Why is it as important to begin your journey as an attachment parent during pregnancy as it is after the birth of your baby?
To answer it simply:
Because pregnancy and childbirth choices affect mothering style.
Here are a few examples.
- Time and time again, breastfeeding educators find that babies born to Mothers who choose painkilling medications during labor have more difficulty getting baby to breastfeed. An emergency Cesarean section may be beyond your control, however, women can control to some extent the outcome of their births by doing some of the following things:
- Attend birth preparedness classes. These teach you that birth is a normal physiologic event in a woman’s life, not an emergency or medical event.
- For the same reason, watch videos of home births. Read birth stories.
- Prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for a natural birth. Read how to have natural childbirth. Read more about the connection between breastfeeding and childbirth here.
- Attend a La Leche League meeting (or several). Not only will this experience help you be more comfortable breastfeeding in public, but simply being around a lot of nursing mothers will help you learn the art of breastfeeding. There are a lot of other things you can learn by attending La Leche League meetings, such as help with babywearing, positive discipline styles, and more.
- Avoid unnecessary tests and medical procedures during pregnancy. Do your research, and question everything. Just because something is standard operating procedure doesn’t mean it’s best for you and your baby. In some cases, hospitals do things just to “cover their assets”, and there is no proof that the procedure leads to better outcomes! Labor induction is an example. So is maternal shaving, episiotomy, refusing food to a laboring woman, continuous fetal monitoring, and more.
- (Cloth diapering is not a tenet of attachment parenting, however the use of greener and safer products for baby is something that many AP parents have in common.) Believe it or not, even something as simple as the decision to use cloth diapers can affect breastfeeding success. Why? Because when a mother uses cloth diapers, she is changing a dozen very wet diapers a day. A brand new mom, unsure of herself and her breastfeeding ability, can SEE the “outgo” and knows that plenty of milk must have gone in!
Disposable diapers make it very difficult to monitor milk supply and baby’s output. Most of the time you cannot tell if baby has urinated once, only several times. This causes some new moms to doubt their ability to produce enough milk for their babies, leading to unnecessary supplementation, which leads to a true decrease in supply, which leads to early weaning. Is it any coincidence that the heavy use of disposable diapers in this country coincided with dropping rates of breastfeeding? I don’t think so.
- Use your pregnancy to do research. Pregnancy is a time to get things done. You have 9 months to prepare for the little person coming into your life. Use it wisely. Read, research and talk to mothers you admire. Decide how you will handle things ahead of time (as best you can), and you’ll be more prepared to make good decisions after baby’s arrival when you’re tired and hormonal.
Say no to newborn procedures that have no real benefit but that can disrupt breastfeeding and bonding. For instance, circumcision, the newborn bath, antibiotics and/or silver nitrate in baby’s eyes, etc. If you are giving birth in a hospital, post your birth plan on the wall and ask everyone that comes into your room to read it. Choose rooming-in instead of letting your baby be taken off to a nursery to cry alone. (The Pediatrician will come to you to do the newborn exam.)
Be a mother bear! Be prepared to swipe anyone who tries to mess with your baby with an enormous furry paw and send them careening across the room.
See what the other Green Moms had to say about this topic:
What would you add to this list? How did you prepare for mothering during pregnancy?