Tag Archive: attachment parenting

Fresh Start

And so a new year begins.  2011.  My little Ba-Bean has turned one and the day before she did, she decided she could take more than a couple of steps at a time.  Yes, she resolved for the new year to walk longer, better and faster!  Off she went.  For her birthday I started to make a healthy baby-friendly carrot cake.  I say started because she decided not to nap in the morning and to be VERY grumpy in the afternoon so Mommy ended up having to haul her around while Daddy finished the cake.  And I use the word “cake” loosely here.  Because the texture was decidedly un-cake-like.  Could have been the recipe.  Could have been our wonky oven that cannot keep a consistent temperature and always ends up running hot and burning things.  But it rose.  Then it sank.  And it was a very moist dense… cake/bar/pound cake?  I’m not really sure.  But I slathered it with a mixture of cream cheese and whipping cream and we put candles on it and she liked it.  I think she mostly liked the icing.  She loves dairy this kid, much like her Mom.  I think she was also just happy I gave her a big piece all to herself to play with and demolish.  Success!

Then, as my new year resolution, now that baby girl was a year old, I felt ready to implement my custom sleep plan created for us.  I must admit to dragging my feet on this myself, but then the sleep plan took forever to get sent off, and never did physically arrive in our mailbox so I had to wrangle a PDF copy from our sleep consultant.  When it finally arrived in my email, BaBean was suffering from some pretty severe teething (grumpy viking, hear me roar) and caught her Daddy’s cold.  So… sleep train we did not.  Until the day after her first birthday.  We were finally ready.  It was time.

I was quaking in my boots on the inside.  I’m not going to lie to you.  I was terrified she would cry so hard she would vomit and not sure I could follow through if things got that harsh.  I hate hearing her cry at any time, even in frustration.  And she had slept with my for months, always falling asleep at the breast, with her warm little body next to mine.  If it was cold out at night, I’d awake to find her snuggled up firmly against my side under my armpit and I was stuck sleeping wedged between her and the bedrail.  But it was worth it in a way.  I gave her the best start I could.  She had lots of love, and nursing, and warmth at night.  She grew big and strong.  And now she is one-year-old and her independence is growing every day.

She’s not going to be leaving home any time soon.  But she is becoming her own little toddler person.  So we did it.  I followed the plan in the big picture and the main important points.  But… there were a few areas I made my own.  A year of mothering my little girl gave me the confidence to tweak a few points that I felt were in her best interest and that I really felt with my Attachment Parenting vision would help and not hinder allowing her to go to sleep by herself safe in the knowledge that Mommy still loves me and will be there for me if I need her.

I gave her as much time to nurse before sleeping as she wanted (no “brisk feeding” as it was noted to do) for me.  My little girl would get the comfort and nutrition she needed as she knows better than any time constraint or sleep consultant what she needs from my body.  And it worked.  The first nap and first night were the hardest.  But she learned SO quickly.  And she slept.  And fell asleep on her own for the first time in months.  And slept in her crib!  She had NEVER slept in her crib before.  I was SO proud of her I could just burst!

Now here we are at Day 3 of the plan and she allows me to put her into the crib and leave her to go to sleep and not even a peep.  She was ready.  I was ready.  I miss her though.  I really do.  She may sleep well and not wake often or for long, but I am still waking up every 2 hours or so.  And my breasts miss the night time nursing.  Yikes!  I haven’t seen them like this since my milk first came in a year ago!  Crazy.  But it will be good for us.  I can see it.  I am enjoying no longer being her human pacifier.  Now when we breastfeed it is even more enjoyable than before as it isn’t frustrating if she doesn’t go to sleep.  They aren’t needed for that any more.  Our time together nursing is now that much more precious and wonderful to me.  I’m so happy as I want to do extended breastfeeding with her, and this just makes that all the more possible I believe as there is no resentment, just enjoyment.

I’m also not going to lie that I am not “proud” of the actual CIO.  But… I am proud that my little girl took it in stride and was ready.  I feel very glad I waited although it was a really long year.  It made the whole thing so much less painful than it might otherwise have been and feels like I made the right choices along the way.  Hallelujah!

Now if only I could get some sleep too.  Perhaps I will have to CIO myself?!?!  🙂


So, I have been trying really, REALLY hard over the last 10 months or so to get Savannah to sleep well.  I have read enough about baby’s sleep to know that both naps and nighttime sleep are vitally important to their growth and development.  Not enough sleep and they can’t concentrate and learn things, plus I think just physically it can impede growth if they are not getting the restorative sleep they need.

