I feel like Attachment Parenting is detrimental to MY health: how do you define your boundaries?

Guest post by Arianna
Mini Baby Wearing Portrait by Etsy seller PaintbowDrops

As soon as I saw those two pink lines, I started researching the shit out of pregnancy, birth, and parenthood. I eventually fell onto the Attachment Parenting bandwagon. It just made sense to me and coincided with my values.

Before my baby even had all vital organs in place, I knew for a fact what my plan was: I was having a home birth. I was exclusively breastfeeding for two years minimum. Baby-wearing and co-sleeping — I refused to accept any offers for strollers or cribs — and so on. This was all happening. No ifs, ands, or buts.

I had read and read how “happy” Attachment Parenting babies were. Because they had confidence due to their needs being met, they were “good” babies. They didn’t cry if they were being breastfed on demand. The breast cures all!  All articles had photos of smiling moms and babies that made parenting look so easy. I wish I would have come across one article that told the truth: “This isn’t going to be easy.”

I do it all for my daughter’s well-being. But where do I draw the line for my own sanity? I am terrified to detriment her by not responding to her every need. But I need to start responding to my needs.

How can I balance what is best for my daughter and what is best for myself?

Comments on I feel like Attachment Parenting is detrimental to MY health: how do you define your boundaries?

  1. Here’s the thing, and I say this as somebody that used to work in counselling…

    Your daughter’s needs ARE your needs. If attachment parenting is being detrimental to your well-being, it is being detrimental to your daughter’s. Babies and kids are a lot more perceptive than we give them credit for. If you are stressed, anxious, afraid or otherwise unwell, your daughter WILL pick up on it and react accordingly. She can tell when her mother is not okay.

    The best thing you can do for her is to take care of your own wellbeing NOW. Seriously. A child does not “need” a parent who practices AP, or any other parenting style. A child does need a parent who is stable and happy themselves. And don’t sweat it – truly, and I have a little experience to say this, AP is not any particularly better than any other parenting style! All the psychological research shows that deviating from the AP path will NOT adversely affect your daughter. Kids have a way of turning out fine. Don’t worry!

  2. laura markham at http://www.ahaparenting.com has the most balanced perspective i’ve seen on attachment parenting type stuff *including self care as an imperative part of it being successful*. i’ve found it to be one of those sites that always seems to have the right little tidbit at the time i most need to hear it. she is also very accessible about answering questions, very real and human and not at all preachy feeling. it seems like a really difficult and common issue for many of us to forget to “put our own oxygen mask on first.” that is counter to what attachment parenting is meant to foster.

  3. your little girl needs a happy and sane mama! We are also an attachment parent family. The best advice someone gave to me was, their will be PLENTY to feel guilty about in the future, so pick your battles. I longed to breastfeed, but for medical reasons my milk only came in on one breast, and that one barely was producing.My daughter was frustrated and refused the breast pretty early. I imported medications not allowed in the country to lactate more, which totaled more then formula would. It also gave me horrible headaches and made me gain about 25 lbs. I pumped what I could every 3 hours at home and at work for over 6 months. I cried every night from total sleep depervation. (my daughter slept through the night at 8 weeks adding insult to injury…lol) My husband finally asked me if I would consider just using the formula, and after weeks of consideration I caved. I still feels like im poisoning her every time i feed her. but my daughter needed her mom and my husband needed his wife. i still feel guilty, but really i gave it every ounce of my strength. Cosleeping went well until she started crawling and would try to escape off our bed. I still sneak her in to snuggle. baby wearing is easy! I love it, but now shes older she again wants her independence. and honestly tons of moms stop me and ask about it. so its nice to have non baby wearing mamas support. Cloth diapering has been incredibly easy and i totally love it! but it really all must come down to what is comfortable for you and your family. ive tried everything for attachment parenting, and just chose what fit us best, and modifying what didnt. Attachment parenting is not easy, but finding the right support system has really helped us. DONT beat yourself up over it, youll have PLENTY of things to feel guilty about for the rest of her life <3

