questions for you: parenting styles and babywearing/strollers

I’m in the early stages of drafting a book on parenting while feminist! I have a fabulous writing group; I have an obscenely detailed outline; I have lots of resources to consult.

But what I do not have–and what I need–is your voice, your experience, your perspective.

So, welcome to a new regular feature at First the Egg. I’ll be asking questions on a wide range of parenting-related topics, hoping to broaden my perspective and find stories and ideas to include in my project. I hope you’ll answer some of these questions, even if you feel you have nothing interesting to say. You don’t even have to identify as a feminist! Feminist-friendly and feminist-leaning folks, and allies, are all most cordially invited to the party.

Two details:

  • By commenting on this post, you are giving me permission to quote what you say here in my book. Please indicate how you’d like to be identified if I end up using your words (like, ‘Molly Westerman’ or ‘Molly, St. Paul, Minnesota’ or whatever).
  • If you want to contribute but would prefer not to do so in a public space online, feel free to email me with your responses instead, at molly at firsttheegg dot com.

So, here goes the first installment. Please answer any question (or questions) that strikes your fancy, in any way you please, at any length, etc. You don’t even have to answer the questions: anything relevant to these topics is welcome. I’ll be so grateful for any thoughts you can offer me.

parenting styles

  • Do you identify with a particular parenting style or philosophy (like attachment parenting, mindful parenting, etc.)? If so, what does that label and/or community do for you? If not, why not?
  • Can you share a story that points to the usefulness and/or limitations or parenting style labels?

carriers and strollers

  • Tell me about your experiences with baby wearing and/or strollers. Why do you use one, the other, or both? Do you do what most of the parents around you do, or are you the weirdo?
  • How do you feel about your carrier(s) or stroller(s)?

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  1. ERin
    Posted 26 September 2012 at 1:32 PM | Permalink

    I’ll start!

    1) Sometimes I identify my parenting style with attachment parenting, because I’m an extended-breastfeeding, natural childbirthing, cloth diapering, babywearing, baby-food-making kind of feminist mama. At least, those are my instincts. But I don’t identify that strongly with the label itself. It’s a useful shorthand in online communities. Mostly, I am committed to following my children’s cues, to establishing a relationship with them that is based on who they are as individuals, and to working together to create a harmonious and respectful family life. One of my biggest moments of realization after my first baby was born was the complete unique separateness of him. I kept saying, he’s perfectly himself, exactly who he was supposed to be. Even a 24 hr old baby has his own personalty. Part of the reasons I don’t associate too closely with AP label is because I feel like it’s problematic to overidentify with a specific set of practices (and I know, I know strong AP folks remind us that AP is a philosophy, not a set of practices) because not all things work for all babies. I was gobsmacked to have a baby who didn’t really like co-sleeping, so I’ve never done much. He didn’t love being worn either, until he was older and could go in the Ergo. When I read anti-CIO folks who say, oh you should just hold your crying baby so she knows you’re there. I’m telling you, my eldest didn’t always want to be held. He was overstimulated by touch and it could flood him. Sometimes he really and truly wants to be alone. But it takes careful observation and trial and error to figure it out. I remember lying awake when he was a few weeks old, realizing I didn’t have to pick him up if he made the tiniest noise, I could wait and see – what kind of cry was it? Was he making weird baby noises or waking up? I needed to more than just react; sometimes it takes observation. Nursing and babywearing facilitate that kind of approach, being attuned to your baby, and that made me as a mother less anxious and more confident.

    As for what the community did for me, I have to say I didn’t know anyone who leaned crunchy when I had my baby. Well, really, I didn’t know anyone who also had kids, and the world felt pretty conventional to me in its approach. I knew I was unusual (though I had excellent bf support from my mother, who had breastfed both her children), so the AP online forums gave me a community, a place to feel comfortable and get ideas from people who thought like I did.

