Confessions of an Attachment Parented Child

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may have figured out that I am older than 20. That makes me older than Dr. Sears’s The Baby Book. I am older than the Attachment Parenting Movement. But guess what? The “official” AP style (Attachment Parenting) put together a bunch of ideas that a bunch of parents were already using. Including mine. I have been searching my soul, trying to figure out why hearing this parenting style labeled as “extreme” has made me so darn angry. It finally hit me today–I am an attachment parented child, all grown up, 15w5d pregnant and ready to Attachment Parent my own baby. My childhood was not extreme. Here’s my confession:

The first six years of my life were the only truly happy years of my childhood, and I credit my parents’ instinctual use of the basic tenants of Attachment Parenting with their early success. The only upsetting memory I have from those years (and I remember my third birthday party, of which I do not have a single photograph) is my grief at my maternal grandfather’s death. We lived in his house. He and I were very close, even though I was three or four when he passed.

My parents’ lives took them in a direction after 1991 that pretty much made taking care of themselves, their marriage and me all at the same time, well, impossible. My childhood quite often sucked after the first grade. But I have always had, in the way developmental psychologists use the phrase, a secure attachment to both of my parents. I credit their success during my earliest years with the relative success of my relationships with each of them today.

Despite a whole lot of “good” reasons to do so, I never gave up on my parents. At times, I used to think that I should just let it go and accept life without one or the other, that there was no way to bridge the gaps that had opened up between us. I now believe that I never gave up because, during those first six years of my life, my parents taught me that they love me and want to be close to me, no matter what. (“Close” is a relative term, but I am astonished and so proud of what we have achieved.) That bond is what Attachment Parenting seeks to solidify.

Here’s how Dr. Sears lays out the Attachment Parenting basics:

7 ATTACHMENT TOOLS: THE BABY B’S
1. Birth bonding
2. Breastfeeding
3. Babywearing
4. Bedding close to baby
5. Belief in the language value of your baby’s cry
6. Beware of baby trainers
7. Balance
My parents did all of these things in their own way, especially between ages 0 and 3 because it just “felt right.” In 1984.1. Birth Bonding:
I was born in my parents’ home. My sister was there. My dad made sure she was part of the experience, even if she did think it was “totally gross” at first. A midwife made sure that everyone listened to my mother. She trusted the people surrounding her, and they trusted her. I came into this world surrounded by family and friends. Every single person what was there remembers that day and has told me his or her version of my birth story. And I most certainly had skin-to-skin contact to bond with my parents. My dad vividly remembers that I emptied my bowels into his hands the very first time he held me. My mom spent the day recovering with me on her chest, either sleeping or nursing. Here’s a repeat photo, but it shows the kind of atmosphere my parents set up for birth bonding:
Me & Mom, on October 12th, 1984.

2. Breastfeeding:

I don’t know if you can see it, but in that photo, I have milk all around my mouth. My mother breastfed me on Day 1 and continued to breastfeed me until well into my twos. One of my family’s favorite stories about me as a baby is that while we were standing near the microphones during the Christmas church service, ready to read the passage in the Bible that describes the birth of Christ (quite an honor), I said said, right into the mic, “Mommy! I wanna nurse!” Yes, I get mad when people say that breastfeeding a toddler is creepy or weird. Because I am not creepy or weird and neither is my mother. Sorry I don’t have a photo of us nursing while standing. (Um, actually, I’m not. Because it was just me being fed. Not interesting.)

3. Babywearing:

I had to call my mom to ask about this one. I did have a stroller, she says, but it was about a half-and-half mix of stroller/carrying the baby. For two people who did not have a baby carrier of any kind and did have a very chubby baby, that’s pretty impressive.

4. Bedding close to baby:

I “co-slept” before it was a commonly used word. “Family bed” was not a concept my parents were familiar with. I called my mom to ask if I ever even had a crib, and she thinks that I probably did have one when I was older, after we moved in with my grandfather, but I think she’s talking about the “big girl bed” I moved into around age three, which is about the time we moved in with Grandpa. I also remember that every time one parent was out of town, I got to sleep in their bed. I loved it. I didn’t die or come close to suffocating or anything scary like that. No one thought twice about it.

