Ten Problems with Attachment Parenting

post-partum depression
FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestReddit

problems with attachment parenting: post-partum depression

The following is a guest post by Science and Evidence-Based Parenting.

Attachment Parenting (AP) is the latest parenting craze sweeping across the Western world. It’s most popular among educated women—with advocates such as actress Mayim Bialik, who plays Amy Farrah Fowler on the popular TV show “The Big Bang Theory”. She holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience, and also refuses to vaccinate her kids—a trend common among Attachment Parents.

Women who are drawn to AP usually feel like all the hustle and bustle of modern day life is not a suitable environment for child rearing. They are looking to get back to a more “natural” way of parenting. So they look to more primitive cultures in the developing world for inspiration. In these regions, women commonly breastfeed, and wear their babies on their backs as they’re working in the fields. The whole family sleeps in the same bed not due to choice, but due to poverty. Apparently, this is the way we should all be living.

The term “Attachment Parenting” was first coined by the famous Dr. Sears as presented in his bestselling books, “The Baby Book”. Sears seems to have developed the concept as a backlash from the prior popular parenting philosophy. Earlier parenting experts claimed that parents shouldn’t cuddle children too much for fear of “spoiling” them.

Of course children should be loved and cuddled. But AP seems to have gone from one parenting extreme to another, and tends to attract a lot of wooists (followers of pseudoscience) as a result.  Loosely basing his recommendations on attachment theory, Sears suggests we should follow the 7 baby B’s of Attachment Parenting. These are:

  • birth bonding
  • breastfeeding
  • baby wearing
  • bed-sharing
  • belief in your baby’s cries
  • beware of baby trainers
  • balance

Sears and others claim that AP babies will grow up smarter, healthier, more attached, more independent, better behaved, more loving, with better language skills…the list goes on. They claim that AP kids are all around better than your ordinary run-of-the-mill kids. You can find these claims on Dr. Sears website.

I have several issues with this philosophy. Here’s why.

1. It’s Fear-Based

AP is fear-based. It plays on parents’ insecurities. Parents worry that their parenting choices will harm their kids in some way. AP does a pretty good job of convincing them that’s going to happen. It promotes a fear of “insecure attachment”. But this is something which usually only happens in extreme cases, such as for kids in social care who have suffered neglect or abuse, or if the mother has post-partum depression (or other mental health problems), which causes her to be distant and uncommunicative with her baby.

Most parents don’t fall into these categories, and most babies have no problem bonding with their parents. There are no studies on Attachment Parenting comparing outcomes of AP kids with other kids. Sears’ claims that AP kids turn out better are nothing more than his personal opinions. There is no evidence to support that kids brought up this way turn out any different from kids whose parents use different methods within a stable, loving home environment.

2.  It’s Not the Same as Attachment Theory

British psychoanalyst John Bowlby developed Attachment Theory when attempting to understand the intense distress experienced by infants who had been separated from their parents. He observed that infants exhibited behaviors such as crying, clinging, and frantically searching to prevent separation or to reestablish proximity to a missing parent. He postulated that these behaviors were adaptive responses to separation from a primary attachment figure—someone who provides support, protection and care—because human infants rely on the care of adults for survival.

According to Bowlby, the attachment system asks the following question: Is the attachment figure nearby, accessible and attentive? If yes, the child feels loved, secure and confident and is likely to explore the environment, play with others and be sociable. If the child feels the answer is no, then the child experiences anxiety and is likely to exhibit attachment behaviors such as searching and vocal signaling. Bowlby also recognized that there are individual differences in the way children appraise the accessibility of the attachment figure, and how they regulate their behavior in response to threats.

Later research by Mary Ainsworth began to study infant-parent separations in order to form an understanding of these individual differences. She developed a technique called “The Strange Situation” for studying infant-parent attachment. Twelve-month-old infants and their parents were brought to the laboratory and systematically separated and then reunited with their parent. What she observed was that most children (about 60%) became upset when the parent leaves the room, but when they return the child actively seeks the parent and is easily comforted by them.

Children exhibiting this pattern of behavior are called “secure”. Other children (20% or less) are ill-at-ease upon separation and become extremely distressed, and when reunited with their parent they have a difficult time being comforted, and they exhibit anger towards the parent for leaving. These children are known as “anxious-resistant”. A third pattern of attachment was also observed. About 20% of children don’t appear too distressed by separation and upon reunion they actively avoid contact with the parent, often turning to toys on the laboratory floor. These children are known as “anxious-avoidant”.

Ainsworth’s work shows that there are a least three types of children: those who are secure, those who are anxious-resistant, and those who are anxious-avoidant. Importantly, she demonstrated that these individual differences correlated with infant-parent interactions in the home during the first year of life. Children who appear securely attached tend to have parents who are responsive to their needs. Children who appear insecure (anxious or avoidant) often have parents who are insensitive, inconsistent, or rejecting in the care they provide. Many researchers have gone onto prove links between early parental sensitivity and responsiveness, and attachment security.

So what does this research tell us? It shows us that the majority of children, whose parents are caring, supportive and responsive to their child, are securely attached. It also shows us that the children who appear insecure have parents who are inconsistent, insensitive or rejecting in their care, and that the child feels he or she cannot rely on the parent for support.

It does not mention anywhere the 7 baby B’s of attachment parenting. It doesn’t show us that things like breastfeeding, baby wearing, or bed sharing are necessary to form a secure attachment. What it does show is that to form a secure attachment, a parent needs to pay attention to their baby. They need to engage with them, and respond to their needs in a positive manner. These are all things which parents can do without going all-out AP.