    Carriers and strollers: I use both, and I definitely think there’s a place for both. Mostly when wearing my babies, I use my Ergo. I love the way it hugs the baby close to me, and when we’re walking around I feel close to him; we can talk and look at each other. It’s more comfortable on the back, and easier to function but I miss them when I put them on the back. I also had a Moby, but I gave it up as soon as he was big enough for the Ergo. Wearing the baby out and about is great. It’s so nice to have hands free, especially with a toddler in tow, but even alone. I can never figure out why anyone would prefer to push a stroller around, even a light one. At the same time, if I’m going to be eating/sitting down, I like to have a stroller, because I don’t always want to hold the baby all the time. When I was in Europe with baby, I used to carry the stroller collapsed onto the bus, holding the baby in the Ergo (great for public transport!) and then put the baby in the stroller when I wanted to sit. I love my McClaren umbrella stroller like no one’s business. Best airport tip w/ kids: Put the baby in the Ergo, and use the stroller as a mobile luggage cart, piling the car seat, diaper bag, etc inside.

    Erin, Baltimore

  2. Posted 26 September 2012 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

    I’d love to comment about Attachment Parenting philosophy. I have practiced AP type things, like exclusively nursing, co-sleeping, baby wearing, (does home birth count too?), but I wouldn’t solely identify as an AP parent. In some ways I think staunch AP theory often marches in the opposite direction of feminism. Others argue that it is radical parenting/mothering to practice AP. I argue that the system in the US isn’t set up for mothers to be completely successful in practicing Attachment Parenting. If we had health care and paid family leave for a year or more, then I’d think it could be a viable option, but then again it leaves a lot of the nurturing and attachment solely on the mother’s shoulders. I struggle with this piece. As mothers we need to have our space and (guilt free) time to ourselves, it is healing to our soul and exercises all of the other amazing and diverse pieces of our identity besides being a mama. I think strict AP styles do not leave room for this important piece, rather it shrouds it with a huge cloud of guilt and shame for time away from our children. I find that any theory or practice that doesn’t leave room for critique and growth. If you can’t be flexible in your politics or have to live by a certain theoretical “code of conduct” then that politic is backwards, plain and simple.

  3. Posted 26 September 2012 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

    could you use my full name Jessica Montagna – Massachusetts

  4. Posted 26 September 2012 at 2:27 PM | Permalink

    1) People looking at what I do for parenting might label it X or Y, but I definitely don’t follow any sort of parenting theory/philosophy. I just do what seems commonsense, pleasurable, and easiest–for the most part. So yes, you’ll see me breastfeeding, exclusively at first and then for quite a long time into toddlerhood/preschool age; holding, touching, and snuggling with my babies a lot; co-sleeping (until one or both of us start to wake each other up too much!); using gentle but firm discipline (this varies with the age of the child, but we don’t use physical punishment and try not to raise our voices too much); responding quickly to my infants’ needs, etc. My husband and I both feel strongly that we want to raise our children with one or both parents around as much as possible. Because he’s been employed full-time as an academic and I’ve just started teaching university classes part-time, the bulk of the at-home parenting has fallen on me. Which is fine; I enjoy it. My husband loves having more time with the kids now that I’m teaching one class every semester. He’d be thrilled if I got a full-time academic job and he could stay home full-time. Right now I’m not that interested in that lifestyle, since I still hope to have more children and can’t imagine trying to juggle work and mothering/nursing and infant. I read a ton about pregnancy and birth, but never felt much need to read about parenting. One of the few books I have read is How To Talk So Your Kids Will Listen. It’s dated but pretty fantastic.

    2) I use both baby carriers and strollers a lot. To me, it’s not an either/or choice. When my babies are under 6 months, I carry them most of the time in a ring sling. Once they get heavier and more mobile, we transition over to a stroller with occasional rides in an Ergo. A lot of it depends on where we’re going and what we’re doing. One thing I never do is carry my infant around in a car seat. It’s impossibly heavy and awkward, and I can’t imagine hauling the “bucket” around! I always take my babies out and pop them in a baby carrier. So much easier and so much more pleasurable.

    Rixa Freeze, PhD

  5. Orchid
    Posted 26 September 2012 at 3:19 PM | Permalink

    I was walking with my antenatal group (in New Zealand it is socially expected that your antenatal class will morph into a support group after your babies are born). This was the third or fourth time we had met together for a walk, and a couple of them finally asked me “Do you have a stroller?” I was the only one walking with my baby in a baby carrier; the rest all had strollers.

