I am now into my fifth holiday season as an attached parent. Over the years my family has changed and grown, but one thing has remained true. Attachment parenting practices, like breastfeeding, babywearing and positive discipline, have made the holidays easier. They have smoothed the rough patches, helped me get things done, and provided everyone with a touchstone in the midst of the craziness that can happen at this time of year.
One of my big challenges over the holidays is my long to-do list. I am baking, crafting, shopping, wrapping gifts and on and on and on. A good baby carrier (or, you know, 14 good baby carriers, as the case may be) really helps me get through that list. When my toddler is on my back he’s happy and I have two free hands. It is much easier to mix up a batch of cookies when I know that my child is safely strapped to me, and not climbing on to the dining room table yet again.
My 10-month-old and I try out our new wrap in 2005
One of the other challenges I face over the holidays is getting healthy food into my children. My kids can be picky eaters sometimes, and usually turn their noses up at foods like yams and brussels sprouts that we don’t eat at home. Holiday meals are also heavy on the sweets, and of course the little ones head straight for them. But thanks to breastfeeding, I know that my toddler always has an excellent, nutritious food source readily available wherever we go.
When we’re visiting family the kids often wander off to play with their many relatives. This is great, but sometimes it can be overwhelming to little ones, and so time spent breastfeeding or babywearing can be almost like a retreat. They’re quick and easy ways to reconnect and help restore calm and reduce overstimulation. When I’m nursing I also get the chance to sit down, put my feet up, and let some other folks do the work for a bit.
Three years later, in 2008, we work on a gingerbread house together
I believe that respecting my children’s unique needs and abilities is very important. When I understand what my children are and aren’t capable of it reduces everyone’s frustration. After all, the easiest discipline problem to deal with is the one that doesn’t happen. This might mean that I avoid a crowded mall with an active toddler, that I leave a party early or that I set aside some time each day to spend with my preschooler. This kind of positive discipline helps things to go more smoothly at the holidays, and really any time of the year.
How about you? Have you found that attachment parenting helps you get through the holiday season? If so, please share. And, of course, have a great holiday season!
You can catch up with Amber’s regular adventures on her blog at Strocel.com.
4 thoughts on “Attachment Parenting Makes the Holidays Easier”
As this is our first christmas with baby, I expect to see the advantages you wrote about, just as in similar situations earlier this year: babywearing and breastfeeding in crowds and during noisy family dinners. And cosleeping does help us a lot when we visit my parents: my son doesn’t have problems sleeping in another bed, in unknown places, as long as we are lying right next to him. No sleep problems during those christmas family visits.
(There is some envy on my side with regard to your babywearing stash, I have to say.)
Cosleeping has always made traveling easier for my family. It’s so easy to find a room at our parents’ homes when all we need is one bed, instead of one for each of us.
When my kids were babies, breastfeeding made things a ton easier than bottle feeding — although not so much on the way there and you need to breastfeed but you’re in a cramped car and you have to bring baby from the back to the front and it’s 4 degrees outside. But certainly once we were at our destination.
Now that my kids are older, I really see the benefits of AP. Through feeding with love and respect in that I have taught them how to limit sugar, we don’t have hyper kids filled up with Christmas candy. Through responding with sensitivity and positive discipline, where we’ve modeled to our kids how to resolve conflict, we don’t have to do nearly as much policing as some parents as our kids are just behaving the way we’ve taught them.
But I do have to say that my #1 benefit has always been cosleeping!