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Belly Up to the Parenting Buffet by Colleen Lindstrom

This probably sounds ridiculous, but hear me out, please. Before I had my first child, I hadn’t given a whole lot of specific thought to how I was going to parent her.  Of course, I knew how I’d do it differently from my parents, or other friends who were parents, but I’d never done it before, and I hadn’t even met her yet. How could I know how I would interact with someone I’d never met? I’d read plenty of books about how the pregnancy and the birth would go, and only felt sort of prepared for that. I didn’t want to put the cart too far in front of the horse. I only wanted to know that I was going to get through step one.  Step two would unfold in due time…

Once she was in my arms, my whole world changed. I felt compelled to find a way for her to sleep in our room, and borrowed a cradle from a friend. I rushed out to the nearest big box baby store to buy a wearable sling to carry her in, so I could have her close to me as I worked around the house or walked around the block. I would talk to her constantly as though she would respond verbally any second from the moment she was born. I loved rocking for hours and hours with her cradled in my arms, and I’d obey her rooting by responding with food (I chose to bottle feed for personal reasons, but always held her close, and naturally mimicked the experience of breastfeeding as closely as I could). I began to crave the experience of looking into her big beautiful eyes while I fed her, and had great difficulty allowing other people (besides her father, my husband) that experience.  If she cried, I held her. I wanted her to feel reassured, and loved. We had more children, and we continued to do what had worked so well.

I have to be very honest, the concept of Attachment Parenting has only recently been on my radar, and only in the past couple of months have I actually read up on it. I have heard the term “Attachment Parenting” used by people but never felt compelled to explore more about it, because I have always felt pretty good about how our family works.  It surprised me when I looked into it more that the actions that I had always called simply “parenting” are the concepts that Attachment Parenting promote.  I had the misconception that the Attachment Parenting model would be a prescriptive “how to” model vs. a supportive concept.

From where I sit, parenting is a buffet.  There are millions and trillions of concepts, advisors, experts, and suggestions, and we’re all bellied up to the table. What works for my child may not work for your child, and what works for one of my children may not work for all of my children.  However, I have to be 100% behind a parenting concept that promotes listening to and loving your children and responding to their cues, because after all, they are people and deserve to be understood and respected.

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