    Me and my partner were wary of strollers from the start, for different reasons. My partner mainly didn’t like the way they inconvenience everyone around you by taking up so much space. He compared it to driving an SUV when you could have used public transit or a bicycle or something. I had a completely different concern. I felt bad for the babies, sealed up in their little isolated capsule. How much nicer for the baby to be snuggled against Mom or Dad.

    But I wasn’t sure full time baby carrying was practical for us. We are both mostly fit and healthy, but I am a small person and I do have a history of some chronic neck and back issues. My partner said, let’s just try stroller free and see how it goes.

    We didn’t own a stroller for the first 3 months of our baby’s life, and I am a little proud of that. After the first 3 months my partner went back to work, and I did not want to do baby wearing full time without his help; I was just going to be too hard on my body.

    We’ve had the stroller for a month, and we still baby carry lots. Our baby still sleeps best and longest in the carrier during the day. If we are out with the stroller he won’t sleep more than half an hour in it, and when he wakes he is SO over being in the stroller; he wants you to get him out of that thing and not put him back in for a while. But I now think sometimes the lack of sensory input he gets in a stroller helps him relax and zone out if he needs a nap.

    The stroller is just one more tool at our disposal as parents. Sometimes I use the front pack just because I feel the need to be close to my baby. Sometimes I use the stroller because my back just needs a break. But I do sometimes feel the stroller has a distancing effect psychologically from your child. It’s harder to ignore a fussy baby wiggling against your chest and screaming in your ear, versus a similarly behaving baby sealed into his stroller. The first baby, you can’t help but feel sympathy for his troubles. It is far too easy to feel mainly annoyed by the second baby. And it is far easier to put off responding to him just that little bit longer.

    We’ve approached how to transport our baby the same as we have approached other questions of how to raise our son: With thoughtfulness and flexibility, open to trying a variety of approaches to discover what works for our family. I want to avoid going with the main stream as default. But I also don’t want to select a specific parenting method or strategy and doggedly stick with it out of loyalty to an abstracted theory if it is not working for our family. I want to spend more time thinking things through for myself, and being mindful of what fits our particular family, and less time consulting the experts, asking for advice, or paying attention to what others around me are doing.

    Heather, of Wellington, New Zealand

  6. Posted 26 September 2012 at 9:17 PM | Permalink

    I do not identify with anything in particular. I find parenting labels incredibly harmful, to be honest – it’s just another way for the stupid, bored-with-itself media to pit women against one another. I will go ahead and use a label for convenience, though, and call myself the anti-attachment parenting. (I don’t mean “anti” as in against, I just mean “anti” as in I tend to gravitate towards the opposite choice from most AP stuff). I seem to have a real philosophy that it is my duty to teach my child to live without me, and that starts pretty early on. That style doesn’t really have a name, though – I did identify with a large part of the Baby Wise book, though not all of it.

    As for stroller/sling – I have both, and rely heavily on both. I didn’t wear my boys much when they were infants, because they were fidgety and that drove me crazy – and I also always worried about them smothering, and kept obsessively checking their breathing (new mom anxiety). But now that they are bigger, the Ergo carrier is what I tend to use (I have another sling or two as well, but rely mostly on the Ergo). Love my Ergo – it’s very comfortable, and easy to use, even still with my 45 pound 4 year old (only when we go on long hikes and he needs a break).

    As for the stroller, we paid top dollar for a Phil and Ted in-line double stroller, so that it wouldn’t be too intrusive when we take it places. I didn’t get it until my second kid was 8 weeks old (i.e. the end of my maternity leave), and I was so terribly depressed until it came. For me, a double stroller = release from the prison of home. I throw those two in that thing and walk all over the place, even still. (We lived in the heart of a city up until about a month ago, and so my stroller was my ‘car.’ ) With my boys so close together in age, it was and is exceedingly important that I have a portable containment unit, so that stroller is my lifeline. I also have big boys, boys who grew very tall and very heavy very fast, and so a stroller is easier on my back than a sling. So the in-line, small footprint, turns-on-a-dime, $500 stroller was the right choice for us, as was the lasts-forever Ergo, which I use when I know space is going to be too tight for a stroller. I can hold the 4 year old by the hand, and strap the 2 year old to me – though if we’re in a hurry, or in a place with breakables or heavy traffic, I still prefer the stroller where I can strap both kids in, and also hang a purse and diaper bag and such.