So, yes, sleep is very important to me.  I have been trying to keep a schedule for her for a long many months now too.  From what I understand, routines are ALSO important to babies.  It gives them comfort to know “what comes next” and to be able to count on consistency and routines.  So, I try to make sure the days follow a fairly consistent path from one day to the next.  There are different things that we do sometimes, like trips to get groceries, or appointments that we have.  But I have been trying to make sure we get back home at reasonable times so that we can hit those elusive optimal nap times and to make sure she is fed regularly, etc.

I have to admit, this has all been rather hectic for me.  I’m not sure why it seems like so much work, but it does.  I spend time planning meals and trying to be sure she is getting a good mixture of fruits, veggies, grains, meats, dairy.  And now that I’ve introduced snacks, well, gosh, it takes even longer for my poor sleep deprived brain to figure out what to do each day (yes, I ensure my daughter gets her sleep, but me, on the other hand, I am the all night breastaurant still nursing her every 1, 2 or 3 hours when she wakes briefly so that it is, indeed, brief and we can go back to sleep and not stay up for 2 HOURS).

Should I do peas for lunch?  Dinner?  Have I given her something green?  Yellow or orange?  A fruit?  A veg?  What grain did I give earlier?  OK, maybe I should do this.  How about some dairy.  Oh crap.  What meat am I going to make or use?  Hmmmm.  How long will it take me to cook some pasta and add frozen beef puree so that she gets a meat in?

I swear, it is a full-time job for me right now.

I wonder to myself often how other Moms do this and make it look so darned easy?!?!  Seriously!

I am sure that my sleep deprivation is not helping either as I KNOW I have had “attitude” with the dog and the cat when they meow or bark and wake the baby.  Then I’m seriously NOT happy with them.  One day I was certain I was shipping the cat off to the SPCA I was so frustrated with him… hopping into the crib, meowing to get out of the crib, hopping onto the bed, meowing and pawing at me.  GO. AWAY. NOW. CAT. IF. YOU. VALUE. YOUR. LIFE.

Oh, yes.  And let’s not forget my poor hubby.  Sleeping in the basement as it were.  Because, yes, I am the bad Mom who still co-sleeps with her daughter at 10 months of age.  I just can’t bear night wakings that require me to physically get OUT of bed, so I do what is the path of least resistance.  And, what has felt right for many months as well.  To be there physically to comfort my baby girl.  To build that connection.  To “Attachment Parent” if you will.

But the time has come where I really am starting to think it is in everyone’s best interest for us all to get better sleep.  I need to sleep in order to function at a higher level.  My daughter needs to learn how to go to sleep without requiring nursing to do it (it has to happen sometime, although I am glad to say that I have given her this comfort for this long).  My hubby needs to come back upstairs (besides which, when he is back upstairs and Savannah is sleeping in her crib by herself, when she wakes early on weekends I might actually *gasp* get a day to sleep in and Daddy can get up with the baby… God I can dream about it… if I could only sleep…).

Anyway, so I have gone ahead and contacted a sleep consultant.  It occurs to me that my foggy brain is no longer competent to sift through the rubble and books and make a good plan for us.  So we have help on the way.  A person who has helped other Mommies and Daddies I know.  She comes highly recommended.  And so I am putting my trust in her to help me “sleep train” (choo choo) my daughter.  I am SO nervous about the crying part.  I never ever wanted to resort to CIO.  It truly is, for me, a last resort.  But I am trying to remember that I have given her a really good start with 10 months of cuddles.  And I will make it up to her with as many daytime snuggles as she needs.  But at some point, I am realizing she also will need to learn the hard lesson that Mommy can’t always say “yes” to all her demands.  That sometimes, when something is better for her, I will have to say “No” much as it may pain me (and her).

So, I will continue to be “working on the railroad” with my daily routines and schedules and meal planning.  That part of this choo choo train will keep on turning.  But hopefully, in the not so near future, at least the sleep train will involve ZzzZzzzz’s for all.  And when it does (crossing fingers and toes), I am going to join my Belly Buddy (oops… she reminded me, we aren’t pregnant Belly Buddies any more, so I am going to have to start referring to her as “little mama g”) my friend little mama g in a Slumber Party!

Sweet Dreams!

