By Diane Ako
Since attachment parenting is a hot topic right now, having been the cover story for the May 21 Time issue, I thought I'd add my cent. Not two cents, just one. I don't think I have a lot to add to the national conversation.
What is attachment parenting, you ask? It's a parenting philosophy advocated most prominently by Dr. William Sears; the three basic pillars are breast-feeding, co-sleeping, and baby-wearing with the slings. I have done all three. I did not realize I was practicing attachment parenting.
I'm not really sure what the opposite of attachment parenting would be. I did or do these things because they make sense for me.
I am a huge proponent of breast-feeding. I loved it. I did it for just shy of a year. It was my baby who weaned herself. I could've gone longer.
The doctors say breastfeeding has all these fabulous medical benefits, which I do believe Olivia reaped. She is closer to me, and she is very healthy.
However, it was very convenient and far easier for me to offer a breast rather than heat milk then wash all these bottles. It's also a lot cheaper.
Oh, sure, it was painful at first, not to mention the two rounds of mastitis. But that's infanthood and new parenting, right? The benefits of breastfeeding still outweigh the negatives.
I liked using the sling because it helped me get work done while still carrying my daughter, particularly when she was fussy.
And I still sleep with my kid. For about half a year I slept exclusively with her because it was so easy to nurse in the middle of the night while we laid down. When we moved her to her own bed, she would wake up somewhere between 1 - 5 a.m. and come into our bed for years. That only stopped a few months ago!
I love co-sleeping. Claus, not so much. I quote Nathan Thornburgh's essay on a father's perspective on co-sleeping: "In practice, it usually means Dad gets rib-kicked until he finally decides to go sleep on the couch, where he will stay until the child graduates to his or her solo sleeping arrangement, whenever that may be." Quite funny.
I haven't talked to too many other dads about it, but I remember my friend Paul would come straggling into work many a weekend looking worse for the wear for the same reason. He used to tell me that his wife stole the blankets, his two dalmations and toddler son claimed most of the mattress real estate so that he had a sliver to sleep on, and the boy would kick him all night until he finally moved to the sofa.
Hope sprung eternal for Paul, because he always went to sleep under the same conditions, as if anything would change. It finally changed when Noa got older and the dogs died. That's my friend Paul, ever the optimist.
So I guess it's a universal thing, the kids kicking the dad only?
Anyhow - what are your thoughts on attachment parenting? Do you practice it and why?