“I completely changed my parenting style”

rose and rosie ziggy parenting

by Rosie Daughton |
Published on

Hi Guys! I’m Rosie, I am Mummy to Ziggy, I live with my wife Rose and together we make YouTube videos – I love to put it all out there on the internet! In this article I'm talking about how my parenting style went from bed sharing and breastfeeding to shutting the door and saying good night – here’s what I learned.

I didn’t give too much thought to parenting styles when I was pregnant with our first child, I figured that parenting would be something instinctive, that would be learned on the job and of course would look different for every family. After all, every family is different and has a different child. How could one ‘style’ work for all, or be best?

It wasn’t until I stumbled upon a pregnant influencer discussing attachment parenting, and the positive science behind it, and I thought ‘that’s what I want to do’. TikTok taught me about gentle parenting, and that clicked with me too. I read up about how you cannot ‘spoil’ a baby with too much love, and that studies show a strong bond between parent and baby leads to a more independent child later in life. I was sold.

I remember in my first year as a new mum taking Ziggy for a walk to the shop when he was a few months old and I got talking to the lady serving me and a lady in the queue. I was talking about wake windows, and how the advice is that babies get tired after a certain period of time and need a certain number of naps a day. Both ladies told me they thought that was ‘rubbish’ and that ‘the baby has to fit in with you, not the other way around.’ I thought THEY were talking rubbish. I thought: my baby didn’t ask to be born, I have brought him into this life, and then people think I should make him fit around me and my schedule? No way. The least I can do is keep him as happy as possible.

I read ‘The Attachment Parenting Book’ by William and Martha Sears and followed their advice on creating a strong attachment with my child; I did breastfeeding, bedsharing and baby wearing. Everything was baby-led, I didn’t create any kind of routine, I just went with what Ziggy did. He wanted to feed? Ok. He wants to sleep? Ok then. Only he knows how he is feeling. So that’s what we did.

So what changed?

Fast forward and my son is coming up to 2 years old, and we are still bedsharing, only Ziggy is having trouble getting to sleep. He looks tired, I know it’s past his wake window, but he is running around shouting ‘weeeeeeeee!!!’ and wanting to play, while I am going out of my mind with exhaustion. I take up the advice of a friend and go to see a ‘gentle’ sleep expert to see if she can help.

The sleep expert sits down on Zoom while Ziggy is at nursery and asks me a bunch of questions. It goes a little something like this:

Sleep Expert: “What time do you wake Ziggy up in the morning?”

Me: “Oh, we don’t have a set routine, it could be any time really, it could be 7am it could be 9am”

Sleep Expert: “What time does he get to nursery?”

Me: “We are extremely flexible, some days it’s 9am and others it’s 10.30am”

Sleep Expert: “How long do you sit at the table and eat dinner?”

Me: “As long as Ziggy wants to eat…”

You get the picture. It’s so funny how it sometimes takes an outside perspective to help you realise when something isn’t working. As I sat talking to this lady, I had several epiphanies. I wasn’t gentle parenting at all. I was unintentionally being a permissive parent. I was simply going along with everything my child wanted to do. And it dawned on me that perhaps that wasn’t the best thing for him.

I’d been so against being strict or telling him what to do. I knew I was rejecting these ideas due to the way I had been treated as a child. But I could also see how this total lack of structure wasn’t doing him any good. Of course, if you leave decisions up to a child, they would want to watch TV rather than go to bed, or won’t want to brush their teeth. I had to take action and be a parent. I had to get tough.

So. I did a complete 180. With the help of my amazing sleep expert, we created some structure. I was to wake Ziggy up at 7am every morning. I nearly cried at the thought of this, I HATE waking Ziggy up when he’s not ready. The sleep expert showed me a chart of sleep and how it helps to have a set bedtime and wake up time, which made me feel a lot better, and the routine began. The next day, I woke Ziggy up at 7am, we went through a little morning routine, and off he went to nursery – it was possibly the earliest anyone had ever seen me at the nursery gates!

I hid the TV remotes and I started telling Ziggy what to do. The expert had given me a plan to stop bedsharing and to even start weaning off breastfeeding. I went from gentle, baby-led parenting to a full on by-the-clock minute by minute military routine, from bed sharing and breastfeeding to shutting the door and saying good night. Ok, so I didn’t really shut the door and say goodnight. But I DID stop contact napping and started putting him down in his own room.

rose and rosie ziggy winter

The results

Of course I was right at the very beginning, before I’d even had my baby. Every family is different, what works for some won’t work for others and parenting IS learned on the job. I had been so scared of recreating harsh patterns from my childhood that I gave in to everything Ziggy wanted, and I learned the hard way that that isn’t good parenting.

I learned that children need boundaries, routine and structure. It didn’t have to be ‘mean’ or ‘cruel’, actually it could not only help Ziggy but also the entire family. He now takes about ten minutes to go to bed and falls asleep right away. And guess what? We still have an incredible attachment.

To the outside, this may have been obvious. It’s funny how judgment can get so clouded when you’re in a situation. I step back and think to myself, wow, I’ve learned so much and he’s not even two yet, who knows how the next few years are going to go?

On TikTok and Instagram I’ve recently been seeing more and more videos about the Montessori way of parenting and how it helps build healthy independence. Perhaps now I’m ready to give that a go too…

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