the kind of parent I am
I am a strong believer in breastfeeding but don’t like the shaming that comes with bottle feeding. Not every single woman can breastfeed. I would’ve liked to give it my best shot, and breastfeed at least for the first year. I try not to feed Jo Jo without giving her my full attention, if possible (watching TV, on the phone, reading, etc) but sometimes she demands a feed in the midst of the grocery store, for example, so I admit to having walked and fed at the same time.
I keep the baby close to my bed, but not in my bed. I don’t believe that co-sleeping is either right, or wrong, but it may be right or wrong for you or your child. Every baby and every parent is different. Safe sleeping is the most important, so I believe in using co-sleepers that give them a firm surface and sides that keep them from rolling out and into the bedding or you. Both Jo Jo and Moose started off unable to sleep on a flat, still surface, and started sleeping in the swing. After two weeks they transitioned to the bassinet. Jo Jo has a co-sleeper inserted into the bassinet. Sometimes I take the insert out and lie it next to me in the bed, if I know we’ll be up soon. Sometimes I just like to listen to her breathe. She sleeps swaddled, and sometimes falls asleep with a pacifier. Moose hated swaddling, and never got into pacifiers. You just have to find what works for that particular baby.
I do agree with most principles of attachment parenting, in that I meet the baby’s needs immediately and do not allow her to cry for more than 15 seconds without attempting to soothe. I carry her on my body whenever possible. (Moose did not like any type of swaddling and his medical condition meant that if he got too hot, his oxygen levels got too low, but I still held him most of the day in the beginning.) I carry her when we are out running errands, and while doing things around the house. I believe that the more bodily contact she has, the better off she’ll be.
I signed up for a baby and me music class. I can’t help but believe that the more exposure to music, especially classical, that young children have, the better. It doesn’t “make them smarter”, but it does allow them to learn more quickly, and has been proven to improve spatial ability. I try to play the piano as much as I can around Jo Jo, or while holding Jo Jo. Participating in music is the most important way to reap the benefits of exposure to classical compositions, so I want her to use her body to really interact with the music, even from a very young age.
Opportunities are important, but kids don’t have to live your dreams. I really really want a daughter who loves gymnastics. I want my children to be able swim (I live on a lake). I want my children to play a musical instrument. I’m going to expose them to all of these things, at some point. If a child really loves to do something, he/she will do it without much prodding. I will hold them to commitments, but not force them to continue lessons/activities if they aren’t passionate about it. Still, “which instrument would you like to play?” is a question that will be asked. Jo Jo will start swimming lessons at 6 months old.
The jury is out on baby led weaning. I think I like the idea of it, and I don’t really like the notion of shoveling nutrition-less rice cereal at the baby. The pouches that babies can squeeze pureed foods out of might be a good option. Many more issues are going to come up as I have older children: discipline, potty-training, transitioning out of crib, activities, school… and I’ll explore each area as I go, based on the needs of the child, myself, and mostly, gut instinct.