The Accidental Attachment Parent

Though not mentioned in this blog, the months leading up to the birth of my son were so often for me, a quest to funnel all of my nervous energy about becoming a parent into the seemingly noble search for the *perfect* parenting approach. I read all Dr. Sears and the Baby Whisperer had to offer, checked out message boards about ferberizing vs. the joys of sharing sleep, trying to decide and develop my whole, pure, parenting method in advance.

I visited a friend whose diehard, toddler-breastfeeding attachment, if you will, to attachment parenting really freaked me out. I was only 4 months pregnant and I cringed with fearful anticipation as I saw my friend as a parent for the first time. Her life seemed grossly imbalanced and lacking in any sort of adult stimulus. She called herself an attachment parent. I was mortified. While I had not found the perfect method of parenting in a book, I was certain I had found what not to do. To me, attachment parenting became a bad word, a word meaning total loss of identity, social life, and marital pleasure.

The baby needed to fostered into independence. He needed to sleep in his own crib. I needed to breastfeed, but only as long as was necessary, and then I would make the transition …I needed to get back to work.

Then I had the baby. I gently laid him down in his crib, hushing him into sleep. I hushed and hushed and cooed and sang songs I never thought I would sing. After 2 hours of cycling through my new mommie repertoire of calming antics, Nikos finally drifted into a passable form of sleep. I crept back into my bed and thumped my exhausted head against my own pillow. As if my presence in my own bed tripped an alarm in his, baby boy started to freak. The cycle began again, and by 6 am, I had plucked the angry little baby from his bed and did what I had been told not to (and what I had vowed not to do). I carefully curled him in my arms, and fed him in my bed. We both fell asleep and slept for hours, blissfully uninterrupted.

That was the beginning of my accidental attachment parenting. I realize that most things are better when intentional, but I found my way to attachment parenting (nearly all aspects) by accident. Nikos has been a great sleeper ever since, and is one of the happiest babies I have ever witnessed (and he is no angel baby by nature– but we have found out how to be supportive of his needs and he responds amazingly)… and I am thoroughly satisfied with my life as an adult, a wife, a mother, and an individual. Have any of you similarly stumbled upon your method of being a parent?

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