>> Wednesday, May 16, 2012

just in time for mother's day, TIME magazine's may 21st cover showing a hip, young mom breastfeeding her almost 4 year old toddler caused quite the stir.  its accompanying article on "attachment parenting", meant to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Dr. Sears' book on the subject, has also caused some uproar.  and while i haven't yet read the article, the furor over the web is enough to power a whole city.
"attachment parenting" is based on the premise that children form strong attachments to their caregivers in early life, therefore providing the base from which that child then uses to move throughout their life and other relationships.  the principles of Dr. Sears' theory are as follows (thank you, wikipedia):
  1. Preparation for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting
  2. Feed with Love and Respect
  3. Respond with Sensitivity
  4. Use Nurturing Touch
  5. Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally
  6. Provide Consistent Loving Care
  7. Practice Positive Discipline
  8. Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life
Dr. Sears' emphasizes creativity in how parents respond to their children's needs, which, of course, has many interpretations.  some of the interpretations - and time magazine's focus, obviously - is, of course, is extended breastfeeding and self-weaning.  it is interesting how much debate has been kicked up about allowing a child to decide when to stop breastfeeding, that it is really about the mother once the baby reaches a certain age, and whether or not we are fostering an unhealthy dependence on us as parents.   and, somehow in that debate, babywearing, breastfeeding, co-sleeping parents appear to have become some sort of abnormality, practicing some strange form of parental voodoo on our babies.
i am definitely not one to condemn how other's raise their children, but my husband and i definitely fall under Dr. Sears' umbrella when it comes to raising our kids.  we do what feels right, and some of that is led by our toddler and whatever let us - ALL OF US - get the most rest and helps foster the closest bond in the best way we instinctively know how.  we co-sleep - after our attempts to let the mini cry-it-out in her crib did not feel right for us.  i breastfed as long as i could (i think the mini was 22 months when we stopped).  and i don't even remember a time where she wasn't either attached to my hip or being carried by a family member.  my husband (even more so than i) is a huge believer in responding to her cries almost right away and we try to speak to her with love and respect (but we have been known to yell once in a while, sorry).  while extended breastfeeding was not for us, i don't understand why people are freaking out about parents' doing the best that they can for their children, in the best way that they know how.  and if attachment parenting makes for a better, closer, more positive relationship between parent, child, and ultimately, the rest of the world, i don't know how that's a bad thing.


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