Trusting my parenting instincts

Welcome to the October Carnival of Breastfeeding hosted by The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog. This month’s theme is a little different than past carnivals, in that this month we all wrote “This I believe” essays on topics related to breastfeeding and parenting. Please visit the participating bloggers listed at the bottom of this post.

Trusting my parenting instincts

I believe in attachment parenting or – a name that I like even better – parenting by instinct.

I believe in breastfeeding my children for the countless health benefits as well as the emotional benefits to both me and them. I also believe that children know when they are ready to wean from the breast and I’m doing my best to allow that to happen for us. There are times I’ve given a gentle push in the weaning direction (with Ava, not at all with Julian yet), but I’m hoping I can allow my children to give it up completely when they feel they are ready.

I believe that co-sleeping with my kids and nighttime parenting helps strengthen the bond between my husband Jody, myself and our kids.

I believe in wearing my babies or holding them in arms. I believe that the closeness and security stimulates them far more than being left lying alone does.

I believe in responding to my baby’s cries. I believe that babies cry because they have a need that is not being met – either they are hungry, uncomfortable (wet, too cold, too warm), or they simply need comforting and reassurance. I believe that meeting their needs helps them to develop into emotionally secure children. I’ve seen it work with Ava. When babies aren’t spending their energy on crying and seeking attention, they can use that energy to grow and thrive.

I also believe in gentle discipline. It is challenging and hard at times, and I can’t say I haven’t lost my temper before, but I strive to discipline gently. I try to think about how I would want to be treated and honor my children with that same respect.

Just as I trusted in my body and my baby when I gave birth to Julian at home, I trust that I will instinctively know how to parent my children. That’s not to say that it’s always easy, but all of the above things have felt instinctual to me. If it feels right and makes sense, then I go with it. That, I believe, is parenting by instinct.

I believe that the time investment I make in my children’s lives while they are young will pay off tremendously as they grow older, and that by doing all of these things, I am creating a solid foundation on which to build a lifelong relationship.

I know some people question how attachment parenting can create independent children, but I have two children who are being parented in this way and they both are very independent. In fact, Ava is sometimes even more independent than I would like. 😉 I believe that by meeting their needs, they come to learn that they can trust Jody (their dad) and me to be there for them when they need us and so they feel safe to venture out on their own.

Parenting is a challenging and amazing experience that takes time, energy and patience, but I believe this investment is all worth it. They make it all worthwhile.

Ava hugging Julian - Oct. 2007

Please take a moment to read some of the other carnival participants’ blogs (more will be added throughout the day):

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24 thoughts on “Trusting my parenting instincts”

  1. Excellent post, you describe very well the way we parent our little monkey too. Another thing I have found is that attachment parenting feels right to both myself and my husband, it really isn’t a choice we made. We’d have to actually make a conscious decision to parent a different way and it would be hard work!

  2. I totally believe in breastfeeding, for all of the health and emotional benefits of it to both the baby and the mother. I just wish that it had worked out better for Sabrina and myself.

  3. I’m on the other side of attachment parenting. My children who were attached (though I didn’t know the term at the time) are now ages 37, 34, 30 & 28. I can say with a certainty that “it works!”. Although widely scattered, they are all friends with me and their sibs & they are all contributing to changing the world for the better.

  4. This sounds like a lovely proclamation….you should post it on your fridge as a reminder for all your family. Or maybe, I should post it one mine!! 🙂
    I love your conviction and echo your beliefs.

  5. What a great post, Amy! I agree wholeheartedly with everything you say and like you, despite not knowing it was labelled attachment parenting (maybe it’s an American phrase?) I simply followed my instincts with each of my babies. (I prefer parenting by instinct too!)

    I now have three VERY independent children who know that my husband and I are always there for them no matter what…

  6. i breastfed my children for quite a long time. i don’t regret it, other than having very saggy boobs now!

    i am very close to both of my children, and am glad that i followed my instincts.

    they are now 6 and 7 years old. it goes by very quickly.

  7. I love this! Thank you so much for posting it! This is a perfect reflection of how I parent and what I believe in for my children! Love your website!

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