Sunday, July 31, 2011

P.M. Parenting

This post was inspired by a question on The Leaky B@@b about what kind of parenting style you use. If you don't know about TLB, click on the link and go check it out. It's all breastfeeding support.

My parenting style is called PM Parenting and it stands of Peanut’s Mom Parenting. I don’t subscribe to a particular style of parenting; I do what works for me and my family at the time. What worked when he was a new born is not the same as what works for us now. As we make the transition into toddlerhood I have been examining how I parent and the lessons I am trying to teach him.

When Peanut was a newborn I was totally convinced that I had to pretty much be a hippy to have a happy, healthy baby. He spent hours a day in a sling or in someone’s arms, we co-slept, cloth diapered, made our own baby food, breastfed, practiced baby led weaning. We did it all. Now that he is a toddler a lot has changed.

As of right now, Peanut doesn’t spend hardly any time in the slings anymore. He loves to walk and is getting really good at it, so usually he holds my hand and walks beside me. When he gets tired I pick him up and throw him on my shoulders or plop him in the ring sling if I happen to have it with me. We haven’t used the Moby in months and the Mei Tai has fallen by the wayside. I LOVE my slings and all the freedom they gave me, but now I have a boy that would rather explore on his own two feet.

When I moved in with Psycho Knight I decided that it was time for Peanut to learn to sleep on his own. I felt that it was unfair for him to have to learn how to sleep with two people in the bed and that it was unfair to expect PK to share a bed with an infant that wasn’t biologically his. By this point Peanut was sleeping through the night most nights so I started working on the transition about a month before we moved. I started by nursing him almost to sleep and then putting him in his bed and sleeping on the day bed in his room. Within a week he was sleeping on his own and I was sleeping on my own in my own bed. I think this was the best decision I could have made for us because him having his own bed and bringing it to PK’s house when we moved gave him something secure that was his. It smelled the same and felt the same so with all the changes it was something constant.

Along the same lines as co-sleeping I also swore that my baby would NEVER have to cry it out. This worked until he realized that if he didn’t want to sleep all he had to do was throw a fit and I would come running. It became a huge game for him. I started calling it the “fuss it out” method. I can always tell when he is genuinely distraught and when he is just grumbling because he doesn’t feel like sleeping just yet. When he needs me I always come running; he knows that he can trust me to be there when he needs me to be.

We still cloth diaper when we are at home, but as he has gotten bigger I have realized that there are more important things than dealing with cloth diapers. I put him in a disposable when we leave the house so that I don’t have to transport stinky diapers. That’s all there is to it.

Baby led weaning and breastfeeding go hand in hand. The principle behind baby led weaning is that you follow the child’s instincts. His first food was salad off my plate because he reached out and ate it. Since then he has pretty much had what I have or some variation of that. We did some spoon feeding but mostly stuff that he could pick up and get into his own mouth. The other part of baby led weaning is that you follow the baby’s cues for nursing. We nursed on demand and by the time he was a year old he was down to two sessions a day. At fourteen months he completely weaned himself and I was not ready, but you cannot force a toddler to nurse. So our nursing relationship ended. He still checks to see if my boobs are still there and I still offer but so far he hasn’t tried to latch on again.

It’s kind of funny to see how people react to Peanut and I. I think that most of the time they are trying to decide if he is mine or if I am watching him. I try really hard not to react when he falls until he decides if he is injured or not; I don’t want to scare him when he is busy dusting himself off and going on to the next thing. I do not keep a tight grip on him, I let him run around and explore. I stay close behind him so that he doesn’t get into too much trouble, but I let him be independent and learn things in his own way.

When I think about what I am trying to accomplish with my son I want him to be a child that trust that I will be there when he needs me, is confident enough to learn and explore and discover on his own, and is well adjusted. So far so good, I think.


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