I mentioned the book On Becoming Babywise as a possible new parent gift in a recent post. It’s a controversial book that advocates a very strict parent-led schedule.
As with any parenting book, you really need to adapt the advice for the well-being of your own children. Strictly following someone else’s approach can lead to disastrous results, like in the heartbreaking case of Katie.
But how do you know which things to take, which to leave?
With my first son, I’d had some issues with breast pain and feeding frequently was recommended as a remedy. Those resources I found to help with my problem were mostly created by attachment parenting advocates, touting feeding your baby on demand, complete baby-led parenting, and other practices such as co-sleeping.
I fell into the attachment parenting category with ease at first.
But I didn’t really have a rounded view that took into account other approaches, so I couldn’t adapt it well to fit our family. Hey, it was my first baby! I didn’t know what this would mean for us as our baby grew into a toddler, given his personality. (No one can really know ahead of time, right?)
The attachment parenting approach particularly suited our first son. But maybe it was just that he responded to it because it’s what we did.
Regardless, the advice I followed manifested in his breastfeeding up to five times a night until he was past two years old.
This included months of sleepless nights as his reflux emerged and we held him upright for 20 minutes after feeding, only to have him wake and want to feed again before we could set him down.
If I had offered him a pacifier instead of the breast at those moments, perhaps he would have gone back to sleep. I would have been able to catch a few winks. And we all might have been a bit happier.
I nursed him to sleep for every nap and every bedtime for those two years, never leaving him to go out for more than two hours at a time.
With our second child, I noticed a natural schedule emerge from the start.
Almost like clockwork, he demands feeding at three-hour intervals.
Perhaps it was because he was fed on the clock in the special nursery at the hospital during his 24 hour stay there?
Or perhaps my first son was also like this but I was too quick to offer the breast, misreading his cues?
Now I know to roll with it. I have now seen the benefits of keeping some sort of schedule, sort of a middle of the road approach. While you don’t want to deny your baby nourishment when he or she is obviously hungry or ignore cries for attention, there’s really no need to offer the breast at every little wimper, either. Pacifiers and bottles all play a role with this guy. And somehow it’s all working. (Fingers crossed.)
I feel like we’re getting a second chance with this new baby. I still plan to use a baby sling when I can, perhaps co-sleep as he grows older and continue breastfeeding until he’s two.
But this time it will be a bit more on our terms, agreed upon by both baby and parents.
How about you? Have you ever switched parenting gears between babies?