Adventures in Attachment Parenting: How Did We Get Here? By Allison Silver
My husband and I did not choose to become attachment parents. Attachment parenting chose us. Never in my wildest dreams would I ever have imagined that I would be one of those moms. You know the one that I’m talking about. The co- sleeping, baby wearing, breastfeeding mom! Being a preschool teacher, I had met many of these moms and I definitely was not one of them. In fact, before we had our daughter we thought we had it all figured out. The baby would sleep in our room for the first few months and then she would transition into her crib in her beautiful nursery. I envisioned the baby sleeping in her cute little bassinet next to our bed while my husband and I cuddled together looking at her adoringly. I even researched dozens of bassinets before I chose the right one. Little did we know that our world was about to be turned upside down!
During my pregnancy I attended a breastfeeding class at our local hospital. My husband and I agreed that we would try breastfeeding for a few months before I went back to work. After I delivered the baby I’m not sure what came over me (probably hormones!). But my mama bear instincts came out and all I wanted to do was hold and feed my baby! I became so adamant about breast feeding that I cried when the nurses asked me to supplement with formula until my milk came in. Luckily, it only took a couple of days and then I was producing enough milk to supply the entire mother and child unit!
During our stay in the hospital I did a lot of skin to skin contact with our baby girl and most of the time she would sleep on my chest. After a feeding, the nurses would swaddle her and put her in her bassinet in my room. That would last ten minutes and then our daughter would begin to cry and we would go back to skin to skin contact or another family member would hold her. The first night we arrived home we attempted to swaddle her and put her in her bassinet. We even took a picture to show our family and friends. That lasted ten minutes and then she began to cry. So the first night we continued to try to feed her, swaddle her, and place her in the bassinet. Each time we put her in the bassinet she would sleep for ten minutes and then we would do skin to skin contact. We continued to do this routine until somewhere around 4 AM when I decided to try to lay her down with me in our bed. She slept for three hours! I was so thankful that she was sleeping, but I thought there was something wrong with our baby because she would not sleep in her bassinet. And there was no way that I was going to let her cry.
Being the educated person that I am, I needed answers and I began to do some research. My go-to resource was The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International that I had received as a gift from my mother-in-law. A few weeks later my father-in-law’s girlfriend gave me a book titled, The Baby Sleep Book by Dr. Sears. This was the first time that I had ever heard of Dr. Sears or attachment parenting. After I read the sections on co-sleeping and attachment parenting I was hooked! Between the La Leche League and Dr. Sears I felt validated and reassured that there was nothing wrong with me or my baby. I realized that I needed to trust my own instincts. I was becoming an attachment parent.
Shortly after my maternity leave was over, I decided that there was no way that I could leave my baby. So with my husband’s support I made the decision to leave my job as a special education preschool inclusion specialist and stay home full time with our daughter. Our baby girl is now ten months old and both my husband and I have read several of Dr. Sear’s books. We both feel that the attachment parenting style works best for our family and we have fully embraced it. We know that this path is different and may not be mainstream. We also know there are going to be challenges and criticism along the way, but this is our adventure. I am now proud to say, “Yes, I am that mom!” You know the one that I’m talking about: the co- sleeping, baby wearing, breastfeeding mom! Yep, that’s me, but rest assured that I’m also the mom who likes to wear make-up and shop at Ann Taylor Loft and sometimes I even use a stroller!