Adventures in “Sleep Learning”

Because sleep training = negative connotation. (Sleep learning just sounds so much better.)

Yes, I have succumbed. Somewhat.

I woke up yesterday feeling exhausted and desperate. Not a great combination. Bucko had woken me up roughly every 60-90 minutes, needing to nurse in order for him to fall back asleep. And so he’d nurse for a couple of minutes, then fall back asleep, while I’d stay awake, because I just don’t fall asleep that easily. By morning, I was miserable. And to tell you the truth, Bucko wasn’t much better.

A realization hit me: we’d both do better if we could both get a full night’s sleep. All this fragmented sleep wasn’t doing either of us any good. I was sick of my daytime-zombie routine and Bucko was not faring well either. Something needed to change.

Enter “sleep learning.”

I’ve read a bunch of sleep books: Elizabeth Pantley’s The No-Cry Sleep Solution, Dr. Sears’s The Baby Sleep Book, Dr. Harvey Karp’s The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep, even the much-vilified Ferber book (which honestly isn’t nearly as draconian as the AP-crowd makes it out to be), and more.

Ultimately, The Sleepeasy Solution made the most sense to me. It bills itself as an in-between approach to the CIO (cry-it-out) methods and the so-called “no-cry” methods. One of its common-sense revelations: babies are going to cry when you implement change. They don’t have any other way to say, “Um, why aren’t you doing what you used to do to get me to sleep? I want THAT.” So they cry. But they have to figure out how to get themselves to sleep without needing some kind of parental crutch. Until now, Bucko would only fall asleep if he was nursing and being held (or lying next to me in bed). EXCEPT…he would also fall asleep in his car seat. And he would take naps (albeit reluctantly and irregularly) at school, sleeping in a crib. So I knew that he was CAPABLE of falling asleep without me, although he wasn’t yet doing it consistently.

So last night, I put theory into practice. We did a bedtime routine (which, I admit, I have not been doing consistently, but will start doing every night): bath, diaper, pajamas, books, nurse. Then I put him in the co-sleeper awake (much to his dismay), turned out the light, and told him it was time to go to sleep.

And he immediately started wailing. Predictable. But it wasn’t a terrified cry, it was a pissed-off cry. He was mad that he wasn’t getting what he expected. Understandable.

I went downstairs, listened to him wail for five minutes, then went upstairs to tell him (in a reassuring, loving, gentle way) that it was okay, it was time to go to sleep, and then I went back downstairs. He kept crying. Ten more minutes passed. I went back upstairs, told him (reassuringly, lovingly, gently) it was bedtime and he needed to go to sleep, went back downstairs. Crying continued. But two minutes before the next check-in (after an additional fifteen minutes), the crying stopped. He was asleep. Twenty-eight minutes of crying.

ROCK ON!

I got a little cocky at this point, thinking I had slain the sleep monster. (Spoiler alert: not true.) After an hour or so, I went to bed and luxuriated in stretching out in bed without worrying about a baby getting in the way. It was lovely. Until Bucko woke up and started crying again.

And kept crying.

And wouldn’t stop.

For an hour.

And this is where I cracked. After an hour of lying next to him while he cried, I picked him up, put him in bed with me, and nursed him. I honestly think he was crying because he was cold (not used to sleeping alone) and hungry (I guess he was due for another feeding). He nursed for about five to six minutes, and then I unlatched him and pulled my shirt down. He started crying in protest, but I rubbed his tummy and cuddled him and told him it was okay and he needed to go to sleep. And guess what? HE WENT TO SLEEP!

So despite my failure to stick to the plan, I still consider last night to be a success, because what was really bothering me about our sleeping arrangements wasn’t so much that he was in bed with me, but that he wanted to comfort-nurse every hour or so all night long. Last night, he woke up maybe two to three times wanting to comfort-nurse, but went right back to sleep after I cuddled him instead of allowing him to nurse. Around 5am, he nursed for about ten minutes (for food) and went right back to sleep after I unlatched him. He woke up for good around 6:30am, roughly eleven hours after I put him to bed last night.