3. It’s Anti-Sleep Training

There is a lot of bad science and fear mongering surrounding the topic of infant sleep. Sears does a good job of contributing to that. There are several alarmist articles claiming that sleep training methods—including the controversial “cry it out” techniques—are dangerous. The authors claim that these techniques cause stress and elevated cortisol levels, which then lead to brain damage and affect the parent-child bond. But these claims are not supported by science. The research referenced by Sears and others to support their claim of harm from sleep training is mainly based on rats, not humans, and on cases of child abuse and neglect (which does not apply to sleep training). There is an excellent article in Slate which covers this subject in depth:

The first argument made by the journal (and the Sears pediatricians) is that crying-it-out is stressful for babies, flooding their sweet little brains with hormones such as cortisol that interfere with healthy brain development. Yes: Chronic, toxic stress is bad for young brains. But several nights of crying during an otherwise happy infancy does not constitute chronic stress. The types of stress that have been shown to cause developmental problems in children include sexual and physical abuse and serious neglect, described as “the absence of sufficient amounts of essential experiences,” which some children raised in state-run institutions in China and Romania suffered, for instance. The Sears family also cites a study showing that babies who cry for prolonged periods have lower IQs than kids who don’t, but the study looked at kids who happened to cry a lot more than usual, not those who were left alone to cry. (The Sears family confused the direction of the causal arrow in the study, too, because the researchers concluded that “underlying neurological problems may be the cause of prolonged crying,” not the other way around.) When Time magazine senior editor Jeffrey Kluger contacted the authors of some of the studies cited by William Sears for an article he wrote in May 2012, the scientists said it was unfair that Sears had used their work as evidence against sleep training. “Our paper is not referring to routine, brief stressful experiences, but to abuse and neglect,” explained Yale psychologist Joan Kaufman. “It is a mis-citation of our work to support a non-scientifically justified idea.”

Source: “Cry, Baby, Cry” by  Melinda Wenner Moyer on Slate.com

There is good evidence in support of sleep training. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reviewed the literature on sleep training. They found that in 17 out of 19 studies unmodified extinction—or “cry it out”—was effective in reducing night time waking and bedtime resistance. They concluded it “has a strong record of accomplishment”. Graduated extinction—the technique popularized by Dr Richard Ferber whereby you leave the child to cry for increasing periods of time, but not all night—was also shown to be effective.

None of the studies showed negative side effects of sleep training. In 2012, Australian researchers conducted a randomized clinical trial which followed up 173 6-year-olds who had undergone sleep training as babies. They specifically looked at:

  • parent-child closeness
  • psychological health
  • emotional development
  • parental attachment

They found no differences between sleep-trained children and non-sleep-trained controls.

And let’s not forget the importance of a good night’s sleep! There is substantial evidence showing that improper sleep can have negative consequences. Studies suggest that:

Several studies have also shown that sleep training reduces the risk of maternal depression. A 2009 study reported infants of depressed mothers were more likely to be anxious and socially disengaged than infants of healthy mothers.

So there is in fact no evidence of harm from sleep training, and the evidence we do have is positive, showing benefits for the whole family—contrary to the fear-mongering claims of Dr Sears.

4. It’s Anti-Formula

Breastfeeding is good. You should breastfed. Breast milk is made for babies and has measurable short term benefits for infants, especially for newborns and preemies. Formula is also made for babies, just not by your body, and it’s good too. Babies thrive on formula. It’s not “toxic” or “poison” as some die-hard “lactavists” would have you believe.  Many women are unable to breastfeed, or choose not to, and that’s fine. That’s what formula is there for.

In today’s Western societies we have proper sanitation, clean drinking water and modern medicine. There’s really not that much difference in the long term outcomes of formula-fed and breast-fed babies. Much of the noted differences are down to socio-economic factors. Here, breastfeeding mothers tend to:

  • be better educated
  • more wealthy
  • live in better areas with access to better schools
  • less likely to smoke or drink alcohol
  • have access to better health care
  • to be more health conscious
  • to have a healthier diet and lifestyle which results in fewer health problems

This can explain most of the differences between formula vs breast.

There is also no evidence that formula fed babies are any less attached than breastfed babies. How you feed your baby does not dictate attachment. Attachment is based upon building a positive relationship with your child, by being responsive and paying attention to them, not by the mode of feeding. Bowlby’s research on attachment theory actually disproved the previous hypothesis that babies attach to the one who is feeding them. AP includes breastfeeding as one of the 7 baby B’s, suggesting that it’s necessary for attachment, and that the longer you breastfeed the better. By doing so it demonizes formula, guilt tripping mothers who do not breastfeed by making them feel like they’re doing it wrong and harming their child.

5. Baby Wearing Is Not Essential

Baby carriers, wraps and slings are great. Many people use them, and they come in useful for transport. It takes the weight off your arms so you can easily walk around. You can go off road and places where a stroller cannot. It also has the added benefit of the motion of your body rocking the baby to sleep. It is great if your baby is colicky and wants to be held and rocked all the time. It’s a useful tool.

But it’s not necessary for attachment.  Remember, attachment is based on building a positive relationship with your baby, by being responsive and sensitive to your baby’s needs.  Baby wearing does not dictate attachment. You do not need to be physically attached to your baby 24/7, as many AP advocates believe.  It’s okay to put your baby down in a safe place while you go about your daily tasks. You can still talk to your baby from across the room, make eye contact, smile or sing a song. You don’t need to be physically attached at all times and you’re not going to damage the parent-child bond by using a stroller instead of a sling.

Also, as your baby grows and develops they need floor time to learn to roll over, sit up, to crawl etc. Preventing your child from experiencing these things could be detrimental to their development.

6. It Attracts Extremists

AP attracts a lot of loonies. There I said it. But it’s true. Anti-vaxers are all over AP. People who rely on the Sears pediatricians quite often fall into the anti-vax camp, thanks to Dr. Bob’s bestselling anti-vax book “The Vaccine Book”. They can often hold extremist views when it comes to AP. It’s not uncommon for AP mothers to continue to breastfeed their much older kids, as shown in the controversial TIME Magazine article Are You Mom Enough?, or to continue to carry their child in a sling well beyond infancy. Some APers seem to want to ‘baby’ their kids for as long as possible when other kids their age are running about the park and climbing trees.

Now there is nothing wrong with breastfeeding or baby wearing, but there comes a point when your child is not a baby anymore and it’s necessary to allow them to grow up and become more independent. If you are still breastfeeding and carrying your 5-year-old around on your back, society will consider you to be “extreme”. People think it’s weird, not to mention unnecessary. There is also this view among APers that their way is the best way to parent, and that other parents are doing it all wrong. It forms an elitist ideology and demonizes other parents who don’t buy into it. APers can get hostile towards other parents who they see as being neglectful or even abusive for things like sleep training or formula feeding.

7. It’s Uses Standard Advice Mixed With Unfounded Claims

Many of the recommendations in AP are standard advice. Skin-to skin contact, breastfeeding, sleeping beside your baby (but not in the same bed), interacting positively with your baby etc. are all good. The problems arise from unsupported claims like sleep training is harmful and that AP babies are better than others, as I described above.

8. Attachment Parenting Is Big Business

The Sears family and others have made a substantial income on the sale of their books and promoting their parenting philosophy. Sling manufacturers have also benefited as they are becoming increasingly popular—if you go on any of the websites you’ll see references to attachment Parenting. Not that slings themselves are a bad thing; they’re not.  But let’s not forget that the concept of AP is being sold to you for $10.99 when you can just as easily get evidence-based advice for free from your doctor.