  4. I am an AP mom and my son isn’t always happy, nor am I. That said I’d say we re fairly happy over all. You don’t need to follow every aspect of AP to a tee to be considered an AP parent and have a happy baby. I co sleep and breast feed but don’t babywear, i know AP moms that believe in sleep training. AP isn’t about following rules its about doing what feels natural and right for you and your baby

    • I completely agree. I’m an AP mom who didn’t know what Attached Parenting was until the Time magazine cover. I was just doing what felt right for my family and it turns out it had a name. I think it helped that I had no idea what this was because I had no expectations of feelings of guilt that I wasn’t doing it right. I breastfeed on demand, I babywear sometimes, and we cosleep sometimes (almost every night). I am not going to exclusively breastfeed until two because it’s honestly not what she wants. I almost started crying a few times last week because she is wanting to breastfeed less and less. I felt like it meant she didn’t need me as much (silly I know). Her teeth are coming out and she wants fruits, grains, and veggies so I give her some here and there. Western civilization is a very strange thing. My husband wants to do everything by the book, where my mother (from a small village in Mexico) advises me on home remedies and a more natural approach. I find that I’m pretty happy doing a bit of both and so is my daughter. People are always amazed at how she doesn’t cry, but I’m not because I know that by trusting myself her needs are being met and we’re both very happy ladies.

  5. Listen to yourself!! Please remember that you and your partner are the only people who know how to parent your child the best.

    Kids are incredibly resilient, I have a well adjusted fantastic 15 month old, even though we didn’t attachment parent to the T.

    Did we homebirth? Nope, legislation here won’t allow it. And in the end I was unconscious during an emergency c-section where my daughter’s heartrate plummeted and didn’t come back up. Did we babywear? Sure, it was easy for us. But we also used a stroller too. Did we breastfeed? Yep, until my hormones went wacky and my supply stopped at 10 months, then she got formula. We also fed my daughter solids at 5months because she was ready for it. Did we co-sleep? Yep, for 8 months until my daughter was ready to sleep on her own (plus she was practicing standing in her sleep and it was dangerous for all of us).

    We did the stuff that worked for us, not the stuff that some book told us would make for the happiest, most well adjusted baby on the face of the planet. Let’s be real, because what books tell you, often just isn’t reality.

    We realized that our happiness was just as important as our daughter’s. For her to really be happy and well adjusted she needed parents who were happy and well adjusted as well.

    • “We did the stuff that worked for us, not the stuff that some book told us would make for the happiest, most well adjusted baby on the face of the planet. Let’s be real, because what books tell you, often just isn’t reality. ”

      Yes. I was so excited to babywear, but for the first three (and most fussy) months of his life, my son HATED babywearing and I tried every carrier on the block. Eventually he fell in love with the Ergo carrier, but that’s the only one he is happy in (and it took a long time for him to like it).

      We also planned to co-sleep for a year. Ha. My goober was an INCREDIBLY light sleeper and and my husband’s slightest movements woke him up all night long. We moved him to his own room at 6 months and I co-slept with him there. Despite swearing to never do it, we did sleep training at 7 months. He was getting up every 45 min to an hour all night long. I was at the point where I felt incredibly resentful of my baby and was so sleep-deprived I didn’t trust myself to function like a normal human being (ie driving, cooking, etc). The first night we tried sleep training, the little guy fell asleep after 15 minutes of fussing and has been a much happier baby ever since and I feel like a person again. Dr. Sears may be horrified, but we did what was best for our family.

      • My baby is a roller. We can’t co sleep because he gets irritated and wakes up when he tries to roll over and I’m in the way. If HE doesn’t like it, why am I doing it?

        • Yep-that is exactly what we realized once we gave the kid some space in his own crib.

        • Yep, my toddler will cuddle, nurse, and then roll himself off our mattress so he can stretch out on his pad.

  6. Attachment parenting isn’t about meeting every need instantaneously. It’s about the relationship you are building with your child and understanding that behaviour is a manifestation of needs.

    It’s impossible for one person to meet every need all the time even for just one baby. We aren’t meant to do this alone. Babies will cry and be sad sometimes, when we are having a shower. Sometimes we have a shower when another adult is around but sometimes we need a shower. They cry, we talk or sing to them, we acknowledge their feelings, and we recognize that listening to our little ones tears is stressful.