So . . . SUCCESS!

And as I write this, he’s napping upstairs in bed all by himself. (Well, technically, a kitty is sleeping on the bed with him.) It was not without some drama––it took about a half-hour of crying before he fell asleep, but this time the crying was less insistent and angry and was more just frustrated and fussy.

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Yes, I know that technically (according to safe co-sleeping guidelines) I’m not supposed to have pillows on the bed, or blankets, or a cat, BUT . . . Bucko is quite capable of pushing away things from his face and rolling away from obstructions, and the cat isn’t going to bother him. Trust me.

If I can get him to a point where he naps by himself, goes to bed by himself, and then gets in bed with me after his first night waking, I can live with that. I’d gain much more free time during his naps and after he goes to bed at night, and I’d be much better rested if he’s not constantly comfort-nursing throughout the night. He’d also be much better rested, which would definitely help out his teachers when he goes to school, not to mention his mommy and daddy at home!

Win win win. Everybody wins. (Except for daddy, who can’t STAND to hear him cry. I’m the bad cop.)

UPDATE –– mid-afternoon

So Bucko ended up sleeping for over THREE HOURS! I actually had to wake him up around noon so we could go to the grocery store before his second nap. (Say whaaaaaaaa?!?!?!) And he was even more easygoing and good-natured than usual. No fussing whatsoever, not even in the car (he’s not always a huge fan of being in his car seat).

We got the grocery shopping done, came home, and immediately headed upstairs for Nap #2. I nursed him (and, just a side note, WHOA did I need to nurse––it’ll probably take a few days for my milk production to adjust to his new schedule) and then told him it was time to go to sleep. Got up, turned on the white noise machine (we like the “ocean” setting), and went downstairs to put the groceries away. He was quiet for a few minutes until he realized I wasn’t coming right back, then he started crying a bit. He’d alternate between silence and fussing, but he was asleep in less than fifteen minutes. FIFTEEN MINUTES! PROGRESS!!!

I want to stress that at NO point did he sound genuinely distressed. If he sounded frightened or in pain or something like that, I’d attend to him ASAP. I snuck upstairs during one of his silent moments and found him lying there playing with his fingers (and somehow, he didn’t see me––phew!). He definitely wasn’t in distress. His cries, when they occurred, were of the annoyed/pissed/frustrated variety. I can live with those cries. And more importantly, so can he.

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This is what liberation looks like.

So far, he’s been asleep for about a half-hour. I feel giddy.

 

Mommy needs a break sometimes

It finally happened.

SEPARATION ANXIETY!

*cue scary music*

Ten months of generally being okay with Mommy going someplace else for a little while has come to a screeching halt. That idyllic time is over.

I know all babies go through separation anxiety at some point, and that it can last off and on for a few years. And I know it’s a good thing, because it means that Bucko has developed object permanence and a secure attachment. But ugh, it is not pretty.

Bucko goes to a great daycare center on post. I am very comfortable leaving him there for a few hours here and there while I get stuff done at home. He clearly enjoys being at “school” (which is what we call it): he loves his teachers, they love him, he enjoys playing with all the neat toys they have there, and he likes being around other babies.

Today, after he woke up from his morning nap, I told him that he was going to go to school today. He smiled really big and said, “Yay!” (“Yay” is his first word––he started saying it last week. Too cute.) He knows what “school” means. He knows the drill. So off we went to school, with Bucko in a cheerful mood. We got to school, went to his classroom, and I set him down to play with some toys while I put his bottles and diapers away. He was fine. I filled out his daily paper (where they track his diapers and what he eats and when he naps) and he was fine. Then I started to make my getaway. He usually doesn’t notice, or if he does notice, he usually doesn’t care.

But today . . . .