9. It’s Anti-Feminist

Advocates of AP believe that the best way to parent is for the mother to be in constant contact with her baby. That means being a stay-home mum. But for many women, this is not possible. Most women have to work to put bread on the table, and promoting 24/7 contact as being best for your baby demonizes and guilt trips mothers who are unable to do so. In fact, there is no evidence that returning to work effects the mother-child bond.

Although many people express strong opinions about this, research shows that whether or not a mom (or dad) is employed outside the home – and whether the baby attends out-of-home childcare or not – has little influence on the quality of the parent-child attachment. What does predict quality of attachment is how sensitive and responsive (emotionally available) the parent is in attending to the baby’s cues.

Source: “Good Enough Moms & Dads: Separating Fact from Fiction about Parent-Child Attachment” by  Marti Erickson, Ph.D. at University of Minnesota

10. Attachment Parenting Is Simply Unnecessary

You do not need to follow the methods of attachment parenting to bond with your baby. There is a good fact-sheet from the University of Minnesota which explains about attachment and addresses attachment parenting.

“Attachment parenting” has become a popular movement in recent years, but attachment research offers no evidence that such an approach is necessary for a good, secure attachment to develop. Certainly breastfeeding has many benefits. And babies often love being held (or “worn”) close to a loving parent. But, beyond being warm and sensitive in responding to a baby’s cues, there is no clear prescription for a secure attachment and there is room for a range of acceptable choices about sleeping, feeding, and how and how much to hold a baby. Parents need to figure out together the arrangement that will allow them to feel the most rested and relaxed so that they can be emotionally available to love and enjoy their baby.

Source: “Good Enough Moms & Dads: Separating Fact from Fiction about Parent-Child Attachment” by  Marti Erickson, Ph.D. at University of Minnesota

Conclusion

So what can we say from all this? As far as I am aware, after conducing several searches, there is no research comparing the outcomes of children raised by Sears’ attachment parenting methods (following the 7 baby B’s) and other parenting methods. So Sears’ claims that AP kids are healthier, smarter, more attached and all round better are unsupported.

We know that attachment is formed by repeated positive interactions with your baby over time, crucially between 4 months – 2 years. Parents who give regular positive attention to their baby—like warm eye contact, talking, singing, playing, who make their baby laugh, and who are able to soothe their baby when they’re upset—can be confident that they are securely attached. Most babies have no problem forming a natural attachment to their parents no matter which methods are used. We know it’s not even about the amount of time you spend with your child; it’s about the quality of that time.

It’s possible for mothers who breastfeed or baby wear all day long to not attach with their baby, if they’re not giving them regular positive attention. Insecure attachments are formed when the mother is unreliable in her care, when she’s regularly ignoring the baby, not responding to its basic needs and not communicating positively on a regular basis. We know that mothers with depression are at risk of insecure attachment. We have effective medication for that, even if it means being unable to breastfeed—which is not the end of the world. We know that sleep training also reduces the risk of post-partum depression and parental stress, by allowing everyone to get a good night’s sleep.

Mothers who formula feed instead of breastfeed, who go back to work instead of staying home, who use a stroller instead of a sling, who put their baby to sleep in a crib instead of in the “family bed”, or who sleep train and have structured daily routines are still able to form that natural bond with their babies. These things don’t matter when it comes to attachment. Being a loving, caring parent, positively interacting and cooing over your new baby, making them laugh and comforting them when they are distressed is what builds a secure attachment. That can be done without the need to buy into the 7 baby B’s of the Attachment Parenting philosophy.

References

Ask Dr Sears – Attachment Parenting
http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/parenting/attachment-parenting

Course extract: Attachment theory
http://www.open.edu/openlearn/body-mind/childhood-youth/childhood-and-youth-studies/childhood/course-extract-attachment-theory

A Brief Overview of Adult Attachment Theory and Research
https://internal.psychology.illinois.edu/~rcfraley/attachment.htm

Good Enough Moms & Dads: Separating Fact from Fiction about Parent-Child Attachment
http://www.cehd.umn.edu/ceed/publications/tipsheets/…/attachmentfactorfiction.pdf

The Science Behind Dr. Sears: Does It Stand Up?
http://ideas.time.com/2012/05/10/the-science-behind-dr-sears-does-it-stand-up/

A journal jumps on the Dr. Sears bandwagon to say sleep training is dangerous. Science says otherwise.
http://www.slate.com/…/clinical_lactation_jumps_on_the_dr_sears_bandwagon_to_say_sleep_training.html

Behavioral Treatment of Bedtime Problems and Night Wakings in Infants and Young Children
http://www.journalsleep.org/ViewAbstract.aspx?pid=26636

Five-Year Follow-up of Harms and Benefits of Behavioral Infant Sleep Intervention: Randomized Trial
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/130/4/643.long

Sleep Problems in Early Childhood: Continuities, Predictive Factors, and Behavioral Correlates
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/80/5/664

Sleep deprivation and neurobehavioral functioning in children
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167876013001906

Sleep Deprivation Impairs the Accurate Recognition of Human Emotions
http://www.journalsleep.org/viewabstract.aspx?pid=27729

Improving infant sleep and maternal mental health: a cluster randomized trial
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2083609/

Maternal depression and anxiety across the postpartum year and infant social engagement, fear regulation, and stress reactivity.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19625979

Is breast truly best? Estimating the effects of breastfeeding on long-term child health and wellbeing in the United States using sibling comparisons
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953614000549

Is Breast-Feeding Really Better?
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/04/is-breast-feeding-really-better/

Are the benefits of breastfeeding oversold?
http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/are-the-benefits-of-breastfeeding-oversold/

Risk and Total Motherhood in the National Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign
http://jhppl.dukejournals.org/content/32/4/595.full.pdf+html


52 thoughts on “Ten Problems with Attachment Parenting

  1. I happen to love attachment parenting and it works for our family. I am a feminist, provaxing, rational thinker who also baby wore, co slept, breastfed for years, etc. I know that not all mainstream moms ignore their kids and put cola in their bottles and I know that not all AP moms are extremists either. There are many ways to raise good, healthy, happy kids.

