Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mommy Wars

I'm just not ready for them. I've heard about how sometimes you feel like every parenting decision is being judged and that must be overwhelming for a new mom. Especially if she, like me, has not read tons of parenting books so can't even pretend to be an expert.

With my last few weeks in Leeds, I have really starting feeling nesting instincts kick in and I'm getting super excited to meet our little one. Our apartment is super clean and organized, I've started enlisting help to find a place in Michigan and I'm reading up on some parenting issues. All in all though if there is one thing I'm pretty certain of regarding parenting it's this: my baby isn't going to fit into the mold of a book. So I don't see the use in reading tons of them. Hopefully that does not come back to bite me later when I may be challenged on some of my parenting goals/practices.

Here are a few that I hope to do as of right now (though everything will be flexible with such a little one)

Breastfeed - this is probably my highest priority since I try to eat high quality food and I will be around the baby longterm. After the learning curve, I hope this goes smoothly and will save me lots of money on formula.

Attachment style parenting - though very loosely followed I believe this most fits with my view of family life. I plan to try co-sleeping and baby carrying/wearing. It just makes the most sense to me.

Elimination Communication (EC) - here is the one I think will be met with the most criticism/disbelief. Of the few things I have read up on, EC is one of them. I got a book mainly because, other than breasfeeding, I know the least about it. It seems a bit like hypnobirthing - too good and easy to be true. I plan on using diapers - but less of them! EC is all about communication and if that helps me "catch" most bowel movements in a potty at just a couple months old, why wouldn't I try to get out of cleaning up blowouts? I may even be motivated to switch to cloth diapers if there isn't a lot to clean up. EC also follows along my viewpoint that babies are born with amazing abilities. They reflexively know how to turn and root to get food. They are born with a reflex of holding their breath under water and they are born with an awareness of the sensation of going to the bathroom. The success stories show that is true. It won't be perfect and I'm not going to try to catch everything, but I have to try. I have not decided if I am going to try this right away or wait a couple months. The book is encouraging about starting at any time and not letting yourself get stressed about doing it perfectly. One thing is for sure, it will be an adventure. Hopefully one that is met with encouragement and support. After all, if it does work, that means all my relatives/babysitters will have less diapers to change as well :-D


  1. I've never heard of elimination communication! Sounds positively brilliant.

    And the key in any potentially conflictive situation like Mommy Wars (I think) is to surround yourself with people who will support you and your unique parenting decisions... luckily I don't think it'll be hard to find such a community when you get back home :-)

  2. From my outside perspective, most people make parenting judgments on their perfectly accurate data set of one, and maybe eventual average of 3. To say that something does or doesn't work based on what worked for 1-2 kids is, well, a little presumptuous. So I think as long as you're humble about it and realize there are different ways to do it, you'll avoid the mommy wars juuuust fine.
    Oh and I think EC looks super interesting and I'm pretty sure they use it in most Asian countries with success. Interested to see how it works out! Although if I understand it right...isn't it you looking out for those signs? Will a babysitter be able to read the same sign? Or maybe you tell them the sign? Clearly I have a lot to learn about it yet!

  3. Sounds like you have a great outlook - you're right, your child isn't going to fit any book's mold perfectly!

    Also, we are going to attempt EC, too, and are getting really excited about it! We waited for a while, because I wanted to get breastfeeding and all that stuff established, but I think we'll be starting when she's between 2 and 3 months old. We're taking a very relaxed approach - if we catch them, great, if not, no biggie - and are really looking forward to seeing how it goes. I will definitely be blogging about it once we've been at it for a bit, and I can't wait to hear how it goes for you!!

  4. Alison - yes you let your caregiver know the common signs and if they catch on great, if not no worries. I imagine the longer you use it, the more clearly the child signals which would help more people use the method.

    Elizabeth - I'll be looking forward to your success stories :-) And I imagine we will start at about the same age as I do see breasfeeding as the priority over EC.

  5. awesome! I would love less diapers when I watch her... and who wouldn't want less diapers, when it's my time, I want to learn :)

    and.. about a later blog- you know who's a certified breastfeeding counselor? and has been to breastfeeding conferences? ... me, though I have not done it, but I would entertain questions and try to help :) Can't wait for the baby shower

  6. haha, I was pretty sure you were - well I'm sure you will be around when I have a baby and applicable questions :-)