    Crying isn’t the problem, we all need to cry sometimes. It’s adaptive. When we cry with someone who is safe, who is empathetic, who understands how we are feeling we will recover and adapt. When we are left to cry alone, that’s when we feel abandoned.

    I had 3 kids under 2 (and then a couple more a few years later)… there was a lot of crying, it was impossible to meet everyone’s needs at once. But I talked to them, cuddled them, nursed them (but only 2 at a time) and got help and took breaks. It’s imperative that we do this in the context of support. Attachment parenting isn’t about sacrificing yourself at the altar of your child. It is about modeling how we meet each other’s emotional needs.

    • This has been a very very helpful comment. The reminder that it is okay for my baby to cry in a safe environment….thank you, Kirsten.

    • Fabulous, fabulous comment. Exactly. Parenting is not about making one small human being 100% happy all the time; that’s impossible and won’t set them up to deal with reality anyway! Learning that they are loved, heard and resilient is the important stuff.

  7. I was laying in bed thinking about this last night, after watching Mia I-Don’t-Know-Her-Last-Name defend herself (and all of attachment parenting) on Anderson Cooper’s show.

    Attachment parenting isn’t really a list of dos and don’ts. Attachment parenting is a philosophy, a way of raising children – be compassionate, listen to your child, and respect the process they are going through.

    Now – when we parent this way, it leads to certain sets of behaviors. We listen to our child when he/she cries, and we pick them up out of compassion. Are they lonely? Maybe. Instead of asking them to “tough it out”, we exhibit compassion for their loneliness and soothe them.
    My baby likes the carrier more than a stroller – it’s because they are human infants, evolved to prefer the contact of another human. I respect their current stage in human development, and wear my baby rather than put him in a stroller.

    BUT – nobody is perfect. Does my baby occasionally cry for more than 30 seconds while I finish whatever I’m desperately trying to finish? Sure. I tell him I hear him, I let him know he’s next on my agenda, and I try my best to get there. Do I leave my baby in his car seat and put his car seat on my shopping cart? Sure, if I know I’m going to do shopping that requires me to bend over, therefore making him, and myself, uncomfortable.

    Because along with having compassion for our children, we need to remember to save a little for ourselves.

    • pro-tip: put the car seat in the shopping cart instead of on top, that way there’s no chance of it falling off. 🙂

  8. Ok, I feel that one thing that often gets over looked in attachment parenting is that YOU are not the ONLY person the baby forms attachments with. Attachment parenting does not not NOT mean never asking for or accepting help!

    In order to make sure you stay healthy and happy, and are not completely overwhelmed, do you have any friends or family nearby that can also help out, especially when the baby is at its youngest and most high-needs stage? Have you checked out a La Leche League meeting to meeting or local playgroup to meet other parents?

    Also? You don’t have to be the all perfect mama all the time! 🙂 Do your best, what matters is that you love your kiddo like crazy, and you obviously do. Find the balance that works for you and your family.

  9. I had started out the same way, but you know what? I can’t carry or wear my 26lbs 9-month-old all of the time. It kills my back. I do what I can, but I also need “alone time”, so there are times where my son will hang out in his pack ‘n play and enjoy some quiet play time by himself. This isn’t detrimental to his health. If he gets upset, I’ll go get him, but he likes hanging out for about 20 minutes by himself playing. I held him a lot in the first 3 months, and we do bring him into our bed halfway through the night when he wakes up (he sleeps in his crib in our room before that), and he’s one of the happiest babies I have ever known. You really have to do what works for you, not every technique is going to work. It’s okay to pick and chooses pieces from different ideas to use. And it’s also okay to do what your gut tells you to do as long as it’s safe! If you’re feeling like you need self-care, go with that!

  10. Don’t read the books. Don’t listen to everyone’s unsolicited advice. Just do what naturally feels right to you. If something comes up that isnt working, then ask around until you settle on something that sounds good for your lifestyle. Every single person parents differently. The moms most stressed out that I encountered were those trying to force something that wasnt really working. They wanted to co sleep but THEY werent sleeping – or they refused to co sleep and nobody was sleeping! Its all such a murky unknown time of your life. I know I felt MUCH better when I realized I couldnt control tiny human to do whatever I wanted.