    • I want to share my side. When my first baby was born 12 years ago, I fell into the babycenter forums and the “what to expect” books. I thought that I would go back to work when she was 4 mos, that she would sleep in her crib from day one, that she would only nurse a few months, and that my husband would be able to give her a bottle or two a day to help feed her. Before she was born, it never occurred to me she would hate the crib. It never occurred to me that she would cry the minute I put her down. It never occurred to me that she would be so very sensitive to sounds and light. It never occurred to me that she would be born with severe torticollis and have trouble nursing at first and have major troubles with her neck. The first few months, I spent hours holding her while she slept because she would not otherwise sleep. After the first few weeks, she refused any and all bottles. She developed serious colic at 8 weeks. It took a week or two to get her to take a paci, at pedi’s recommendation, and even that did not “cure” the colic. I now know she had severe tort but we did not know that at the time. During that first 4 months, my only saving grace was to put every single parenting and sleep book at Seattle Public Library on hold and have hubby pick them up when they became available. I read them all. you name a parenting guru, I read their books. I read all the parenting ideas. When I found William Sears, I felt like I was feeling a major change in everything. Everything fell into place. Babywearing, not wanting to use the crib, why she would not take a bottle, why she was so fussy (she is THE EPITOME of his daughter Hayden in his book The Fussy Baby). I did not fall into extremism at all. I still vaccinate. I still used a swing and a stroller. But, attachment parenting saved me. It is still how we parent, but we are not extremists. Having been a parent now for 12 years, I understand that there are many ways to raise healthy kids. There is not one parenting method that is going to work for everyone nor one that has all the answers. Attachment parenting, in it’s pure form, is pretty mellow. If you hang out at Mothering magazine’s forums, you might think otherwise but, as I like to remind them, API’s website says nothing extremist at all. So, the extremism is personal. Just like birthing extremism or diet extremism, these extremists pretty much make up their own guidelines. I don’t care if anyone wants to CIO or spank ( a little) or work or use formula. I really do not care. You can do whatever you want. But I love AP and it feels natural and right to me and works great for my husband and I, without us having to really try much. We also like Gordon Neufeld’s writings on AP with teens. To each, her own.

  2. I asked a friend, ‘why was it so hard to leave your baby to cry and not go to them?’ He said ‘because you’re going against your natural instincts’.
    Now why would you want to go against your natural instincts? Can we not trust our own nature?
    Since when are babies supposed to sleep for 8 hours solid anyway? What happens if they wake up thirsty? How would you feel? What if they had a bad dream and just wanted a cuddle?
    You can keep your studies and other nonsense. I think we will continue to do what feels right.

    • I agree. It is exhausting but it feels like the right thing to do. I don’t understand how some people can ignore a child’s cries for them.

      • Fact: most parents who do not practice AP do indeed respond to their child’s cries.
        Unfortunately what seems to be the majority are abusive or uncaring parents who ignore their children. In actuality, the majority of parents do respond to the children.
        As a former natural parent, I used to believe I was one of the only people in the world who cared for my boys and I used to believe my boys were very special, more so than mothers who didn’t do AP.
        I was wrong and my eyes were opened to this : what was natural TO ME, what is common sense, was what really mattered. I followed a crowd and was brainwashed. Now I’m free but still bear the burden of guilt.

  3. I don’t think the author gets AP at all. If you defend sleep training because “it works” then you just don’t get it. AP is all about respecting your feelings and learning what is your personal parenting style. As it turns out, most mothers – even non AP moms – like holding their babies for longer periods of time than it’s recommended by baby trainers. Most mothers do bedshare for some time, simply because it’s necessary, it makes life easier – even the ones who don’t dare to confess it. I would say that “no crying it out” is a big AP rule – based on a number of things far more significant than the “evidence” on high cortisol levels – but as long as your baby seems happy no one is told to bedshare and baby wear “or else your baby will be damaged for life”. Constant physical contact is really encouraged during the first 1-2 months because it clearly calms the baby, but baby wearing is a solution for mothers who need to do chores or some other activity while caring for a baby too young to entertain herself for a little while. But many moms from my AP group do have strollers (myself included). Nothing wrong with that, as long as the baby isn’t stressed, as long as the mother doesn’t think the baby must get used to the stroller or else she’ll be “needy and dependent for life” or something of that sort.

  4. A lot of AP is the backlash against “experts” who said that parents had to let their baby cry alone in another room lest they become too “dependent” on their parents. Do what works for your family. There is no one AP ideal anymore, Dr. W Sears did start out the 5-10 Bs of parenting an infant. But what we call AP is past just those guidelines.

    Can we stop shaming parents for how they choose to parent in the name getting views? Let’s say “I like do it this way” and “you do it that way” and our children all turn out more or less fine, because humans are rather resilient.

  5. In this article you don’t have a whole lot of disagreement with AP methods but more so the claim of being the “best way” . It seems you wanted to show why its not necessary to follow the exact step-by-step methods of AP (which is reasonable) but instead of attacking this style of parenting (which you have more agreements with than not) you attacked the parents.

    You attacked their character, by projecting your views on the entire group of parents who put stock into this style. A couple examples of your views of the group being “extreme” are presented, by you, in a “extreme”, “biased”, and “aggressive” way;

    “…society will consider you to be “extreme”. People think it’s weird, not to mention unnecessary”

    -Society is weird, spend an hour on the internet looking at the weird shit thats out there. The fact that weird is here and here to stay is one more reason we need to be “civil” torwards each other.

    “Some APers seem to want to ‘baby’ their kids for as long as possible when other kids their age are running about the park and climbing trees”.
    -Some APers not all and the same aplies to the parent who “seem” to want their children to blame “white” people and “police” for all the crimes they commit(because it would be both incorrect and discriminating to profile a entire group), nor should we dismiss these beliefs because they won’t just go away. There are civil approaches, resolutions, compromises, etc. that can mitigate the current breakdown of our civility.

    It seems your sole issue with the AP style is the manner in which APers carry themselves, the presentation of some of their practices, and their discrimination of other styles of parenting. The style of your argument “is” exactly what your disgruntled about. This, otherwise, would be a informative article about why its ok to parent outside of the AP style and that the subjects that are disputed hold little weight in the development of our children – Because the weight is in providing for our children in these areas not in the approach. The majority of parents who even read this article, no matter their beliefs, are good parents because otherwise they wouldn’t be reading nor comment waring on articles about parenting.

