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):

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to my mailing list.

* indicates required

Awarded :)

I feel so honored to have received a couple of awards recently from fellow bloggers.

Deb at Mom of 3 Girls gave me the Out of this World award. Thank you, Deb! :)
Out of this world award

And Katja from Skimbaco and Mama Luxe from Mamanista both awarded me with the Nice Matters Award. Wasn’t that so nice of them? :) Thank you, ladies.
nice award

I’d like to pass the Out of this World award on to Tiffany at Nature Moms for always telling it like it is and raising social awareness on a variety of issues.

And I’d like to give the Nice Matters award to Michelle at What’s Cooking for – what else? – being so nice. I’m glad to have recently met her in the blogosphere.

Just a li’l update

Jody took the last two days off of work so I could have a little break of sorts. Of course, as a mom I’m never really off the clock, but I did get to sleep in with sickie Julian (he’s got a cold) until 10:30 this morning  (which was glorious!), while Jody took Ava to preschool. And yesterday I did a bit of consignment shopping on my own. I found some wooden toys for the kids and a zebra costume for Julian. Ava has asked to be a lion and we already have her costume, so I was glad to find something that will fit with the whole animal theme. I told Jody tonight that we need to get some safari hats and dress in khaki clothes and we’ll fit right in with our jungle animal kids.

Tonight I’ve been working on interview questions for everyone who asked to participate. I should have those to you all by early next week. It’s more fun than I thought to play Katie Couric. :)

Tomorrow we are going to a harvest festival at Jody’s boss’s house and it looks like the weather will be perfect for it. We might try to hit a pumpkin patch too, but that might be too much for one day.

Sunday the weather is supposed to turn cold and rainy (or possibly snowy!), so I don’t think we’ll be doing too much of anything. We won’t be going to the farm to pick veggies anyway, but I’m not giving up on that yet. ;)

Now I’m going to go catch up on the episode of “The Office” I missed this week. Enjoy your weekends. :)

An interview with yours truly

Jenny at Mommin’ It Up was recently interviewed by another blogger and had so much fun with it, she decided to carry it on herself. I told her I was game to play along so she sent me my own set of questions. Here they are, with, of course, my answers.

If you’d like me to interview you, leave me a comment stating you’d like to be interviewed and I’ll send you your own set of questions. :)

1) You are the Crunchy Domestic Goddess. How did you get to be so Crunchy?
While I think I always had some crunchy tendencies, they really didn’t start fully emerging until I became pregnant with Ava. At that point I started becoming more aware of the foods I was eating and how they would affect my health as well as my baby’s. I learned about organic foods for the FIRST time. I started researching natural childbirth and eventually took Hypnobirthing classes. I also learned about attachment parenting, which felt to me, like a natural way to raise my children. Over the past three years, I’ve become progressively crunchier as I’ve learned more about various things like vaccinations, homeopathy, home birth (which I had with my son), acupuncture, placentophagia, growing my own organic garden, composting, natural cleaning products, cloth diapers, baby wearing, the DivaCup (which I haven’t tried yet), and the list goes on and on. I really feel my kids were the impetus for letting my crunchiness blossom.

2) You met your husband on the internet. What was your first “face-to-face” impression of him?
Uh, my very first impression after I flew across the country to meet him was – “Oh my gosh, what have I done?” ;) Honestly, it was very awkward for the first several minutes and I started wondering if I could somehow get an earlier flight home. But after we hung out for the first hour or two, the awkwardness faded and we completely hit it off. In fact, I ended up extending my visit for a few more days because I did not want to leave him. That first meeting was almost 10 years ago now.

3) You take some amazing pictures! Do you have one or two all-time favorites you can share with us?
Aww, shucks. Thank you. :) Share one or two? You’re kidding me, right? Do you know how many photos I have on my computer?! Well, neither do I, but the point is – there are a LOT. A LOT! OK, OK. Just for you, I will try to narrow it down and find a few of my favorites. ;)

This sunset picture is definitely one of my favorites and I got it by being in the right place at the right time AND actually having my camera with me. I find it’s often hard to have everything come together like that, so I feel I lucked out.
Colorado Sunset 2005

I have tons and tons of pictures of Ava that I love, so it’s really impossible to choose a favorite, but I really like this one from when she had just turned two. She just looks so sweet and innocent. I actually had it one blown up to a 16 x 20.
Ava - age 2

Here’s one of my favorites of Julian – in a cup – from when he was 4 months old. Hard to believe he’ll be turning 1 next month!

Julian 4 mos.

4) You seem to be passionate about a variety of things – breastfeeding, attachment parenting, photography, etc. If you could only choose ONE thing to advocate for, what would it be?
Again with the choosing just one thing. You like to make this tough on me, don’t ya?
If I had to choose only ONE thing to advocate for, it would be for an overhaul of the current childbirth system in our country. I would advocate for the normalization of birth and a serious decrease in the over-medicalization that has taken over the institution.

5) Tell us, O Crunchy Domestic One, what’s your favorite non-mommy, non-blogging related thing to do for fun?
Sleep. Seriously. I miss my sleep. If not sleep, then definitely photography. :)

Now it’s your turn. If you want to be interviewed, leave me a comment including the words “Interview me.” I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions. If you don’t have a valid email address on your blog, please provide one. You will update your blog with a post containing your answers to the questions. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.