    I think this whole attachment parenting movement is fascinating. I was just raising my baby, minding my own business, when someone commented that they didnt know I practiced attachment parenting. Neither did I. I was just doing what I felt comfortable and they decided to label it based on me using an ergo and bf. From that moment on I decided I would tell any mama that asked to just do what felt best for her AND the baby. All you need is love, patience and a really great baby toy:)

  11. Some of this will get easier as she grows older and her demands change and give you smaller breaks. Also- attachment parenting is supposed to be “parenting”- as in both parents. So I’m going to ask -where is your partner in all of this? I know many people parent without a partner, my mother did it, but if you have one- um, they’re supposed to be doing the parenting too. It’s ridiculous for you to attend to all of the needs of an infant and not attend to your own, eventually you WILL experience burnout. And it’s not them “helping” you. The don’t help parent, they are a parent, they should therefore do their part of the parenting. Even if you’re a stay at home parent. That means they need to step up when they are home. Call anyone who you’re friends with and demand assistance, family, friends, whether they have children or not. Chances are they will eventually and you can return the favor. Having a babysitter for an hour or two will not turn your child into an unloved sociopath- if anything it gives them alternate experiences that can be good for them.

    I totally bought into attachment parenting, and all the things that go with it (co-sleeping, baby wearing, breast feeding, no crying it out). And then, I realized that it’s a group of principles and you have to consider what you and your family need and adapt them to your life. Notice I said what YOU need. We had a sling and a baby carrier, but then I realized I live in Georgia where it is insanely hot for much of the year and when we’re out for a walk I can keep my child cooler and more shaded by putting her in a stroller- and she liked the stroller! I still carried her a lot and didn’t just leave her laying in the crib for ever but the point is I realized that baby carrying EVERYWHERE was not going to work for us. Figure out what does and does not work for YOU. You can love your child and not emotionally scar them while still taking time for yourself.

    Also, I stopped reading a lot of attachment parenting blogs. They were driving me crazy and making me feel insufficient. I read offbeat mama, indietutes, phd in parenting, and babyslime. That’s it. Monitor how what you’re reading makes you feel- if because you are not doing all the “right” stuff that this mama is doing, then stop reading! It’s not helping you. Chances are you are not neglecting your child, you care about her, love her, interact, feed, clean etc. There is so much pressure on parents and honestly, I’m a much better parent when I’m not stressed out from reading the internet’s perspective on how I may or may not be screwing up my child.

    I’m just going to leave this here http://www.care2.com/causes/are-you-mom-enough-yes-you-probably-are.html
    Sorry if I’m not supposed to link other sites.

    Um, sorry for the epic post, obviously I have a lot to say.

    • “Also- attachment parenting is supposed to be “parenting”- as in both parents.”

      Thank you for saying this. I like a lot of the philosophies of AP, but many of the articles I’ve read about it take for granted that parenting = mothering and mother = childbearer = stay-at-home mother. What about fathers? Adoptive mothers? Lesbian partners of childbearers? Working parents? How do the principles of attachment parenting play out for a parent who can’t breastfeed and/or can’t be “attached” to the baby 24/7?

      • I think many lesbian partners of childbearers (but not all) would also call themselves mothers.

        • Right; I worded it that way to distinguish the mother who didn’t give birth from the mother who did. My point was to give several examples of people who didn’t give birth to their child(ren) but are parents.

    • Thank you for the reminder, Rachel, that we are CO-PARENTS. I really loose sight of that since I am the only one with the lactating boobs. I really need to stop saying thank you for responsibilities that should be equal. And I need to ask for help.

