Friday, April 24, 2015

Personalizing Motherhood (a guest post + $50 Target Gift Card Giveaway!)

Hello! I’m Julie, and so thankful to have the opportunity to get to know Faith and to come together to share tips and adventures in raising our little ones. I hope this article is helpful to new and experienced mamas, and would love your comments and feedback. Please stop over at Everyday Happiness and say hi! 
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Looking back, I was relying solely on instinct and my mom to teach me what to do once my son was born. Since I had watched a lot of Rosie Pope and The Duggers, I thought I knew exactly what to expect with a baby {yeah right!} My pregnancy symptoms were by the book, and I when everyone told me, “get your sleep now!” I thought, oh they don’t know I’m a morning person.
Now this post won’t be a “reality was so much worse than I could have imagined.” In fact, reality was so much BETTER than I ever could have imagined. But it was really hard in ways I didn’t expect, and I didn’t know what I was doing. My mom and my husband’s mom were there to help me, but I was fixed on figuring it out myself.
I started doing my own research, and stumbled upon a few books, including Secrets of a Baby Whisperer and On BecomingBabywise, and a bazillion blogs. By nature I am a person who loved routine, so I was drawn to some of the methods describedBabywise. But then when I googled “babywise” horrific stories and blogs came up attacking the book and the methods it supposedly recommended to help your baby sleep.
I also found in my frantic research that there are essentially two main schools of parenting today that were on completely opposite of the spectrum– Attachment Parenting and Babywise Methods.
Attachment Parentingaccording to WebMD, is a method that focuses on nurturing the relationship between mom and baby. It encourages parents to respond to baby’s cries immediately and follow the baby’s schedule. Developed by pediatrician William Sears, M.D., it also recommends breastfeeding, holding and soothing baby when crying and co-sleeping. It’s from the mindset that mama and baby are “one” just like when the mom was pregnant.
Babywise methods say that parents set the schedule for baby. The books I read encourage you to follow the same schedule every day for naps and feedings to help regulate your baby’s sleep clock. Some people also say this method encourages CIO (cry it out) methods.
First of all, these are two very confusing extremes in my mind. I found myself feeling guilty for thinking attachment parenting seemed right, but too time-consuming. But then I found myself swinging toward Babywise scheduling tendencies and incorporating methods of Attachment Parenting.
For example, I never, ever practiced CIO methods and I think it’s a misconception that you must do CIO to make Babywise work. I found other blogs outside of the actual Babywise book that did a better job explaining how Babywise was a way to help develop a schedule for your baby, but should only be used as a guideline. That was so different than other attacks I was reading online about how militant you had to be with Babywise to make it work.
I also read The Baby Whisperer, which had looser, but similar guidelines as Babywise. It recommended the “EASY” routine approach rather than a strict schedule. As Shep has gotten older, we’ve leaned toward this approach more than a strict schedule. The “EASY” routine says “Eat, Activity, Sleep, You.”
During weeks three and four, Shepard was crying at some points 5-7 hours a day no matter who was holding him. I remember vividly Clint walking Shep around the block around 11 pm multiple times to help him settle, to no avail. Clint and I would do everything to make this sweet boy happy, and sometimes we found that after five minutes in his Rock and Play, he finally could relax and take a nap. We found sometimes WE were the distraction keeping him from resting or settling.
What I know now is that I am a modern mama with crunchy tendencies. I knew that developing a strong attachment was important to me, but so was routine. My natural instinct was to help him and hold him whenever he cried. I also knew I wanted to move toward getting him in a better schedule. And I knew at 13 weeks I’d be heading back to a full-time career outside of the home. Those were my realities.
I found around the 6 week mark when I started instituting a routine, Shep’s really fussy periods started to decrease. I started to relax. We both knew what was next and got into a groove. That said, I also started babywearing whenever I could, and still had him sleeping in his Rock N’ Play in our room. I didn’t stick to one parenting method except the one we carved out for our family that worked best, and I don’t think anyone else should feel pressured to pick just one method either. God gave us parenting intuition and the love for our child to help us throughout he tough moments. It’s not a multiple choices test. Our babies are individuals with complex needs just like us, and we’re all continually learning how to help and love our little ones better every day.
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About Julie: As a new mother, Julie is energized by combining her love of writing and the adventures of parenthood on her blog, Everyday Happiness. Julie enjoys spending time with her husband, Clint, their first child, an almost one-year-old boy named Shepard and their dog Cooper. Julie grew up in a small town in Ohio but moved across the country to attend Arizona State University and received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. She is a true morning person who loves running with her jogging stroller, Bible studies, and being outside in the Florida sunshine.

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I (Faith) am so thrilled to have Julie guest posting today as well as hosting a generous giveaway for everyone! Make sure you visit her lovely blog, Everyday Happiness to stay up to date with baby updates, motherhood encouragement and tips as well as some yummy recipes!
Enter below to win a $50 gift card to Target as well as 50% off any order at Daisy Designed.

1 comment:

  1. I love your post here! With each of our five boys we applied different levels of scheduling and training. We did it all.
    No schedules, militant CIO methods, and then finally relaxed scheduling. Each child was so unique and needed something different! Even our child who cried it out... He was a calm baby, never really cried more than a few minutes and needed to be on a tight schedule to help him with servers medical needs. As a result, I still remember panicking when he was 8 months old. He became startled while in a field trip for our five year old son. He cried and screamed and I panicked... He had never, and I mean never, cried excepte when he was hungry, wet, or just before a nap. Thank goodness for a calm and compassionate friend!
    We need to trust God to show us what each child needs!

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