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Tag Archives: Attachment Parenting

Respecting a Baby’s Space

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Babies are so cute! They’re so innocent and non-judging… they make lots of people feel the love, belongingness and connection that we all crave.

And, babies need to be picked up, handled and held for just about every activity they do! As an attachment style parent, I’ve had very close contact with my babies all day and night. Physical touch and connection is vital for a baby’s well being.

But where do we draw the line as to what is respectful to a baby’s body or what may be unintentionally violating a baby’s space? Shouldn’t there be a difference in how a stranger enters your baby’s space as opposed to someone the baby knows? And, just because a baby is smiling, does it mean that he’s enjoying the interaction?

I know, I know, again, baby’s are so cute! It’s hard to not want to tickle them or stroke their soft skin or ask to hold them or to squeeze them and poke all their round delicious parts. My son is just about to turn six months old at the time I’m writing this, and man, is he a ham! It’s hard for people to keep their hands off him!

But… babies are people, let’s not forget. Small adorable people, who can’t talk. Would it be ok to go around stroking a stranger’s cheeks? Or, if you saw a cute looking guy in the shops, would it be alright to stick your finger in his hand? No…

I don’t have the right to tickle, poke and prod or do anything that might make my baby feel uncomfortable. And, I feel like I need to protect my small person from other well-meaning people who can’t help but want to do the same.

I’ve had countless strangers approach my babies and try to get a squeeze, or a poke or a kiss! Even when my babies have been tucked away in the baby carrier, and I try to turn away, I’ve had people touch my baby’s toes, plant a kisses on my baby’s head, put a finger in my baby’s soft hand or stroke my baby’s cheeks (their cheeks are amazing, I admit).

Then, people ask for cuddles…

If the baby is tucked away in the carrier, they won’t ask (thank goodness). But, if the baby’s out of the carrier and they ask, I don’t always know what to say. Saying ‘no‘ seems rude. If they could ask my baby and he could answer, then the answer would be straight forward. But, how do I know if HE wants you to hold him? This is not a game of ‘pass the baby‘, this is a little person with feelings!

How would I feel if a giant stranger, who looked, felt and smelled very different from my mother, picked me up? I’m not sure I would like it…

I love the most when people interact with my son by smiling at him and talking. That way, he can simply snuggle his head into my chest if he doesn’t feel like interacting. Or, he can choose to respond by smiling back. Sometimes my son smiles during an interaction with someone, but I have to look at his body language to know if he’s enjoying the interaction. Is he smiling, but tense and pulling and squirming away? Or, is he smiling with his body relaxed? If he’s relaxed, then I know he feels safe and comfortable.

Don’t get me wrong, other people have definitely held my babies, I’m not that uptight and it’s beautiful when the holding is done with awareness. My parents just came to visit from America and my son spent tons of time on their laps. And, some of my good friends, that I see on a regular basis, get cuddles. But, people whom I don’t see often, I just don’t feel comfortable saying ‘yes‘ to when they ask for a casual cuddle. A cuddle is a very intimate thing, in my opinion!

It’s not just strangers who want to poke and prod babies, I think about how often my husband and daughters (or even I) may accidentally invade my son’s body space. My girls love him so much, tthe second I put him down, they’re all over him like white on rice! It’s a tough one, like I said, because babies need to be picked up, interacted with and helped all day long… and we do love to play with him. So, I try my best to nicely remind everyone to look and listen carefully at his cues to see if he starts feeling uncomfortable or overwhelmed.

The whole idea of respecting a baby’s body in the way I’m talking about, is a very subtle concept. It’s not to say that we limit the touching or holding of our babies, because babies absolutely need lots of closeness. And, we should act natural around babies! But, is the touching and holding done with awareness? And, does the baby feel safe and comfortable?

We just don’t know what strong impressions are being made in a baby’s brain at such a young age. True, they won’t remember individual events, but they do remember the feeling. I want to make sure that down the track, my children grow up with the feeling that they have felt safe and respected.

Velcro Child

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Some kids are runners or wanderers. Mine? They are not. They stick to me. As babies, they wanted to be held or carried in a baby carrier and never wanted to be put down in public places. They are far from baby age now, and yet, they still stick. My nearly 4 year old insists on holding my hand when we go out. In a new place, she parks herself on my lap until she’s 100% sure it’s safe to roam around. She sleeps next to me at night. If she wakes up and I’m not there, she’s pretty upset until she can find me. My 6 year old follows me around the house all day, sticking her nose into all of my business.

Am I worried?

Not one tiny bit.

It seems a little annoying at times. In a world where ‘independence‘ is pushed, I can see where parents get especially bothered by children who only want to be by their parent’s side all day long.

But…

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Ego and Self Awareness of a Three Year Old Emerges

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I'm a LION, hear me ROAR!

I’m a LION, hear me
ROAR!

