I remember seeing some episode on TV a few years ago that was poking fun at attachment parenting. I can’t for the life of me remember what it was, but these parents were talking about how they believed in “attachment parenting” and insisting that they “wear their baby.” Throughout the show, the parents were freaking out because they couldn’t put their baby down, as if one moment out of their arms would damage the child forever. They were so unbelievably stressed out about the whole thing. I remember rolling my eyes and commenting about how incredibly over the top and ridiculous these people were. I mean, really? “Wear” your baby? Like a shirt? Are they nuts?
Ironic, isn’t it?
I don’t know what made me think of that today. I was in the middle of wrapping J and I flashed on that show. Oh, look, now I’m one of the crazy moms.
Except it’s not really like that, of course. I am certainly not afraid of putting J down (in fact, he quite insists on it), and while I happily claim the attachment parenting term, there’s not a list of rules that I feel I have to follow. I just do what works best for my baby and I, which is what I have been doing all along. It just so happens that there’s a whole group of people who also feel strongly about responding to their babies needs, practicing positive discipline, and in general parenting in a loving way.
So many times, I hear parents saying that they aren’t “attachment parents” because they don’t cosleep, or they don’t breastfeed, or they wouldn’t know what a wrap was if it hit them in the face. I think that’s kind of missing the point. As Dr. Sears (the attachment parenting guru) says:
AP is an approach, rather than a strict set of rules. It’s actually the style that many parents use instinctively. Parenting is too individual and baby too complex for there to be only one way.
The whole basic idea of attachment parenting is that forming a solid, trusting relationship with your children is healthy for all involved. It promotes responding to your children in ways that are respectful, caring, and more like the way you want to be treated. It’s about creating a bond between parent and child. How exactly you do that is up to you. You’re not automatically out of the club because your baby sleeps in a crib, or you use a stroller, or you bottlefeed. So before you shake your head at us crazy attachment parenting mommies (and daddies too!), stop and ask yourself… deep down, are you actually one of us? (And in the meantime, you might give one of those crazy carriers a try. They’re actually pretty handy.)