5. Belief in the language value of your baby’s cry:

My dad read a book or two (I don’t know the titles and they’re almost certainly out of print) about kids needing respect and gentleness and remembers telling himself, “This is a person just like me, with less experience and difficulty communicating.” He talked to me and listened to me, from birth. My mom is really good at reading babies’ cues–just ask any of the parents who entrust their kids to her care at the home daycare she runs. She told me today on the phone that it never even occurred to her to “let” me cry. My needs were respected, and both parents remember being happy to walk the floor with me when I needed to be held and refused to sleep.

6. Beware of baby trainers:

I’m not sure how much of this was around in 1984, but there was most certainly no attempt to “train” me. My parents did live (until I was almost three) in Southern California with a lot of other families who were devotees of an Eastern-religion called Self-Realization Fellowship and “natural” everything. There were downsides. My poor sister remembers eating brown rice as part of each one of the three meals of the day when my dad tried a macrobiotic diet in the late ’70s, early ’80s–she’s eleven years older than I am–and I remember the foul taste of herbal tinctures. The benefit of this community was, obviously, that people who believed in midwives and home births and farmers’ markets were much more common than anyone who would believe in “spoiling” babies.

7. Balance:

I have heard so many times that Attachment Parenting is Permissive Parenting. It is not. Balance means that there are boundaries within the family, and that everyone’s boundaries are to be respected. My parents meditated, and during that time, we were not allowed to interrupt them or make too much noise. We prayed at the dinner table. There was a shorter prayer that my parents sort of made up “for the kids.” But it was not optional. No one ever cooked me a separate meal, because I was simply not allowed to skip out on whatever was on the table. They respected that I hated tomatoes and cooked peas. I still do. But I did not get to eat whatever I wanted. There were rules for safety, and I understood that that’s what they were for, even when I didn’t follow them. I still remember thinking that my mother was an unbearable tyrant for not letting me wear my purple plastic dress shoes to play at the park. I did it anyway. I don’t think I hurt myself, but I really could have–they were not real shoes! I was told, “I cannot carry you right now; my arms hurt. You can walk.” Nobody sacrificed his or her well-being for mine. There was no need to do so.

My parents did not have a guide to this. They just did what felt right. Which is the whole darn point of Attachment Parenting. When Dr. Sears and others say that it is “instinctual” they mean it. My parents followed their instincts! You don’t need an instruction manual to come across any of these seven ideas. In fact, if you lived in a country that was less obsessed with materialism and “independence,” you’d probably just do most of this automatically.

Which brings me to the claim about AP that makes my skin just itch like I have hives–that AP kids will be less independent. The “Attachment” in AP refers to the “Secure Attachment” of developmental psychology. I was not physically attached to my parents for five years, people. Yes, it facilitates a secure attachment if child and parent are physically close, and a big part of the “follow your instincts” idea means that you get to listen to that instinct that tells you to pick up a crying child and hold her close. It’s not that AP kids are all super independent or super dependent. They are kids; they are people. I work with babies, and let me tell you–we are born with personalities. The baby I nanny puts herself to sleep. Every day. My niece wanted to be held by her mother and only her mother almost from birth nearly all the time. I happen to have been extremely independent. I walked to friends’ houses, alone, at age four. I walked to the store to buy candy. It was a small town populated almost entirely by relatives or relatives of relatives, but the point is that I wanted to. I was the kind of kid who would stand up in a room full of strangers and sing my favorite song of the moment and then wait for applause. I remember being jealous in Kindergarten that my friend Katie got to be the Little Bo Peep in the pageant, while I was just one of three Twinkle Stars. Are you getting the picture? I talked non-stop, to anyone and everyone and, in the words of my sister, “if there was no one to talk to, I sang songs to myself.” Independent.

