Maybe you’ve heard about Attachment Parenting (AP). Maybe you haven’t. It’s been in the news a little bit recently. Basically, it’s a style of parenting that includes practices such as breastfeeding, baby-wearing, co-sleeping, etc. It acknowledges the special bond that mother has with her baby. And promotes the needs of the infant above most things.
I never really researched parenting styles or anything like that. I always knew I wanted to breastfeed. Then, I heard about baby-wearing, which also just seemed to make sense to me. And I already shared how the whole co-sleeping thing worked out.
I am, by no means, an expert in AP. In fact, it wasn’t like I woke up one day and decided to follow Attachment Parenting. I actually just stumbled across it by accident, and realized I was already practicing the principles. Breastfeeding, baby-wearing, and co-sleeping are all things that I fell into intuitively. They just feel natural to me.
What it means to me
Attachment Parenting means I like to be close to my baby, to anticipate her needs, and respond in a gentle way. It’s really that simple. I know I don’t need to put a label on it. But I like knowing there are other families practicing in a similar style, so I can learn from them.
When you have a baby, your whole life changes. It seems that some people have a difficult time with this. They try to keep doing the things they did before children. Not all of that is wrong. However, I heard one story about a mother that left her 10 week old baby in the care of a nanny and her mother-in-law so she could take a vacation in Mexico. It really bothered me.
A few months ago I was asked to facilitate an executive workshop in NY for a week. This was something over and beyond my regular day-to-day job, so it wasn’t expected. I was extremely excited because I love presenting, and I thought it would be such a great experience. I immediately asked my husband how we could make this work. But then reality set in… As much as this opportunity would have benefited my career, being close to my baby is way more important. No contest. Even if I could bring her with me to the hotel, I didn’t want to be away from her all day.
Sure, I was a little disappointed, but I never once felt regret or like a victim. I know I made the best choice for my family. Does this make me noble? No, it makes me a mom. We have to sacrifice for our kids all the time.
I’m not saying there is only one correct way to parent. And I probably don’t even follow AP to a T. As long as you love your children, and make them a priority, that’s what matters.
There are critics of AP who claim it’s too hard and unrealistic. I don’t get that. To me, it almost seems too easy. It’s like I’m just following my natural instincts as a mother. We still have fun. We just bring Zoe along. And heck, now that’s she’s older, we’ve been on a few dates without her.
I guess it was the moment I saw the positive sign on the pregnancy test that I realized things would be different. I was trading something good for something better. And I haven’t looked back since.
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