I really wish someone would come along and knock the “AP Movement” off its high horse.

There are some really great ideas behind Attachment Parenting.  The principles as defined by the infamous Dr. Sears are:

  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

Awesome.  Brilliant.  Who could argue?  Sign me up.  Koom-by-yah.  These principles of Attachment Parenting are founded on a core tenet of attachment theory which says that an infant needs to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for normal social and emotional development.

How we get from these basic fundamental concepts to the holier-than-thou attitudes of some self-proclaimed ‘AP’ers’ – absolutely confounds me.  With particular emphasis on the topics of vaccinations, circumcision, and yes you guessed it – the all ambiguous, ‘Cry It Out’.

Because I really hate feeling as though there is no acknowledgment of a parenting style that evolves uniquely of its own thoughtful and deliberate consideration of the myriad of decisions parents will make on behalf of their children.  I believe, I really truly believe, that most mothers and fathers and caregivers, are doing their very best to love, and nurture, and provide for their babies.

I just wish that the conversations surrounding the AP ‘way’ would have more to do with those core beliefs and less with suggesting neglect and a lack of compassion by the parents that would chose any other way.  A less outraged at the evildooerz tone would be helpful.  It feels a bit cultish.  A bit damning.  But mostly annoying with its constant ANTI/PRO-xyz, dialogue.  Tell me more about what AP IS, not what it ISN’T.   Why are we all so preoccupied with eachothers parenting business?  Might there be a more productive way for AP supporters to promote and communicate the aspects of attachement that work for them WITHOUT the preaching?  I feel like the language alienates so many women, because god forbid you may have done otherwise.

I don’t care for the statistics.  I don’t care about the studies.  I am your peer.  A mother.  Who needs not the judgement or criticism of other mothers, because I am doing the best for my family.   I am just blown away by the confidence – the righteousness of anyone proclaiming to know of a single glowing path to healthy children and healthy parenting.  It just doesn’t exist.  And the sooner we can begin to appreciate and respect the desire in the MAJORITY for the same end result, the sooner we can accept diversity in parenting.

It took 13 excruciating weeks of breastfeeding before the hole in my nipple finally started to close up, my oversupply began to regulate, and I could finally nurse my child without a tremendous amount of stress and pain.  I had a baby that was hard to console and an incredibly light sleeper.  At almost 5 months of rock bottom sleep deprivation something had to give for our family.  For my health.  And because I was not able to be a loving mother for my son in those dark hours of sheer exhaustion.  We let him cry.  In fact, he cried (no more than he had prior actually) for months.  But he also very rarely ever cried for longer than 10 or 15 minutes.  And you know what?  I nursed my baby twice a night until he was 10 months old.  He was never wet, hungry, or sick when he cried.  We believed nighttime is for sleep.  And sleep is what we all needed foremost in order to have the capacity for love and attention all the day long.  It wasn’t easy, but it was what we believed was right for us.

I cloth diapered for a year.  We chose not to circumsize.  We vaccinate on a delayed schedule.  I never EVER had even the potential for a ‘co-sleeper’ in my son.  It wasn’t in the cards even if it was something we desired to do.  And it wasn’t.  We moved him into a crib in his own room when he was 4 months old.  He had blobs of rice cereal from my finger when he was 5 months old.  He went straight into fruits and veggies and eats just about anything we put in front of him (and dont) at 16 months.

I love my boy.  I tell him I love him 5,000 times a day!  We read together, and cook, and explore the wonders of nature (and diggers) – we sing, and dance, and give eachother eskimo kisses.  We think we are both pretty funny as a matter of fact.  He laughs at me, I laugh at him.  We are friggin hysterical!  He wakes up happy, and naps, and goes to sleep happy.  Sleep is never a battle for us.  When he wakes in the night, now that he is weaned and far from ‘sleep training’,  I go to him.  We share hugs, and he goes back to sleep right away.  He is independent and content enough to play on his own at times, his vocabulary is pretty impressive, and he is a pretty happy guy!

I’ll take credit for that, thankyouverymuch.  Whatever our style, it seems to be working out for us.  Could do with a little less judgement from that collective AP group about the kind of insecure, unattached child I might be producing though.  I know its not personal, but it sure feels like it.

I’ve got an idea!  How about we all talk a little more about ways we can be more present, patient, and loving to our children AND our partners and spouses – while taking care of our own mental and emotional health.  It’s a pretty tough (and yet THE MOST rewarding) job.  Some of my closest friends are devout followers of AP Parenting methods.  I have always appreciated that our differences of opinion have never kept us from learning from one another.  We have a deep and genuine respect for eachothers choices and our friendships are rooted by the fact that we are all imperfect yet well-intentioned women who want nothing more than for our children to feel loved.  Period.

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