I didn’t realize I was an attachment parent until I attended baby wearing class where the instructor handed out flyer about the local “attachment parenting” group. That was the first time I’d ever seen that phrase. I looked at the sheet, read what the group was about and mentally said, “oh that’s me….oh I do that….oh that’s us….ooo I want to do that……….oh, I am an attachment parent, apparently.” I didn’t realize there was a name for it. I was just doing or had plans to do these things instinctively.
After recently watching a news segment that my friend was involved in (inspiring this blogpost, thanks Molly!), I found myself a little confused about the beal deal. Since when did the most natural, instinctual form of parenting get people’s panties in a wad?
I don’t think I do every single “attachment parenting” thing, I don’t keep track…. I do respond to my child when he cries. Crazily enough, EVERY time he cries. Thats “not fair to the mom” the child behaviorist says in the video. Whaaa? How does it become an issue of fairness? A moms “job” is to care for her child. Yes it’s tiring. Yes it’s challenging. Yes it’s worth it. If you’re going to talk about what you do and don’t do as a parent being fair or not then you probably shouldn’t be a parent. I mean really. “Not fair”…are we in grade school or are we parents? We also hear that holding or “wearing” the baby too much, especially in a response to crying, will spoil them. First of all, this logic eludes me to this day. They are helpless BABIES. I should be more concerned about them being spoiled than meeting their needs? Really?? That’s a hell of a first life lesson. Second, its not like we are talking about toys or materialistic things but love, security and trust. Plus I find it ironic that some of the same people that say the baby will be spoiled are the ones spoiling them with materialistic things. Third, this mothers constant holding and wearing LITERALLY saved her child’s life: http://fiercemamas.blogspot.com/2009/10/saving-my-baby.html
My breastmilk is a designer food made specifically for my child, changing nutrition content as he needs it and strengthening his immune system as he grows. I’m not going to cut him off just because he turns 1 and give him milk from another mammal instead. “Well, little man, Happy Birthday! You are a man now, so here’s some milk from a cow. Nevermind that my milk is still available.” Also, it’s actually common in other countries to nurse into the toddler years, and not only in third world countries (which shouldn’t matter anyway). Not to mention all the agencies that recommend it until two years of age, at least. What IS the big deal? Michael Jordan was breastfed until he was 3. So what! (I think the big deal is that Americans see boobs in bras or swimsuits too much to remember what they are actually made for. So a lot of people freak out about infants on boobs, let alone toddlers. If they weren’t made for nursing they wouldn’t make milk, and if they were only supposed to used for six months, a year, whatever, than they would stop making milk. But they don’t because when to stop is up to the mama and the child and NO ONE else).
I have heard people say that if you let your child sleep in your bed then they will never leave. I don’t know many young adults still sleeping in their parents beds. I’ve also heard something about there being no where for parents to be intimate when bed sharing. Yikes. Some people need to think outside the box….or the bedroom, as it were. Babies aren’t born knowing how to fall asleep or how to stay asleep and just because they reach a certain age doesn’t mean they should sleep alone whether they figured it out by then or not. There is plenty of research supporting this as well. And unless the parents go to bed drunk every night, they are going to be aware of where their child is and wake up when they need to, it’s biological.
The child behaviorist in that segment claims to be concerned about children being raised this way ending up having trouble in life on their own. She should meet my eldest. Confident, independent and out-going (this is an understatement) at two years old. And so empathetic, just as Dr. Sears said in the segment.
This type of parenting will be part of a new show called “Extreme Parenting” I guess. Responding to your child’s needs more than some other people think you should, giving them the best possible nutrition longer than some other people think you should, helping your child to form good sleep habits in a way that some people don’t think you should is extreme? This is what happens when opinionated uninformed people find an audience….bad equation. Given the name of the show, I’m dubious that they will have found typical AP homes and that they will edit the show in a way that doesn’t make us seem crazy.
I want to say just let us parent how we want to parent, why does it have to be some debate? But then maybe some parents are parenting in a way that I don’t think is healthy for the child. Why is this debatable? Because these are children being reared to one day be on their own and out in the world taking over when we get older. I’m personally more interested in adults running this country who didn’t have a less is more childhood. Less actually isn’t more, ever…less is always less.