  7. Lara
    Posted 27 September 2012 at 7:55 AM | Permalink

    What a great idea for a book! So glad you’re doing it!

    I had my first baby in Berkeley, CA, so the question of parenting styles could sometimes seem to rise to the level of Culture Wars. Before I had my baby, I read Sears and thought attachment parenting sounded wonderful. I bought a co-sleeper, since I couldn’t upgrade our full-sized bed, and thought I was good to go. Then it turned out that I was a complete mess, trying to sleep next to a snorting, wiggling little creature, and it didn’t seem he like did all that well either. We detached the co-sleeper from the bed, and started inching it further away. I took a few nights on the futon in the living room, and then moved out there permanently, leaving my husband to keep nighttime watch on the baby. That led to a tremendously useful insight into parenting advice from whatever the source: nothing works for all babies and all parents. It’s a matter of constant experimentation and compromise, to find something everyone can live with. I read the non-AP books for sleep advice, but enjoyed the AP books for ideas about nursing, baby-wearing and food. Unfortunately, I often found both kinds stressful to read, because they would insist that if you did things the other way, you’d ruin your kids for life.

    I loved being in a community where there was support for public breastfeeding, and baby-carrying was normal, about on par with using a stroller. And in a walkable city with great weather, lots of people were out on foot, rather than in cars. We were lucky to be in an apartment on the main drag, so I strapped my little guy into my Baby Trekker every day at least twice, and walked to the grocery store, the post office, the playground (where he was entertained watching bigger children from a very early age), the library, etc. I treasured those times. I was lucky to have a very healthy pregnancy, filled with walking and dance classes, so I could use the carrier for hours a day, even with the giant baby I quickly produced with my “over”-supply of milk. One of our favorite family stories is about his “first food”: at four months old, he was in the Trekker, and we had made an early-morning grocery store run, as we did most days, to have an excuse to go out and so that I could carry just a few groceries at a time. I had picked up a sample of chocolate cake, and was looking at it, thinking about how to get it out of the sample cups without getting my fingers too messy. He took a swipe at it, and got some into his mouth before I could prevent it. Chocolate cake, his first food! When he reached 6 months and 20 pounds, my back started to give out. I shopped for backpacks in vain. He didn’t like being pasted onto my back, like with the Ergo, and the structured packs I could find were all built for much larger people. So we switched to our stroller. And that was wonderful too. I set it so that he was upright and forward in it, once he could sit well, and I have fond memories of strolling to the library through downtown Berkeley, with my toddler bouncing up and down excitedly at the very front of the stroller seat, waving his hand in his version of the sign for “library.” Everyone smiled when they saw us coming. The stroller took us well into toddlerhood, still able to explore for miles around our apartment, and really be out in our community.

    I had my second child in Wellesley, MA, and it was quite a contrast. He grew even faster, and I had SI joint problems after the birth, so I never really carried him much. My husband did, a little, but the weather was very hot, then cold and icy, and there were fewer good opportunities. We still strolled, but I had to accommodate a 3-year old too, so we couldn’t be all that adventurous. A double stroller was impractical in our very hilly neighborhood, so our walks were much more circumscribed. I could make it to the library and playground, just barely, but I had to be brave, because I knew I’d have to drag a tired 3-year old up a giant hill to get home. I still preferred putting a baby in and out of a stroller compared to the carseat, and this mom needed to be walked at least once a day or she’d go crazy and run in circles around the house, so we persisted. But it was not quite the same as Berkeley.

    I was at least lucky enough to live in a walking neighborhood. Most of the babies I saw in Wellesley lived in their carseats. Most were younger siblings, since I met them at preschool or at the playground. They went from car to school to playground in their seats, sleeping, watching siblings, and drinking from bottles. (I think I saw 2 other moms publicly breastfeed during the 3 years I lived there.) I felt really depressed when I looked at those babies. And I had this sense of having barely escaped: if I had had my first child in Wellesley, would I have done it this way too? I was more or less comfortable being the outlier because I was an experienced mom. I don’t know what I would have done if it were my first. I might have missed one of the core, most treasured parts of my parenting experiences.