This morning, it was raining, I didn’t have the car, I was recovering from a 3 day long headache, and Margo was
driving me absolutely bananas!  Now, every 3 year old has the potential to drive his or her parents crazy on any given day, it’s
not like she was being over the top or anything.  But, as some friends of mine put it nicely… she has now entered her
three-nage‘ year.   Read the rest of this entry

To Nurse to Sleep or to Not… Does it Need To Be a Question?

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Little babes at play and at sleep

Little babes at play and at sleep

There’s all this silly controversy in the baby world of debaters and ‘experts’.  The attachment parents (AP) say, ‘nurse your baby to sleep‘.  The anti-AP (Is there a term for these people?) go on to great lengths warning parents that if they feed their babies to sleep that their baby will never learn to ‘self sooth‘ or whatever that is supposed to mean.  In fact, the anti-AP’ers are probably concerned that your teenager will still be nursing themselves to sleep when they come home from high school (joking….).  Ok, anyway, if you’ve read any of my other blog posts, you would know that I am adamantly AP. I co-sleep, breastfed a 3 year old (and her baby sister), baby wear, etc. etc.  I was having a chat today, at one of our baby wearing meets, with a lovely mumma to four girls.  At the moment, two of her girls are 6 months old twins, and we were talking about night waking/night feeding and how our babies fall asleep, etc.  So, I thought I would share a bit on how differently I’ve put my girls to sleep. Read the rest of this entry

A Dr. Sears Seminar… the Attachment Parent Guru!

While feeding her baby, who jumps in the picture with the famous Dr. Sears... Yes, that would be me!

While breastfeeding her baby, who should jump into the picture with the famous Dr. Sears… Yes, that would be me!  My friend Angie was there with her tiny little newborn, who is just under 3 weeks old.  Angie was chatting to Dr. Sears after his seminar and asked if she could have a picture, so of course, I barged in… only to realize halfway through posing that I was actually feeding Goldie in the Ergo baby carrier.   Read the rest of this entry

I Got Called a ‘Lazy Thing’ for Being a Stay at Home Parent

Stay at home parenting is not easy!

Me, lazy? How could this kid let me be lazy?

I was at the markets the other day, and a lady whom I had known from around town was chatting to me about the new baby. She was a little shocked to see that I was carrying my baby around in a baby wrap. When will you put her in a stroller? Isn’t she heavy? If you carry her all the time now, she will always want you to carry her, etc. Read the rest of this entry

Writing About Co-Sleeping, Because I Can’t Go to Sleep

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Co-Sleeping

Do you see something funny about this picture?

Well, I ate too much for dinner and now I have heart burn, I may as well stay up and write this post on co-sleeping until the food goes down a bit (36 weeks, no room to pig out anymore).  The Jewish superstition sort of goes against buying anything for the baby before it’s born.  My 80 year old Jewish grandmother told me that she made a makeshift baby bed out of a dresser drawer when she brought her first home from the hospital in the 1950’s, and Art’s 80 year old Jewish father recommended that a camera bag is usually big enough for them to sleep in.  He said, ‘Don’t buy anything until you’re holding that kid in your arms!’.  So, we just decided to hold off.  We really didn’t have the room , or the money to buy a crib or bassinet, so it was okay anyway.  We bought this thing called a Tetra cot, sort of like an au-natural bassinet made from tea tree bark, just as a of last resort thing.

Sometime just before I had Margo, I was reading that stupid book, ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’, it’s ok for the basics and I have to say that I had a good laugh or two while reading it, but really, now that I’ve been through it, I wouldn’t recommend that book to anyone.  Somewhere in it, it talked about this thing called co-sleeping.  Mostly it talked about how dangerous co-sleeping is… and I thought to myself, well, now…. co-sleeping, that sounds like a pretty good idea actually!  I had never ever heard of allowing a baby to sleep in the same room as you, let alone in the same bed!  What did our cave ancestors do?  Surely, they didn’t put their precious offspring on the other side of the cave to freeze or be eaten by the lions?  Did they?  And, wouldn’t it be easier to just roll over and feed a waking baby rather than roam around at night into another room to get a crying baby?  And, wouldn’t that little babe feel a bit safer if it was right near its parents?  Of course, babies who sleep in separate rooms now a days don’t know that the lion isn’t coming to get them,,, but how do they know it’s the year 2012 and we have four walls around us? Hmmmm…. a strange, unconventional idea was brewing in my head.

So, that’s how the co-sleeping started.   Read the rest of this entry

You Can Strip Me of My Attachment Parenting Badge: I Send My Child to Daycare!

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Margo Goes to Daycare

Look mom! This one is mine!

When Margo was about 14 months, I got a call from a school asking me to take a part time position, two days a week. It was relatively close to home, close to where Art (husband) worked, I knew the school had a reputation of being one of the nicest state schools to work at in the area.  They needed me to start working immediately, so I didn’t really have much time to ponder.  I was pretty hesitant at first, I hadn’t intended on going back to work until she was about 18 months, but to get an offer pop up like that, part time, seemed too good to let by.  Also, it was a friend who had recommended me, I know phone calls like that don’t happen every day. Read the rest of this entry