    I value some of the approaches AP encompasses but I also think alot of it is weird and I choose not to to implement it. I have some close friends who parent in ways I find odd but different folks different strokes. Its their kid and he will be just as likely as my kid to be a emotionally sound individual (although I believe my children will be smarter than theres, im a parent)

    My goal as a father is to offer my children love, guidance, understanding, happiness, and a ass whooping if they disrespect others. I have tried things that havent worked for me but preached by others, I have my own modified cry it out system with my daughter that is completly opposite of my wifes no crying at all system ( and guess what, she naps like a champ for me but fights sleep with my wife – she’s 1 and she knows what to expect with either of us)

    So my conclusion is simple; argue, discuss, have differences but realize if your concerned about how you parent a child your doing a good job and so are those who you completely disagree with.

  6. Yikes! This article is so very sad and misinformed. I know many mothers who would consider themselves “AP” and they are wonderful examples of feminism; passionate, committed, loving and intelligent. If it doesn’t suit you that is fine but please don’t make such gross generalisations and uninformed assertions. It just undermines everything you say and makes you come across as extremely judgemental. I am sorry to see such biased writing appearing on a blog which I used to respect and enjoy.

    • Someone took hours to research and write this, and you say it’s sad and misinformed?
      That in no way is respectful of the individual who wrote this.
      As a former natural parent, I know what it is all about. True, the way some things were written here may not be the way I write, but as a while this blog paints the real picture of AP- rebellion that stemmed from those of the 60s sexual revolution against ‘old fashioned standards’ of society at that time.
      We believed our way was the right way and no one was going to tell us we were wrong.
      I was a selfish woman. I’m glad I realised what I did was seriously detrimental to the minds of my children who later became sex-mad. They wanted ‘attachment’ with women like their mother. Sick and twisted.

  7. While I agree that children of working parents have nowhere near the issues of children in Romania or children who are abused or neglected, I do have to point out that when you say:
    “What does predict quality of attachment is how sensitive and responsive (emotionally available) the parent is in attending to the baby’s cues”
    that you really can’t be emotionally available or responsive to baby’s cues *if you’re not there.* Please refer to this other quote in your piece:

    “According to Bowlby, the attachment system asks the following question: Is the attachment figure NEARBY, accessible and attentive? If yes, the child feels loved, secure and confident and is likely to explore the environment, play with others and be sociable. If the child feels the answer is no, then the child experiences anxiety” (emphasis mine.)
    Lest you think I’m anti-feminist, I think it’s great whichever parent can be home with the child. For some strange reason other civilized countries (than the US) give paid maternity leave time and also give extensive paternity leave. I agree with you that it’s important for parents not to be depressed so if they need medication or need to do some (or even a lot) of work to be happy then they should do so and then the emphasis is on having very competent and loving childcare. However for many people working full-time is stressful and the American way of life certainly lends itself to depression.

    Also, the quotes above tend to indicate sleep-training may not be the best idea
    since you’re neither “nearby” nor “accessible” if you’re letting your baby cry-it-out. Babies do experience increased levels of cortisol, adrenalin, & other stress hormones b/c they are experiencing stress and no matter how you gloss over it this is not good for them. Does it make them have the brain activity of a Chinese orphanage occupant, of course not, but babies don’t cry to manipulate, they cry to be near their parent or caregiver which is completely reasonable from an emotional, physical, developmental, and evolutionary perspective (greater chance of survival if you don’t leave your infant lying around in nature.) Furthermore, although rats and humans certainly differ, if we can see a significant difference in rat pups’ brains based on the nurturing behaviors of the mother that is still important information to consider in the parenting literature. Here is a very well-resourced book by a Canadian doctor who stays abreast of the latest research on the neurobiology of development. The relevant sections being on Part IV, Chapter 17. Info. on the impact of attachment and attunement begins on Ch. 18. Yes they deal with extreme situations but also development as a whole, such as the fact that infants separated for even an hour at a time from their caregiver experience negative responses.

    http://zgm.se/files/In_the_Realm_of_Hungry_Ghosts_-_Gabor_Mate__M.D_.pdf

    • That is the least scientific paper I’ve ever seen. It’s not peer reviewed, he cherry picks from sources, some of which are questionable in how accurate they are, and he hasn’t actually done any study himself.

  8. I have a friend who goes on and on about how she is practicing attachment parenting, and that it’s supposed to make a “better baby” and that he’ll be “more secure.”

    Her husband and the child’s father meanwhile has confided that their child is terribly insecure around anyone but the mother, and I watch her become insanely stressed because she jumps up anytime the child makes a peep.

    It’s gotten to the point that she can’t get anything done because she can’t leave the child with his father, with the grandparents, aunts, uncles, or anyone else trustworthy even for an hour because he cries and she “just can’t have that.”

    His latest trick is to purposely smack his head on objects, or smack objects against his head so that she’ll come running.

    • There will always be people who take things to the extreme-whether it is babying their five year old or allowing their six month old to cry for hours. But there are also people who practice attachment parenting and it works great for their entire family. There are people who allow their baby to cry it out (for a limited period of time) amd ot works great for them, as well. Not only is each family different, but each child is different and therefore a different approach will bring about different results for each one. There is no “one size fits all” parenting style, nor is there any style that could never ever, under any circumstances, ever work (unless you’re abusing or neglecting the child).

  9. All people have their own intuitive style. As a mom, I follow my instinct and research things I hear and question. Through research, I realized I naturally gravitate toward and execute an attachment parenting style of parenting. It feels comfortable to me and it’s what I instinctively know. I think your article may have good points, but I don’t think most things in life need research to determine what’s “better”, I think they need to be done because it works for those involved. I could never parent as others I know. It’s just not me. And it’s not because I was taught to mother as I do, it’s because I simply follow my intuition and use my broad life experiences to guide me. And yes, if you do attachment parenting wirh full time, on demand breastfeeding for 2+ years and live a natural and wholesome lifestyle, vaccines and formula ARE toxic in a certain way because one’s lifestyle is different and cannot tolerate the chemical existence as that of someone living a conventional lifestyle. This doesn’t take science, but experience and common sense, to realize. We cannot judge other people, in general, and especially as parents, because each person has their reasons, whether they can explain them or not. Honor, respect and trust that people know how to care for themselves and their own family. Then do the same for yourself. No one likes being told what to do or that “their way” is not a good way. Everything has a causexabdceffect, whether traceable or down the road, and we may not ever be able to connect the dots so we must trust in ourselves, no one else. No one knows you or your child like you do. Trust that and how or goes about parenting really won’t matter.

  10. There is plenty of evidence on how sleep training may be harmful and at the very least unnecessary. All of this rhetoric is motivated by our culture’s narcissism and contempt for women. In what universe would it be a bad idea for a mother to be emotionally attuned to her baby? You should write about parents who buy their children guns, and leave the mothers who hold her babies alone.

