Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Twinning Tuesday; A Disclaimer, ... and Attachment Parenting?!

Last week I announced the beginning of a new occasional series here on Simply, in the 'Burbs, about raising twins or multiples with an Attachment Parenting approach.

I really want to thank those readers who contacted me with their support and questions; it really means so much to me. Really! This was a big blogging step for me, and to know that there are interested readers makes this all worth while - thank you!!

And with that out of the way, I have to give a disclaimer: I'm not a parenting expert.

I haven't written parenting books, done independent research, spent years studying, or written a thesis on parenting. I haven't read every parenting book at Barnes and Noble, or read every parenting blog.

But! - I am a mama of three, including, 18 month old twins,so I have a couple of years of parenting experience under my belt. And back before I had my own Little Ones, I was a Montessori teacher, and I have a Masters in Early Childhood Development.

Really, though it is the past five years as a mama that give me the most resources to draw on in writing this series. Hands on experience trumps all!

I may not be brushed up on the latest research, but when it comes to an AP approach with young children, I've got 'been there, done that' kudos.

Little Boy (L) and Baby Girl (R), first post partum co-sleeping experience, aged 6 hours

And so, on to Attachment Parenting and Twins!

One thing I will not be doing in these posts is debating the benefits of an AP approach; rather I will be giving hands-on tips, resources and how-to's on bringing Attachment Parenting to twins/multiples.

In case you are not familiar with AP, are still reading and are still interested, let's spend a minute talking about what it is.

Attachment Parenting is a style of raising children, one where you are connected to your child's needs. For me, this always felt like I spent more time listening to my child's needs, and less time trying to inflict my will on the child.

Dr. Bill Sears originally coined the term Attachment Parenting, and remains one of it's biggest champions.

The seven basic principles of AP, as Dr. Sears wrote them, are:

1. Birth Bonding
2. Breastfeeding
3. Babywearing
4. Bedding Close to Baby
5. Beware of Baby Trainers
6. Belief in your Baby's Cry Language
7. Balance
(Taken from Dr. Sear's site; for the full article, and much more information on each of the principles click here)

The Attachment Parenting Book by Dr. Sears
When The Little Guy was born nearly 5 years ago, an AP approach seemed totally natural; I don't think we even realized that what we were doing was AP!
Nursing, listening to his needs, keeping him close through cradling him in my arms and later by wearing him, all of this just seemed obvious for My Good Man and I.

Three years later, when we had our twins, we were still able to implement the same principles, but they took a little more creative thinking, tenacity, determination and yes, more releasing, more letting o of what we could not do. We were not able to be quite the same AP parents with twins as we were with a singleton. We tried really hard, but we just weren't.

But for us at least, we recognized that it was alright. We were still able to implement each of the seven principles outlined by Dr. Sears with our twins, but maybe not as fully as we had with our singleton.

Baby Girl (left) and Little Boy (right), aged 16 months

If I could go back in time and give the post-twin-partum me one piece of advice, it would be to remember the 7th AP principle; BALANCE! That these are wonderful principles, but that they need to work for your family, for YOU! For example, if co-sleeping with twins is so difficult that neither parent is getting enough sleep, then it might not be working. Being rested, and able to properly care for your babies, AND yourselves is just as important. Keep things in balance.

Do what you can, and remember - no one will you be testing you on being the perfect Attachment Parenting Parent! Love your Little Ones, keep them close, and loved. Listen to them. Slow down. Love them some more! And know that you are doing a great job; this is hard work, but you are doing fine!

Where are you on your parenting journey? Are you using Attachment Parenting? Are there aspects that feel hard for you? Feel free to share; I'd love to hear from you!