Attachment parenting?

posted 2 weeks ago in Babies
Post # 181
122 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2019

My first sounds just like your little one. She was colicky, never slept unless held, screamed when she wasn’t being held, constantly needed soothing. I would often find that swinging her in my arms in a rythmnic motion while calmly making a “shooshing” sound helped a bit when her screaming was really bad, but honestly it wasn’t a given that it would help. My husband is a good man but worked a lot and wasn’t home many hours of the day so I was very alone in raising her besides running over to my moms to regain a little sanity. For literally the first 3 months straight I “gave in” and let her sleep on my chest. I don’t know if it’s recommended, but I did it anyway. It’s the ONLY way I got any sleep whatsoever. She would sleep solid 3 hour chunks on my chest and I can’t tell you what a blessing that was. I was nervous I’d drop her or she’d roll off but her slightest move and I woke up even being exhausted. Again, not saying it’s considered the safest way for a baby to sleep? But it worked. After that I had her sleep in a baby bouncy seat thing. Again, not recommended for sleeping but she would NOT sleep lying flat and I didn’t trust putting pillows in her crib for fear of suffocation, and elevating one side of her crib didn’t work. But  in the bouncy seat she slept again for a few hours in a chunk. I just made sure she was buckled in at the waist and she was directly next to me while I laid in my bed. Now, I seriously do understand that there are very important recommendations for sleeping safety due to SIDS and other dangers, but I was NOT sleeping. I mean I was getting 30 minutes of broken sleep in a day and I was truly worrying people with my sleep deprivation. As my daughter grew I learned more about high needs babies/children. My daughter absolutely is that to a T. I also DO believe in attachment parenting and 100% believe that it helped in raising my daughter to be more mentally and emotionally stable and independent. I carried her everywhere as a baby. When she wanted to be picked up, I picked her up and loved on her as much as I could. I wore her in a carrier ALL the time. Grocery shopping, cooking (careful near the stove of course), I mean everything. I KNOW some of it went against the baby books and MANY moms shook their heads at me, I could LITERALLY feel the judgement some days as I walked through the store for numerous reasons. My daughter just needed different parenting. My accepting this freed me and was my ticket to sanity! I parented her how SHE needed. Not how the books or society told me to. I also heard all of the woes that attachment parenting creates needy, clingy, entitled children, yet I’ve found the opposite. My daughter is a naturally anxious person in some respect. I sensed that since day one. However, I truly believe that because I nurtured her above and beyond and made sure she felt secure that it did in fact grow her independence. As she’s grown, many children her age are far less independent. She confidently goes to sleepovers (while giving me big hugs telling me she’ll miss me), shows amazing leadership skills in school, and takes on new tasks with confidence. She knows I love and support her and if she falls, I’m here. But I really believe it’s because she had it ingrained in her since birth that I would comfort her and be there for her. I know it sounds crazy when talking about a baby a few weeks old. But I absolutely could tell her personality was different even at that age. She’s an awesome kid, but exhausting to parent. It takes purposeful parenting with a high needs child. I say alllllll that to say this. Give yourself a break, parenting is ridiculously hard. Learn to parent how your baby needs you to and don’t read books. You ARE the perfect mom for her. You will figure this out.

Post # 183
926 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

“have to hope that her intense personality is something we can teach her to channel productively and not something that makes her impossible to be around as an adult. “

Makes me think of friends of mine whose first two babies were pretty easygoing but their third was very difficult the first  two or three years. The “crier” graduated a few years ago from high school with honors and attended a prestigious college. Very nice easygoing adult. You have a lot to deal with now. Don’t add to it by leaping to any conclusions about the type of personality she will have.

Post # 184
1825 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

I firmly believe that newborn babies don’t cry unless something, in their opinion, is wrong.  They don’t play mind games or get spoiled.  If the baby is crying 24/7, then something is probably wrong 24/7.  And it likely is something generally out of your control, since you seem to have been doing everything humanly possible to comfort your baby.  Also, I think you are going to make yourself lose your mind with all this talk about crying equalling brain damage.  Your baby will not become brain damaged from the stress of basic medical care or basic hygiene.  Your baby is just communicating something is wrong, so you can try to help, which is exactly what you are doing.