OH MY GOD YOU’D THINK I WAS LEAVING THE COUNTRY! Huge wails, arms outstretched toward me, big fat tears rolling down his big fat cheeks. It was heartbreaking. One of his teachers scooped him up so I could leave without feeling too awful, but he kept sobbing. All I wanted to do was run over and grab him and hug him tight, but I know that’s not going to help him get used to goodbyes, so I just left.

😦

On the drive home, I started piecing together other clues that separation anxiety was beginning to rear its tearful head. Bucko has been extra-clingy lately, something I had attributed to teething. He burst into tears the other day when we were at a new moms play group and I got up to go to the bathroom. He has started to fuss at home whenever I leave the room, even if I’m just grabbing a snack in the kitchen or running upstairs to find a clean outfit for him. He’s not content to be on the floor playing with his toys. He wants to be held. He’s been waking up seemingly scared several times each night, needing me to hold him and nurse him back to sleep.

No wonder I’ve been so worn out lately.

So now I’m wondering how long this phase will last. How long must I endure the cries and screams whenever I go to the bathroom or take a shower or drop him off at school? How long until I can be somewhat productive at home when he’s home, too? How long until I’m not so bone-tired anymore?

(Please, don’t answer that.)

Learning to trust myself . . . an ongoing process

Last night, Bucko got tired earlier than usual––he was asleep in Cap’n Daddy’s arms by 8pm. Which meant that I had to go to bed earlier than usual, because Bucko needs me to nurse him to sleep, and I can’t get up once he’s asleep because he’ll wake right back up and be hysterical until I lie back down beside him and nurse him again. So I go to bed when he goes to bed, although I spend an hour or two on my iPad or phone before I’m ready for sleep myself.

This gets old. I’d like to be able to stay up later. I’d like to have more time to talk to my husband, who works loooong hours practically every day. I’d like to be able to watch TV at night, stuff like the news or college basketball or football. Maybe even a movie every now and then. I miss doing those things.

And I don’t necessarily mind nursing at night, but he’s been wanting to stay latched on and comfort suck for (what seems like) the whole night. It’s kinda annoying, honestly. I don’t mind having him in bed with me, but I’d like the freedom to––I don’t know––do something crazy like roll over on my other side, or sleep on my back. Or maybe just not have that faint fluttering sensation on my nipple, which tends to prevent me from falling asleep along with him. (Is the dopey, sleep-inducing effect of prolactin diminished after nursing for several months? Does anybody know? Because I haven’t been feeling it in quite a while.)

So last night, after I got Bucko in his jammies and night-time diaper and nursed him to sleep, I thought, “OK, tonight’s the night when I start teaching him that he doesn’t need to nurse in order to fall asleep.” At his first waking, which tends to be about an hour or so after he first falls asleep, I tried to implement my plan: don’t offer the breast, just lie or sit beside him, pat his belly, talk softly to him until he falls back asleep.

Epic fail.

He looked bewildered at first, like “Um, HEL-LO…you know what to do!” and fussed a little louder and then a little louder still. When that wasn’t getting his desired response, he upped the ante by dropping his equivalent of the nuclear bomb: the piercing, furious, hysterical cry.

This brought the Cap’n running upstairs because he thought something was terribly wrong. Nope, I tried to explain over Bucko’s wails, I’ve got it under control…sorta. But it was hard for us to talk to each other because we couldn’t hear a damn thing either one of us was saying. (Bucko’s got some LUNGS.)

The Cap’n went back downstairs, somewhat confused but reassured that no one was in grave peril, while Bucko continued to thrash and scream and cry big fat tears all over the sheets.

I gave in. Laid down, pulled out the boob, and Bucko did the rest––he snatched it with both hands and immediately latched on through some wind-down whimpers and sniffles.

Within a minute or two, he was asleep. Less than ten minutes after that, he voluntarily unlatched and rolled onto his back with a satisfied sigh.

That was it? I let him scream and cry, sounding like the most abandoned, unloved, heartbroken baby of all-time, to avoid less than ten minutes of comfort nursing?

That’s when I wrote last night’s post.