Can we stop pretending that AP is new and controversial? People practice the basic tenants of AP all the time without even realizing it. And who cares if it came about as a reaction to the parenting method of my grandparents’ generation? Would you rather be terrified that holding your baby would “spoil” her and that a well-behaved child was a child who did not speak unless spoken to? Um, I’m pretty glad I wasn’t raised that way, and I am not the least bit tempted to raise my kid that way.

The “controversy” surrounding AP is made-up drama, and I am living proof.

25 Comments

  1. Leah Marie said:

    I’d liked this perspective.  As a new mom, I was sure that I was an attachment parent.  But then I started to talk to other attachment parenting moms and questioned it, because I was NOT like they were.  I mean, I bonded with my baby at birth (even though it was Cesarean, it can be done), I breastfed (as much as I could), I wore my baby all the time, I coslept, I believed (and still do) that a cry is a baby’s only way to communicate and it ought to be a two way communication, I ignored bad advice and followed my gut.  But I am a free range, anti-helicopter mom and when I engaged in conversations with other moms about those ideas I discovered what they mean when they say “mommy wars”.  (Sometimes I would say something as simple as, “I cosleep because it works for us, but I know it doesn’t work for everyone.” and be looked at like I just said child slavery is awesome.) And then once upon a day I realized that I wasn’t like the other moms  because I also did #7.  I had balance.  There ARE some extreme parenters out there that call themselves attachment parents, and I think they are the ones creating the controversy.  But they are not REALLY attachment parents.  One of the ideas that Dr. Sears brings up over and over again in his books (and I have a whole library of them) is that attachment parenting means responding appropriately to your child.  And that, depending on the age or temperament of the child or the situation, can have some very different meanings.  

    So, the controversy irritates me too.  But mostly because everyone is saying it’s about attachment parenting and they blame Dr. Sears but they’ve got it all wrong.  And mostly, just any time that someone puts forth an idea for parenting as the best, or only right way to do something – or the worst or wrong way to do something, I get irritated.  There are 9 billion people in the world.  Assuming that one thing will work for all of them or none of them is either really arrogant or really stupid.  Or both.

    Sorry for my long rant.  I should’ve maybe just done my own blog post.  Heh.

    May 11, 2012
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    • Anne-Marie said:

      I was pointed directly to Dr. Sears and the website when I first asked what AP was. And you know what I took away from it? Oh. I thought that was just parenting. I guess with babywearing added on… I can’t believe it took me this long to realize that I felt that way because my parents had done all these things by instinct. Which is the whole darn point! Strollers aren’t evil, they just don’t facilitate the kind of connection you’re looking to build. At the same time, I can bottle feed and still build that bond. I think the extremists just totally misunderstand where he got the word “Attachment” from. It makes me rant, too, because my sister studies Attachment Theory, and you don’t NEED any of this stuff to have a secure attachment! It’s pretty rare to have an insecure attachment! So you can screw up everything on that list and still have a securely attached child. But the idea is that if these are the things that attach baby mammals to caregivers, why not do more of them? It’s the least extreme parenting style I’ve read about. How do people turn it into doctrine? So weird. There aren’t even rules! They make up “rules” and give AP a bad name it doesn’t deserve!

      May 11, 2012
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      • Leah Marie said:

        Yes!  Amen!  Thank you!  

        May 11, 2012
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    • Minben05 said:

      Well said!

      May 23, 2012
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  2. Levinson Randi said:

    I’m so happy that you wrote your story. I am a mother to a 1.5 year old and have practiced AP style parenting since his home birth. I didn’t need to read how to do it, it is the most natural way for me.

    I was just saying how I wish I knew an adult that was parented this way to see how they turned out. I feel even more confident in my mothering now. Thank you!

    May 12, 2012
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    • Anne-Marie said:

      Thank you for reading! I’m sure it’s different now that this parenting style has a name, and kids are growing up now in a world that is different in many ways. All the same, I do feel that this perspective is missing. There’s no shortage of kids who coslept and breastfed as toddlers in the 1970s and ’80s like me–why is no one asking us if we are independent or not? Stoic or whiny? And why has no one noticed that parenting style doesn’t determine any of those things all by itself? 

