Thursday, October 10, 2013

(Attachment) Parenting Problems?

I sit here listening to my babies scream. It. Is. Awful. But I cannot rock twins to sleep four times a day or as often as they need to go to bed. (I attempted it a few times but don't have four arms or a steel spine).

Having two at once challenges many theories about 'ideal' parenting. (There is no such thing of course but don't they try to make us believe it?!)

Attachment Parenting is currently in vogue ... but it is impossible for a mother of multiples. As I have seen it practiced (rather than according to the theory - I have no idea whether the science will stand up to ongoing scrutiny) it is all is about: feeding on demand - so, yes, for comfort if that's what the baby wants - ; 'wearing' your child rather than using buggies, prams, swings and rockers; co-sleeping; never letting the child cry; avoiding dummies or 'artificial' means of comfort; creating a strong and exclusive bond between baby and mummy; letting baby drive all or any routine. Spoiling is dismissed as an impossibility and mum's well-being cannot be discussed without mum appearing weak or selfish.

Letting my babies cry themselves to sleep is a total NO.

AP is, in my view, a reaction to a previous generation's preference for DP (Detachment etc) in the extreme. Babies were once fed and changed according to their carers' schedules; left alone for long periods; kept in a different room to mum and dad who were authority figures not providers of comfort. That's all a bit Victorian: but letting baby cry themselves to sleep; setting a strict eating / napping routine and making them stick to it; making baby fit into mum's routine for the day are today's mutation.

No doubt a grey fuzzy place between the two is what's needed. A slightly different version for every family.

One of my two babies has to be left alone at any given time when dad's at work; they cannot both feed on demand; if I am to get any rest, they must learn to sleep at the same time and get there without human contact.

In many ways, although it's hard, I'm grateful. Try as I might I, can't fall into the trap of trying to be perfect according to the Attachment textbooks. I do what I must to get through the day. I look for patterns that suit me and the babies, attempt to implement them, and get used to the crying.