So I was reading some Attachment Parenting (AP) articles today on Mothering Magazine and came across one discussing “Cry It Out” (CIO) and how it likely came to be popular in parenting circles.  It then, given the AP nature of the article, goes on to talk about how CIO is not exactly terrific for babies (at least for babies who cry alone) as they exhibit an increase in cortisol which is a known stress hormone.  This after just 5 minutes of crying alone.  I recalled as I read this that I had also seen some research elsewhere that high cortisol levels in adults may also be linked to heart attacks.  Yikes!

Well I must admit I have considered from time to time whether I should use “CIO” to help my daughter to sleep better for longer at night.  Sleep deprivation means you will consider all kinds of things to get more sleep.  But I haven’t been willing or able to listen to her cry yet.  So I have been using more “gentle” methods to get her to sleep and have found that AP really fits with most of my thinking on this and many other things.

But one thing I hadn’t read about or considered before was the potential power of crying for babies.

Now I am not talking about just letting a baby cry for hours on their own.  But the article talks about allowing a baby to cry “in arms”.   It was a new thought to me that babies might have experienced trauma at birth, and may be stressed out or frustrated by things in their life such that they may just need a good cry now and then.

I’m not sure why this thought never occurred to me before, but it hadn’t.  It is strange, really, considering that for many years I have known the power of a good cry for myself.  In fact, I am not ashamed to admit it, but I used to watch “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” every Sunday night just so that I could have a good cry to release any pent up stress and or frustrations in my life.  I knew that they would showcase some poor family who had fostered 20 kids, many disabled, were living in a run-down house that was unsafe, and would build them a terrific new home that would thrill everyone to pieces.  Always a great tear-jerker moment for me to see these families rewarded for all the love and support they have given to these kids and their communities over the years.

In any case, I have had a very demanding career for the last 15 years.  Somehow I always seemed to end up working in a job where lots of unpaid overtime was required to get the job done.  It took a toll on my stress levels.  I would wake up at night with a thought about something I needed to do work-wise or a change to an Excel spreadsheet that I should make based on something I dreamt.  I would pick up my cell phone and call my office and leave myself a voicemail.  Yup.  That was what it was like for many years.

But those Sunday nights I could count on Ty Pennington and crew to make me sob like a baby.  And feel immense relief at the physical release of a good cry.  I always felt so much better, and like the world was a more manageable and friendly place after that cry.

So why would it be foreign that a baby might also get release and return to homeostasis from a good cry?  In fact, I kind of love this idea.  That perhaps my baby girl might sometimes have all her immediate needs met (food, breastfeeding, clean diaper, shelter, not too warm or cold, etc) but still need a good cry?  What must it be like when trying to master a new milestone?  Learning how to stand and being frustrated at times that your own limbs do not always cooperate when you want to do something new?  It might just be a little annoying to my baby girl.  So if she needs a good cry, and her needs are met, I am going to do my best to remember to honor her in the way this article suggests.

I will hold her, look into her eyes, tell her I love her.  And I will let her cry.  In my arms.  She will come to know that all her emotions are safe with me.  That my love for her will not change.  And she can “tell” me anything whether it is good or bad.

Sometimes you just need a good cry.


So you think you can blog

So I imagine most people think they can write.  If they can put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard and get the spelling close enough that spell checker corrects it, then writing happens.  I suppose I am one of those people.  But I don’t have any illusions of grandeur.  I don’t suppose that my meandering thoughts or observations are going to change the world nor lead to a stunning novel or anything of the sort.

I just want to have a forum to discuss things of interest to me, and things that I hope might sometimes strike a chord with others.  Being a new Mom, I am learning so much all the time and I know that what other Moms have shared with me has had such a positive impact on me.  They have provided me with ideas for sleep, feeding, where to buy things, and how to handle different and new situations.  Most importantly, they have provided immeasurable support, and I just want to pass some of that along to others if I can.  To that end, I am going to share a little bit of myself with the world (and lucky for you, there is no one who is going to force you to read this if you don’t want to – certainly not me!).

Breastfeeding is one of those things I have learned quite a bit about over the past 9 months.  I have been SO lucky to have a daughter who latched on that first day and although we went through that rough first 2 weeks together (hello painfully sore nipples!), we came out the other side with a strong breastfeeding relationship.  The more I read about how good it is for our babies, I can’t help but want to share what I know and the things that helped me.  If more Moms who may want to breastfeed can be encouraged to do so, and provided with ideas that may help them, I’d be thrilled.  Sometimes all it takes is just plain inspiration and a goal to get over “the hump” that is the beginning of breastfeeding.  I was blessed to have a friend with a baby 7 months older than mine and she gave me the straight goods.  Knowing what to expect I had a goal in mind that kept me focused.  It ain’t easy, and certainly is no place for sissies.  But oh it is worth it!

