A wife of noble character who can find?...She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue...Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Proverbs 31:10, 26 & 28

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Attachment Parenting or Self-settling: a Mother on the Battlefield

I haven't been writing very often lately. A lot of it's because homeschooling eight children and trying to run a Cake Decorating Business doesn't leave me with a lot of time but also because I feel that I haven't really got anything to say that other people might like to read. Especially as a mother of a baby, I feel like I've gone back to brand new motherhood status. As I'm writing this, at 1am, I'm listening to my little nine month old bubba cry her little eyes out (actually it's more a temper tantrum) and she's been doing it for over 1/2 an hour.

When I was pregnant with baby number 7 I was all set to write a post on settling a baby, the way I remember settling most of my previous 6 children, but I didn't get around to it and then Emily was born and didn't fit into that mold. She only slept in my arms, or in our second oldest son's arms, and if you put her down in her bed she would be awake within 5 minutes. I wrote a previous post about how hard it was with her here. Grace hasn't been much better and now that she's nine months old and I'm still pacing the bedroom floor several times a night to get her settled I'm blaming it squarely on the fact that I've bought into 'attachment parenting'.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for some aspects of attachment parenting. I personally think that little babies need to put their energy into growing rather than crying and I LOVE my baby carriers. I feel so sad for little babies who are left to cry in their prams while their Mum's push them around the shops. I just want to walk up to the Mother and give her my own baby carrier. I also believe that it helps both mother and baby to bond with each other and get a breast feeding routine happening and I love snuggling with my baby in bed.

But when does it go from being attachment parenting to torture from sleep deprivation? I have seven other children and a husband who need me to be stable, well rested and able to carry on, not grumpy and lethargic from lack of sleep, I don't have the time to be cuddling a nine month old off to sleep, plus she's grumpy because she's not sleeping enough both during the day and during the night. She's also getting heavy, some days my arms feel like I've been to the gym but all I've done is hold Grace.

I think with attachment parenting you need to be in it for the long haul and not have many other children. Or I could just be doing it wrong. I look at little Emily, Rose and Christian and wish that I had more time to cuddle them and that I was less tired and could invest more emotionally into them and I'm sure the older kids wish that my arms weren't full with a baby so I could take some of the housekeeping load off their shoulders.

So now, at half past one in the morning and after crying for over an hour, Grace has finally given up and gone to sleep. Kahlia has gotten up with her quilt and gone to sleep on the couch, I've got to get up in a few hours and drive Tim and Josiah to Bible College and I can't help but think that it would have been much easier to start getting Grace to settle herself a lot earlier, but how much earlier I don't know.

And now I'm off to bed for at least an hours sleep, hopefully, before she wakes up for a feed and we start all over again.

*EDITED: She slept until 5:30am and went back to her own bed with barely a sook. It's so important to me to get her sleep sorted out is not just for me, but for her as well. When she was younger she would go back to sleep while she was having a feed but now she gets very restless and wants me to pace the floor rocking her several time during the night. She needs good long sleeps to for growing development and her happiness (as well as ours ;)).