Friday, December 14, 2007

Attachment Parenting - Are we afraid of our babies?

Well, there I was, a new mother, confused.. very confused indeed on which advises to follow and which not to follow... I'm not sure if this is just the Malaysian culture or if it's just people around me or even if it happens around the globe but people just cannot hold their comments/advises back when they see you with a baby.. it's alright for them to advise but it's a totally different issue when they expect you to follow them.

One of the biggest issue that keeps coming up as the best-way-to-bring-up-your-child seems to be training the little one, from newborn, to be 'detached' (as opposed to attach) from me. WHAT??! Well, they say that only then will they be independent sooner... only then I'll get my life back... only then will they be well behaved... etc. etc... Some even advised against breastfeeding as they said it will result in a 'sticky' (i.e. attached) baby.

Huh?? My thought then was like "So fast??" I am just going through the reality of losing the bump and they are saying my baby shall be trained to be away from me??

Really, even up til now, I cannot bear the thought of Arthur choosing someone over me (though, I'm sure that will happen someday). So, I am the 'sticky' one here, not my little one.

I just wasn't sure... will it really mean he will be more independent? Will it really give him more confidence?... NO!!!

Luckily (or not.. I know I should have read up more on attachment parenting and research more on CDs), I have brushed up a lot on breastfeeding while I was pregnant and I just wasn't going to give up on it at all. I know and believe nothing could be better for my baby. It was my determination in my breastfeeding journey that kept me going and later, as I returned to work and was fit to start browsing the Internet and reading again did I read up more and more on attachment parenting and what it really means.

Initially, I would, upon being advised, try my best to get Arthur to sleep by his own in the cot... imagining it now, how cold and lonely that must have felt... Now, he gets a choice on where he wants to sleep... with us, or not...

Initially, I would worry about my little one not being comfortable in a sling.. too hot... too crushed.. (again, family's advise agaisnt what I briefly read...)... Now, I don't go anywhere with Arthur without the sling... even my DH, who once believed in getting a hi-tech carrier (expensive, too)... realises that inside the sling is where our baby will feel the safest.. just like he was in me... close to me... hearing my heartbeat... feeling my warmth...

Initially, family and relatives and friends... they have advised in training our baby from young... from birth, to be exact... that we should not respond to his cries so often... NO... how could you leave him crying and not bother? I don't know... it was really hard and hubby and I just didn't believe in them (those around us) anymore... we just read and kept reading.. even til today, our parenting values are mostly based on our own research rather than advises... Tiny babies just try to communicate... you won't spoil them by responding to their needs... maybe around 6 months you can try to train them.. then again, every baby is different and believe me, you'll know when the baby tries to manipulate you... it is only then shall you try to start 'training' them that crying is not a means of getting anything their heart desire.

In a way, I am glad that we are living far from both our families (my hubby's and mine) not as only then can we have everything 'our way'... according to our many reads and researched, rather than differing advises from everyone around us. Then again, we do still get confirmation on certain issues with our parents/grandparents as they have their rich experiences to share.

All I can say is, when they are far away.. they can only share and it's up to us to follow.. if we are near them... we are somehow forced to follow... get me? Not trying to discriminate or anything but that's just the way we prefer things to be at the moment... much less confusing, in a way, as we go on the route of getting our own experience as parents.

In more than one way, throughout my journey into parenthood, I am glad that my hubby has been supportive... not only encouraging me to try out what I research and read about but join me in reading up and researching on parenting issues, too.

Read more on attachment parenting from Dr Sears here.

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