Attachment Parenting. By Accident.

When I was pregnant with Anderson I knew just a few things:

1. I was having a boy
2. That I wanted to have a unmedicated labor & delivery
3. That I wanted to breastfeed

The only reasons I even wanted to do #'s 2 & 3 is because that is what my mom had done.

But, after we decided to use a doula she pointed us to lots of resources that confirmed our decision to have an unmedicated birth & expanded my reasoning beyond just, "That's what my mom did."

I had baby showers, received a nice supply of Pampers diapers, lots of great items off of my registry and set up the crib in the nursery. We were all set to have our baby.

I would spend countless hours in the nursery, lovingly decorating, organizing and dreaming of the late nights to come. I would sit in the rocking chair and even read a few of his books aloud. I would run my hands over the soft fabrics that filled his crib. I organized the diapers on the changing table. I couldn't wait for all my mommy dreams to come true.

And they did come true but in a completely different way than I imagined.

Despite the fact that my labor was forever long and terribly painful I did it. I went "unmedicated". I had my baby & he was healthy & wonderful. He immediately took to breastfeeding and I just couldn't believe how smoothly that was going.

I had heard some pretty difficult BF'ing stories so I was nervous but really he did great! I'm not bragging because it certainly wasn't due to any "breastfeeding skills" I might have had. I think it was just a blessing from the Lord that that aspect of motherhood was going so well.

I had such a long, painful recovery and BF'ing felt like the only thing I could do right. Actually, it felt like the only thing I could do. Standing up, sitting down, walking, moving in general was all very painful. Of course we had the bassinet set up in our room as we were prepared to have our bundle of joy with us for a few months before we put him in his nursery. 

Our second night in the hospital Anderson had woken up and Andrew changed his diaper, re-swaddled him and handed him to me for me to nurse him. I fed him, kissed him & admired him through my post-partum fog. I then laid him back in his hospital bassinet and closed my eyes. A few minutes later I could hear him stirring and begin to cry a little. He wasn't screaming or anything but just doing that pitiful newborn cry.

I picked him up, kissed him & wondered what was wrong. Then I thought he probably missed me; after all he had been used to being with me 24/7. I held him close and he immediately calmed down. I laid him on my chest and he went right to sleep. Then I went to sleep. And we slept for 4 solid hours!

I woke up feeling so refreshed and so in love with our baby. The nurse came around for the routine checks and I told her about how well we had slept. I just knew she was going to tell me what wonderful motherly instincts I had & how she was so impressed.


"Oh! Co-sleeping is very dangerous! It is one of the leading causes of infant death in Jefferson county." ...Well that sounded terrible & awful. I wasn't 100% sure what co-sleeping meant but I assumed it meant sleeping with your baby. I agreed I didn't want to do anything dangerous and thought about how I probably wouldn't do that anymore.

Fast forward to being home, sleepless nights, weeks that run together because when you're nursing every 2-3 hours days don't end, there's no such thing as bedtime and you cry a lot. Compound that with terrible physical pain and you've got a great recipe for exhaustion in every sense possible.

One night Anderson was a little restless despite all of the love, diaper changes, kisses, feeding we had done. He had settled down a bit but I couldn't. As soon as I would fall asleep I would pop up wide awake & stare at him. I was so afraid to go to sleep. I hit my breaking point.

I was just drifting to sleep when I popped up yelling, "The baby! The baby! Where is the baby?!" Of course Andrew immediately woke up and showed me that Anderson was fine and right next to me in his bassinet. I was crying, "I know everyone says I need to try to let him sleep on his own & that nurse said I shouldn't sleep with my baby but I just can't sleep without him with me." I cried and cried. 

My husband gently told me, "Laura, he's our baby. We know what's best for him and us and we have to do what's best for our family. If you want to hold him, hold him." He was so right. I was so thankful.

I picked up my baby, snuggled him close & we slept until morning. This became our routine. Around 10:00 Andrew would change him, swaddle him and give him to me. I would nurse him and then put him in his little swing next to our bed. Whenever he woke up for his next feeding Andrew would change his diaper and hand him to me. I would feed him and then just lay him on my chest where he would stay until morning. 

