You don't have to do all the things we advocate to be securely attached to your child - sometimes nature doesn't cooperate and the pain and frustration experienced by parents whose plans hit an unexpected bump in the road often goes overlooked and misunderstood. There are many things which can effect the breastfeeding relationship, the ability to babywear (especially for long periods with large children) or the way the family bed is organised. As children age, the challenges evolve and as parents we are frequently reminded of the depth of our resources but also the extent of our limitations. We hope the information here widens your possibilities, even if just a little...
Birth blood loss, low milk supply, mastitus, thrush, inverted nipples, birth trauma to the baby, maternal surgery, tongue-tie, lack of support at critical moments and many more reasons may prevent you from breastfeeding. Some mothers who expected to breastfeed and found it hard or impossible to do so then experience a sense of loss, shock and guilt. Some even worry that they will not have the same bond with their child as a woman who has exclusively breastfed.
We feel that Bonding through feeding is possible if you breast or bottle feed. Sometimes it can be possible to combine the two and it's sometimes possible to dry-nurse if you feel you want to have a nursing connection, even without or only a very little milk. Many mothers have told us that the most useful thing they found to help them through the times when breastfeeding was most challenging was to take things one day at a time. If you need to nourish your child with formula there are lots of things to consider too (don't forget to read our page on feeding). Here are a few...
Bottle Feeding with Love - excellent blog post by a mother who really endeavoured to breastfeed and how she came to bottle feed. An honest and reassuring account that acknowledges the complex emotions involved.
Epilepsy, sleep apnea, bottle feeding, extreme snoring, exhaustion and other circumstances may prevent you from bedsharing. Some situations mean one parent may not be able to co-sleep in the same room either. Here are some ideas for organising family sleep...
Noisy Family Bed - useful Q&A with Naomi Aldort about how to manage noise in the family bedroom.
Co-sleeping - Making it Work - helpful guide offering practical tips on how to organise a suitable sleeping arrangment for the whole family.
What if I can't babywear?
Babywearing is wonderful, it can be tiring too! Sometimes it's too uncomfortable to wear a heavy baby for long periods or it may be that your back won't tolerate babywearing at all. Here are some alternative options to explore...
Hippychick Hip Seat Video - endorsed by chiropractors this hip seat prevents the carrier from 'throwing out' the hip while supporting the baby. It can make carrying more comfortable and is useful for children who like to be carried but also jump down very frequently.
Wearing Through Chronic Back Pain - interesting blog post by a mother who experience severe pelvic discomfort during pregnancy which worsened post-birth. The post details her coping mechanisms using babywearing as a positive experience that fulfilled her desire for close contact.
Find a Chiropractor - many women rely on chiropractic care to support the physical changes in pregnancy and during the years of babywearing. This site offers a postcode search facility to find a qualified/registered chiropractor near you.
Rear Facing Buggies - buggies can be essential items, especially for heavy babies with carers who may have physical isues preventing babywearing for long periods. Research shows many advantages to rear-facing over away-facing buggies that are well worth consideration.
Remaining calm, patient and jolly at all times is probably not an authentic state as a parent! Sometimes, we experience triggers that challenge us to accept and deal with difficult, strong emotions while respecting our children through these stormy moments. Here are some resources for helping you care for your feelings in a positive way...
Raising Children, Raising Ourselves - this book by Naomi Aldort guides the reader through the SALVE approach which invites child carers to unlearn some of their conditioning and find a calmer, more empathetic and effective way of communication.
Nonviolent Communication - a compassionate communication method devised by Marshall B. Rosenbrg gives specific guidance on how to deal with conflict, anger and complex emotions through a four-step process which can be put into use in all relationships.
Did you let your baby cry, use a cot, not babywear, birth with intervention? Do you feel traumatised, guilty, resentful and sad about decisions you may wish you had made differently. Guilt often finds a way of holding hands with parents but is never a friend.
Confessions of an Attached Parent - a blog post listing things this AP mum feels guilty about! Nonetheless, this list is honest, real and founded on the need for the balance and compromise necessary in family life.
We all have time to prepare for childbirth, we know it will happen and that we cannot know when or how our baby will come into the world. We can be positive and confident but we cannot always control how much nature cooperates in our birthing experience. It may be empowering and beautiful and yet even the calmest birth can leave us with intense and complex feeling which take months to process. A traumatic, unexpected, or unplanned-for intervention can leave a woman (and her partner) deeply affected. It can become a trauma that changes many things for, and within a woman and it can seriously impact her life in many unpredictable ways.
Spinning Babies - a US organisation (UK workshops available) concerned with assisting positive birth outcomes with optimal fetal positioning. Spinning classes and workshops help mothers understand their own anatomy, birth possibilities, and gain techniques for helping their transverse, breech or malpositioned baby.
The idea that we may have set our standards unachievably high or that we should follow a set of guidelines at whatever cost to our families doesn't sit well with us. So we wanted to set the record straight here with some truths about our parenting choices and we welcome similar 'confessions' from other Attachment Parents who have made choices that might surprise the wary!
Our 'Guilt-o-meter's' might sometimes go off, but it's all about finding a balance that works for our individual families. I'm an Attachment Parent and I...
"...let my pre-school son watch TV some during the day. The love he has for some of the characters he watches enriches his role playing games and we have story tapes with some of the same characters on that help him get to sleep at night!"
"...use disposable nappies if I need to. Sometimes it's just easier, especially if we're out and about and certainly if there's an upset tummy issue!"
"...gave my baby formula. I didn't want to use it but really, in the circumstances, it was the right thing for us to do."
"....have a stroller as well as various baby carriers. On shopping days, it's so much easier to carry things and, because he isn't in a stroller all the time, he regards it as a bit of a novelty."
"...I don't make all my meals freshly. I'm not a great cook so I have some ready meals and processed food products. I'm getting better at cooking but sometimes 'out of the packet' is a relief."
The Practise of Attachment Parenting - blog post by an API contibutor explaining why perfection is an ideal not a prerequisite and how her un-perfection is her teacher and motivator in a positive way.
Labels & Limits - honest blog account on how one mother became overly concerned with her role as an 'attachment parent' and how she lost touch with her instincts. It's a kind reminder of how coperation needs to trump competitiveness.
Not everyone is able to stay at home with their child full-time. For some parents the return to work might feel like the most difficult and emotional thing they ever have to experience. For some there is a sense of guilt, for others frustration, anxiety, self-doubt or sadness. Of course, with a home/work balance that works, it may also have a positive benefit for the whole family.
Mixing Babies with Business - blog post by a UK mum suggesting tips on how to combine babywearing and breastfeeding with the workplace.
Many parents find themselves immersed in the intensity of parenting while mourning the end of a relationship and all that might feel lost in sharing the journey (this is a lovely interview on how to stay married with children). Support for single parents is crucial on every level and ideas for balancing parental and child needs are fortunately readily available from those single parents so willing to share their experiences.
Overnight Visitations - interesting article looking at the effects of overnight visitations during shared custody, suggestions for alternatives, attitudes of the Courts and the priorities for the child.
My Experience as a Single AP Mom - written by the former Executive Director of API, this article outlines her search for support on a practical and emotional level and details some of the unique challenges she attempted to overcome.
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