I think you are on the right track with looking for medical reasons for your baby’s suffering.  It seems that most of the time it turns out to be a GI issue.  Personally, if I were in your position, I would quit breastfeeding and only do the non-allergenic formula.  If you want to continue breastfeeding, I would cut out any major allergens from your own diet.  (With dairy being the seemingly most common culprit.)  Allergens can be passed from your diet to breastmilk.  But honestly, you seem too miserable right now to have to cut major things out of your diet, on top of not getting any sleep.  I don’t think it would be worth it.  Just go to formula.  And, if you haven’t yet seen a GI specialist for your baby, I would be pushing for that.

Lastly, definitely find someone to help you.  You need sleep just as much as your baby and husband do.

Post # 185
2128 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

Your daughter’s difficulty in being soothed is most likely due to a medical reason rather than something in her personality. From what I hear, I was a very colicky baby and nearly drove my mom nuts. I’m actually quite easy going as an adult! I think I was a pretty easy child to take care of, too. It was just the baby years that were rough. My mom was a single parent and I know she really struggled. 

You really need more help from your husband. He’s going to have to make some sacrifices so that you can get some relief. I also really suggest you talk to a doctor about your struggles. Your symptoms sound a lot like PPD. There is help out there for women with PPD! I had an instructor who described what it was like for her and I hear some similarities with your story. 

Post # 186
207 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

helixthecat :  it breaks my heart reading how you think about your baby. It makes me wonder if you feel the things you’re worried your daughter will turn out like. Eg you said very strongly that she’s not helpless, is that because you are trying really hard to not feel helpless? You said about her intense personality and hoping she doesn’t become impossible to be around as an adult, is that because other people have told you that you’re impossible to be around or you find your baby impossible to be around just now?

I really think you need to get some help, OP. I hope it’s just the tiredness or PPD/PPA making you talk about your baby this way. It seems like you think your baby is being malicious and deliberately making things hard for you, but as many PPs have said, crying is her only way of communicating.

Post # 187
2214 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

botanistbee :  I have the same reaction. I’ve started posting like 4 times and just deleted it, because I don’t want to sound mean to a stressed our new mom who is venting for good reason. 

But OP, your baby is SIX WEEKS OLD! What she is doing right now has NOTHING to do with her ultimate personality! Of all the things you need to worry about right now, and there are plenty, whether or not she will be an unpleasant adult etc is not on the list at all. She clearly still seems to be suffering from reflux or something. She needs continued tweaking of diet and meds. She’s not being a diva or purposely manipulating you. She’s just a little baby who will have such a sweet, adorable, fun personality when it starts poking through soon. 

All we can go off is what you write. Based on what you write here, you are having some issues with bonding and aren’t feeling very loving towards your daughter. PPD is real and meds can help you get through this rough period. 

Post # 188
735 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: London, UK

Full disclosure, I’m not a parent so obviously feel free to take all this with a pinch of salt/totally ignore it, I will completely understand.

Literally everything you’ve written about your baby is almost word-for-word what my mum has said I was like as a baby. Except it went on for 4 years. I literally did not sleep through the night (or for any length of time in one go) until I started school. I was constantly screaming, crying, couldn’t be left, and was functioning on far below the amount of sleep a baby is *supposed* to get. 

I was diagnosed with chronic colic and reflux, but no medications touched the sides of it. This was over 25 years ago, and doctors have since confirmed that it was most probably an allergy to something in milk, and that I was actually probably in constant pain and the reason I always wanted to be in motion was because it kept my system moving and untrapped the wind. Even now I have issues with this, I am basically unable to release wind (from either end!) and this results in agonising bloating. I am also lactose intolerant and have IBS. Basically, many of the things I experience as an adult now completely explain my behaviour literally from birth.

So, I would definitely get those things looked into (sorry, I have only read comments here and there so I may have missed people or you already talking about that).

