Principle #1 of Attachment Parenting - What Every Parent Needs to Know
As promised, I will be delving into each principle of attachment parenting for the next eight weeks. First up, preparing for pregnancy and birth. So you first pee on that stick, two lines or a plus sign come up and then what?!
Let's assume you have the fantasy situation of just telling your hubby and your both elated! You immediately run to the store and pick up your very own copy of What to Expect When You're Expecting and read up on all the exciting (and not so exciting) things that await you during your pregnancy. Oh, was that just me? :)
First, prepare your body (p35).
Eating whole, nutritious, and nourishing foods... consuming plenty of water... and exercising are the best way to ensure your body is ready for this 9 month marathon it is about to endure.
Then, prepare your mind (p36).
With pregnancy comes a lot of hormones, and you want to make sure you have a positive frame of mind. If there is a partner/spouse involved, make sure to strengthen your connection by nurturing and nourishing that relationship just as you are your new body! Regardless of partner involvement, take this time to also strengthen connections with your support group/your lifeline/your "village"- this can be family members, friends, neighbors, community members, God... any and all of the above! It DOES take a village to raise a child. Spending time doing activities like yoga, meditation, or prayer are also great ways to nourish your mind and your body!
Preparing for Birth (p38)
Since I was a planned C section (due to a pre existing medical condition), I didn't give much thought the first time around to my "birth plan". I'm having a C section, no birth plan required, right? WRONG.
In lieu of exhausting you with all the things that went horribly wrong with my first birth experience, I will just tell you FROM EXPERIENCE that it is worth creating a birth plan, regardless of how you actually plan to give birth! C section, natural, at home, in hospital, with meds, without meds, VBAC... doesn't matter. Take the time to think about what you want your baby's first experience to be like.
Consider your baby's current environment; warm, nurturing, quiet, and tranquil. Use this frame of reference when looking at hospitals or other birthing centers. Are they welcoming? Are they quiet and warm? Do the caregivers/nurses seems nurturing? (if you're anything like me, you'll also make sure they have a full NICU) Or you may also opt for a home birth.
Look into doulas, lactation consultants, midwives ... research hospital options for tub-birthing, versus use of stirrups, and rooming-in versus use of a nursery... and consider do you want to breastfeed or bottle feed? If you decide to breastfeed, how soon does your hospital allow the baby to go to breast? Ask if your hospital is a CIMS Mothering Friendly Hospital .
It all seems a bit overwhelming, but it will make for a much calmer birthing experience if you go in educated and with an idea on how you would like things to go for you and your baby. Doesn't mean it will always go according to plan :) , but by ensuring your body and mind are up to par, and you have educated yourself on the various options, you will feel better equipped to handle whatever may come your way.
Breastfeed or Bottle Feed? (p42)
I will preface this section by saying that this is not a place for guilt, debate, or shame. It is up to YOU what YOU do with YOUR baby.
If you decide to bottle feed- stock up as early as you can, formula is expensive! Look for coupons, and start your stash early! :) You CAN be an attached parent and bottle feed! We'll talk more about this next week, (principle #2- feeding with love and respect), but API simply recommends bottle nursing
In other words, HOLD your baby and rock them, maintain eye contact, hum or chat, etc while feeding versus bottle propping to create a strong bond- similar to what would happen if you were nursing your baby. Again, we will revisit this topic in more detail next week.
If you decide to breastfeed- check out UNICEF's 10 steps for successful breastfeeding. Make sure you have lined up a visit from a certified lactation consultant or doula within the first 24 hours after birth whether you are giving birth in a hospital or at home. It is not always easy- but it is SO worth it!
Even before you give birth, it's a great idea to locate support groups in your area. And you don't have to be a first time parent to need a support group;
" In today's world of extended families that live too far away to give the day to day support, knowledge, and care that existed in past generations, it is critically important for parents to create this support system for their family. API support groups are one way for new mothers and fathers to create friendships and community" (p59).
Virtual support groups like The Leaky Boob, Mama Eve, and Mothering are also available! Support can help us deal with things from vaccination decisions, to postpartum depression!
SHARE with me how you prepared for your pregnancy?