It worked out wonderfully and although there's no such thing as "perfect sleep" with an infant we got along just fine and for the most part felt rested. During his naps during the day I would nurse him to sleep and hold him while he napped. Honestly, I was so exhausted physically that I would usually fall asleep too and I was in so much physical pain that there was no way I was going to try to get up just to put my baby in his crib. Of course he got used to napping on me and for about his whole first year he preferred to nap on me.

Yes, there were days that I was completely frustrated that he only wanted to nap on me but I tried to remind myself that it wouldn't last forever and there would come a day when he wouldn't do this anymore. Guess what, that day is here. That day has been here. He loves laying in his bed and napping. He lets me know when he is ready by saying, "Night-Night" 100x's until I take him downstairs. He runs to lay on his bed and I lay beside him. I nurse him, rub his feet and he's out. In fact, he usually rolls away from me and I know he's out. I get up and go about my day.

Yes, I still nurse him. Yes, he is 19 months old. No, I had no idea extended breastfeeding was "a thing" just like I didn't know co-sleeping was "a thing". I didn't even know Attachment Parenting was "a thing". But like I said, all my mommy dreams were coming true but just in a different way than I imagined.

As I mentioned we had immediate BF'ing success and he was a BF'ing champ. Every week at our support group he was gaining excellent weight and the lactation nurse told me how blessed I was to have such an efficient eater and growing baby. He loved to nurse {still does} and I was told to feed him on demand. Baby upset? Nurse him. Baby hungry? Nurse him. Won't sleep? Nurse him. Overwhelmed? Nurse him, etc...

So I did. I nursed him. As his 1st birthday quickly approached I went back to the support group to ask how in the world I was going to wean him. The LC told me he wouldn't be ready anytime soon and really there was no rush; the WHO actually recommends BF'ing until age 2. I tried not to worry about it but there have been times when I've felt ready to stop. Then there are other times where just the thought of stopping brings tears to my eyes. All that to say it's not perfect. Extended BF'ing is hard at times & wonderful at other times. I've always said I would let him decide when he's ready to wean and for now that's where we are but tomorrow that could change.

The same is true of co-sleeping. There are times where we love it and relish every moment. Then of course there are times where we are frustrated and decide we want him out but for now he's staying.

There's no perfect parenting style. Every parent faces challenges and frustration and joys and successes regardless of how they choose to parent. I didn't know cloth diapers were "a thing". I didn't know extended BF'ing was "a thing", I didn't know co-sleeping was "a thing", I didn't know baby-wearing was "a thing"; but these are all things that our family does. Not because we believe every family should do it this way but because we've just been following what's been most natural and best for our family. We practice AP because it works for us. 

We didn't research it all and plan it all out. Honestly, it has mostly happened because for the first 3 months of Anderson's life it hurt to move and it was just easier to keep him on me in any way possible. He's healthy and happy and so are we!

What are some ways that your life has changed unexpectedly from becoming a parent?

For an encouraging word READ THIS! 

Baby-wearing when we met Jill Duggar!

These days I think it's considered "toddler-wearing" ;-)


  1. Hey Laura. BF has a lot of benefits for both you and Anderson. Here's a link about it: http://www.babycenter.com/0_how-breastfeeding-benefits-you-and-your-baby_8910.bc?page=1

    Also I used to be weary of AP until my sister-in-law passed away when my nephew was only 10 months. My brother used AP out of convenience, he let my nephew sleep with him to stop nightmares, he wore him to get around NYC, and he spent every moment with him out of necessity. When I think about our Heavenly Father and think about his AP of us, I start to think it's completely spot on. Who else could be a better role model for parenting than our Creator?

    I'm proud of you. You have become a wonderful mother!
    -Mary Beth

  2. I love this post because it's so you. I admire how confidently you make choices that you know are best for your family, no matter what others say. And I love that you didn't just subscribe blindly to one philosophy. You just do what works best for y'all, and if it happens to fall under that heading, so be it. :o)