      Be confident in your mothering. As Mayim Bialik says in Beyond the Sling, she doesn’t know how to parent, she just knows how to parent her kids. No matter what anyone thinks, you really are the only person who knows how to mother your kids! 

      May 12, 2012
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  3. Roseholmes52 said:

    Thanks Anne Marie,  and yes you are very independent and have always been!   Mom

    May 14, 2012
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  4. ATRW said:

    What a lovely piece. Thanks for this perspective amidst the discussions following the time magazine piece and recent ‘discovery’ of AP style parenting. I too was raised in what would now be described as AP – and I am almost 40 now, so there.

    What I would say though, is that I was quite happy to find Dr. Sears AP book, because I could hand it to my husband when our first kid was on the way – and he got it! So the tradition continues…

    May 16, 2012
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  5. Thank you for sharing your story.  I agree that AP is not something new, but rather something instinctual.  People have lost touch with nature and their own instincts so much that they no longer know how to care for babies in a proper way.  I have raised my children in an AP style, to the dismay of relatives and friends.  My instinct drove me to do it, and when I began researching, reading Mothering, and finding other AP parents, I was more certain than ever that what I was doing was right.  My oldest child has always been very shy and prefers to be close to be (8 years old) and my second (3 years old) is already a chatty little social butterfly.  They were born this way, raised the same way.  Take care and thanks again for your story!

    May 23, 2012
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  6. Ahmie Yeung said:

    as an AP mom 3.3 times over (my eldest turned 8 on Saturday, my 2nd will be 5 in a month, my 3rd turned 2 last Tuesday and I’m due with #4 in November) one piece of friendly advice: the last sentence in your breastfeeding point is wrong. It IS interesting, this breastfeeding thing, and there are plenty of other really boring things you’ll take pictures of your baby doing (sleeping, for instance). Don’t shy away from breastfeeding pictures, whatever the age. My husband thought that I wouldn’t want pictures of our eldest breastfeeding because I’m a generally modest person. I didn’t speak up. I regret not having those pictures of those special times we shared. I DO have quite a few pictures of the other two nursing, I finally spoke up around our eldest’s 1st birthday (and he continued to breastfeed daily until he was 2.5, my milk dried up at the end of my 1st trimester with his brother – he told me “empty” and popped off, not to come back until after his brother was several months old, then they tandemed occasionally).

    And everyone we’ve let wear our children in our various baby carriers in public spaces quickly comes to the conclusion that strollers are SO much less convenient! Ergo carriers are worth their weight in gold once baby gets to a certain weight (my almost 5 year old can still ride in one so they last longer than strollers – his legs are too long for strollers but he’s not 40lbs yet). I also make carriers I call “faux-wraps” that are versitile (and easier to throw in the washer and dryer), those are my personal favorite carriers because the Ergo presses against my boobs so I worry about plugged ducts from using it for longer periods, but I have shoulder problems that prevent me using a traditional wrap (plus I’m klutzy and dropped the one I tried in puddles next to the car while loading/unloading baby several times). And yes, it’s possible to bond while bottlefeeding, but it makes a LOT more work (dishes!) for you, and don’t let anyone try to convince you that you have to let the baby have a bottle so others can bond with him/her – there are PLENTY of other ways to bond with a baby. The agreement between my hubby and me was that he would handle all output whenever he was around, while I handled input. He also did baths, and wore the babies (and still wears our youngest), and we co-sleep so he shares parenting through the night too (and he prefers it that way after some initial hesitancy). Just hoping to offer a little reassurance. You do what you feel you need to do, this is just based on my experience.

    May 29, 2012
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    • Anne-Marie said:

      The breastfeeding photos comment was a snide reference to the noise about the TIME magazine cover. I’m sure I’d love to have one.

      If you look back through the blog, you’ll find a detailed explanation of this, but I can’t breastfeed. We’re bottle-feeding donated breastmilk because the medication I need to keep my anxiety and depression from overwhelming me causes a high risk for SIDS. I decided not to risk that or spend years terrified that my baby wouldn’t wake up. It was a heartbreaking decision, but we will still bond with Baby and s/he will have breastmilk. 