Sometimes sleep-training sounds soooo good. Yes, it would be wonderful to set Bucko down at the end of the day, walk away, and have him fall asleep on his own and stay asleep all night long. But is that really in his best interest?

I tend to agree with the theory that babies cry when they’re sleeping by themselves because instinct tells them it’s dangerous––babies left unattended during caveman days could be eaten by saber-toothed tigers, or maybe they were left alone because mommy was eaten by a saber-toothed tiger. Know what I mean? It would make sense that babies wouldn’t understand that they’re still perfectly safe when they’re in a crib.

But obviously some babies can be sleep-trained without much difficulty at all. Some babies prefer to sleep alone. Some babies do fine with that set-up.

But after ten months of getting to know Bucko, he is not that kind of baby.

Anyone who has met Bucko invariably comments on how happy he is, what a good baby he is, how secure and laid-back he is. These things are true. He is an incredibly happy baby. He smiles almost all the time. He adapts well to new situations, he doesn’t cry when unfamiliar people hold him, he enjoys going to daycare (on a part-time/irregular basis).

Happy boy

Happy baby

Yay, a camera!

He had just woken up!

He had just woken up!

But I’ve wondered since he was a newborn if he is what Dr. Sears refers to as a “high-needs” baby. No, he wasn’t a terribly fussy baby, but we never allowed him to cry––Cap’n Daddy and I would do whatever he wanted to keep him happy. And boy, he would let us know when he wasn’t happy. Hungry? CRY. Tired? CRY. Wet or poopy diapers? CRY. Bored? CRY. Overstimulated? CRY. When people would tell us how good he was, we’d joke that he’s very good as long as we obey his commands. But it wasn’t really a joke.

Sometimes I wonder if I would have a completely different baby if I tried to parent him according to conventional baby-rearing wisdom rather than listening to my gut.

He has always wanted to be held. For his first several months, he would cry and cry and cry if someone wasn’t holding him. So we held him. I held him. I held him during his naps, I held him when he was awake, I carried him in a baby carrier while I did stuff at home or while I ran errands.

As he got older, he began demanding near-constant interaction. He looked to me to provide suitably stimulating experiences and let me know if I was failing to meet his expectations. Even today, although he is happy playing by himself for a while here and there, he wants me to fully engage with him most of the day. It can be exhausting.

I still nurse him on demand, which is several times a day––sometimes for a full feeding, sometimes just a quick snack, and everything in between.

He has always eschewed any semblance of a schedule, and I have not even attempted to force one onto him. I just try to pay attention to his needs. Often, it’s all I can muster just to hang on and ride out the day.

If I had tried to follow common advice about parenting babies––sleep training and night-weaning and schedules and all the rest––I’d probably be miserable, and Bucko would probably be even more so. He probably wouldn’t be the outgoing, vivacious, happy, confident baby he is today.

When I find myself second-guessing the choices I’ve made, maybe I should remember that there’s pretty good evidence I’m doing something right. Sometimes I need to remind myself that I have a delightfully cheerful, healthy, friendly, wonderful baby boy who charms everyone he meets. And maybe I have something to do with him being that way.

Thoughts from the family bed

Lately it has seemed like Bucko has been nursing more often throughout the night. I don’t really mind it, but the comfort sucking can get annoying. I’ve been plagued with anxiety about our current sleeping arrangements, second-guessing myself and wondering if I’m being a bad mom for allowing my 10-month-old to continue to nurse himself to sleep and to nurse a few times a night.

Then I read this from the fabulous KellyMom:

Many moms feel guilty for nursing their baby to sleep. Nursing your baby to sleep is not a bad thing to do! It’s very normal and developmentally appropriate for babies to nurse to sleep and to wake 1-3 times during the night for the first year or so. Some babies don’t do this, but they are the exception, not the rule. Many children, if given the choice, prefer to nurse to sleep through the second year and beyond. Nursing is obviously designed to comfort baby and to help baby sleep, and I’ve never seen a convincing reason why mothers shouldn’t use this wonderful “tool” that we’ve been given.

(There’s a lot more–definitely worth a read!)

