I'm not much for giving advice, but will outline a few things we've felt have been important to us:

Our top priority was to raise a human who is securely attached. It's more work up front, for sure, and with massive payoff down the road, for Z., us, and everyone Z will be in relationship to for the rest of his life.

(Read: 'Parenting from the Inside Out' by Hartzell and Seigel; 'Raising a Secure Child' by Hoffman, Cooper, Powell, Benton; 'Attachment Focused Parenting' by Hughes)

Mama drank bone broth and ate fermented foods all through pregnancy. Z is a year old and loves bone broth as much as breastmilk. There are few things more healthy for our gut, immune system, and brain than bone broth and fermented foods. As additional context: baby was born <4 lbs, NICU for first two two weeks. Our early intervention physiotherapist recently closed our case because Z's growth rate and development have been off the charts.

We co-sleep. Mama breastfeeds when he wants it. Loss of sleep is minimal. When folks ask, is he a good sleeper, we say, that's not one of our goals. Of course, sleep is precious, and after many years of working on fishing boats in Alaska, and doing baby sleep the way we are, well, Matt Walker the Sleep Doc might have a bone to pick. But we're focused on the longer term goals, which do not include traumatizing our child in order to get our beauty sleep.

As for the rest of it, reading Becky Kennedy's book 'Good Inside' was deeply affirming. Almost everything in the book was aligned with how I want to parent.

Expand full comment

In the first 3 months after birth (or longer if a preemie) and beyond (cos why not), spend as much time as you can being skin-to-skin with your baby.

The benefits are fucking wild. Not only do you get the bonding oxytocin release (which is awesome obvs), if you place them skin-to-skin and place your hearts in alignment, the baby's heart will match yours 🤯

When they are so young, they have no ability to self-regulate, so when they are screaming/going wild - and why wouldn't you, the outside world is cold, full of clangy noise and I have to get my food through my mouth now - get yer top off, hug them close and do loooooong exhales.

It'll bring your heart rate down which calms you down, and it teaches their nervous system how to do it too.

I know that sounds wild, but it works. I did it from day 1 and it meant that my daughter fell asleep in my arms within minutes without fail. It also meant I was able to regulate my own emotions when I wanted to chuck her out the window (note: wanted to).

We never get taught the weird physiological parts about being a parent, but we are animals after all. Modern life gets in the way of Nature doing its thing sometimes.

Expand full comment