What I will say is that despite going through all of that as a baby (and up till the age of 4 with the lack of sleep) I have turned out fine. I excelled academically, didn’t have any social issues to speak of, was emotionally very normal. I experience anxiety, but nothing clinically serious and there’s certainly nothing to say any of that is linked to the fact that I spent the first 4 years of my life getting about 4 hours of sleep out of every 24, and a lot of my early months screaming and crying incessantly. I am very close to my mum, I know she felt the same as you feel about your baby about me (that she adored me but that it was hard and painful having such a high maintenance baby that really couldn’t be left and didn’t enable her to get any rest), but it has had no negative impact on the crux of our relationship at any point. 

You are doing your best, it is most likely that this will not impact on your baby’s long term wellbeing or your relationship with her as she grows <3 

Post # 189
57 posts
Worker bee

Other PPs may have suggested it already, but assuming you’re nursing I suggest nursing lying on your side, with your husband awake next to you. You can then safely sleep whilst your baby nurses or sleeps by your side. I got by doing this a lot in the early weeks, being too paranoid for full-on co-sleeping.

Post # 190
261 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

The language you’re using to describe your baby is not normal and very alarming. She is 6 weeks old!!!!!!! Her crying right now sounds like a medical issue or she may just be colic…but YOU RESENT HER. YOU NEED HELP LIKE YESTERDAY! Your language makes me worry for your child to be honest. You need to see a doctor and get HELP. Please please stop thinking because you find her difficult right now that “she will be impossible to be around as an adult” Stop putting these things on an innocent little baby, the way you speak about her is as if no one loves her because she’s hard to deal with at times and you feel validated because you think that too…it’s not okay. Get help for your child… she has no idea what is going on! 

Post # 191
9434 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

Seeing as how the OP’s doctor was the one who agreed on an amnio for basically no reason, and seemed to think she was soooooooooooo incredibly old to be having a baby in her 30s, I’m not sure they’re going to be all that sympathetic to PPD. I hope I’m wrong though.

OP for the record I coslept with my baby for over a year because that was the only way she would sleep a few hours in a row. She is 4 now and has been totally fine in her own bed since she was 15 months old.

You need to forget about all these hypothetical things that “might” happen to your child in 20 years and just do what works for now. I promise sleeping with your baby now is not going to make them codependent in college. I mean really.

Post # 192
846 posts
Busy bee

I also want to reiterate that your baby is only 6 (7?) weeks old right now. I totally understand that you don’t want to “spoil” her or get into habits that could be hard to break. But what PP have said about not being able to spoil a newborn, is true. Babies get better at learning and adapting as they get older, but right now your peanut just may not be capable of understanding that her every little need can’t always be met…that’s not your fault, and it’s not because she’s a diva, it’s just nothing she’s ever experienced before or is able to understand; so she’s going to cry. And it’s okay for your baby to cry a little bit. It’s also completely okay to set her down! I worried myself sick over the amount my newborn cried and thought I was a bad mom because it was happening, and that it was unhealthy for her…until I found a really helpful article about infant stress inoculation and how baby’s stress is often misunderstood, eventually concluding that short periods of crying in an otherwise loving, nurturing environment, is completely harmless. If you’re interested, I’ll find it and PM the link to you. 

Anyway, babies change a lot, and very quickly–especially in the first year. Coming from my personal experience (others may disagree) you don’t have to worry about meeting her needs “too much” right now, as long as you don’t keep things that way when she’s eventually old enough to understand patience. You’ll have the next 18 years to teach her not to be a diva, it’s not something that’ll be set in stone the first 3 months of her life.

I co-slept with baby in my arms from the day she was born, through the first 3 months (as long as baby isn’t between you and your husband, it’s generally considered safe. I’m even one to roll around in my sleep a lot but I never did while co-sleeping…it’s like my body naturally knew I shouldn’t move). When she had her 4-month sleep regression and became restless even in my arms, I knew it was time to “cot train” her. Lots of tears ensued, but it wasn’t long before she’d finally fall asleep in her crib. When she’d wake up for a midnight feed, I’d let her spend the rest of the night in bed with me, so it was a slow wean from co-sleeping. I eventually moved her into her own room which made a WORLD of improvement on her sleep, and co-sleeping completely ended. I went from a “high-needs” newborn who I–admittedly, due to sleep deprivation and likely some PPD–resented at times, and worried about spoiling, to a toddler who sleeps through the night and seldom cries during the day, by the end of her first year. 