  11. Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite
    reason appeared to be on the web the simplest factor to remember of.

    I say to you, I definitely get annoyed even as people consider worries that they just do not know about.
    You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the entire thing without having side
    effect , people could take a signal. Will probably be again to
    get more. Thanks

  12. As a mum of a 4 year old who needed to be formula fed, and a mum of a 5 month old who is breast fed. I must say that you are quite misinformed in your judgements about breast feeding.
    Formula was developed as a last resort to save the lives of those who couldnt/did not have access to breast feeding or breast milk.

    Formula should never be the ‘ normal’ it should never be put on the page as bfeeding. And it sure as hell doesnt do the same things as breast milk. The only exception being that they are fed.

    I can go to mcdonalds for breakfast, lunch and dinner and impliment a good quality multivitamin too. Which would mean i was getting vitamins and minerals and fuel.
    It probably wouldnt be very good for me though…
    Breast milk changes every hour to suit what a baby requires, it is full of wonderful fats and antibodies made specific to environmental needs of said baby. It does this LONG TERM. Not short term as you have mentioned.
    Colostrum provides short term protection with mums antibodies but breast milk is an ever changing body. Saliva from your baby secretes back up the nipple triggering production ofcold fighting. Virus fighing good soldiers. It is a perrectly balanced nutritionally whole feed that is full of real vitamins minerals and fats. Not to mention the probiotic benifit it plays on the body.

    The extra risk of food allergies, eczema, asthma, sickness and deficiencies caused by not being able to absorb artificially fortified nutrients in formula. Not to mention that its another mammals milk…

    As i said formula had its place. My eldest would not be here with out it. However with proper breast feeding education and educators who knew to check for lip and tongue ties i might have been able to avoid artifical food. And avoid all the food allergies, asthma, eczema, growth issues from chronic sickness from lack of protection.

  13. I do agree with many of what you say here. I think that many people don’t understand the necessity of the “BOUNDARIES” “b” of attachment parenting. Another one that is missed is balance.

  14. Amen to this article! I’ve been doing some research after I was told by an AP mom that I am ignorant for not having my child’s chest clip (car seat) in the right place. She tagged me in a picture that shows the wrong way and the right way. What she failed to find out was that I am well aware of the proper position of a chest clip. My 4 year old son moves it down on his own. He actually has to sit in timeout after the car ride if he moves it. She is the definition of an extremist. Constantly telling others that her way is best. She alienates others with her pushy and “I’m always right” attitude. It’s sad, really. I know not every AP is like her, but she certainly is doing her best to give AP a bad name.

  15. I don’t think much of this write up. You speak about fear based, but your entire article is exactly that – with talk about attracting “extremists” and “bad science”. Where is the evidence for that? I’d say sweeping generalisations is the basis for bad science.
    The truth is, there is no ‘best’ way to raise a child, but responding to your child’s needs is what is important which is what attachment parenting is based on. It’s all about promoting a close bond with your child through touch, closeness and nurturing. How is that bad?

    • The article was filled with good evidence to support the writer’s claims….

      This article was also in no way “fear based.” It was for the most part logical and objective.

  16. The fact that this disrespectful article is written in a we sure called respectfulparent.com is ridiculous. Some of the facts, like saying dr Sears, I’d anti vax, are simply not true. The lack of understanding and kindnes towards this parenting style is sad to see here.

  17. I don’t think hunting down all the “problems” in a particular parenting style is respectful, nor is name calling (“AP attracts a lot of loonies. There I said it. But it’s true. Anti-vaxers are all over AP”). The term “anti-vaxers” is pretty harsh and does not take into account the complexity of the situation. It’s not as simple as “Vaccines are perfect! Let’s all get vaccinated and disease will disappear!” I am rather sorry I stumbled on to this site while looking for family games to build connection. I’ll stumble my way out of here and head on over to Playful Parenting or Hand in Hand. Let’s not throw stones at each other.

  18. I’m sorry but breast milk and formula is no comparison! There are numerous studies about breastfeeding and it’s reduction in the child’s chances of diabetes, asthma, and it is providing the child with an immune system which the baby barely has when it is born and by one year old is still at only 60%…. And I am pretty sure the formula companies are making more than the baby carrying companies fyi….. This is a dumb article. And there isn’t anything anti-feminist about staying at home and raising your kids it is actually a very feminine thing to do and to want to do… sorry but this is a very ill researched article…

    • Agreed. I thought the same thing when I read the nonsense about baby wearing companies making money but no mention of formula companies raking in the dough? And how offensive to say being a stay at home mum is anti feminist! I CHOSE to stay home (I changed careers and began working full time from home) so I could be with my babies. I take great offense to the anti feminist comment. And also great offense to the implication that because our family shares a bed, we are idolizing poverty. The author must have had an awful temper tantrum while writing this article.

  19. You actually make it appear so easy together with your presentation however I find this topic to be
    actually something which I believe I would never understand.
    It sort of feels too complex and very huge for me. I
    am looking ahead to your next put up, I’ll attempt to get the hang of it!

  20. Brilliant article.
    My story…
    My Wife just had a natural child birth and I was overwhelmed by the positive experience it turned out to be.
    I was initially comfortable with AP, and my wife encouraged me to co-sleep with the kid.
    Our chickens came home to roost though.
    *No sleep- I don’t think Dads are designed to assist with the co-sleeping thing. A Dad and mom in a bed with a two year old, doesn’t really work. I was so afraid I was going to roll over on my kid, that I would wake from slumber hourly. My awful sleep pattern was set.
    *I was barely able to stay awake on the rare times when my wife was needing someone to look after my daughter.
    Eventually, I rebelled and started sleeping in another bed. My sleep got better, but I was alienated from my daughter.
    *My wife took any disagreement of AP philosophy as an attack on her. She became very controlling and excessively enmeshed with my daughter.
    Lets just say I am no longer with my wife, and I am twice the father I was able to be when under the thumb of my wife’s interpretation of AP. I am finally able to get that 4 year old kid in a bed of her own at my place without worrying about starting a fight with my wife. I am able to be that fun and positive Dad I have always wanted to be.
    AP is not good for Dad’s that want to be involved with their kids. And justifies base instincts in women that are not always the best for the child.