OK. I feel better now.

It’s just a phase. This too shall pass.

Putting all my cards out on the table: 12+ hot-button parenting choices I’ve made

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being a mom, it’s that moms are judgey. (Dads can be judgey too, but they’re more likely to go with the flow, I think.) Admit it––once you become a mom, you look around and silently evaluate other moms for the choices they’re making with their children. I don’t think this is automatically “bad,” and honestly, it’s probably just human nature. When you’re trying to get your bearings as a new parent, it can be just as helpful to decide what you DON’T want to do as what you DO want to do. As long as we all keep in mind that, barring cases of abuse or neglect, ALL parents do what they feel is best for their kids. What works for their kids won’t necessarily work for yours, and vice versa.

I figure I might as well confess to all the potentially controversial things I do as a parent––hey, assuming I keep this blog up, you’d find out about this stuff anyway.

In no particular order, here’s my list of parenting choices I’ve made:

1. Using IVF to become pregnant

I never, ever imagined that I would need IVF. I come from a long line of very fertile women. But as luck would have it, after trying for over a year to get pregnant on our own, we discovered that IVF would be pretty much the only way we could conceive. Thankfully, the issue was not with my plumbing, but with Cap’n Daddy’s. I say “thankfully” because our FANTASTIC fertility doc told us that our chances of having success via IVF was much higher when the woman’s reproductive system was functioning normally. And this apparently was the case––we got pregnant on our first try. I’ve heard the arguments against IVF––that it’s selfish, that it’s immoral, that people should just adopt––but let me tell you, it’s not a decision that ANYONE takes lightly. And if you have a problem with it, keep your opinions to yourself. Because no one who has experienced the crazy amounts of medications, countless shots in the stomach, endless blood draws, the emotional roller coaster of each cycle, and footed the significant financial cost of going through all of that wants to hear what YOU think. Trust me on that.

One of these blastocysts is Bucko. We transferred both but only one stuck. And we couldn’t be more thrilled with him!

2. Taking medication during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Everyone––and I do mean everyone––does better when Mommy takes her meds. Yes, I’ve done my research. And yes, the benefits definitely outweighed the risks.

3. Natural birth…in a hospital

OK, it wasn’t totally natural, and it didn’t go exactly according to my birth plan. That’s okay, though, because I viewed my birth plan as more of a birth guide. Anyway, I quickly realized after getting to the hospital that my Hypnobirthing recordings were annoying rather than helpful. I had 1.5 doses of Nubain fairly early in my labor because I was dilating REALLY fast and it effin’ HURT. I also had to get IV antibiotics because I tested positive for Group B Strep. I labored mostly on the hospital bed. My midwife ruptured my membranes when I was around 10 cm, so they didn’t break on their own. I agreed to a minimal dose of Pitocin when my labor stalled around 8-10cm. I ended up with a medically-necessary episiotomy.

But I did not have my labor induced. I did not have an epidural and I did not have a c-section (even though I was begging for both roughly a hour and a half before Bucko was born). I tried laboring in the in-room whirlpool tub, but after a while, I wanted to get back on the bed. I also tried laboring in the hands-and-knees position and in a squatting position, but kept coming back to sitting semi-reclined on the bed. It was totally my choice. Per my wishes, the umbilical cord wasn’t cut until it had stopped pulsating, so Bucko could get all of that rich cord blood. He spent the first hour or so of his life lying skin-to-skin on my chest. The nurses patted him with a towel but left most of the vernix on his skin as I had requested. A wonderful lactation consultant helped me to nurse him as soon as he was ready. Many things went “right,” and as for the things that deviated from our birth plan, it was okay because we had educated ourselves about those variables and we made informed decisions.

Laboring is hard work

But the end result is worth it!

