NO Diapers, Bottles,Cribs,Strollers or Daycare. Five Assumptions About Attachment Parenting Debunked.

Recently a few news segments, blogs and articles have reported on Attachment Parenting, making it seem a little bit…out there. “A new age way of parenting with no diapers, no cribs, no strollers, no daycare and no bottles” was how one news show summarized it. Now, I have been parenting three children based on the AP principles for six years so I’ll understand if you think I’m biased, but really Attachment Parenting is not about choosing a carrier over a stroller, not using diapers or some long list of “Can’ts”   it’s much more than that:

So let’s see about these false assumptions on no bottles, no crib, no stroller, no daycare  and how they fit with attachment parenting:

If you don’t breastfeed you can’t say you practice Attachment Parenting.  False.

Breastfeeding is the optimal way to nourish an infant, science shows us this over and over again. However, there are many a situations where the breastfeeding relationship between mother and infant just doesn’t work, and those mothers are not somehow booted out of the AP club, for one it’s not a club, and two, because you can lovingly and gently feed a child a bottle while gazing at them and emulate the closeness of feeding at the breast. This is called “bottle nursing” and is totally in line with AP principles.   Although I have been able to feed all three of my children exclusively at the breast I know plenty of mothers that have used pumped milk, donor milk and formula that are very much practicing attachment parenting.

If you choose a stroller over baby-wearing you better turn in your Attachment Parenting badge. False.

Well, there are no badges in this parenting thing anyways, and strollers, yep, really it’s ok to use a stroller. Yes,  even if you are an AP parent – I mean seriously have you ever tried to trek through a 4 mile long zoo with an infant, a toddler and a preschooler? I’m guessing even the mama gorilla would think it’s a bit much to wear all three of those at once!  Never mind an airport or train station or running errands with multiple children or lugging around a heavy purchase. Plus there will be times when you are just oh so tired, or maybe you have troubles with back pain or shoulder pain, whatever it maybe. Baby wearing is phenomenal, it’s how I got things done in the last five years, from peeling potatoes to long afternoons at the playground to breastfeeding on the go…but a stroller ride here and there…not a deal breaker.

          

 

If you work full/part time and/or use a sitter or day care you can forget Attachment Parenting.

Providing our children consistent loving care is one of the guiding principles of attachment parenting. Yet, another principle is striving for balance in personal and Family life. If pursuing a career, taking a college course, doing yoga or even taking a day for pampering yourself at the spa is important to you, that is really totally ok. Although I wouldn’t sail away on a cruise for 10 days and leave my children behind as they are still very little, whenever handsome hubby spends a week traveling for work, I am more than happy to take a few hours for myself without the kids – this makes me regenerate and have new energy for parenting full time. The key is providing consistency in the care and entrusting your little one to a chosen caregiver that will promptly respond to the child’s needs, someone that wishes to create a real bond of trust and develop a relationship.  If you work full time, making the time to connect with your child in the hours you are not working, spending special one on one time together and so on are perfectly fine ways to keep your connection strong.

If you don’t practice Elimination Communication or exclusively cloth diaper baby you are disqualified from the attachment parenting circle. False. 

Elimination communication (EC) is a very interesting concept where babies do not wear diapers and many attachment parents choose the EC route. I practiced part time EC with all my babies but I also used disposable diapers as I would rather spend my time in the playroom and be far, far, really far away from the laundry room. One family I know chose to do EC in the morning, disposables while doing activities or errands away from home and cloth in the evenings. Plus even though there are AP leaders – which are mentors and help facilitate area meetings for parents that are practicing attachment style parenting, these “leaders” don’t do spot checks at home or investigate your diaper pail so if you are feeling overwhelmed with Mt. Laundry, or just plain rather not deal with cloth or EC seems too far-fetched then by all means, choose what works for you and your child’s needs.

Unless you practice co-sleeping you better not call yourself an attachment parent. False.

Well, you can call yourself whatever you want, a connected parent, an attachment parent, a “I just want to do right by my child” parent, today I’m going with polka-dotted glittery happy parent.  As for co-sleeping, sure , done safely it can provide fantastic benefits to an infant and mother, it facilitates a breastfeeding relationship, for some it maximizes sleep and also regulates infants heart beat and breathing. Some parents are scared of co-sleeping, some parents might feel like they don’t get enough sleep, other parents just might not like having tiny toes shoved into their eye sockets while they try to sleep.  Providing consistent and lovely care to your infant/child day and night is key. For some families that may mean having a family bed, for others it may mean that baby starts the night in the crib and then transitions to the family bed in the wee hours for nursing and continued sleep. Whatever you choose, be safe and be kind.

Practicing attachment parenting IS all about creating strong, healthy emotional bonds between children and parents.When we choose to meet our child’s need for proximity, protection and predictability, then our child’s emotional, physical, and neurological development can be greatly enhanced, really, science backs this up. Attachment parenting isn’t about following strict rules and it’s not one-size fits all, it’s perfectly alright to take what works for your family and leave the rest.