  21. Thank you for your article. I am a single working mother of a wonderfully securely attached 6yr old who stopped breastfeeding at 6 months, has been fully vaccinated, slept in her own bed from the time she came home from hospital, and attended day care from the time she was 12 months old. My daughter has always had a secure base from which to explore the world around her,(despite the fact that wearing her gave me a back ache so I had to give it up) she has always felt loved, secure and confident, (even though she often took a bottle of expressed milk from someone else when I was unavailable to breast feed) and is able to interact appropriately, share and play with others and be sociable.
    I find it painful to watch this new wave of AP mothers with their co-sleeping arrangements where children can’t self soothe at the age of 5 and are afraid to be out of sight of mum even if they are with another trusted adult. How is this promoting secure attachment if mum has always jumped on their every little concern?
    AP creates anxious children. Parents who practice AP often don’t know when to or how to let their children become age appropriately independent. As a counsellor and psychotherapist I have seen AP ruin marriages as the demands of a child are continually put before the needs of the parents relationship. Dad’s usually come off second best. Yes it is anti-feminist! While some of us have no choice to go back to work in the first 12 months of our children’s lives, other women choose to do so and are humiliated into feeling like they are bad parents by the AP advocates that are still breast feeding children who should be at school.
    My observed experience of the effects of AP on these children is that they find it difficult to learn to socialise because they are so protected. They think that the world revolves around their needs because the mother has jumped everytime they whimper from the time they were 1 day old, they find it difficult to delay gratification because they have always been attended to immediately, they have not learned how to self soothe or regulate distressing emotions because they are given stimulus input everytime they are distressed.
    In social settings parents think that it is perfectly ok to interrupt a conversation with another adult mid sentence because their child needs to express themselves. If you ask said child to wait their turn you are told in no uncertain terms that children become stressed when they have to ‘be good’ all the time. Not to mention that everyone else has to make allowances for the fact that they are not vaccinated.
    You can’t make a date to meet your friend who is AP because she has to lie down to put her 5yr old to sleep before she can leave the house even though the child has a perfectly capable father or other care givers. How is that secure attachment? – indeed it is the opposite! These children grow up insecure, anxious, obsessive and have difficulty with adapting to different environments and developing resilience. Their parents often have poor relationships due to little priority given to partner intimacy.
    Sadly those who are the strongest advocates for AP have very little understanding or have bothered to read and learn the essentials of attachment theory.

    • I guess your experience has been different than mine. AP worked wonderfully for our family. I vaccinated mind you. But I think pretty much everything else was crunchy. We wouldn’t have done it any other way, my hubby agrees 😊

    • Do you have any scientific evidence of the claim that you made here? Because everything that you wrote does not make sense. The entire world co-sleeps with their children except America. There is nothing new with AP – what are you talking about? Are you aware that in many countries worldwide, people sleep with their children? they do not do CIO. I am an AP parent and my child is not anxious. On the contrary, she is extremely confident and approaches and hugs strangers at the stores. And I have a doctoral degree in educational psychology, author of various articles, and quite intelligent to know the difference between wrong and right.

  22. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences of attachment parenting! I have been practicing AP since my kids were born and am very happy with it. A sad thing is that me and my husband get a lot of negative comments about the things we do, there seem to be a lot of suspicion regarding everything that has to do with co-sleeping and long term breastfeeding. I have blog together with a friend where we write about things related to attachment parenting in a very open minded non-judgemental way.
    http://healthywhale.com/attachment-parenting-heaven-hell/

  23. Having read the article it seems to me that the author has said nothing of use at all! This is simply a temper tantrum. The author lost any of my respect with the comment that AP parents believe we should all be living like poverty striken families.

    Humans seem to believe that we know better than nature. Time and time again that belief is thrown back in our faces. This is no different. Living and raising children the way nature intended is clearly the best option. Yes…you can raise children other ways, but those ways cannot be claimed to be better than a natural upbringing. It’s like claiming that a piece of fruit grown from a GM seed then sprayed with chemical pesticides is healthier than organic! It’s illogical and comes down to nothing more than people desperately clinging on to the poor choices they have made in an attempt to justify it to themselves.

    My Girls have been raised with AP. They are happy, loving, caring, bright and healthy. We never left them t9 cry and yet they self comfort. They shared our bed and yet they sleep at friends. We are their best friends and yet they don’t get homesick.

    The evidence is clear. This article is drivlle.

  24. I don’t know much about labels….AP or whatever. I just raised my son using my instincts, haha. And apparently that ended up being most in line with attachment parenting? I always did what felt right as a parent. If it felt wrong, I didn’t do it. It meant we coslept, extended breastfeeding, I wore him in my wrap a lot around the house, and he never ate baby food, just what we ate. He’s happy and healthy! We always got a good night sleep too which is nice. I say throw out the advice and do what feels right as a mother. I decided to vaccinate because I don’t want him getting polio or something awful. Not the flu vaccine mind you, just the nasty stuff like smallpox and polio. Nobody wants that. So I guess I’m not AP but I am? Who needs labels. Just love your baby and treat them like they are the most precious things on earth because they are.

  25. As mother of twin girls I would like to share my experience. From birth I could see straight away that my daughters were completly different babies. Isabella was so demanding she wanted be on the breast constantly, she wanted be hold and slept only on me or my husband. Elena, on the other side, felt good in her crib, she fell asleep most of the time on her own and didn’ t need that much attention. I thought at first that there was something wrong with Isabella because she was so different than her sister. Luckily after three months I read dr Sears book and it helped me a lot. I unserstood that my daughter was a high need baby. I felt more confident in caring for her. Now when they are almost one year old they both sleep in their cribs and are formula fed. I never could sleep trained any of my babies, first it just didnt feel right, secondly Isabella wouldnt even let me she is so persistant. Anyway I highly regards this book and I personally think is the best baby book on the market. I just think that as a mum you should just always fall what feels right for you and for your baby. Babies are so different and while some thrive on dr Sears method others feel better on some other ones. Mums just trust your instincs and make what feels best for you baby.

  26. I am very surprised by this very misleading and misinformed article. Clearly, the author has not done enough research and wrote a very biased article because he/she does not seem to believe in AP. The author is wrong on various points:
    (a) There is nothing new about AP. In fact, AP is practiced worldwide except in America. Parents co-sleep with their children in countries such as India, China, Japan and European Countries such as Italy. This is a normal and embedded in their culture.
    (b) Not all AP parents breastfed. If you read Dr. Sears book on attachment parenting (which clearly, the author did not do), he mentioned somewhere that it is not necessary to have all the 7 Bs. There are some parents who cannot breastfed but they compensate to build their bond with their children in other ways.
    (c) Does the author has any scientific evidence (e.g., survey, or interviews) that AP parents do not vaccinate their children? Again another claim that comes from nowhere!

