Lessons my children have taught me

Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Learning from children

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared the many lessons their children have taught them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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When my first son Dylan was born almost three years ago, my life changed profoundly.   While my husband Jake and I were so excited to have a baby and felt ready, nothing could truly prepare us for becoming parents.

As soon as he was born, there were so many things we needed to know – how to change diapers, how to give a baby a bath, how to feed a baby, how to get a baby to sleep.   And of course how to take care of ourselves while taking care of a baby too!

I like to think that Dylan taught us how to be parents.   His personality and his needs made us into the parents that we are today.   We came to practice attachment parenting because it was the best way of meeting Dylan’s needs while also meeting our own.  For example, co-sleeping allowed us to get lots of sleep at night while at the same time meeting Dylan’s need of feeding often at night.   Wearing Dylan in a carrier allowed me to get things done around the house while meeting Dylan’s need of not wanting to nap alone.

Dylan’s strong need during the early months to breastfeed often and to have me close to him at all times really made me question the “mainstream” way of taking care of kids, where babies and children’s needs are often seen as a nuisance that must be managed.  I couldn’t believe that my sweet baby boy was manipulating me with his demands.  Instead, Dylan showed me that a baby’s needs are real – they aren’t just wants – they are necessities!  Dylan taught me that a baby’s cry shouldn’t be ignored just because they have a clean diaper and have been fed.   His cry often meant he needed another snuggle or just wanted to hear my voice or needed to be nursed one more time, perhaps for comfort.   I wouldn’t ignore my husband or mother if they were calling out for me – and I certainly wouldn’t ignore my helpless baby!  The quote from Dr. Seuss’s book Horton Hears a Who rang true to me after I became Dylan’s mom: ” A person’s a person no matter how small!”  And in my book any person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

I have the privilege of being a mom again now to a second wonderful son.  It’s only been a couple of weeks, but I feel so zen this time around.  I have Dylan to thank for my calmness and my sense of awe and appreciation.   He taught me that the newborn days are fleeting and that every precious moment has to be savored.  He taught me that I won’t in fact spoil my baby by holding him all the time.  So this time around I’m enjoying my sweet newborn son.  I hold him or sleep right beside him pretty much 24 hours a day.  I’m feeding him on and off all day and all night long and I’m not resenting it!    I know now that you can’t feed a breastfed baby too often and that breastfeeding is a wonderfully convenient mothering tool.

So I thank Dylan, my first born son, for having the persistent, strong personality from day one that taught me to parent him as an attachment parent.   And I thank my sweet innocent second born son, Benjamin, for letting me parent him as an attachment parent right from the first minute of his life – it is so wonderful to be able to enjoy it right from the beginning this time around!!

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon January 11 with all the carnival links.)

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26 Responses to Lessons my children have taught me

  1. Pingback: My Kids Have Taught Me That It’s Time To Stop Blogging | Breastfeeding Moms Unite

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  3. Pingback: Crunchy Chewy Mama » Blog Archive » My child is my mirror – January Carnival of Natural Parenting

  4. Greetings from Malaysia! Hopping over from the Carnival!

    Oh well, no matter how much books we read, how much websites we Googled and researched, how much stories and advice we hear from other parents, nothing could prepare us for parenthood until we go through it ourselves, learning each day, trial and errors! That said, I do agree with you on this!

    Cheers!

    ~ Jenny @ http://www.imafulltimemummy.com/

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  7. How lovely! I love that Dylan and Benjamin have taught you so much. This line “He taught me that the newborn days are fleeting and that every precious moment has to be savored. He taught me that I won’t in fact spoil my baby by holding him all the time.” was particularly poignant – I remember having the ‘your baby is manipulating you’ convo with friends because I APd and I just couldn’t understand what they were saying. You’re so right – it’s NEEDS they are expressing, they don’t manipulate. My daughter is now 9 and reading your line about every precious moment is to be savoured spoke deeply to my heart. Thank you :)

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  9. That is so heartwarming — and encouraging to me, as we also look forward to the birth of our second. Congratulations on your new little one!! I was just thinking the past couple days how uptight I was about doing certain things “right” with my newborn the first time around, and worrying about his neediness — and how I think I’ll be more relaxed this time, because I’ll be more aware that it all passes quickly and that I can look to my child to show me what s/he needs. Anyway, so glad to hear you’re enjoying your babymoon time with that precious little guy, and that Dylan showed you the way. Blessings to you and your family!

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  15. fraurab says:

    This post expressed my feelings about my daughter. I learned quickly to trust myself as her mother as I knew her the best (breastfeeding really helped with our bond). I knew her better than my parents, grandparents or in-laws, so I took their advice with a grain of salt. In fact I had to learn that lesson over and over again, when my gut feeling conflicted with my mother-in-law’s suggestions (she stayed with us for one long month) or even my husband’s, that my gut feeling was always right. I hope that whenever a second baby comes to our family that we’ll be ready for that change and that, at least, I will have that zen state that you’re experiencing. Congrats on your new son!

    My blog is http://oldnewlegacy.wordpress.com

  16. Alicia says:

    This is beauitful. I can completely relate and I am excited for the ease and comfort of having a second children now that I have learned so much with the first. I can’t wait to enjoy it from the beginning!

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  18. I’m with you, mama! Even if I hadn’t learned about attachment parenting online shortly before Kieran’s birth, I would have done these things naturally (or, for something like baby carriers, I would have WISH I’d known about it). Our little ones are so wise, if we’d only learn to listen :)

  19. veryveryfine says:

    your post really nails why attachment parenting makes so much sense — it’s COMMON sense. :) babe is hungry? feed him! babe wants to be near you — let him! and it doesn’t hurt if you can get the vacuuming done at the same time.

  20. I agree!– babies weren’t born to be managed but to be loved and have their needs met.

  21. Sounds like you’re doing an awesome job of following your children from the beginning! Attachment parenting really is so natural if we just pay attention to what our children are communicating to us.

  22. I totally agree with you that the first child teaches his or her parents how to be parents. I felt the same kind of zen appreciation of the newborn days the second time around. I think it helped that I already knew how to nurse/change a diaper/give a bath, so I could really just be in the moment with my baby. What a wonderful feeling!

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