Don’t get me wrong, cuddles and attention are extremely important for a child’s development, but that will hardly matter if they’re coming from a depressed, sleep deprived parent, who isn’t even able to enjoy the cuddles themself. My dd gets all my attention and sacrifices throughout the day, except for two times: naps, and bedtime. Those are non-negotiable and necessary for me to be the best mom I can be for the rest of the time…and considering how happy and affectionate my LO is when she’s free from her crib (not to mention sweet, and not a diva), I’d say it’s working out well.  

I’m not saying you should do things the way I do them, but I wanted to share that there are so many ways to raise a happy, healthy child, which can include breaking some “rules” without harm. You know your baby best, and what’s important is whether or not YOU are coping. Yes, sacrifices will need to be made, but not to the degree where your mental health is suffering. I simply want to encourage you to hand your baby to someone, step outside/go for a walk, take a deep breath, and think about what compromises you might be able to make/try with your LO. For example, getting a daily shower was really important to me, they help me relax and feel human…so I decided, if baby is fed, dry, napped, and burped, I’ll lay her on her playmat on the floor (where she’s absolutely safe, and has the option to play with some age appropriate toys) and I’m going to enjoy a long hot shower. I’d set her up in the bathroom (or right outside with the door open) so I could talk to her and peek out at her if needed. Sometimes she’d cry the whole time…other times she’d cry for a moment and then get distracted with the toys. Regardless of her reaction, I got my shower, dangit! And you know what? She was perfectly fine. After I got dressed I’d scoop her right back up, lay in bed, pop her on my breast, and watch some TV. As she got older, I’d implement that strategy for a few more things. Sometimes it’s her playmat, other times it was her swing (as mentioned in my pp), and it also gave her the opprotunity to learn how to entertain/soothe herself, which may help settle your worry of spoiling (it certainly did, for me). Little moments like that 15 mins at a time made major improvements on my coping ability, and more importantly, strengthed my bond with her, because I finally had a chance to get into an emotional space that’s actually suitable for bonding. 

You’re stronger than you think. If you love your baby, you can trust your instincts. You want to baby-wear all day? Do it. The only thing you can think about right now is setting your baby down in her crib so you can sit outside for 15 mins and read a chapter of a book, because you feel like you’ll go crazy if you don’t? Do it. You’re a rational adult, you can trust yourself with making appropriate decisions. It’s not like you’re shutting her in a room for hours on end. Do what you need to do to be the best person you can be for your baby. You’re all gonna get through this 🙂 

Post # 193
3223 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

helixthecat :  Also OP, I know you said you got rid of the books and are doing your own thing now, but just to reassure you further – the AAP policy does not issue a recommendation for the necessary amount of infant sleep for health and development until 4+ months. Obviously newborns need to sleep, but research shows that no matter how horrible or great they sleep as newborns, it is all considered (a very wide range of) normal and there are no longterm risks.

Post # 194
9820 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

You have literal zero clue what sort of personality your baby will have. She’s six weeks old and crying because something is wrong, that doesn’t mean she has an “intense personality” and that she will have an “intense personality” the rest of her life. Her personality will develop and change over the next year. She’s likely crying because something is wrong, either acid reflux or a milk allergy or gas any other of the hundred things that could be wrong. Have you taken her to the doctor and tried to figure out what is causing all of this? Have you tried gas drops or gripe water? Have you looked at moving to a hypoallergenic formula? What steps are you taking other than trying to train a newborn to be independent? 

You don’t have to bond with your baby right away, that’s unrealistic. But you speak about her with such negativity that’s really offputting. This entire thread your focus has been on how she inconviences you and what you can do to fix this but rarely have you been concerned about how she is feeling. 

It all just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. 

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