Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What Attachment Parenting means to Tboff & Willis

I'll never nurse my kid to sleep. She needs to self soothe and not rely on me to put her down.

I'll never let my kid sleep with me..ever. It's not a "habit" I want to start.

Once my kid has teeth, I'll never breast feed them again. It has to hurt and its weird. Let alone in public.

These are ALL things I've said at some time in my life before I was ever a Mommy. These are all things I thought I would never do. These are ALL things we do as a family in our house...reguarly.

Lets be honest, I didn't know poop about what it means to be a parent before Miss Sass came into the world. I had a plan, and as most of you parents know...it doesn't make a hell of a difference. As parents, Tboff and I go off instinct and I'm so glad. I stopped reading the stupid books. I stopped listening to everyone's advice. We just went with our gut. We are her Mommy  and Daddy, and we know what's best for her. 
No one else.

I've had a lot of people question me about attachment parenting and what it really means. To me attachment parenting isn't an all or nothing kind of thing. There isn't a list of things you HAVE to do to be considered part of the "club". It's a style of parenting. It's what we DON'T do that makes me feel like an attachment parent.

We don't cry it out in our house. It physically hurts us. We have tried it. Everyone kept telling us it was the only way she would ever sleep at 8 weeks. Yep...8 weeks. Want to know how long we lasted??? 5 minutes....tops. We did use soothing sessions after 6 months or so, but never did we ever leave our daughter to be alone or scared when she needed a little extra cuddle.

We don't like to use the word "No!" Now, don't get me wrong...if she is doing something she isn't supposed to or something that is a risk to her safety, I am quick to use that word and try to redirect her attention elsewhere. However, when she says a word wrong or points to the wrong body part and when I say "Where's your ear?" I don't say, "No! That's wrong." I just say the correct word or point to the correct body part. This is something that was actually taught to me in a high school tutoring program. I took a class to tutor young kids that needed extra help in school. Everyone has been telling these kids "No! You are wrong!" their whole lives. Worse yet, some were hearing, "That's stupid." They didn't need another person coming in with their negative "No's" to make them feel worse about themselves. They needed more "Awesome try, but lets try another one."

We don't wean at 12 months just because she is 12 months old and somehow my milk miraculously changed over night on her Birthday. :) We still nurse. Yep. At 20 months....we nurse. Thankfully its usually only two or three times a day, but some days it's more. Those days it's usually when she feels uncomfortable with something. Too much traveling. A move. New people. A big crowd. Whatever it is, nursing calms her. It makes her feel good.  We may be the next cover of Time magazine :) but I have't seen any 18 year olds nursing lately. So I think it's safe to say we won't be nursing FOREVER. 

We don't let her hang on our legs begging to be picked up while doing something else instead. If my daughter wants to be held, we hold her.  If our arms are tired, or better yet...I need two of them, I wear her. Most of the time she just wants to see what I'm doing. Hey if I was 2.5 ft tall, I would want someone to pick me up to see too!!

Most of importantly, we listen to her.
 She has a voice.
 She may not have all the words, but she has a voice that is really trying to tell me what she wants. No, she doesnt get everything she wants! That's not how this AP thing works...but I do stop and  listen. That's why signing has been such a major help to us. She gets far less frustrated and throws far less tantrums if she can convey what she needs. Now, she does still throw tantrums. It's just part of the rough life of a toddler. They can't get in the car and and drive around to relieve some stress. They can't just step out for a cigarette or drink a glass of wine to relax. They don't just put on their running shoes and hit the pavement to get lost in their thoughts. They get frustrated, and a good kicking screaming fit is sometimes the only thing that helps release that frustration. I would be pissed too if I couldn't see past anyone's waist and no one ever knew what I was saying!

The point is all those things I said I would never do as a parent, I have done. Why??? Because sometimes when you become a parent, things change. Sometimes you just listen to your gut. Sometimes I just ask myself, "What or who does it hurt???" Usually my answer is "No one. I just don't want to deal with it." Strangely enough, I don't think the kids will quite understand that answer. :) We are an extended nursing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, baby led weaning, and baby wearing family. Parenting "style" or not, it's what works for US. 

I do not judge you AT ALL if you do or don't any of these things. Just as I mentioned before, you are Mommy & Daddy. You know what works best for YOU! This is what works best for US. 

Do you parent differently than you ever thought you would??? 
We definitely do.

Hope you are having a great week!
Lots of Love,
 The Boffs


  1. Who in the world told you to let Ro cry it out when she was 8 weeks old???? I would have kicked their butt for you ;) Love you, SIL! Amanda :)

  2. Lol, this while parenting thing had been quite different than we thought but oh so rewarding as well. We try to go with our gut in what we think is right for our girl. Thanks to parents like you, i don't feel so strange either! ;)

  3. girl i will tell you this i am eating SO many of my words when i was young and childless. all those times i was in the store thinking "MY kid won't ever scream like that" or "MY child won't talk back to me like that!" or "i won't let MY kid run around crazy like that". i'm so glad that our God has a wonderful plan and sense of humor and gave me Sam. that kid brings everything full circle and teaches me what it means to slow down and be a real parent, not what i think a parent is. love your blog willis!

  4. We are pretty much doing AP parenting I think.. If I hear one more person say "Dont't ever let your baby in the bed with you!" I may scream. She feels COMFORTABLE, SAFE and HAPPY next to us... Why would I not?!? Oh and my doctor told me to stop feeding my 12 month old adult food and go back to strictly baby food.. I'm good!!! She eats like a horse and loves momma's cooking.. So dumb. And cry it out physically makes me siiiiick. Seriously how do mothers and fathers do that?!?!?

  5. Great post Whit! I love the fact that we go with our gut instinct too. I never even realized we were "attachment parents" until JM was a few months old. I have definitely eaten my words and there are things I wish we could still do certain things (like breastfeeding and cosleeping) but things happen and JM can change his mind! I like to follow his lead. I can't make him do things - that doesn't make a happy baby. But I can know my baby and respond to him in the way that is best and only Nick and I can determine that!! Awesome, awesome post!!


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