Pregnancy + Co-Sleeping + Refusing Solids = Sleepless Nights

As you can guess by the title of this post, we have had our share of sleepless nights around here. Last night was just awful. I was up most of the night with Avigail, until my dear husband sent me to the guest room to get a couple of hours of sleep before the day began. 

I’ve always been a huge proponant of attachment parenting, ever since Eliza was born. I’ve been able to enjoy the priceless fruit of parenting through connection with each of my kids as they’ve grown. And I’ve never regretted my decision – truly, I haven’t!

Many look at AP from the outside and think that all of us crazy AP moms must reach a point where we just completely snap – that this lifestyle is impossible to maintain for the long-term. And speaking from 6 years of experience, there is some truth to that thought. If you let yourself become ruled by certain “AP Rules”, burnout is inevitable.

That’s why Attachment Parenting International has its principle #8: Strive For Balance in Personal and Family Life. And this is what I’m going to be focusing on in my own life this week.

I love co-sleeping – I really do. We have been sharing our room (and our bed) with our children since Eliza was born, at one point having a family bedroom for all 6 of us! I love having everyone I love most gathered in one room all night. And I love how easy it makes nursing. Baby wakes and fusses slightly, mama latches baby on and drifts back off to sleep. It’s awesome.

But with every pregnancy comes that lovely feeling of being completely over-touched and exhausted, and co-sleeping loses its charm for a season. With each of my pregnancies, I have chosen to night-wean my toddler. This helps a lot with my overwhelmed feelings and allows me a bit more sleep. So a couple of weeks ago we decided to begin night-weaning Avigail.

With each of our other kids, night weaning was hard for a few days, then things clicked and sleep-filled nights ensued. But Avigail is a different story! First of all, she hardly eats solid food. She is perfectly healthy, but requires night nursing to maintain a high enough calorie intake. Secondly, she absolutely loves me at night. Our other kids were ok with having Mark help put them back to sleep (which helps avoid the nursing issue), but she gets SO mad! And her stamina is incredible. She cried and fussed (with us, not alone) for the majority of the night last night. And it seems like things are getting worse, not better. 🙁

So, all that to say that figuring this dilemma out has quickly become my highest priority. My first step is to my darndest to find food she will eat. I must get those calories into her during the day! We might introduce a sippy of cow’s milk too if need be. Mark volunteered to take her next weekend to try the night-weaning boot camp again. So I’ve got until then to get the food thing figured out.

Anyway, I know that this whole scenario might sound a bit foreign to some AP families, but it all goes back to balance. It is so important.

How do you find balance in your parenting life? Do share with us! 🙂

Attachment Parenting… and the Bible, Part 1

Today I am going to start an 8-part series on attachment parenting and the Bible. I haven’t directly referenced attachment parenting on this blog before now, partly because I don’t want it to be the focus of this blog, and partly because I don’t like labeling myself as one “type” of parent.  But, nonetheless, attachment-style parenting is really important to me. It has laid a strong loving and godly foundation for our family.

“Wait, godly?” You might be wondering about that claim. Attachment parenting has a reputation for being humanistic and indulgent, not at all things that the Bible supports. But while AP can be applied that way, it isn’t that by nature. In fact, the “founder” of attachment parenting, Dr. William Sears, is a Christian father of 8. His books established AP as a legitimate, fact-based parenting method and offered parents some practical ideas for what that meant.  Since then, much more research and many more books have been written about the subject, and an international organization, Attachment Parenting International, has been formed.

In this series, I am going to go through each of Attachment Parenting International’s 8 Principles of Parenting and present some biblical support for each, as well as share some of our story. I hope this is a blessing to you!

Principle #1: Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting
“Become emotionally and physically prepared for pregnancy and birth. Research available options for healthcare providers and birthing environments, and become informed about routine newborn care. Continuously educate yourself about developmental stages of childhood, setting realistic expectations and remaining flexible.”

There is so much wisdom in this principle. Scripture has a lot to say about gaining understanding, in fact, most of the book of Proverbs is dedicated to the pursuit of wisdom and knowledge.

“Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.”
                                    – Proverbs 1:5

I believe that an important part of being a good steward is educating yourself about what you are stewarding. Remember the parable of the talents? The man who was praised for making more money with his talent needed to first know how to best invest that talent in order for that to happen. We are entrusted with something far more valuable than money – we are entrusted with life! How much more, then, should we study and learn!

God has given us 9 months to prepare for our new babies, and I would challenge you to make the most of that time. Learn about birth options. Learn about infant development. Learn about breastfeeding. And discuss things with your spouse too – learning together is a great way to strengthen your relationship!

For me, this part has always been pretty easy. I’m already a bookworm, and I love learning about babies! But it has been so beneficial for me, especially in the areas of natural birth and infant development. We decided to have unmedicated home births after reading about the dangers and ramifications of managed, hospital births. Learning all we could gave us peace of mind and faith in the body that God has given me.  And learning about infant and child development has helped us to have realistic expectations of what our children are capable of and how their brains best develop.

When studying these things, especially development, you will probably come across books written from a secular worldview.  One of my favorite books is called “The Science of Parenting”, and is written from an evolutionary viewpoint.  From what I’ve seen, sometimes Christians write off these kind of books as non-relevant because they come from a different worldview.  But while we do have to read with more caution, there is usually a huge depth of information in those books – just without the knowledge of God.  Part of being mature as believers means being able to sift through these materials and gain valuable knowledge while skipping over the stuff that doesn’t fit your worldview.

I hope that you found this post to be thought-provoking and interesting!  Stay tuned for Part 2: Feed With Love & Respect!

~ Judy

*For a practical list of things to prepare for and read about when getting ready for a baby, please click here: API Principle #1.