  27. Hi everybody,

    I am not here to blame people who practice AP. Just want to know if it is possible to save my wife my daughter and our marriage from it. we are a young couple and as you do when you trust someone, I didnt insist my view of parenting is applied to our family because i thought my wife and daughter are my priority so I let her keep the baby as close a she want in fear she fall into deprrssion.
    The dangerous thing about AP is that you don’t se the bad effects at the begining.
    Not having a good night sleep is to me Ok when you have a child that is under 1 year old.
    But AP is just ruining my family because it put my wife into a mindset where she is led to beleive that to be a good parent she has to be there all the time. in a matter of seconds, stay constently physicaly wired to our daughter and prevent her from crying.
    She is 3years old now and he behavior is far from normal or even natural as she is constantly in a crying mood or complaintive status. And it is just to get mom’s attention and cuddles. I take one afternoon off every week in order to spend some time with her but it is painful to see hiw she spend all that time asking for mom: I need mom, where is mom?
    This is crualty and I would even go further in saying it is child abuse. How is it good and natural to put a person in that situation? she is in constant anxiety when mom is not around.
    She is 3 and still can’t sleep through the night as she wakes up in the middle of the night and start crying” mom I need you” (we have plenty of space in the house but my wife insisted that the baby bed stay in our bedroom and just 20cm away from our bed).
    I can’t remember the last time my wife and I had a good night sleep, time off just the two of us, a real kiss or even a sincere hug.
    After reading a lot about AP I understand that it give very little space for the dad or partner. and most women disregard two of the B’s “bouderies and balance”
    I have invested all I have in founding this family: quit a investment banking job, leave my country and all it contains behind.
    I feel like AP is like a Sect. If you are not in, you are wrong. Last time we had an argument about it, she said it plain and simple: you know nothing. I received like a wake up call. It is like dealing with a fanatic as if she had been brainwashed.
    I didn’t know about AP before. we’ve never talked about a specific parenting style as I trusted us to be making decisions together which compromising.
    But she took the one year maternity leave we have her in the UK to completly lock the child brain and needs.
    I am in pain when in the middle of the night the little one wakes up crying for her mom and the my wife, like a zombie just leave the bed and take her in her harms. she even make a scandale is my wife dare to want to go for the bathroon.
    So if anyone managed to save her wife or partner from AP and bring then back to reality. please HELP.

    PS she still breastfeed our daughter every night which means no reading book before bedtime for daddy, no last kiss before closing eyes for daddy as she would only fall asleep whit mom’s breast in her mouth.
    AP makes mom’s forget how they had the baby they love so much( they had it with someone else who was that good they were ready to do all these thing with him).
    I left everything behind because I love my wife and that is why I can’t stand watching her becoming someone completly the opposite of whi she is and who I married.
    She was an independant women, brillant and she loved life.
    Now she is enslaved herself and became intolerant. Anything I say that is not the way she thinks is disregarded.

    • Oh man, I really feel for you. Attachment does not mean literal attachment like an appendage, it means a good healthy connection – attunement. It sounds like she has taken attachment to the extreme and sees herself wholly responsible for the outcome of the child. The good news is children are already capable of so much and when we back up a little they can really grow. Seeing a child as a person separate from yourself and as a capable person that can handle difficult things is important for self confidence. It sounds like everyone’s basic needs (sleep), connection, family, job security etc are being ignored to meet the needs of one person in the family instead of everyone being equal. I don’t know how to help over the internet, but I can suggest some reading, articles and I also do consults if that is something she or you would consider. Please read through my website and especially the website of Janet Lansbury and Lisa Sunbury. Janet also has several boos. Parent Effectiveness Training is also very helpful. http://www.janetlansbury.com/2013/03/bonding-with-babies-where-rie-and-attachment-parenting-differ/
      http://www.regardingbaby.org/2014/04/12/no-ifs-ands-or-buts-setting-limits-with-empathy/

  28. I find your article hypocritical as on the one hand you state that AP is fear-based but then you sing the praises of sleep training which is UNDENIABLY fear-based (if you don’t sleep train your child will wake constantly for years, will never learn to sleep on their own, will become excessively dependent, will then become a wakeful child and adult).

  29. Thank you for writing this. I agree with everything you said. I had to stop reading parenting articles before I had my sons because all the alarmist AP statements were giving me huge guilt and anxiety. (Sleep training = brain damage! Strollers are evil!) When all was said and done, I breastfed each of my boys for over a year, wore them in carriers AND used a stroller, coslept with the baby for 4 months and then gladly did CIO. I think most people do the same… what works for them in the moment. AP has taken certain practices and branded them into dogma surrounded by guilt-tripping.

    And to the person above who commented that “It’s not as simple as ‘Vaccines are perfect! Let’s all get vaccinated and disease will disappear!'”… actually it kind of is that simple. We all got vaccinated and polio, measles and other nasty diseases basically disappeared.

  30. I’ve read about attachment parenting when our daughter was three months old. It is what we were doing from the beginning without knowing it was called AP. We have a healthy, curious, strong-willed, happy and active baby with a (what we call in the Netherlands) developmental advantage. My husband and I feel loved/supported by one another and feel we are really lucky we have a beautiful family.

    There are many things about attachment parenting working really well for our family (yes also for my husband) and some things do not. Few examples: 1) We sleep in the same bed and we all get a minimal of 7 hours of sleep. Sleeping through the night was really difficult when she slept in her own bed. 2) I stopped breastfeeding after two months and we gave her organic formula. It just didn’t work after all we’ve been through (difficult birth) 3) We use a stroller and a baby carrier. Why not? 4) Our baby was vaccinated when she was 9 months old. Her immune system can handle a lot more now.
    5) We never let her cry alone. Would you want to be left alone when you are upset/hurt, don’t know what is happening and don’t know if you are going to be ok/save? Young children don’t grasp the concept of time and do not understand themselves or the world around them.
    But she has to learn other people (even mothers and fathers) have feelings/wants/needs too. Tantrums/wining are not crying, I just calmly tell her to wait a bit or come to me. Most of time she just wants to be assured.

    I believe parents should listen to their intuition and try to understand their child(ren) and each other. Stop listening to every little thing experts write or what other people are saying. Just draw inspiration from what you read or what people tell you, but don’t follow it without thought. There is a balance. Use your mind, follow your heart. Where is the common sense these days?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *