Friday, July 9, 2010

different strokes

First off, thanks to all of you kind ladies out there. I was kind of scared to post about the whole CPS debacle and it helped tremendously knowing it has happened to others! And also, selfishly...I missed you guys! The nights are quiet here after the kids are in bed and I had forgotten how much I looked forward to your comments and chatting with you all. So I promise not to disappear again if you promise to hang out with me, okay?

Okay, cool.

Now that that's taken care of...

Way back in the olden days when I did my last question and answer post, someone asked me about nursing Evany.

Now there's a topic, and it kind of encompasses the bigger topic of parenting in general. And I realized something.

I have parented each of my babies differently.

Even though I have had a new baby every 12-16 months, I've done things drastically differently with each one, and I'm assuming it must be because they all have such different personalities, or because I've been in different phases based upon the ages of the other children. But there's not much of a common denominator with my kids.

Some of my kids have loved pacifiers, others hated them. I have nursed my babies anywhere from 3-15 months. I have started them on solids ranging from 4-12 months. Some of them have had nap schedules, others have catnapped on the floor among their toys or in the car on the way to carline at school.

And from it all, I have learned one do what works, and when that stops working, you do something else.

Before Ava was born, I read every single parenting book I could get my hands on. I read them all, and then I kind of took what worked and threw the rest away. I haven't cracked another parenting book since then, instead just parenting on the fly, going with what works with each baby and balancing that with what works for me.

I have a few hard and fast rules, though, and I'm not sure how they became hard and fast, and they don't all even make sense, but they're my rules, and I follow them. All my babies are weaned from the bottle at ten months and given a sippy cup. Pacifiers go away at one...I've found they're much easier to take away at one before the emotional attachment starts. Potty training starts when they seem ready, regardless of how old they are...for Ava, that was 21 months, for Jace it was 2 1/2. From a relatively early age, they're expected to be able to walk instead of riding in a stroller. I nurse each baby as long as I can, and then I don't kick myself over stopping.

I nursed Seth until he was fifteen months old and I was six months pregnant with Evany. I didn't expect her to show up a month later, and I was less than thrilled about nursing again so soon. But Evany was a champion nurser and things went well. I never had the same contentedness about nursing this time around, though. I think I was just touched out and needed a break. When she was a little over three months old, I made the decision to stop nursing her. I put a lot of thought into it, and in the end, I decided she was healthy, happy, and I'd made it three months.

It was what worked for us. Would I recommend it for others? Nope, not really...nursing is the best thing you can do for your baby. But then again, a happy mom makes for a happy baby, and for me, this time around, this was right for us.

Of course if I had known just what would happen to my boobs when I stopped nursing and the past six years of pregnancy/nursing stopped doing me any favors...I might have kept nursing her until she was about seven. Years old, that is. This is not a pretty situation over here, folks.

So tell you parent your kids the same or differently? What are you hard and fast rules? And please tell me there is someone else out there that misses their nursing boobs!
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