  12. I think the best idea is to take from each style of parenting what works best for you and your kid. I’ve never considered myself an attachment parenting person even though I exclusively breastfed and was into babywearing and we do cloth diapers. And it’s because I think the labels are damaging to our well-being. If you claim a title (“I am an attachment parent!”) and then you fail to do one part of it the AP way, you’ll end up feeling like a failure. Or you’ll do AP things even though they aren’t working for you or your bean simply because “that’s what AP is, and you are AP.” I just *KNEW* I was going to co-sleep before my daughter was born and, well, by the time she was two weeks old I knew that plan had to be scrapped. If something makes you exhausted (like cosleeping) or in pain (like babywearing) or like a failure at life (like breastfeeding) or whatever, then it’s time to give it the boot. Everyone will live and you’ll all be much happier.

    • WORD. Before our son was born, my husband and I looked at ONE parenting book, then promptly gave it up as too stressing. There are aspects of attachment parenting that we really dig (yeah babywearing!) and aspects we don’t (I’m a heavy sleeper and I roll around a LOT, so no cosleeping). If we’d gone in and said “we’re going to attachment parent” we would feel like absolute failures. So we’ve gone with what I affectionately refer to as ‘lazy parenting’: we take little bits from here and from there, and we don’t worry about it too much.

  13. I also had this experience – and it made my first year of parenthood unreasonably hard, and put a great deal of strain on my marriage. Trying to do everything by the AP book was making me and my baby pretty miserable. The dam broke when I finally caved and sleep-trained my baby, using the evil Ferber method.

    We’d been co-sleeping – if you can call it “sleeping”, which I wouldn’t, as my son would doze for 30 to 40 minutes and then wake up to nurse all night long – for 8 months, I’d been breastfeeding on demand, and not showering or really taking care of myself at all, ever. The only way my son knew how to receive comfort was by breastfeeding, which meant that no one could help me, even if they wanted to. I agreed to the sleep training, feeling horribly guilty as he cried. But then he started sleeping. He was a happier, more alert baby. He started playing independently, which he never had before. He gained weight and grew hair. By giving in to what AP *said* my baby needed, I had been denying him what he really needed – space and time to sleep. I weaned him off the breast at 14 months, and our relationship has improved dramatically since then. He hugs and cuddles me now, which he never did when he was breastfeeding. If he needs comfort, he comes to me with his arms outstretched and I hug him and talk to him, and he feels better in about a minute – much better than the 20-minute nursing sessions that he used to get whenever he was upset.

    And most importantly, I feel like a human being again, whose needs and desires matter as much as my child’s.

    I think part of the problem with AP is that Dr. Sears is kind of a sexist, with very traditional views about family and gender. AP demands that a woman have no identity outside of making and raising babies… but real human women are more than baby machines.

  14. Amen. I was never into breastfeeding my kids. I tried it with the second (couldn’t with the first since she had medical issues and had an NG tube for a little while). I hated the nursing. So I stopped. I pumped. And OMG the difference it made in my sanity was amazing! Happy mom=happy kid. Trust me. You do what you need to do. Your kid will be just fine. If they cry for a little bit because you’re in the middle of something. Oh well. They’ll get over it. You know you’re not abandoning the baby. You know you will respond as soon as you get a hand free (or you get off the potty or whatever). They will be okay. There is also a lot to be said for the art of teaching a baby to self soothe as well. Don’t guilt yourself into doing something you don’t really want to do just cause you think you have to. Reality is different from what you read in the books. If AP is not working for you, then you do something else that does. As long as the child is fed,warm, clean and loved, they will be just fine.

  15. If you’re taking care of yourself, you’re taking care of your daughter. It’s undoubtedly better for her to have you 75% of the time (or whatever) at 100% than to have you 100% of the time at 50%.

    My daughter is 16, so I’m not even sure if there was such a thing as “attachment parenting” when she was born, but I was raised by a pack of hippies, myself, so I was certainly familiar with the concept.

    GirlChild was not well when she was born, and wanted to be held ALL THE TIME for the first month. Even when she was asleep. Combine that with the fact that she wouldn’t nurse, and spent a lot of the time she was being held crying anyway. To make things more interesting, I had crippling PPD and undiagnosed bipolar disorder. It was a little time I refer to (not) fondly as Hell.
    If my daughter can become the amazing, loving, vibrant, funny, smart, utterly amazing person that she is after some of my meltdowns, I honestly believe that babies are remarkably hard to fuck up.

