There has been a lot of talk recently about Attachment Parenting (AP). Most recently this picture graced the cover of Time, causing shock (as it was intended to) on both sides of the issue.
It may come as no shock to those who know me, but in my household, we practice AP. Here are the eight principles of AP. I just sort of fell into AP naturally. My parents practiced many of these things back in the 80s before there was a term for it because it “felt right” to my mother (she says that we should call AP “natural parenting” since everything else is outside of what is normal in most of the world and for most of human history). These principles also feel right to me. I am also thankful for a friend who passed on her copy of The Baby Book (which I’ve mostly read through) because it gave me the term to use for doing what felt right to me and helped me find others who parent the way I want to.
I had a natural birth at a birthing center. We breastfeed, which I plan on doing until it is something LP and I both decide is no longer for us.
We co-sleep, which makes it so much easier as a working mom of a baby who reverse-cycled at about 4 months to get any sleep.
We practice babywearing. LP loves being worn (most of the time) by either parent. And it sure can make doing things like shopping, housework, or even playing WoW (once he’s asleep) easier. We also have a stroller, which we do use for things like long walks to the park.
Recently I borrowed from the library and read Beyond the Sling by Mayim Bialik. It was interesting to read her book. I really liked her voice and the way she told her story. When I was reading bits about parts that I agreed with already, I found myself nodding my head or saying “yes! exactly!” out loud (good thing I read it while pumping in the Mother’s Room at work so there was no one around to hear me). There were some things that were a little “out there” for me, such as Elimination Communication (which sounds cool…but we’re renting a place with lots of carpets and I know it’s something daycare would never go for) and lots of holistic medicine. I did love her chapter on gentle discipline (also known as positive parenting), which I made Darius read. I actually got out from the library the book on Gentle Discipline that she recommends in her resources section. My two biggest take-aways from her book was the idea of not saying no, but saying “Not for LP, but this over here is for LP” instead and when the kid starts to cry when hurt asking in a caring tone “hurt, surprised, or both?”
Does AP work for everyone? No. Does it work for us? Yes. One of the biggest tenants that I’ve noticed amongst AP people and La Leche League people is that they are aware that every family and every mother is different and so they say do what you can and what works best for you and for your child. No need to be “mom enough.”
Part Two: Attachment Parenting and the working mom.