    It continues, of course. When we moved to NJ, we put top priority on living in a walking neighborhood, and that took some serious compromises. Our house is small, and as a Democrat and feminist, I am politically way left of center in my town. But I walk my kids to school, and soon they will walk themselves to school. We walk to the library, the playground and the pizzeria. We are out on the streets in our community, and it feels right to me.

  8. Posted 28 September 2012 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

    Carriers and strollers:
    We initially weren’t going to get a stroller, but my mom insisted on buying us one. Unfortunately, the one she bought us was terrible for city streets. We consigned it. Now we have two strollers, both hand-me-downs: one a huge jogging stroller so that I can go running, and one a double jogging stroller so that I can easily transport both my son and the other toddler I care for during the week. We didn’t get either jogging stroller, though, until after my son was a year old, and I think we used the crappy stroller a handful of times.

    That means it was carrier all the way, baby. We tried a bunch. I initially bought a Snugli and a Bjorn, but neither was comfortable to wear or easy to use. I was also given a Moby Wrap, and we used that thing for six months straight, practically. When he was little, he was either in my arms or in the Moby — Oz was not a baby who ever wanted to be put down.

    In Portland, Ore., this is all normal. People here seem to use a variety of baby-carrying-devices, from Bjorns to Ergos and slings to umbrella strollers and fancy-schmancy stroller systems. Oz and I traveled to my baby brother’s high school graduation in Texas when Oz was four months old, and people asked us constantly about the Moby. The girl my brother was sitting next to at graduation spotted me walking Oz around the stadium with the Moby on over a nursing tank (it was HOT), and said, “That lady is wearing a baby in her shirt!” My brother said, “Actually, that’s my sister, and she’s got a baby carrier on.” The girl did not believe him, and he had to explain what I was doing multiple times to all the kids around him.

    When Oz was five months old, his grandparents gave us an Ergo, and we haven’t looked back. The Moby Wrap was perfect for his infancy, but as he became more mobile (and bigger — we had a big baby), the Ergo and a back carry worked really well. Lately, I’ve been carting these two toddlers around, looking after a friend’s daughter, and I’ve found the Ergo indispensable. I put one toddler in the Ergo on my back, and it frees up my hands to wrangle the other one. I switch them off so they both get some walking time and some carrying time.

    We also use the bike trailer! I’ve been working really, really hard to move away from the car for small trips, and the bike trailer makes this possible. I can carry groceries! I can take two toddlers to the library and get them home again with minimal fuss, PLUS I get to be outside and moving while I do it. Bike trailer + Ergo is a frequent combination these days.

    Parenting styles:
    I joked to a birth professional colleague of mine recently that I use and advocate “half-assed attachment parenting.” Which is to say: I adhere strongly to the principles of attachment parenting without being dogmatic about the practices. As a birth and postpartum doula, I have to be careful about how strongly I hold parenting opinions, so they don’t get in the way of my practice. I firmly believe that staying connected and attached to your child is the most important thing. *How* you achieve that is flexible. While this mindset helps me professionally, it has also helped me personally — when I’m ambivalent about cosleeping, for example, it helps me feel more comfortable with the decisions I make to limit or reduce the amount of bed sharing we do.

    Basically, while I don’t identify as a crunchy-natural-hippie-attachment mama, I tend towards a lot of the same practices and ideas. Why don’t I identify that way? I find it way too limiting, and I find many of the women in that community eager to reject other people for holding opinions similar to mine (e.g., I am pro-vaccination, and the crunchy-attachment mamas I know vilify “vaxxers”). My partner and I are also questioning, thinking, researching types who don’t know a lot of other young families, so we end up making choices about parenting based more on what we’ve read and studied than what other people around us are doing . I guess my parenting ideology could be summed up as: Do what feels right for me and my family.

  9. A'Llyn
    Posted 28 September 2012 at 8:03 PM | Permalink

    I don’t really identify with a particular parenting style, and don’t think I could even really define any of them very well. I feel sort of in sympathy with my rough ideas of attachment parenting and free-range parenting, but I’m not home enough to be attached, and he’s not old enough to range freely (6 months), so I haven’t read up on or tried to adopt either one.

