Monday, August 5, 2013

Dear Overly-Opinionated Mama, (part 2)

Dear Overly-Opinionated Mama,

I wrote you a little note recently that might have made you mad, or it might have made you think.  Or maybe you didn't even read it. (Here it is, if that is the case.)  I just wanted to share a little follow up to let you know what I think...hopefully not in an OVERLY opinionated way, but in just a sharing and caring kind of way.

I hope to hit the major points that I have found to be hugely controversial throughout parents that I've encountered either on the web or in real life.  Ready?  Here we go.

Breastfeeding.  Yay or nay?  

Yay.  I believe in the benefits of it and hope to be an encouragement to others who want to try.  However, I also believe that some mamas just don't have the lifestyle to support it and it is more stress and guilt for the mama than it is a benefit for the baby.  So if it works, great...stick with it for more than a month if you can...and if it doesn't work out, that's fine too.  One mom isn't better than another because of it.

Co-sleeping.  Yay or nay?
Yay and nay.  HA!  I remember those sleepy, hazy first days with my baby.  And if you're able to nurse in the night, it's pretty easy to start co-sleeping, because who wants to be moving so much in the middle of the night!?  Not me.  However, as it turns out, our kiddo was a SUPER loud sleeper.  He was getting way more sleep than mama, so we transitioned him into his room about 4 weeks in so we could get some sleep!

I'm hesitant to support co-sleeping when it involves promoting snacking all through the night or when it extends for several months or years.  I am not a supporter of "the family bed."  Call me crazy, but my bed is for me and my husband.  It's good for our marriage and establishing limits with our kids.

Baby-wearing.  Yay or nay?
Yay.  I love it in theory and I tried to do it a lot.  However, I feel like I actually didn't do it that much with my first due to sleep-deprivation and being so sore all the time.  My back couldn't handle it.  My sister swears by the Ergo carrier.  I used two different carriers.  I will probably try to borrow her Ergo a little bit next time!  However, the free hand baby carrier was fantastic because it was well supportive like the Ergo, but allowed baby to sit in a comfortable forward-facing position!  That's so hard to find, as most carriers just end up letting baby hang off the front of mama.  This one got baby in a bit of a seated position!  (Baby can face mama, face out, and even go on mama's back with this carrier!  Very versatile.)

And of course, who doesn't love a good Moby wrap.  Lots of fabric, lots of wrapping, but allowed me to feel like my baby was very secure and is great for little snugly babies.  I've heard good things about the ka'tan carrier, but haven't tried it!

Pacifiers.  Yay or nay?
Yay.  Or more like, heck yeah!  The only thing we chose not to do is go back in his room and put it back in his mouth when he was little bitty.  If it helped him fall asleep, great.  But we didn't want to train him that when it came out, mom and dad came back in the room.  We wanted to encourage sleeping independently.  (That's not to say there weren't times we did anything and everything just to help him sleep!!!)  My little man didn't seem to have any probably nursing because of the paci and the benefit I found was when he just wanted to nurse to stay asleep I could swap in the paci and put him down to sleep instead of allowing him to sleep-nurse.

Cloth diapering. Yay or nay?
Yay...I guess.  We have cloth diapers.  We use them sometimes.  But we usually go in phases.   We'll do disposable for a month or two and then do cloth for a month or two.  I guess, maybe sadly, we don't do it for the environment, but more so just to save money.  So every time I use them I am saving money, but I don't stress if we use disposables for awhile.  I really don't think one is better parenting choice than the other...just maybe more economical.

CIO.  Yay or nay?
Yay.  While the cry-it-out method can be heart-breaking at times.  I disagree with those who argue babies don't cry unless they need something.  Well, I guess I only sort of disagree.  Sometimes babies just cry because they are TIRED (or over-tired) and I think it's important that they learn how to settle themselves down and go to sleep on their own.  I like sleep.  I like being able to have a break from my child.  I like teaching my child self-sufficiency and independence.

Scheduling.  Yay or nay?
Yay.  I think what I've learned from having a tiny baby that has grown in to a "big boy" is that in the beginning it's a little more easy to be flexible.  Babies have so many growth spurts and it's hard to schedule feedings when your little one wants to eat ravenously all the time.  But once he's grown up a little bit he likes knowing what's coming.

When I worked with toddlers in a child care center for almost 3 years, I found that they LOVED knowing what was coming next.  Kids expect routines and knowing what's coming next helps them feel like they have a little control in their life (which is a major thing when a kiddo turns two.)

Plus, let's be real, I'm a planner like my mom.  I like knowing I will have a predictable break in my day where I will be able to get things done that I can't do while caring for a child--or sometimes just take a nap!


Did I cover all the major ones?  I know you may not care about my opinions, but I think it's important to realize that some moms can value attachment-parent stances as well as the opposite.  We don't all have to be extremest when raising children.  A lot of things won't irreparably damage your child.

I think one of the biggest things to remember when parenting is whether or not you've prayed about it.  God was a dad, too.  He may not have had to figure out sleep-scheduling with His baby, Jesus, but He knows how you feel.  Jesus experienced real human emotion.  He struggled in every way.  He is SUPER wise.
Do not worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

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