’s complicated because couples usually come from different backgrounds, raised in different ways, but communication as always is key in order to go both in the same direction.
- How do you deal with other people’s opinions and prejudice? Any advice?
Attachment Parenting has a bad rap and I don’t know why. Probably is due to misinformation and word of mouth inaccuracies. Also, our society doesn’t make it easy for this kind of parenting: if you think about the length of maternity leaves for working moms in most countries, you’ll see a disrespect for a family’s times and rights, which interferes and creates a great deal of tension on both mom and baby. I think that, despite all the social progress nowadays, we often forget about very basic and necessary things; but we’re hopefully going back to them. Personally, I’ve received -and still do- a lot of ‘advice’ and comments from friends and family that might be confusing and disorienting. Now I listen to them in the background, because I’m sure of my convictions on the subject. Try taking a deep breath and moving on. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
- Looking back on this year and a half with Manu and Attachment Parenting, is there anything you’d do different? Something you wish you’d known at the beggining?
Yes, definitely! As new parents we made mistakes, but we’ve learned from them. I wish I had listened to myself sooner, and pay less attention to outside voices and standards. I would have chosen at the beggining a pediatrician like the one we have now, who shares our vision and not just pretends he does.
- Do you plan on going on with Attachment Parenting if you have more kids? Does Attachment Parenting influence your decision about formal education (e.g. what kind of school you will be sending your kids to?)
Of course! This is the kind of parenting that makes us happy, but beware, Attachment Parenting doesn’t work in a unique, strict way, it adapts to every baby and the family, so with every child might be different. What’s important is to let love and your instincts lead the way, and never go against what comes up naturally. It’s about accompanying your child and not forcing things.
This year, Manu will start attending kindergarten two hours a day. We decided on a school that emphazises freedom, lets the kids be and works around the importance of every kid’s individuality and expression. They work using the Reggio Emilia Approach which seemed great to us and mostly at these early stages of education in Manu’s life.
- What resources (books, websites, authors) would you recommend to anyone interested in Attachement Parenting?
Carlos Gonzalez is a big reference to me. He taught me that not everything has to be so strict, if your kid doesn’t sleep on his/her own room at three months old that doesn’t mean they’ll have serious issues growing up as some people think. All of his books can be found online. Some of his conferences are uploaded in YouTube. I’d start there and let the rest be…
Thank you Lu for all your help and beautiful photos! <3