Friday, May 20, 2011

Judgie Wudgie Was a Bear

After months and months of avoiding it, I finally checked William and Martha Sears's Baby Book out of the library and read quite a bit of it. I've been avoiding these folks because they are the Attachment Parenting gurus, and from what I had seen of attachment parenting, it was a nutsy, neurotic, non-vaccinating bunch of hoo-ha. (Attention attachment parents: please see title of this post before blasting me).

Prior to having children, I knew that folks who subscribed to attachment parenting kept their kids in bed with them, breastfed until puberty, shunned strollers in favor of baby slings, and let their kids decide when to start potty training, with some children waiting until college. (Again, Judgie Wudgie was a bear.)

Then, my darling boy made it abundantly clear that without a mom nearby or the comforting motion of his swing or the car, he was completely unwilling to do any sort of sleeping. So, starting when LO was a week old, we have co-slept. And it's been wonderful. I sleep better, LO sleeps better and J sleeps better, because LO and I are not up crying in the middle of the night and setting the dog off to howling.

But still, we may co-sleep, but we're not any kind of attachment parents. They're crazy! They carry their children in slings, when G-d clearly intended for small children to get around in a stroller. (I think you might be able to see where this is going, but just in case you don't, you might want to get your hypocrite finger ready to wag).

Then, of course, since my little boy is bound and determined to show off how little I know, he has made it clear that he is only happy in my arms. Which means that if I want to get anything done other than hold LO for a day, I should probably strap the kid to my torso, where he is happy as a clam. (By the way--how on earth do we know that clams are happy? I wouldn't be happy if I were a mucousy substance living in a shell, but perhaps that's just me.)

All right, so we co-sleep and carry the baby in a sling, but that does not make us attachment parents. Those weirdos do extended breastfeeding. Cut the cord, already!

(This is the point in time when the trombone does that "waaah-waaah" sound and you start wagging that hypocrite finger I told you to get ready).

I still haven't decided exactly what I want to do, but I'm thinking it's likely that I will continue to nurse LO past his first birthday, which was my original weaning start date in the "Totally Mapped Out with No Room For Flexibility" Parenting Plan. Yes, EGB, j'accuse! You hypocrite!

Here's the thing: the magic of nursing means that I have an instant soother, baby sleeping juice, snack and distraction on my person at all times. To put this in a metaphor that other nerds like myself will understand, it's like I hold the Ring of Power, and I refuse to give up my two boobs to rule them all.

Dr. Sears puts it in a slightly different way. Seeing as he's a philanthropic pediatrician who loves children, he asks parents to look at it from the child's perspective. In the child's eyes, Mom stops letting the little man have his favorite thing in the world for some strange reason, and he can only assume something bad about that. While that is a compelling argument, I still find that I am more swayed by the fact that I will lose a major arrow in my quiver of parenting power once Mom's Kitchen is shuttered for good. (I'm not quite drunk with the power--what happens to you when you've had too much milk? I'm stomach-achey with the power.)

LO's first birthday is still more than three months away, so I still have time to change my mind. I am surprisingly susceptible to peer pressure in this particular instance, so societal pressure might still convince me to throw my nursing bras into Mount Doom. In America, it is weird to see a child over 12 months old who is still welcome in Mom's Kitchen. I've already fielded some hairy eyeballs for nursing LO in public as a tiny baby, so I might have trouble dealing with the fallout from nursing my toddling fellow.

On the other hand, I really do believe my kid will let me know when he's ready for whatever comes next. He's done a great job telling me that he wants to eat real food (by grabbing it off my plate and stuffing it in his mouth), and he's been pretty unequivocal about his need for speed in all aspects of his life. (And no, J, that does not mean you can buy him a motorcycle for his first birthday). So, if I keep trusting in my son to know what he's ready for, I know he'll continue to have a fun, emotional, weird, unique, universal and above all LO-centered childhood.

I'll just go and start embroidering a scarlet H on my clothes.


  1. I'm a fan of the "don't offer, don't refuse" thing after the first birthday - seems to me to be a good middle ground. That's my plan with Kai, anyway.

  2. For what it's worth, I'm not really sure it's "extended" nursing until closer to the 2nd birthday. Also, your LO may wean himself before his 1st birthday anyway.

    I recently had to stop nursing to take some medication and it was incredibly sad for me. I can totally understand not wanting to give it up for all those reasons and more.