Whether you’re on a dedicated attachment parenting plan, you have fears about morphing into Velcro with your baby, or are somewhere in between, there are great ways to build and maintain nurturing relationships with your baby through traditional attachment parenting methods. However, what happens when your baby doesn’t seem to prefer those methods like all of the other tots happily dreaming in the slings on their mother’s chest?
Real attachment parenting comes from recognizing the cues your baby gives about what he needs from you and finding ways to meet those needs. For many parents this includes things like baby wearing, but don’t get caught up in the hype if it isn’t working for you or your baby – sometimes the best way to implement attachment parenting is to let your baby have some space.
My Baby Doesn’t Want to Be an Accessory – When Baby Wearing Doesn’t Work
You bend over, barely getting the wrap secured over your baby (who you are balancing with the skills of a maternal ninja), and he lets out a scream that almost shatters your eardrum. Just when you thought you were going to get him wrapped on your back for a nap while you did the dishes and dusted the quarter inch of grime, he reminded you once again:
He doesn’t want to be wrapped and worn like an accessory on your back.
But all of those other baby-wearing moms are making it look so easy! You beg and plead with your 23 pounds of pure baby delight. But in the end you carry him in your arms for a bit, then let him explore at your feet where he seems most pleased with himself. You can’t move as freely, but he is happy.
Three out of my four children loved to hang out right next to me – they were more than content and happy to sleep against my chest or back, explore the world from the birds-eye-view they had atop their perch on me, or just be that much closer to my face (easier to blow kisses and whisper baby secrets this way). But then there was that one who detested being worn. It wasn’t that he didn’t seem to thrive on close attachment parenting – he just wanted his room to roam and wiggle.
This, however, isn’t always the easiest situation in which to just get some things done around the house or move through the grocery store. Sometimes attachment parenting works so well because it actually gives us freedom. If your baby doesn’t seem to enjoy baby wearing, you might be asking yourself: How am I ever going to get anything done around here?
Get Him Some Wheels
Get an umbrella stroller for the house. Your bundle of joy might want to be with you all of the time, but not want to be held. Umbrella strollers are inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to maneuver. Take him for a ride back and forth as you sweep, vacuum, or just move from room to room.
As soon as he’s able to safely use one, find a walker with which he can use to maneuver himself around the house. My son just loved the freedom of cruisin’ at his own speed.
Most Babies Thrive on Rhythm – So Go Find Yours
The back and forth boogie. My son loved to sit on the floor while I did housework, but hated if he felt I was getting too far away (anything more than 8 inches some days). This is where I used the back and forth boogie, moving 2 steps back to complete a task, but then hopping forward 1 step with a huge smile on my face – he thought it was a game, but it actually let me get a few things done around the house.
Use music. One of the things that attachment parenting provides babies and toddlers is close proximity to your natural rhythm – your heartbeats can actually begin to beat in harmony when snuggled close. My son who preferred attachment parenting with wiggle room loved to listen to music with a good rhythm – it calmed him just like baby wearing comforted my other children.
Baby Wearing Basics
Sometimes there are just times when baby wearing is needed – we have to get something done during the day!
- Use baby wearing sparingly for those resistant kids – you want to keep close bonds as positive experiences.
- Have an experienced adult help you learn how to wrap quickly and safely – sometimes it is the slow process that frustrates little ones who always want to keep moving.
- Try front facing wearing so your little one can see the world more easily and his legs and arms feel freer.
Don’t get caught up in the hype of baby wearing and think that you can only successfully practice attachment parenting if you wear your infant 23 hours of the day. Use baby wearing if it works for you and your babe – or find other ways to form close bonds and still move about your day. Just please don’t resort to the leashes! That kind of attachment our kids can do without!
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