    When I set boundaries it was as much for her safety as my sanity. One of the basics, that I always held to throughout her childhood, and even now if I’m around young children, was that eating time is mommy time. If food is going in my mouth then there are no children on my lap, or hanging off the back of my chair, or touching me at all.
    Another thing I highly recommend is finding a babysitter from time to time. Even if you’re both still in the same house – set somebody else in charge of her needs, and take a baby-free nap, or go and sit in the garden, or even (gasp!) go grocery shopping without her. She won’t starve if she doesn’t nurse for half-an-hour or so.
    I also swore by pacifiers, but that’s a judgement call. Some people think it’s an odd habit for an adult. :p

    I’ll reiterate, taking care of yourself is taking care of your daughter.

  16. I think you have answered your own question…. You need to do as much asyou can but not beyond what you are capable of. Be kind to yourself. I myself lean towards an attachment style of parenting but I don’t ever solely subscribe to one philosophy as I find that is do restricting to do so. Every child is different and you need to figure out what works for you both. I breast fed my daughter for 3 years but cosleeping made me an all night sleepless snack bar, so I chose to have my daughter sleep near me instead. I loved carrying her as much as possible, but it was bad for my pre existing back condition so I used a pram when I needed. Take what works for you and scrap what doesn’t. You’ll both end up happier. Life isnt black and white and neither is parenting. good luck and give yourself a hug, your a good mum doing her best.

  17. Follow your gut. Guts have been around a lot longer than whatever is the “It” way to parent. I think attachment parenting is great!! I practice a lot of what it preaches in fact. But I only do what works for me and feels right. Every baby is different as is every mother. The combinations of personalities and needs is endless. It’s impossible for there to be one way to make a happy, well-balanced kid. One of my biggest complaints about AP is how it seems to be all or nothing. You are the best resource when it comes to your own kid. Not a book or article that hasn’t ever been up all night with your baby, you know?

    Sometimes if you get so locked into the rules of certain parenting styles you overlook huge signs that you need to do something other than what you originally planned. I was so committed to co-sleeping that it took me a few months to realize that it wasn’t what my son needed anymore. Every time my husband and I came to bed he woke up and then would continue to wake up every hour or two until he got up around six am. We put him in his crib and he immediately started sleeping from 7-3, then nursing and going back to sleep until 8. As the weeks went by the nighttime nursings dwindled and he started sleeping through the night. Of course that’s not everyone’s experience but my son was no longer benefitting from co-sleeping so we ditched it and it turned out for the better. SO just listen to yourself. 🙂 And good luck!!

  18. “Mama’s happy; everyone’s happy.”
    You can’t be there for your child if you aren’t taking care of yourself!

    Boy1 – co-slept, carried, nursed until he was two, responded to his every need. You know what – he’s NOT happy all the time, and neither was I (seriously though, who is???) Boy2 – similar style, nursed until he was two, co-slept when he wanted (he sleeps better on his own), carried, responded to his needs, and you know what – he’s not happy all the time and right now he’s really go at throwing huge tantrums! But both of them are really GREAT kids! They are well adjusted, confident, smart, active, sometimes grumpy, sometimes happy. And sometimes, we need a break, or the boys just need to work it out, and kids cry! I believe there is no amount of attachment parenting that will stop the crying. Isn’t it just part of development? Learning?

    And honestly, I think it’s good for kids to know that you ‘exist’ outside of being a Mom. I have interests, jobs, volunteer activities, a husband, friends, family – I want those same things for my kids, and am I not modeling that?

  19. I’ll echo the masses here. Although I can’t bring myself to put a label on my “style” of parenting. I have a 9 and an 11 year old and a 4 month old. Most of my methods are pure intinct. It so happens that I own a maya wrap and a strappy-thing to carry the infant in… but if little dude is sleeping in his carseat, I carry that into the grocery store and put it in the buggy. He likes it when he wakes up and we’re strolling around face to face! Lots of smiles.

    I don’t cosleep because my husband is enormous and our bed isn’t big enough. Little man sleeps in a crib 1 foot away from my bed and has slept through the night since 2 months.