For more information on the Eight guiding principles of Attachment Parenting you can visit API International’s website here: http://www.attachmentparenting.org/principles/principles.php

Let’s discuss….Do you practice Attachment Parenting? Are there one or more of the guiding principles you don’t quite follow? Did you ever think AP just wasn’t for you because you didn’t or couldn’t follow one of the principles?

Ps – I don’t claim to be an expert or to be providing medical advice. These are just my opinions and experiences as a mother and parenting educator who strongly believes in the benefits of practicing attachment parenting.

Peace & Be Well,

MudpieMama

Join me on Facebook at the Positive Parenting Connection page!

This post has been submitted to the Attachment Parenting is For Everyone Blog Carnival hosted by  Attachment Parenting International. Learn more by visiting API  Speaks, the blog of Attachment Parenting International.

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Ariadne is a happy and busy mama to three children. She practices peaceful, playful, responsive parenting and is passionate about all things parenting and chocolate. Ariadne has a B.S. in Communication, is a certified Positive Discipline Parenting Educator, and has completed several graduate courses in child development, psychology and family counseling. She lives on top of a beautiful mountain with her family, one cuddly dog and "bluey" the fish.

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5 thoughts on “NO Diapers, Bottles,Cribs,Strollers or Daycare. Five Assumptions About Attachment Parenting Debunked.

  1. Loved this post!! I ebf, cd, bw, am a shm and cosleep… but I also pump for a sitter about once a week, use a stroller when I run, and go out on a date without baby every couple of weeks! That doesn’t mean I don’t care for baby or I’m not practicing attachment parenting, it means I’m human :)

    On another note I AM practicing attachment parenting so when I decide to wear baby instead of push her in a stroller, it’s something I enjoy! My mil feels that it just causes extra work and ‘one little bottle of formula’ or ‘riding in a stroller’ wont her my dd. While it may not technically hurt her, I am way more comfortable doing things my way ;)

  2. I struggle with this one.

    We are a full blown AP family. My kids ride in a jogger when we exercise or take a mile walk into town, or around a city. My youngest child spent the first couple of hours of the night in a crib until I wen to bed if she fell asleep before me.

    We use disposable diapers- though I’ve only heard that associated with natural parenting (not AP) which is something I am trying to do more of.

    We have a family bed, my 4.5 year old still nurses and neither of my children have ever cried it out. I am SHOCKED by all of these decisions we have have made :) (And grateful).

    What I struggle with is labeling. I do believe it serves some purpose…I’m just trying to figure out what it is!

    I think one of my concerns is that if everyone thinks that if you love your kids that makes you an AP parent, they may never know the blessings of actually Attachment Parenting, because they are confused and think they are already doing it.

    And really, it must be a vastly different relationship to share a family bed as opposed to having separate sleeping rooms. And to walk around with your child attached rather than regularly putting them away from you in a stroller. To respond to your child’s every need rather than letting them settle themselves when they are not capable.

    Maybe one of the families who has tried both can speak to this.

    It has never been that I want to be part of a club for sure, but it is so comforting when I find others who are practicing a parenting style similar to mine, and I suppose using a term allows me to at least find them online.

    It is curious for me, and something I have been thinking a lot about it. And admittedly I sometimes do feel frustrated when people say that they AP but don’t breastfeed, their baby cries it out in a crib, and consistently use a stroller…again it’s not because I want to be part of an exclusive club.

    I’m trying to figure out why that frustrates me, and ultimately I think its because I see how much these moms love their kids, and I suspect that if they really understood what AP is they might give it a try. Which means even more time with mom and dad for baby…and I guess I’m learning how strongly I feel about that :)

    • Our Muddy Boots – I agree, just loving your child, although a wonderful thing is not the same as practicing AP.One of the reasons I wanted to make sure to include the part about meeting a child’s need for proximity,protection and predictability. I agree I am not big on labels but like you said it makes it easier to connect with like-minded parents and create a support network. thank you for sharing your thoughts:

  3. This is a great post! I try my hardest to practice AP, but there’s little bits here and there that don’t ‘fit’ with the perceived AP ‘rules’ ~ toddler goes to a Montessori daycare nursery for 12 hours a week (four 3 hour sessions) as I work freelance from home and just *cannot* do this with a toddler in the house! And I’m not babywearing as much second time around as I just cannot carry baby, enormous bag of snacks, nappies, drinks, spare clothing for two AND toddler when she decides that she doesn’t want to walk either, so intead we’re mainly using a parent-facing pushchair with a buggy board for the tired little legs and a giant basket underneath for all the paraphernalia that is necessitated by two kid under the age of three. But we still follow the principles of AP: no CIO, EBF / BLW, co-sleeping. Just sometimes we need to do things a little differently in order to fit with what our family needs.

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