4. No circumcision

I was against circumcising Bucko since the moment we discovered Bucko was a boy. I could not imagine handing my precious newborn baby over to someone who would cut off part of his body for no good reason. And to me, doing it for alleged (unproven) hygienic reasons or to ensure he would “fit in” with other penises were not good reasons. Believe me, I researched this topic a LOT. It took a while to convince Cap’n Daddy, but ultimately, after extensively researching the pros and cons, we both decided that Bucko would remain uncircumcised. Now, if you have a son and you opted for circumcision, okay. I’m much more concerned about people making uninformed decisions than what their decisions ultimately are.

5. Disposable diapers

OK, I really wanted to use cloth diapers. Really, I did. It just didn’t work out. Disposable diapers are so easy. And I know cloth diapering aficionados would protest that cloth diapers are just as easy, and I KNOW. But I can barely keep up can’t keep up with our laundry as is. Throwing diapers into that mix would be disastrous. Perhaps it would be different if our washer and dryer weren’t in the basement (in the cold, damp, haunted-house-esque basement of our 150-year-old house, down a flight of steep, rickety wooden steps). If our laundry “room” was on the main floor, then yeah, maybe it would work. But for our circumstances right now, it didn’t make sense. So we’re using disposable diapers. Mostly these, because I still care about the environment and exposure to chemicals and things like that.

6. Exclusively breastfeeding

Cap’n Daddy and I decided long before Bucko arrived that Bucko would be exclusively breastfed. Why? Obviously the health benefits were a major consideration, since breastmilk is made precisely to nourish babies. Plus I’d be in a good position to do it, since I would be staying at home with him. And, um, it’s free. (Even after buying a double-electric pump and bottles and things like that, it’s still a helluva lot cheaper than buying formula.) And it fits in perfectly with my lazy-mom approach to parenting––no formula to mix up, no heating up bottles, no sterilizing stuff, just stuffing a boob in the baby’s face. Honestly, there are a zillion reasons why we chose to exclusively breastfeed, and it’s too much to go into here. But if you chose formula, or if you attempted breastfeeding but it didn’t work out for some reason, okay. Exclusively breastfeeding worked for us. We had our reasons. I assume you have yours. Don’t judge my decision to breastfeed, and I won’t judge your decision to formula-feed. 🙂

7. Being a SAHM

I have two bachelor’s degrees, one from Ohio State in English and one from Kansas State in Secondary Education. I am a licensed teacher (English 7-12, English 5-8, and Music K-12). I have done graduate work at New York University in English Education. But right now, I’m a stay-at-home mom. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I realize that I am very lucky to be able to stay at home with Bucko. I love watching him grow every day and being there to witness each new development. I don’t necessarily plan to stay at home forever––once the kids (Bucko + future siblings) are in school, it’ll probably be a different story. But right now, this is my choice and I’m (mostly) lovin’ it. I really respect mothers who work outside the home, so please (as with most of these choices) don’t assume that if you chose something different that I disapprove.

8. Practicing (intermittent) babywearing

I feel sorry for babies who stay in their car seats everywhere they go. Maybe this is just me, though, because Bucko NEVER tolerated staying in his car seat if the car wasn’t in motion. (And even if it WAS in motion, going under 55mph was unacceptable. He was born a speed demon.) Nope, no hauling around the infant car seat wherever we went––Bucko demanded to be held. Nothing less would do. So we acquiesced. I tried a few carriers before I shelled out $130 for a Beco Gemini (totally worth the money). This was the only way I could go grocery shopping or do other errands with Bucko. Plus, it was actually really nice to have my baby snuggled against me all the time. He certainly loved it. I loved being able to kiss the top of his head whenever I wanted (which was/is almost all the time). Once he got big enough for an umbrella stroller, that became our preferred method of travel, because he enjoyed looking out from a new vantage point. But we still use the Beco Gemini sometimes. (Hey, it’s good until he weighs over 35 lbs!)

Babywearing at the Ohio State Fair when Bucko was about 2.5 months old

9. Co-sleeping

Yes. We co-sleep. Bucko has not spent a night in his entire ten months apart from his mommy. Well, except for a few hours on the first night of his life––but we were both too tired to care. For the record, I never planned to co-sleep, at least not in the same bed. I had an Arm’s Reach co-sleeper set up right next to my side of the bed, and had every intention of putting him in it at night. But guess what? It never happened. I was not blessed with an easy sleeper. From his earliest days, Bucko would wail hysterically if set down by himself to sleep. But if he was next to me, he slept easily. Cap’n Daddy and I both value sleep, and we quickly realized we would get more sleep if Bucko stayed in our bed. To be fair, Cap’n Daddy wasn’t totally on board with it for a while, but he couldn’t argue with the results. I’ve done my homework regarding co-sleeping/sleep-sharing/the family bed, and I’m VERY comfortable with my decision. It can be done safely (assuming Mommy is breastfeeding). It makes breastfeeding so much easier. Mommy and baby get more sleep.

Ten months later, I’m starting to think about changing our sleeping arrangements. Co-sleeping has worked very well for us to this point, but it might be time for a change. Currently, Bucko needs me to go to bed with him in order to fall asleep and stay asleep, so I’m in bed by 8:30-9pm most nights. He nurses a few times a night, which he technically “shouldn’t” need at this point. I’d love to sleep through the night undisturbed. But I’m not desperate (yet), and I’m not sold on “sleep training.” Still undecided as to what my next steps might be. Stay tuned.

10. Breastfeeding in public

I do this all the time. I’ve nursed at Disney World, on planes, in restaurants (casual and hoity-toity), in parking lots, on a boat, at state parks, on a bus, at doctor appointments, on the floor at Once Upon A Child. That’s just a sampling. No one has ever said anything to me, which is good, because if anyone ever confronted me about feeding my child when he’s hungry, I’d probably go Mama Bear on their ass. Look, I am discreet. I don’t whip my shirt off, I don’t dangle my boobies for all to see. I keep as covered up as possible while still allowing my baby to nurse in comfort––which means not covering his head with a stupid nursing shawl. (Would YOU want to eat with a blanket over your head?) Besides, those nursing covers attract more attention than just nursing. You put one of those things on, and it’s like a giant neon sign saying “HEY GUYS GUESS WHAT’S GOING ON UNDER THIS SHEET I’VE GOT A BABY ATTACHED TO MY NIPPLE RIGHT NOW OMG CRAZY RIGHT HAHA YOU CAN’T SEE IT YOU CAN’T SEE IT.” Defeats the purpose, IMO.

11. Extended breastfeeding (planning to do this, anyway)

STOP ASKING ME IF I’M “STILL” BREASTFEEDING. STOP ASKING ME WHEN I PLAN TO WEAN. IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. Besides that, breastmilk is the best food for babies. And hey, guess what, it’s still a damn good food for toddlers. I’ll wean Bucko from the breast when Bucko decides he’s ready, within reason. While I really can’t picture myself nursing him past age 2, I withhold judgment for mothers who continue nursing their preschoolers. It’s an incredibly personal decision and it is NOBODY’S BUSINESS.

12. Buying (only organic) baby food instead of making my own

Making baby food? Ain’t nobody got time for that. Well, not me, anyway. I keep intending to give it a shot, but I guess I’m too lazy. Maybe I’ll try it at some point. In the meantime, I’m quite content to pay for convenience. As for only buying organic foods––I figure Bucko has plenty of time to consume all the pesticides and antibiotics and heavy metals and other contaminants commonly found in ‘regular’ food. But if I can avoid exposing him to that bad stuff while he’s a baby, then I’m going to try.

**13. Vaccinating

Yes, despite the organic foods and babywearing and co-sleeping and breastfeeding and other Attachment Parenting stuff, we did choose to vaccinate Bucko per the CDC guidelines. Again, this was a thoroughly researched and informed decision.

That’s all I can think of for now. And that’s probably more than enough to infuriate most of the people who read this post. 😉 But c’est la vie! No apologies. For every mom out there, I hope you feel just as confident in your own choices. No one knows your baby’s needs better than you!

**Added later because I thought of it later 🙂