How does one practice attachment parenting while sleep training? What “method” is best for me and my family?
Before I had a baby, I knew nothing about “attachment parenting.” Even though Dr. Sears coined the term with his wife over 20 years ago, I was never exposed to the concept. It wasn’t until I was pregnant and started reading through all my parenting books that I realized my idea of parenting aligned somewhere between Dr. Sears’, Attachment Parenting, and Dr. Weissbluth’s, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.
For starters let’s see how my beginning parenting skills add up with the Eight Principles of Attachment Parenting:
Natural child birth (Oh yes!), breastfeeding only (yes until we hit 4 months and had a growth spurt while teething and starting a sleep regression– so I had to supplement), self-soothing (yes!), babywearing (yes- and still a favorite of mine), co-sleeping (I said “NEVER” until at 18 weeks it was my only way of survival). Nothing can prepare you for going back to work at 3months with a baby that doesn’t sleep through the night…. the only way to make it work (for my family) was to co-sleep…. never say never, right!
At 25 weeks we were co-sleeping more than ever. My family is the biggest advocate for sleep training and “crying it out,” so maybe I’m just rebelling…. I’ve read Dr. Weissbluth’s Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and everything makes perfect sense—in theory! As a fitness trainer, my thoughts are to hire a specialist and find a sleep trainer. Anybody recommend a good one?
Now six months into motherhood and I’m still trying to figure out what makes sense for my family. My little one does NOT sleep through the night, and probably gets up a minimum 2-3x a night. Anybody else need a support group at 3am? We could meet for cocktails or cardio 🙂 It seems like all the moms around me have babies that sleep through the night, so am I missing something? You start doubting yourself… does the child NEED to nurse through the night? Am I doing more harm than good? Will co-sleeping become a bad habit later?? The truth is…. there is no right answer!
My advice is do what feels right for YOU and your family. Don’t let any book, family member, or teacher make you doubt, feel guilty, or less confident in your parenting skills. Being a mom is hard enough, so I’ve decided to smile, nod, and listen to unwanted advice– but know that I’m making the RIGHT choice for my family 🙂