Child spacing and attachment parenting

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I haven’t written on here in a while but I have a good excuse- I’ve been really tired going through the first trimester of pregnancy :) Now I’m finally in the second trimester and the need to nap every time Jack is asleep has finally mostly passed, so I feel like I have some free time back. I’m so excited for the new baby due this summer and for Jack to have a sibling, but I think it will be a big challenge trying to get everyone’s needs met once the baby arrives.

We thought a lot about how to space our children ideally and tried to balance the fact that having a sibling close in age would be nice later in life with making sure that Jack is independent enough when the baby comes that he can take care of some of his own needs so that he doesn’t get neglected. I think that having a 2.5 year gap will work out really well for our family. Since Jack turned 2 he has been so much more independent and communicative, and his sleep has been pretty great. I think it will be a lot easier to be an attached parent with one of the kids already usually sleeping through the night, that way waking with just the baby won’t feel as tiring. Of course Jack might regress in his sleeping, but he’s also old enough to be put back to sleep with a book and songs, so my husband can always help with him (which wouldn’t have worked 6 months ago).

Some things I’ll try to do to set us up for success once the baby comes:

  • Transition Jack to sleeping on a floor bed in our room, so the baby will have some space but we’ll all be together and Jack won’t feel abandoned in another room
  • Read books about babies once we get closer to my due date, and practice things with his stuffed animals like changing diapers or baby wearing
  • Make sure I have a few baby wearing options for the baby as well as Jack who I’m sure will want to be worn as well
  • Set up some special toy baskets that Jack can play with while I nurse
  • Get Jack involved in helping as much as I can
  • Teach Jack a few more skills like putting on his shoes and pants if possible so he can be more independent
  • Get Jack a special present from the baby

Jack’s first steps

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At almost 14 months old, Jack took his first steps yesterday! He has been walking often with his wooden walker wagon, and he can cruise on furniture and even climb the couch, but he hadn’t walked until yesterday. I’m happy that we let him do it in his own time instead of pushing him or “helping” him with contraptions that gave him a false sense of security like those plastic walkers that go around the child and have wheels (are are not allowed in Canada because they cause lots of accidents.)

The only contraption we used was the wooden wagon which is self-directed so Jack can decide when he wants to pull up on it and push it, and he has the freedom to do it or stop when he wants. I identify as an attachment parent primarily, but I like the RIE philosophy about teaching children new skills. They say that you should spot them, but not help them- so be there to catch them if they might fall, but not push them to do something they can’t do themselves. For example, I didn’t hold Jack’s hands and support/pull him forward while he tried to walk. RIE says that doing things like that gives your child false confidence and leads to injuries when he tries to do it alone. Instead, they recommend letting them learn gradually and naturally by first standing against furniture, then cruising while holding things, and then walking on their own.

It’s hard not to wish your child was growing up faster sometimes (especially in the realm of sleeping more independently!), but I’m trying to be laid-back about his milestones and providing loving support for him to achieve things in his own time, without pressure. This translates to a “wait it out” approach to sleep and knowing that he’ll sleep through the night when he is ready. In terms of talking, I talk to him a lot all day, but don’t constantly ask “what’s that?” all the time as though I’m giving him a test. With eating, I just offer a variety of foods for him and hope that he will gradually become more interested in solids. I’m definitely not in a hurry for him to grow up too fast- I feel like time is already flying by, and I want to appreciate these months when he is more dependent on me since in a few years I’m sure he’ll barely want to spend time with me anymore. I just have to remind myself of that at 2 in the morning :)