    My parents were sort of earthy-crunchy hippies, so I inherited an inclination to breastfeed according to whatever schedule the baby wants, co-sleep, use cloth diapers, comfort him when he cries, feed him whatever we’re eating (within reason) when he starts solids, and so forth, and I feel fairly strongly about doing those things for me (although we had to let the cloth diapers go on weekdays: daycare and grandma don’t want to deal with them, so he wears disposables while we’re at work), but I don’t have much of an opinion on whether they’re the best option for someone else.

    Is your baby fed, rested, loved, and not permanently living in his/her own waste? He or she is probably OK. My philosophy of parenting, I guess, is something like “do the best you can, try not to stress too much, it will all work out.” I don’t think that’s exactly a style, though.

    We have both a stroller and a baby carrier. I didn’t really see any need for a stroller, but my mother in law, who had already agreed to watch the baby two days a week, wanted one, so we got a big jogging-style one at my baby shower. It’s supposed to be very luxurious, although I haven’t actually used it yet. We also got, second hand, a smaller one that’s just a stroller frame you can snap a car seat into, and we’ve used that so far because it’s easier to get it up and down the stairs to our second floor apartment. He’s going to outgrow it soon, though, so maybe we’ll bring out the BOB then.

    I totally wanted a baby carrier and assumed I would get a lot more use out of it than the stroller, but I haven’t actually used it much either. (I have an Ergo.) I had a c-section, and couldn’t use it right away (even though I got the ‘infant insert’ so I could use it before he could hold his head steady) because it put pressure on the incision, so I didn’t get much practice while I was home on maternity leave. And then my baby tends to be squirmy, so he wasn’t always happy to be tucked into the carrier (although in the right mood he would drift right off to sleep), but usually seemed to be pretty chill in the stroller, where he could wave his arms and legs around. Also, my hubbins is a fairly broad guy, and the Ergo barely fastens around him and isn’t very comfortable for him, so he uses the stroller pretty much exclusively, and if we’re all going for a walk we’ll usually take the stroller because we can take turns pushing, where we can’t take turns wearing.

    I will also say, in the stroller’s favor, that it’s kind of nice for semi-lengthy trips because there’s a little space under the baby seat that you can store a diaper bag, so you don’t have to carry stuff. On the other hand, like with a car, you always have to find somewhere to park it, and it can be a challenge–or just not possible–to fit into small stores without feeling like a jerk for taking up all the space.

    I still have hopes of getting more use out of the carrier, and certainly the option will be there for quite a while yet, but we don’t really walk that much outdoors (I walk a lot on my commute, and am not usually in the mood to walk for leisure when I’m home), and the baby doesn’t want to be carried around as much now that he can sit up and grab toys, so there’s not much call for it indoors either. I think it will come in handy in the future, though, for times when we might feel like going out and not want to deal with stashing a stroller somewhere.

    I see plenty of people out and about with both strollers and carriers. Probably more strollers in my immediate neighborhood, but I don’t feel like the weirdo when I’m out with either one.

  10. Elizabeth
    Posted 30 September 2012 at 5:19 PM | Permalink

    I have to say, I agree with much of what has been said already. I am reading “Why Have Kids” and definitely disagree with her complete dismissal of attachment parenting and elimination communication in particular as anti-feminist (though admittedly I’m only on chapter 6 or so).

    Anyway, I have to say I identify most closely with attachment parenting, though am only tangentially aware of the dogma. We co-slept, in the bed, for the first 3 months, mostly because the baby would wake up if we put her in the sidecar crib we had attached to the bed! Now she sleeps at night in the Arm’s Reach, and I am able to feed her without getting out of bed. I breast feed, because though the first week was terrible on my nipples, it works well for us. I stay at home because I hated my low-paying, limited duration job (in my professional field) way too much to return after counting down my meager and unpaid FMLA hours. We do elimination communication because I am home, and it’s so great to read her signs and help her poop in a bowl and not have to change poopy diapers! The lure of possibly being completely out of diapers before 24 months is nice, too. We cloth diaper, using a diaper service, because we don’t really use anything in our lives that are one-time use. But, we use disposables when we have traveled to see family.

    We are also interested in adopting some Montessori principles as she gets older, including a floor bed (in her own room) and helping her develop independence.