      It does sound like you’ve had a wonderful experience, though! I love how excited AP parents get about parenting. I’m so attracted to it partly because all of you, my own parents included, have wonderful things to say. My heart breaks a little whenever someone talks about parenting like it’s an 18-year-long horrible chore.

      May 29, 2012
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      • Michelle said:

         I produced so little milk, my babes were supplemented with formula. It broke my heart initially, but wearing my babies, co-sleeping, following the most natural instincts that we, as humans are born with, in caring for your child…. the bottle wasn’t the catastrophe I thought it would be.
        I have 4 well adjusted, happy, joyous children. 2 of them have special needs, but socially they are extremely confident.
        I love reading the reflections of a grown child of attachment parenting. I’m pretty sure… way back before it had names a stigmas… my parents were probably pretty progressive or pretty ordinary. I may not have slept in their bed, but I slept in a crib in their room. We were then and still are pretty darn attached. I’m 37 and they are in their 70’s

        May 30, 2012
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  7. When I was in my twenties it turned out that I had Polycycstic Ovaries, and as such was told it was highly unlikely I would get pregnant without IVF help. I’m a complete naturalist, I refuse (as much as possible) modern chemical and surgical procedures in favour of herbs and natural remedies, and the thought of IVF was horrific so I ruled out the chance of childbirth. My elevated testosterone levels have always made it so that I found the thought of childbirth and children revolting, and I went through life happy not to have or think about a family, however I am the kind of person who prepares for every eventuality (think Bear Grylls, only with more common sense and less macho-ism. And Masochism). Ever since I was a younger, having spent most of my childhood in nature and around animals and having been faced with sex ed at school, I’d decided I would have a home birth, no drugs and I would treat my child completely as nature intended. That meant breastfeeding for as long as the child decided it needed it, and carrying the child with me as any member of the ape family (my ancestors) still do.  I would be as devoted a mother as those glorious gorillas in the mountains are. IF I ever decided to have a baby.  I was maybe…12 years old…at the time.

    Well I’m 30 now and 13 weeks ago I became pregnant naturally. I’m going to say that Nature has had her say, and decided that my body is prepared and strong enough to cope with birthing, and my partner is a good genetic match for me. Yet even though I’ve had so many life experiences and I’m so much older now, the decisions I made when I was 12 years old are still with me, regardless of how many people tried over the years to tell me my plans wouldn’t work out.  I still plan to give birth at home, without drugs, and I will be following some natural advice from around the globe: don’t cut the cord until it stops throbbing, eat as much placenta as you can to stave off depression and replace those vital nutrients lost in the process of birthing and the first feed, and to keep my child against my body for its first years as much as possible. I will be co-sleeping too, and using as much natural things around my child as possible, such as taking herbal meds when I’m sick so that the milk remains unaffected, washable nappies (I was brought up on those, as were my siblings), fresh food mashed up as baby’s first solids rather than the expensive jars of processed foods. 

    Obviously I’m not living in a rose tinted world – I know things happen and things go wrong, and I’m willing to change plans if it’s necessary. I haven’t had the Downs test yet or any other test for dangers, including Spinabifida as my partner’s twin died of that at birth, but I’m hoping beyond all hope that it reads low risk all clear.  I also know that I could be the one with issues and I may not be able to birth without surgical assistance, but I desperately pray that this isn’t the case. The thought of C sections tear my heart apart, that’s not how it’s meant to be!  It destroys women’s bodies, and removes the joy from birthing!

    Anyway, too much written already, but I’d like to say I’m with you all the way – it’s not a new thing, it doesn’t even need a label. It’s parenting, it’s the way it’s always been done and that’s as far as it goes.

    May 29, 2012
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    • Anne-Marie said:

      I sometimes think that people who don’t believe in evolution have never held an infant–they grab on to clothing, jewelry and especially skin just like little monkeys! 

