image via Flickr
Not always sure what triggers the inquiry, but I'm often asked if we are attachment parents or if we schedule our baby. Usually I want to say, "both & neither" or "I read a little & experiment a lot" or "I'll let you know when the second one arrives." Though I do love our Moby wrap, we are wary of embracing parenting trends & are certain to offend people at one time or another because I am not a systems-oriented or left-brain kind of girl.
Both Elijah & I love to cuddle; we also both crave alone time & are miserable without it. He sleeps in his crib in his own room during naps & all night, from 8pm to 7am. Early on, I asked seasoned mums for help distinguishing hungry from poopy from pain cry so I don't jump at every nighttime fuss. When I realized that he was a spirited, energetic baby who wanted to bite or suck on something to wind down for sleep I consented to the occasional paci. Otherwise nursing was his only comfort & my source of anxiety; he still doesn't care for his thumb. We practice the 10 min rule for fussing (different than real crying), & he usually self-soothes within 3 min.
Once he weighed enough to not need the demand-feed approach, we slowly stretched him to every 2.5, 3 & (much later) 4 hr feedings. He learned when to anticipate food, to eat well, to sleep well; & that family rhythm adapts when illness or growth spurts or travel alter his needs (or my needs, for that matter). Because I'm really not a homebody, I focused on regularly putting to sleep away from home (in pack-n-plays, other cribs, etc) rather than focusing on the length of each nap (a predictable range, but the length does vary). If pregnancy hadn't adversely affected my milk supply & his willingness to nurse, I would have kept it up through the upcoming flu season. For the health of my emotions & of our marriage, we have set aside on the same day each week: a date night together (often out of the house), an alone date for me (Nic stays home, I got out), family brunch & otherwise unscheduled Saturday (for family rest).
So we aren't strictly attachment parents & we didn't Ferberize Elijah. Sometimes I wish he would nap with me in the afternoons. Simply nursing, or wearing or sleeping with my babies won't guarantee a healthy or secure family. Those three tools of AP factor in that physical closeness is emotionally soothing to a small child & often to mama as well. The value I see is in taking the time & doing the work to find a healthy rhythm: where your kids can trust they are safe/loved being embraced into a marriage that can thrive.