Frequently Asked Questions
1st Principle: Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting
- Do you have any resources available for parents seeking Attachment Parenting (AP)-friendly providers?
- I'm pregnant with my second child, and my son no longer naps. How can I survive if I'm up all night with the baby and up all day with my son?
- I have a two-year-old, and I'm almost due with my second child. Is there a way to encourage them to nap at the same time without resorting to sleep training?
- How can I prepare to have a satisfying birth experience?
We are currently getting the new AP-friendly Professionals Program underway. Doctors who join the API AP-friendly Professionals Program state that they support Attachment Parenting and also support API. A list of these doctors can be found here. We are just beginning this program, so please check back often as more providers are entered.
Here are a few other suggestions for finding a supportive, AP-friendly doctor:
- Read The Baby Book by Dr. William Sears, which has a section on how to choose a doctor.
- Attend your local API Support Group meetings. After the meeting, you can network with the other parents in attendance about finding a supportive doctor, and they can share their experiences with you.
- Join API's Yahoo group, an email list and database for people interested in finding AP-friendly doctors. You can learn more about it, including how to join the group, here.
Finding a doctor with whom you are comfortable can sometimes be a challenge. Depending on your area, you may find that you have to do quite a bit of research and make numerous phone calls to find someone whose beliefs are compatible with your parenting style. You may wish to ask the doctor's nurse to call you when it's convenient and have a list of basic questions to ask (about their philosophy or about the advice they give in certain situations). Also, some doctors won't charge you for a very brief interview. You can ask your questions at that time to see if you are a good fit for each other.
Even if you don't find a doctor who agrees with you 100% about all of your parenting choices, hopefully you will at least find one who is open-minded and supportive of your right to make parenting choices. You may find a doctor whom you feel confident in consulting for medical advice, but you may chose not to consult him or her for parenting advice.
First, you might have a very different experience with your second baby -- you may find that you are more relaxed, and that both of you sleep better at night. If the baby is in close proximity, and you can meet her needs without too much disruption, you might get a better night's sleep than you had with your first. It's best to keep an open, positive attitude, but, at the same time, prepare ahead!
In the early weeks, you may have some help during the day with your older child and can get some rest. Then you'll be better able to assess what you need. Perhaps a mother's helper can come over in the afternoon to read to your child while you nap with the baby, or you may be able to go to bed early and give your husband or partner the opportunity to have some special alone time with your older child.
One grandmother lived out of town, so, to help her daughter-in-law, she paid for a neighborhood teenager to come and take her grandson to the park in the afternoons. Some playgroups rotate watching each other's children so the mom with the newborn can rest. Communicate your needs to friends and family and get them involved in some creative solutions if you find you are sleep-deprived. It's amazing how much they want to help when they know they're needed!
Our best advice is to try not to worry in advance. It's good to anticipate and seek strategies, but the secret to parenting is being flexible and going with the flow. Parenting is unpredictable, so the more flexible you are, the more relaxed you'll be. Enjoy getting to know your newborn, and when he is sleeping you can give your older son some individual attention. If you find yourself becoming exhausted, call in reinforcements. A mother's helper (or a teenager or trusted friend) can be of tremendous help during the early weeks. If you have someone you can call, invite him or her over to play with your two-year-old so you can get some rest or sleep. You'll be surprised how much a 15-30 minute nap can help you get through the rest of the day.
It is also important that you sleep when the children do go down together, especially in the evenings. It is tempting to stay up in the early months so that you can have time to yourself or with your partner, but it is very important to keep up on your rest so that you can be the best woman, partner, and mother you can be. Be gentle with yourself and all the rest will fall into place.
- Know yourself.
- Know what you want. Think about how you want your birth to be.
- Listen to and read others' birth stories. Note what resonates with you -- people in attendance, the location, and the atmosphere.
- Know your body.
- Understand the birthing process.
- Prepare for the physical part of birth by doing prenatal yoga, yoga-based prenatal exercises, or similar exercises.
- Know your diet. Adequate protein, salt, and water are especially important during pregnancy.
- Know your options.
- Research local care providers -- obstetricians, midwives, and doulas. Know that you decide who will provide care to you.
- Research birthing locations -- hospitals, freestanding birthing centers, and your home. Know that you choose your birthing location.
- Research standard birthing and newborn care practices. Know that you decide what procedures will be done for you and your baby.
- Know your care providers.
- Ask your care providers what their standard birthing and newborn care procedures are.
- Decide which of those procedures you are comfortable with.
- Make a plan with your care providers so that they know exactly what you do and do not want for you and your baby.
Birth is more than a physical act. It is affected by your comfort level -- regarding where you are, who is with you and how comfortable you are with your body and the birthing process. As you plan for a satisfying birth, do your research and follow your intuition. Only you know what a satisfying birth for you would look like.