      Thank you for sharing your story. My heart goes out to you! I wouldn’t dream of giving you advice, but I will pass on advice my wonderful gynecologist gave me (she doesn’t deliver babies anymore). She said, “Given your history of anxiety, I suggest that you choose midwife care. Midwives look for what is normal, unless they see actual signs of a problem. MDs, and I am one of them, so I know, tend to look for signs of problems before signs that everything’s normal.”

      My midwives have lived up to that. I highly recommend you interview a few. Mine are happy to run any tests you want to run, but they said at our first meeting, “Pregnancy is a normal state of health.” They only call in MDs if there is something *really* wrong, and then they call in the high-risk, no-nonsense maternal/fetal medicine specialists.

      I hope that you have a safe and comfortable and happy pregnancy and an easy birth and a happy, healthy baby! Keep in touch! I want the birth story and photos!

      May 29, 2012
      Reply
  8. Page Jansak said:

    You just described my childhood.  Things went to shit in 1991, at age 8.  Somehow my brother and I were able to really shrug off a lot of the crap around us…..

    May 29, 2012
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    • Anne-Marie said:

      It’s amazing how resilient we are by age 8, isn’t it? The whole time things were going to hell, I kept thinking to myself, “These people have no idea what they’re doing.” I’d never have been that independent or resilient if I hadn’t been able to trust my own emotions and been confident that my opinions mattered.

      May 29, 2012
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  9. So are our girls, now 19 and 16. Our 2nd one was the baby I could not put down. We had a bassinet, but it was in the kitchen, not the bedroom. And, when I needed 2 hands and had to put her in it, she just screamed.  We also found the path of least sleep loss was just to keep her with us. She nursed at least 3 times in the night. She never crawled, but rather scooted on her bottom, then didn’t walk until 22 1/2 months. People said we had carried her too much, and that she needed physical therapy. Our response, because WE knew OUR child best, was: She has a lust for life that no one can take away. She’ll walk when she feels ready.  And, she did. She now danced ballet on toe, modern dance, and ballroom dance, AND she can ride a unicycle.  She refused solids until 13 months. Turns out she had food allergies. We figured she was protecting herself. She’s still not a big eater, but she eats a pretty good variety of foods, so I leave her alone.

    Both girls completed the weaning process at 4 1/2, so this included 1 1/2 years of tandem nursing. DD2 slept with me for 3 1/2 years, then for another year would get in with me somewhere during the night.  Sometimes DD1 got jealous so got in next to my husband. Bless him, he was a flip-flopper, and this was too crowded for him, so he would go get into their double bed in the next room. I needed my sleep so badly that I was totally oblivious to all this nighttime activity. I never knew who I’d wake up next to!

    And, now, it’s just us girls.  My husband was killed in a bizarre bicycle/automobile collision 3 1/2 years ago. Our girls, then 16 and 13, instinctually came back into my bed and stayed there for several months, with our DD2 staying for about a year.

    Now, at the other end of the spectrum, my parents did spank us.  I must have been a very naughty child, because there was a paddle with my name written on it.  I could never figure out how two adults, university graduates who would both go on to earn their masters degrees, could not figure out a more constructive way of dealing with naughtiness in persons half their size.  I’m the 4th of 5 daughters. Four of the 5 of us have children, and not one of us hits our children.  So, I guess we all agree that this was not constructive.

    May 29, 2012
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  10. Corlummy said:

    Definitely agree! Four children and did all the things you mention your Mother did. When life threw its challenges at my children later on they emerged scarred but never without that sense of belonging and being loved. My oldest daughter is bringing up her baby in the same way and it’s lovely to see. I’m 52 yrs old and we didn’t call it Attachment Parenting either!

    June 12, 2012
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  11. SB said:

    I am in love with this post! I was also an “attachment child” my mom has just recently stumbled upon a lot of Dr. Sear’s writing and she tells me one day, “apparently everything I did when you and your brothers were young now has a name!”

    I don’t have anyone around me who was raised even remotely like an attachment child so I have little to no one, to relate to my experiences growing up or how I am, now, raising my daughter so this is super refreshing and encouraging!

