the problem with the way we handled attachment parenting

The above image is from the 21 May 2012 issue of TIME magazine. “Are you mom enough?” – That headline just grabs you, doesn’t it, questioning your values and your parenting.

One thing we didn’t anticipate, in all the planning and discussions about attachment parenting, is the difficulties in teaching our son to put himself to sleep, and to soothe himself back to sleep when he twitches awake in the night – without me.

For the past 16 months I was perfectly happy to oblige his every request. I’m quite fortunate to work for an employer who’s flexible to the needs of new mothers. There’s a nursery at the office so you can nurse or pump during the workday, and until the child is a year old s/he and the nanny can be taken on work trips to the provinces.

Plus, the boy is not a cuddler, so the time together -even when he wants to use me as a pacifier for extended periods of time- is precious to me.

Hubby and I just assumed he would eventually begin nursing less at night. But he hasn’t, and now it’s starting to feel like a chain. We’ve tried all the “gentle” ways to teach our son to sleep (we bought all the Pantley books). And after trying for six months, none of the recommendations worked. We’d like to once in a while have a quiet night in, watching a movie after he falls asleep. Instead, every night starting around seven (I get home from work around 530-6pm), we begin his bedtime routine and he falls asleep anywhere between 2-3 hours later!, nursing!

So today is Day One of detachment parenting, where I’ll sleep at our neighbor’s every night until our son can (hopefully!) put himself to sleep with just Papa in the house. There’ll be a lot of crying and temper tantrums from this high-need little baby, but hopefully there’s sanity at the end of the tunnel. This isn’t to say we don’t recommend attachment parenting, just that we’d probably attack the sleep issue early on and not let it become a problem.

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