…. the text of this essay was last modified when our middle child, Alex, was 13 months old.
I’m Jordan’s mom and Alexander’s mom, and their dad and I found out that our style of parenting is called attachment parenting.
Attachment parenting is a nurturing, responsive style of parenting that respects the individual needs of your child. It takes many forms; each family will do what feels right for their situation. Some nice descriptions of attachment parenting:
- There is No Doctrine for Attachment Parenting: Being AP is a Frame of Mind! by Diana West, IBCLC
- What Attachment Parenting Is–The 7 Baby B’s by William Sears, MD
Jordan was exclusively breastfed until she was 6 months old, and she will wean herself when she is ready for it – the same will hold for Alexander. Right now, Alex and Jordan are tandem nursing. Jordan received most of her nutrition from nursing until she was around 18-20 months old. She was eating solids throughout that time (insisting on feeding herself from 9-10 months) but just not that much. Alex, at 13 months, enjoys his solids more than Jordan did, but is still eating relatively few at this point. As long as my child is nursing very regularly, I don’t have to worry about him getting enough nutrition.
Breastfeeding is not only about nutrition – Jordan and Alex get tons of health and emotional benefits from nursing, too. Jordan and Alex were only sick a couple of times during their first 12 months, and the illnesses were very minor. At the time that I’m writing this (Jordan is 4 1/2 and Alex is 13 months) neither have had a sick visit to the doctor. Nursing is also very soothing, and can be a wonderful comfort to an upset or hurt or angry child.
I’ve sometimes heard that bottle-feeding is supposed to be easier, but I don’t see how. I tried to boil a bottle nipple once and melted it! We’ve never had to get up at night (or during the day, for that matter) to prepare a bottle, my children have never had to wait for a bottle to be prepared when they were hungry, we’ve never needed to deal with carrying formula and all the assorted paraphernalia when we go out, and we’ve certainly saved huge amounts of money, both by both nursing and not buying formula.
Jordan has had a boppy nursing pillow since she was very young. At around 13 months, when she wanted to nurse, she would often say “boppy” and either point to it or bring it to me. Alex is now 13 months (time flies!) and he loves to bring the boppy to me to nurse. He gets it and starts giggling as he brings it to me – sometimes he brings two (he really thinks that’s funny).
We have a family bed. Before Jordan was born, we picked out a beautiful crib, but after she was born Jordan wanted to sleep on me – not in the crib, so we never used the crib (we eventually sold it). Before Alex was born, the main piece of “baby” equipment that we bought was a king sized bed! Having our children sleep with us has worked very well for our family. We very rarely lose sleep due to a fussing baby (like everyone told us we would). Alex (and previously Jordan) stirs and almost wakes up when he needs to nurse, but since he is right beside me I am able to nurse or soothe him back to sleep before he fully wakes up. Daddy has been wakened by babies at night only a couple of times. And it’s so wonderful to wake up next to a smiling baby…
Jordan and I have been very attached since the beginning, and she has always needed to be very close to us (although she’s now very independent most of the time). Alex and I are also very attached, and he’s had the same needs for closeness that Jordan did. We hold him, or wear him in a sling (I also used a front pack with Jordan), whenever he needs the contact – even if he needs it all day long. Of course, he’s so busy nowadays that he spends most of his time exploring and running after his sister!
Jordan and Alex also go everywhere with us – a nursing baby is incredibly portable (just grab a diaper or two and go), and we really enjoy having them with us.
When Jordan was 6 weeks old (and I was still on maternity leave) I decided to stay home with her since I don’t think that anyone else can give her the constant attention and quality of care that she deserves. So I’ve been a stay-at-home mom now for over four years, and I’m enjoying every minute.