So there isn't a book on how to be a good parent. Wait, no, there are a million books, but I don't read any of them. By the time Ember came along I felt like I had found my groove. I've found what does and doesn't work for our family. What I like to do is this:
I nurse my baby. I haven't been as successful with this in the past. So basically, with Ember being my last baby I will die in the process of trying before giving up nursing before 12 months. If we can, I would like to nurse until she's 2. But anything after 12 months I'm okay with.
This causes a variety of different symptoms. Symptom #1: Emberly won't take a bottle. I hate bottles. I hate the washing, the prep, the whole thing, mostly because I'm lazy. But when I'm needy for just some adult time, this presents the problem of how does the caretaker feed the baby? This has resulted in my not leaving said baby for longer than 4 hours in nearly a year.
Symptom #2: Emberly sleeps with me at night. Contrary to what people think, this gives everyone more sleep. No waking up to the baby, she nurses on and off throughout the night without any of us ever fully waking. Of course, this also means that I've been sharing my bed with a stomach kicker for the last 10 months. Oh, how I yearn for the fetal position!
Symptom #3: Baby isn't on a strict schedule. Baby eats when she's hungry and sleeps when she's tired. Luckily, she's my only child, so this isn't a problem....
This is where the wonder of wonders comes in: THE BABY CARRIER!
Why did I not have this with my last three children?? The Ergo, or wrap, whichever I choose is amazing! Remember the witching hours between 4 and 7? Gone. Wearing baby allows me to nurse while grocery shopping, prepare dinner and clean the house with happy baby not trying to kill herself, and sleep at anytime she wants, all while be close to mommy. These things are amazing and actually let me do all this super needy stuff for my baby while still taking care of the other three kids and my house and and and...
So a funny thing happened. I thought I was just kinda crazy wanting to raise my baby this way. It seems hard, but it makes me happy and my baby seems REALLY happy. And then I stumbled across a group called Attachment Parenting. It turns out I do just about everything this group does! Without reading a single book or blog or anything I just kinda found my way naturally to this. Here I thought I was making my own way only to find the path well trodden.
So that's me. Crunchy mom, who'd have seen that coming? I'm a breastfeeding, cloth diapering, baby wearing, co-sleeping hippy and proud of it.