I know a lot more today than I did when my first child was born twenty years ago. I find it quite amazing that despite that, my core parenting style is pretty much the same for my second go around. I have a four-year old and an 18 month old in addition to that 20-year-old “baby.” My “baby” just had a baby so that makes me a grandma. A breastfeeding grandma. I’m sure it must be someone’s weird fetish somewhere.
I can safely say that I agree with most of the “Attachment Parenting” principles. Attachment parenting was first proposed by the famous Dr. William Sears, and in a nutshell, it is the belief that through bonding with your children as soon as they are fresh out of the oven, attachment creates a more secure child, and then more secure person in general. This explains a lot between my mom and I. I was not breastfed, nor carried around in a baby carrier nor was I co-slept with. From what I understand, I was fed one of those new fangled “breast like” Playtex bottles; Remember that bottle? It looked like a rocket ship with a brown latex nipple on top. After feeding, my mother would put me down in a playpen, or, baby cage, and leave me to scream (God forbid she would pick me up and “spoil” me) while she went about her business. Business back then was partaking in the latest gossip with Nancy who lived upstairs, drinking a TAB and smoking a Salem light.
My, my, how things have changed. I would never drink an artificially sweetened cola, and I prefer unfiltered camels. Just kidding.
Dr Sears website defines Attachment Parenting as “‘A close attachment after birth and beyond (which) allows the natural, biological attachment-promoting behaviors of the infant and the intuitive, biological, caregiving qualities of the mother to come together. Both members of this biological pair get off to the right start at a time when the infant is most needy and the mother is most ready to nurture. Bonding is a series of steps in your lifelong growing together with your child.”
Parenting style is something that is uniquely yours. Everyone is going to have an opinion on what kind of birth you should have, how much you should hold a baby, and they will make fun of you if you sleep with your baby, and if your marriage falls apart, they will tell you its because you had your babies in your bed. Opinions of others aside, It is definitely a style of parenting that co-parents have to both be on board with, and it has its challenges. Any kind of parenting has its challenges.
I am not sure what got me in to “attachment parenting” in the first place, nor did I know that is what I was doing. I had one of those crazy looking carriers for my daughter in the 90′s, it was so unfashionable. It was it was an early “Snuggli” brand, and I still refer to most carriers by that name, the same way any sanitary napkin is a “Kotex.”
After she was too big for it, I had a blue corduroy hip sling that I used to carry her in. It had a sort of little seat for her bum and wrapped around me and it sat on my hip. It was like a fanny pack for a baby to sit on. I carried her in that thing until her legs were too long and started scraping the sidewalk. I just liked carrying her around.
I (and my ex husband) co-slept with our child. I joke that is why he is my ex, and now that I co-sleep with my two daughters and my present husband is still around, I can tell you, my ex and I did not break up because of co-sleeping (at least not co-sleeping with our baby anyway-you figure that one out). I just like sleeping with my babies. They will never be babies again.
I’ll admit it. I don’t like the sound of babies crying. The fool who says,”let the baby cry,” has got to be deaf. I pick my babies up when they cry because it is their only form of communication. If they are crying, they need something, and maybe its just that my baby wants to feel me near. So what? These are not puppies. I do not rub my baby’s face in her wee-wee.
I had natural, unmedicated births, one of them unassisted (more on that later) I breastfed (um, still breastfeed) and my 18 month old is napping happily in a carrier (Ergo) as I write this.
Yes, I made my own baby food, and all of that stuff. I didn’t decide I wanted to be this “crunchy,” as I have been called. I just happen to believe that this is the best way to bring up my babies, and it works for me.
Not everyone feels the same way, and that’s ok. I’m half/half on attachment parenting discipline which is “gentle guidance” and leading by example. For the most part, I do ok, but when Maddie my four-year old started smoking Camels, I decided I was failing her. JUST KIDDING! I switched to Salem Lights.
No, seriously, sometimes, although I don’t smoke like my mother did, when my four-year old acts up, I actually physically feel my mother’s face come over mine: her face is literally on top of mine and I can feel every crevice of her face. On mine. So much so, that it makes me run to the mirror and it shocks me enough to come back into the room with a new approach.
I have the mommy stare down pretty good, and I am sure that most attachment parents would not like my mommy stare. Am I making my kid insecure by using it? Well, only time will tell.
I often check in with my 20-year-old and ask her,”Please, share with me the countless ways I have screwed up your life.”
She says I didn’t.
Did co-sleeping with her make her a more secure person? Not sure. She’s not super secure, but she’s not super insecure. Did breastfeeding her prevent her from going through her teen years and deciding she wanted to live with her dad instead? Not a chance. She downright hated me…but, she was secure enough to tell me that!
She just had a baby herself. Did all of that attachment parenting instill some sort of need for herself to become a parent? I have no idea. All I know is that she is coming over tomorrow, and she is wearing him on the train, in his baby carrier, and quite possibly, she’ll have to nurse him on the Long Island Railroad. I do see some “gentle guidance” in action there, wouldn’t you say?
- Mayim Bialik: Attachment Parenting Is Not To Blame For My Divorce (huffingtonpost.com)
- Attachment Parenting with Special Needs (mysensoryhero.com)
- Breastfeeding and Attachment Parenting are Intricately Linked (attachmentparenting.org)
- Throwing the baby out with the bath water (bluemilk.wordpress.com)
- Tandem Breastfeeding and Attachment Parenting (spookymrsgreen.wordpress.com)
- Why I Gave Up Attachment Parenting (theresponsiveparent.wordpress.com)
- Mayim Bialik: Don’t Blame Attachment Parenting For My Divorce (huffingtonpost.com)
- Accidental attachment parents (doctormummy.wordpress.com)
- Attachment Parenting – All of Nothing? (themommalove.wordpress.com)