Saturday 19 May 2012

AP and me - part 2

We visited every grocery, magazine and corner stores in my predominant French neighborhood to get a copy of Time magazine. We didn't find it but we think there should be a law forcing business owners to hide porn magazines properly! Long story short, Dan managed to find an online copy for me.

Sadly, the article was a disappointment. With such a "controversial" cover, I expected a jaw dropping text. There is a reason why the media only talked about the picture and the's because the article is boring. If you look at Attachment Parenting and at Dr. William Sears on Wikipedia, you will pretty much get the concept.

Instead of writing a boring review on a boring article, I will share my experience with AP (it is also a fun little exercise on a personal level).  

I realized we were doing AP when Alice was a couple months old. In my part of the world, based on my personal knowledge and my friend Wikipedia, there is not a French term for AP. I'm sure many parents are doing it simply by following their instincts...this was our case.

This doesn't make me a better mom. Actually, it makes me a lazy mom because AP is the easiest, laziest and simplest way to raise a baby. This is why...

According to Time magazine, AP has three pillars (but AP is so much more than that) which includes breastfeeding, co-sleeping and baby wearing.

Breastfeeding: Sterilizing baby bottles (and canning jars if I ever make jam) freaks me out. We don't have enough counter space in our kitchen for a bottle dryer. Choosing formula looks complicated and pricey. I solved many potential crisis by giving Alice a boob since she is a daredevil with daily failed stunts. It gives me a well deserved moment of peace! I can talk on the phone without interruption. I can't stand the sound of a crying baby (not the noise itself but it seems that I'm biologically programmed to give an immediate nurturing response to ANY baby cries) and since Alice never had a pacifier, breastfeeding her was the solution.  

Co-sleeping: I sleep naked (hoping to solve that "problem" before Alice is too old) and walking back and forth during a Canadian winter was not an option. I enjoy the idea of having all living creatures sleeping in the same bedroom (humans and pets). I love to look at Alice when she sleeps...because she moves a lot during the day! Sleeping, even with a baby attached to my boob, is much easier than spending numerous nights "sleep training" her.

Baby wearing: We use public transportation 95% of the time and, between you and me, strollers and public transportation are not very compatible. Baby wearing makes walking my dog a charm since he has a tendency to find himself under the stroller. Opening doors in various restaurants and stores while operating a stroller require too much coordination. I gesticulate a lot when I talk...can't do that with a stroller. You can't hold an umbrella and push a stroller efficiently at the same time. And don't get me started on strollers in 10 inches of snow!     

Seriously, AP (or whatever you want to call it) worked very well for us. However, by moments, I feel a bit like a quiet black sheep. For example, I preferred to remain silent when my mom friends talked about sleep training or breastfeeding night weaning. On the positive side, this forced me to focus on my mom instinct even more.

Finally, what I like the most about AP is that I have the feeling that we are a team. I often see families trying to follow strict routine dictated by some "baby trainer" that gives the impression that the baby is against the parents. Maybe it is AP, maybe it some chemical in the air, maybe Alice is the reincarnation of an hyper monk but I can count on my two hands how often she got pissed off over the past 14 months...after all, AP is also called Peaceful Parenting!

 part 3: AP into toddlerhood 


Vanessa said...

I think my tendency (I guess I'm not 100% there) towards AP stems towards the fact that it is very difficult for me also to hear a crying/upset baby. I am bewildered at times at how some of my mom friends talk about how they let their baby cry for an hour or more at night. I understand that they are doing what works for them, and I can be okay with that. But the fierceness of my instincts does not let it work for me. :)

sara-ananda said...

Thanks Claudia, your article gives me real insights of how someone does AP and why! And by extent, why I don't do AP anymore.
And I think the reason is... the baby herself.

You say your daughter (and I've seen her from my own 2 eyes) is never pissed or does she cry and is very relax in general. So, naturally, AP is quite easy with her, and as you put it, it's also the easiest, laziest, most natural way to parent her.

Even when I was all about AP with my son, he was never relaxed, and he would cry for hours, no matter how much boob I was willing to give him, how much co-sleeping and baby wearing we would do. He would actually go nuts when I was putting him in his Ergo, his sling, his kangaroo scarf (yes, I tried them all). He would wake up 20 times a night (and cry) in our bed, making our nights miserable (his and ours), etc...

So, my point is: I don't think your daughter is a happy, relaxed, easy-going baby because of AP. I think she is like that because that's who she is. In that regard, AP is easy for you, natural.

My son being a slightly more complicated (and heavy/strong, that counts) baby, or what we call "spirited" or "high needs", AP was just HELL for us. It didn't "fix" anything, it was actually extremely stressful. He and I became way more relaxed when we stopped co-sleeping, breastfeeding, baby wearing (but now he is better with the ergo), etc...

I would have LOVED to do AP with my son, him and I in harmony and chilling, being serene and relaxed. But he is who he is, with a will that defies all AP advices! And I learned to love him for that, too. For him, AP was not "going with the flow", it was actually the opposite. And I wish books would talk about theses babies who aren't easy to AP... instead of saying that AP is the biological, scientific and natural way to go with ALL babies.

Unknown said...

love this post. You are just doing what feels right and natural. I love that its the 'lazy' way and hope to be lazy too with our own babe ;) Here is a good article (applies to US moms a bit more) in response to the Time one.

UK lass in US said...

I just made things up as I went along - I think that I am glad that I had not read about it, so I put no pressure on myself to be doing it one way or the other. I did all three of those AP pillars, but the kids then went in their own rooms once night feeds came to a halt. The carrier was more convenient for me. Breast feeding was cheaper and easier - but my two both weaned themselves by 17 months. That seemed a good time for us.

Like the above poster said, I think those things worked well for us because my two are easy-going kids, though. My kids have always been better at sleeping than their cousins who were co-sleeping far longer, but that might have been the case even if their cousins had not co-slept for so long. My brothers were both firm believers in a schedule for their kids and that worked for them, especially as their kids had more (minor) health issues. My husband works shifts, though, so it worked better for us for our kids to be more flexible - so we used routines rather than a schedule.

Either which way, all 14 cousins survived baby and toddlerhood, despite the completely different styles. They do still all display the same personality that you could see in them at birth, though - so it sounds like you'll be pretty lucky with Alice's chilled nature.

emily -- a adenver home companion said...

well said, claudia.

i agree that AP (or whatever you want to call it!) really is the laziest form of parenting. i, like you, stumbled into peaceful parenting out of instincts. the AP label is the one we just most fit into.

and i love what you said about counting alice's freakouts on no more than two hands. ramona has been the same way. her and i work as a team to meet her needs and everyone is happier and better rested bc of it! perhaps it is her demeanor, and i do think that plays a part in it, but i also think it comes from her being extremely confident in knowing she will get what she needs.

also, thank you for writing so candidly. you crack me up!

Julia said...

i love reading this account of your experiences, claudia! ap is supposed to be modeled after parents' natural instincts and that is clearly the case for you and your family- you are just following what feels right to you and it is working. so good for you! you are clearly a great mom!

Jennifer said...

I love that you've just gone with your instincts -- We have to do what works for our family :)