    I do nurse on demand but I also pump so that we can get baby used to a bottle for times when it’s more convenient to bottle feed or so that daddy can be a part of feeding time ( so far,… no luck with the bottle).

    I pick him up and cuddle him when he cries and do not practice the “cry-it-out” method as I have seen great success in cuddle-it-out with my older two children.

    My point is, be careful not to deify a “style” of parenting.

  20. The main thing is not to beat yourself up about it. If baby turns out to be a struggly, noisy snuffler who sleeps so loudly and sprawlingly that you can’t get a good night’s sleep, even though she does, then forgo the co-sleeping and don’t look back.

    If you find babywearing isn’t comfortable for you, or not practical with the stuff you need to carry, only do it when it is practical, and so on.

  21. *when I started writing this there were no comments. apologies for repeating things said above* 🙂
    YES! I have SO been there! I was going to write a manuscript. Working title: “Dr. Sears and parenting at the edge of sanity.” It took me many many months to learn to just trust my instincts, and seek guidance when I want it. If you are the type of parent who cares this deeply to educate yourself and even try, then YOU WILL BE GOOD ENOUGH. Truly. My pumpkin is almost 2 now– deeply attached to both her parents, yet secure and confident, super happy and bright. This despite (only!) breastfeeding for 10 months, never co-sleeping, attending daycare full-time at 15 months, etc etc. I treat attachment parenting as a philosophy rather than a checklist. The philosophy is that children deserve your respect, attention, and empathy. That’s it. I think that whatever specifics work for a given family within that guideline are great.

  22. You know what? You’r going to “mess your kid up” no matter how you parent. We cannot and will not make all of the right decisions all the time. You absolutly have to do what works for you at this minute.

    For instance, I practice attachment parenting with my 2 year old. i just transitioned him into a big boy bed from his crib. I do not believe in crying it out, but at night when he is throwing a fit and hitting ang kicking me, I leave him in his bed to do it alone. And every morning he is still super stoked to see me. I meet as many of his needs as possible, but I need to not be hit and kicked. He yells and wimpers for about 10 minutes on those nights and then he goes to sleep.

    Its ok to take care of yourself first sometimes. If you are showering and she wakes up and starts fussing, it won’t hurt her if you finish your shower. It’s not healthy for any baby to have a burnt out mom.

  23. I recently came to realize that the best thing to come out of my twins time in the NICU (besides two healthy babies) is that I learned to let go. Before they were born I read all the Attachment Parenting books and talked to all the other parents who used that style. My husband and I were all, “no cribs, no disposable diapers, no strollers, etc etc.”

    When my babies came home with lots of medical needs. We decided to give up some of our goals for the good of our sanity. First to go was co-sleeping – fitting 2 adults, 2 babies and 2 heart/ apnea monitors in 1 queen size bed = horrible sounds of babies getting monitor leads ripped from their skin every time anyone moved. Then it was cloth diapering because when you have 2 babies who each have 9 specialists appointments you don’t have time to do laundry. Finally we found a happy place where I felt like we were still “attachment parenting” but not over extending ourselves.

    Like everyone has already said, “happy sane parents = happy babies”

  24. We did attachment parenting to a point. I accepted the crib and the stroller (strollers are great for carrying crap so you can carry your kid, and so that you can go for a jog if you want). We used the crib as a changing table. My first child ended up having bad reflux and at a month old had to sleep propped up. By three months she didn’t want to be in the bed with us (she’d fuss all night) and so that crib came in handy. Somehow our second daughter ended up not wanting to sleep with us around three months as well. I didn’t think their ques would separate us so early. Our bed is always open even at four my oldest wants to sleep in our bed sometimes (though it is more of a treat now). Even when they are little, talking out what you are doing or why you may not want to do something is helpful. I explain EVERYTHING. I have fostered inquisitive children who can make choices for themselves. You have to decide what is best for you and your child. If it is making you insane, don’t do it. It will not help. Don’t let anyone guilt you either. You will know instinctively what is best, even if it isn’t exactly what you wanted it to be.

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