Some of you will already know that I have a tendency towards Lentil Weaving, although this tends to manifest in a laid back attitude (some may say lazy) towards life and all its challenges rather than any yearning for Yurts and knitting my own yoghurts. Routine scares the
tie-dyed trousers off me, and when it comes to babies I am a total pushover.
So it should come as no surprise that the Littlest Chum sleeps in our bed, breastfeeds constantly and is in my arms for most of the day.
I did the same thing on differing levels with the older Chums, but I didn’t have any labels for it back then (I barely had the internet).
Nowadays I could tell you that all this makes us Attachment Parents. Whoop whoop, ta-daaa etc.
Being the bookworm that I am, and having plenty of sofa-bound-while-breastfeeding time to whittle away, I bought the book, written by Dr Sears and his wife. Now I have to say that I do LOVE the philosophy, the whole gentle ethos of AP. But the book’s a bit, erm, wanky. There are a few bits that raised my hackles. Mainly the book’s insistence that AP is the only sane way and that anything else is a bit evil.
Also, most of it is stuff that all but the most commited Gina Ford-er would be doing anyway. But the book seems to present ideas as though they are special magic secrets that no one else does.The ‘Baby Bs’ for example.
Birth bonding – well we’ve all seen American telly where they coo over their tiny babies through a glass window into a nursery. That doesn’t happen here, and I don’t know anybody who didn’t have time with their baby in the days after birth (obviously except in some circumstances, but even babies in SCBU get as much time with their parents as possible). So most of us can tick that one.
Breastfeeding – brilliant. I’m a commited breastfeeder. So is my sister, who is also a commited routine-er. And I gave the Boy formula from seven weeks old but still bed shared and carried him everywhere. So a) you don’t have to breastfeed to do AP and b) plenty of non APers breastfeed.
Babywearing – or as I like to call it: ‘carrying my baby’. I’ve never got on with slings so tend just to get on with stuff with a baby in my arms or on my hip. Just like most people.
Bed Sharing – again, something I’m sure that most people do on occasion. Who hasn’t drifted off to sleep after a 2am feed and woken up in the morning still snuggled up? Not all of us do it every night, that’s true. But it’s very common.
Belief in baby’s cries – now, I don’t know anybody who routinely let their small baby cry it out, although I’m sure some people do. But really, MOST parents listen to and answer their babies’ crying. It’s not rocket science.
Balance and boundaries – knowing when to say yes and when to say no to your baby so you don’t give ALL of yourself to your baby’s needs. Very good advice. But not something that’s exclusive to AP, surely?
And lastly, Beware of Baby Trainers– ie people who tell you to let him cry, or not to keep picking him up, and that he needs a routine. Well, yes. But any approach to parenting is ALWAYS met with crappy advice from well meaning but overbearing helpful types.
So while all of this DOES resonate and I like the whole AP schtick, it is nothing new or different, just collating a whole bunch of ideas together and giving it a name.
And then this is followed by a ‘quote from an AP parent’: I feel emotionally invested in my children. I have spoken to other parents who don’t seem to be as emotionally invested in their children, and I think they are missing out on one of the best experiences of their life.
What? I mean really, WHAT? So, Attachment Parenting is so special and awesome that you think parents who don’t do it aren’t emotionally connected to their children?
The whole book, sadly, is littered with snidey little asides like that. The cringey and awful little tale of how the ‘AP playgroup kids’ played together and shared and tended to their fallen comrade while the pore ol’ non AP child stood apart ‘with a twisted look on her face’. Or all the points about AP mothers being better at spotting illness, AP babies are smarter, AP mothers are more protective. Just awful, overstated, up itself wankiness.
It made me lob the book at the fireplace and I didn’t go back to it until a few days ago. Which is a shame, as if you can wade through the nonsense it makes a LOT of sense and is a really useful tool to refer to. And there is a certain amount of comfort to be had in the idea that what I’m doing is Proper and has a name and everything, I suppose.
Anyway. My very rambling point of the day is that this is what we do. The Littlest Chum sleeps next to me
and uses me as a teether all night, breastfeeds and will do until we’re all ready to give up (hopefully by the time he starts school but who knows), and is mostly carried or cuddled (except when he’s trying to walk already).
But I don’t think I’m ready for the ‘Attachment Parenting’ label, as it seems to denote a supermother-like devotion to the cause, and really I’m just muddling through like most people.
Love and kisses, chums xx