Attachment Parenting, often referred to as AP, is considered by many to be a parenting style.
I think of it as a lifestyle. It’s aligned with the way I live my whole life.
Attachment parenting is a way of mothering that nurtures my children. The daily practice of being an AP parent feels most natural to me.
While we’re talking definition, here it is:
Attachment parenting is a term coined by William Sears, meaning, “Attachment parenting is a parenting philosophy based on the principles of the attachment theory in developmental psychology. According to attachment theory, the child forms a strong emotional bond with caregivers during childhood with lifelong consequences. Sensitive and emotionally available parenting helps the child to form a secure attachment style which fosters a child’s socio-emotional development and well being.”
There are a few public figures that have normalized attachment parenting recently.
Mayim Bailik, wrote a book called Beyond the Sling, Angelina and Brad practice co-sleeping, Ricki Lake with home birth, Anne Heche uses cloth diapers and Alicia Silverstone considers herself a natural, attachment parenting mama (read her blog, The Kind Life).
I am so grateful that these high profile people have brought kind parenting practices into view.
Most recently, Time published a piece about AP, specificially drawing attention to extended nursing.
And the cover has everybody talking.
This is my response.
What I like about the cover:
All in all, I am glad that Time Magazine is covering the topic of AP. I think more people and children can benefit from this simple way of life. Remember, the definition of attachment parenting is to be sensitive to a child’s emotions and needs.
I’m also thrilled that the cover has started a conversation about extended breastfeeding. The benefits of extended nursing are numerous. As someone who nursed one child until 3, two children for 8 months, and going strong with a 10 month old, I love to see breastfeeding in the news.
Now here’s what I don’t like about this magazine cover:
The title. Pairing ”Are You Mom Enough?” with a photo of a toddler nursing gives the impression that you must practice extended breastfeeding or you’re not mom enough. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Every mom is mom enough, no matter how long she breastfeeds her children, or if she is able to breastfeed at all. Two weeks or two years. Statements like this create a defensive, judgmental environment between women, that separates us instead of bringing us together. That’s the last thing mothers need.
At the same time, who is mom enough? What the heck does that even mean? We all have strengths and weaknesses.
You ARE mom enough.
Okay. Back to attachment parenting.
How I practice attachment parenting.
Attachment parenting means something different to everyone.
I’m proud of the way my partner and I parent our children and hope you are too, with whatever style works for you and your kiddos!
- I bedshare: Lucan and Ella sleep on either side of me in a twin bed. Eric has his own twin bed in the same room. Sometimes I start out in his bed and make my way over to the other when Lucan wakes up.
- I babywear: I prefer to carry my children rather than put them in strollers. My favorite brand is Ergo. Although Ella is old enough to walk, we sometimes put her in the Ergo on our backs during long nature hikes when she gets tuckered out. We have a second carrier for Lucan, who rides on front of my chest.
- I breastfeed: Ella nursed from day one to just over 3. We continued our nursing relationship through my second pregnancy as well as after Lucan was born, (Ella was 2 1/2). I tandem nursed them for 8 months before slowly weaning my daughter.
- I follow my toddler’s lead: I see “acting out” not as a behavioral problem but as an emotional issue that my daughter doesn’t know how to speak with words. My children have never cried it out to sleep. My children have worn/wear cloth diapers.
I want to stress again that I believe each person needs to walk their own parenting path.
Maybe you don’t use cloth diapers, or perhaps your little one prefers sleeping in their crib. That doesn’t mean you’re not an AP parent. It’s not black and white.
#1: What do you think of the Time cover?
#2: How do you, (or don’t you) practice attachment parenting?