    Thank you for putting in such simple terms {what I consider to be} the most common sense way of raising a child!

    March 16, 2013
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    • Anne-Marie said:

      I think it’s important to think of this as “a way of raising a child” rather than specific actions or beliefs–it’s just an attitude that some of us have that makes holding the baby or keeping the baby in bed feel like common sense. Good for your mom for listening to her heart and parenting the way she wanted to! Too many parents, in every generation, are talked into parenting against their intuitions by whatever authority figure is spouting whatever is popular at the time. Some of it is actual wisdom, some of it isn’t.

      March 18, 2013
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  12. I know this was written long ago but I am so grateful to have come across it. My little one is almost three months and before he came I knew I wanted to AP. I am #7 out of 9 children and although my parents loved and love me very much I think I needed more as a child than what I got. My mom birthed naturally, breastfed and stayed at home with us, but naturally I didn’t get that one on one time I needed with that many kids in the house. I have a lot of memories with my siblings but not many with mom and dad. Each of us are very different and I think we were raised in one way, so our individual needs weren’t always met. I am very sensitive, emotional and intimate. I know this was not the intent of my parents and they did the best they knew how. As an adult though, I am insecure, nervous and crave affection. It seems the attention my husband gives me is never enough. When I was pregnant I had the same dream over and over that I birthed my baby and then would leave him with others forgetting about him. I believe it was myself as a baby sending me a message. It’s made my decision to AP that much more important because I don’t want my son to be cut short of that emotional and physical connection I desperately needed as a child. But at the same time, since he has been here I feel this weird need to be over the top because I am so afraid he wont be attached enough.. reading your post has made me realize I have the wrong mind set. I love holding him and sleeping with him. He is my greatest joy!! He makes me so happy and I always want him to know I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else or doing anything else. Even if it means I don’t take care of myself. there also comes the struggle of putting him down for bed at night even for an hour before I come to bed so I can spend needed time with my husband so our relationship stays strong. I feel torn wanting both relationships to succeed. And he sleeps great at night! During the day he sleeps better if I hold him, but better on his own at night. It worried me that he wasn’t attached enough because he slept good without me there. Now I understand he might just sleep better alone at that time of day and that’s okay. It’s not a competition where we keep score. I learned through your words that what’s important is to attend to what he individually needs.. not go off what other people define AP as. I look at my baby and see the happiest baby in the world. He smiles and cuddles and loves me right back. Thank you for sharing and inspiring me to follow what I know to be right for my family.

    August 19, 2013
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    • Hi! It may have been written awhile ago, but it’s not a topic that gets old.

      This is NOT a competition. You are not a bad mom and will not get kicked out of API (if you are even a member) for needing some personal space once in awhile or sleeping in a separate bed.

      I also want to add that you are not looking for “more” attachment, rather a “secure” attachment. Our goal as parents is not to have our kids be helpless without us! AP kids actually tend to be really comfortable doing independent activities in preschool or kindergarten, already, because they are so secure in their relationships with their parents. That’s not so likely to happen if their parents aren’t happy or if they aren’t comfortable with, say, cosleeping! Happy parents, happy kids, happy families.

      There is obviously some sacrifice in motherhood, but sacrificing all of our needs for what someone else says the baby “needs” is not helpful. We wouldn’t want our kids to learn that they should sacrifice their needs to others’ needs. We can show them how a relationship can function well, with give and take. There’s more giving with a three-month-old! But listen to your heart, mama! AP means, to me, trusting that parent instinct.

      August 19, 2013
      Reply
  13. Tamika said:

    Thank you for this! I trusted myself with my 2nd child and the differences have been incredible. He has been the happiest, friendliest, and a self soothing child(now at 2). People remark at his personality all of the time. Still tell me “I thought for sure he’d have been spoiled”. No, he is loved. Duh. Pick that baby up

    July 23, 2014
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I know, it’s amazing! He knows, at age 21 months, that what he needs right now is a hug, or space, and if I follow his lead, he can really handle anything.

      July 23, 2014
      Reply

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