    We are mostly a baby-carrier family. I use primarily the Moby, in which she takes at least one nap a day, after a walk. My husband has loved the sling, but thinks the Moby is too confusing to put on (apparently many dads feel this way). We also have a Beco, which is nice for longer walks and putting on in parking lots and such. Living in Portland, all of these are totally normal, which is wonderful. Whenever I leave Portland, I have to explain what the Moby is, mostly to older women who exclaim that they wish they had something like it when their kids were little!

    We also have a jogging stroller, which I have used once, because my mother was visiting and she had bought it for us. I anticipate when baby gets older, we will use it more, though carrying the baby is so easy, I can’t imagine wrangling a stroller everywhere. That said, we carry the baby around in her carseat occasionally. If she’s sleeping, it’s just so much easier to let her sleep and lug the (heavy, awkward) carseat around, so she stays asleep, since she hates being taken in and out of it.

    Mostly, I just think it’s important to not be dogmatic or perfectionist about parenting. Nothing is going to work perfectly all the time. Baby will change, and baby will let you know what her preferences are. Probably what is worst for mothers is expecting to do one thing, just right, all the time, or not having the option to do what is right for your family at the moment.

    -Elizabeth, from Portland Oregon

  11. Tertia
    Posted 3 October 2012 at 1:56 AM | Permalink

    I) I don’t identify with any particular parenting style/philosophy. I like a lot of what I have read about attachment parenting, but in some ways I find it to stressful to try to follow it and don’t like the division it creates between parents. I love the idea of creating a strong attachment with my daughter and parenting in a way that feels natural to me, but I don’t need any exterior pressure about my parenting to make me feel guilty about attending to my own needs.

    II) I wore my daughter a lot when she was a newborn and infant. I had her close, she was happy and she slept, and I had use of my hands, so I think we both loved it. As she got bigger I changed carrier types from a stretchy wrap to a more structured carrier. And as she got bigger yet, we started using the stroller more and more. But it depends entirely on the situation, and on the phase my daughter happens to be in. She is 16 months now, and I put her in the Ergo in the grocery store because I can’t keep her from standing up and diving out of the shopping cart. I put her in a framed carrier when we go hiking. I put her in the stroller when I will be walking a lot, and in a position to let her out to toddle around sometimes. I love both carriers and strollers, they both have their uses. I definitely see more parents with strollers than carrying their kids, but I totally understand how cumbersome and heavy they can get to carry around. Its awesome if both the parent and child enjoy it, but having options is a fantastic thing.

  12. Orchid
    Posted 13 October 2012 at 12:29 PM | Permalink

    I didn’t really answer question #1 at first, as I am a new mom still figuring this stuff out, but I wanted to add this, an excerpt from my personal journal:

    Am I attachment parenting? Or just making it up as I go along?

    I didn’t start by reading parenting books. I started by thinking. I am a thinking parent. I follow my heart and mind and intuition. And always I follow my child. If I feel stuck on some topic, then I pillage the library for books, take from them what I can use and jettison the rest.

    My personal parenting principals emerge as I go.

    The first ‘parenting’ books I read were attachment-y breastfeeding books, all recommended by La Leche League. I keep coming back to this one sentence from the intro of one of these:

    “A babies wants are a babies needs.” In other words, if a baby wants something, it is what they need, there is no difference to a baby.

    I was attending a “Baby and You” class; one of oh so many classes you and your baby can take to learn how to interact with each other. It was Day Two when we got to getting your baby to sleep. She said right off the bat, as if everyone should know this already, that you shouldn’t rock your baby to sleep or nurse your baby to sleep. “But if you’ve been doing this, don’t worry, it’s not too late! You haven’t spoiled them yet!” I sat stonily through the rest of the class, as a variation of the “cry it out’ method was advised. We had been rocking or nursing our baby to sleep every night and it was an absolute joy.

    I came home seething. I had only been a mom for about four weeks, but I knew two things with absolute certainty: “I am going to feed my baby when he is hungry and I am going to comfort him when he is crying.” It was so simple. It was so obvious. It was so basic, so inherent in what it meant to me to be a parent. From this, I can extrapolate these bits of parenting philosophy:

    Parent with compassion, love, and respect. And, flowing naturally from that, let your child lead the way.

    I also decided to avoid any more “Mom and Baby” type classes. Many moms go to these primarily for the social aspect; I will find other ways to connect with new moms.

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