I have also gotten in touch with my inner granola.  Being a professional accountant for the last 15 years has not exactly prepared me for motherhood.  The budgeting aspect, perhaps.  But the rest of it?  Not so much.  My previous desk job was not nearly as physically demanding as what I am doing now, and at 39 years old I am not exactly a spring chicken any more.  Luckily for me, somewhere deep inside lurked the heart of a “natural Mom”.  I have started making dinners “from scratch” (and they are shockingly healthy for the most part).  It surprised both me and my husband that I could actually do this!

When I was a single working girl living by myself with my cat, take-out was a staple of my diet.  My life was filled with working (and lots of overtime), shopping, sailing, changing my hairstyle and color practically every month, riding my cruiser bike along the seawall, more shopping, TV watching, reading fashion magazines, eating out, and going for drinks.  That was not so long ago (September 2008).

Now, just 2 years later I have grown my hair out to its natural color, I might have a tiny bit of wine every 2 weeks or so, I haven’t been on my bicycle nor a sailboat since I became pregnant in April of 2009, and suddenly I am a co-sleeping, baby-wearing, breastfeeding, baby-led-weaning, cloth-diapering Mama and wife (with a dog and a cat to boot).

Now don’t go getting the wrong idea about me.  I won’t wear socks and Birkenstocks.  If I could get away with wearing my prettier clothes without fear of spit up and other disasters, I know I would be a much more fashionable Mom today.  It does sadden me a bit when I think of all that time and money spent shopping and now my nicer clothes hang lonely in the closet.  Alas, I have been relegated to mostly jeans and t-shirts, but at least I still have my cool shoes (hello Fluevogs!).

What is more granola about me, however, is my desire to improve the world in whatever way I can, starting with myself:

  • Eating healthier (did you know cauliflower is delicious when sharp cheddar is grated on top?  It also makes for great finger food for my little baby-led-weaning eater.)
  • Breastfeeding (so that’s what they’re for!  I am SO becoming a lactivist, albeit I don’t want to be a pushy one)
  • Co-sleeping (ok, so it may not initially sound like it would make the world a better place, but if I get more sleep it means I will be less grumpy and a less grumpy Mom is… well… you get the idea)
  • Responding quickly to my baby’s cries (I know the people in the grocery store don’t like hearing it… neither do I)
  • Reducing my consumerism (although that one is tough… have you seen the adorable baby shoes and hats?)
  • Reading more and watching TV less (it is all relative – I still can’t give up Grey’s Anatomy, I’m sorry I’m a lesser person for this)
  • Reducing, reusing and recycling more (hello re-usable grocery bags, Tupperware, and blue boxes)
  • Cloth diapering to reduce the disposables and their nasty chemicals going into landfills (plus fluffy bums are so stinkin’ cute – have you seen today’s cloth diapers?  If not, you really must.)
  • Baby Wearing (a weird term, I know, but you will often find me with baby on my hip in her sling while I pathetically try and push the empty stroller which has become the world’s largest rolling purse instead)
  • Cleaning up my language 🙂  (I’m trying to remember that I need to set a good example in all I do)

That is quite a lot of change in 2 short years.  But I am used to change.  In fact, I embrace change.  I always have, especially when I feel the change is for the better.

I am THAT person who has moved 10 times in 15 years (one was to move from Calgary to Vancouver, somewhat on a whim that I “needed to live by the ocean”).  I have changed jobs 8 times in 15 years.  Within that time I have also been married and divorced quickly, followed by 6 different boyfriends, and then finally met the man of my dreams who is now my husband.  Since that point on, we have been on what we refer to as “The Fast Forward Plan”.  Moved in together within 3 months.  Started trying to have a baby.  Got pregnant.  Got married.  Had our baby.

It has been a bit of a blur, but a ride I have very much enjoyed with all of its ups and downs.  As Bryan Adams would say, however, I still believe “The best is yet to come” and look forward to whatever the future holds.

I also look forward to hearing whatever you may wish to share with me… your comments, questions and debates.  I still have much to learn!

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