Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Why Attachment Parenting Could Be Doing More Harm Than Good

On the surface Attachment Parenting sounds like a good idea with many parents opting to go along with all practices that come along with this way of parenting. But in reality, anything taken to an extreme can be a bad thing.

What is Attachment Parenting?

According to ChetDay, "The eight ideals of attachment parenting are:

1. Preparation for childbirth
2. Emotional responsiveness
3. Breastfeeding
4. Babywearing
5. Co-sleeping safely
6. Avoiding frequent and prolonged separations between parents and a baby
7. Positive discipline
8. Maintaining balance in family life

These values are interpreted in a variety of ways across the movement. Many attachment parents also choose to live a natural family living (NFL) lifestyle, such as natural childbirth, home birth, stay-at-home parenting, homeschooling, unschooling, the anti-circumcision movement, the anti-vaccination movement, natural health, cooperative movements, and support of organic food."

Lets talk about some of these ideals.

Co-sleeping vs crib sleeping.
Having everyone sleep in 'the family bed' rather than their own beds can be quite exhausting. I let my daughter sleep with me a few times when she was a toddler but I found it entirely too stressful to have a child in my bed that I was afraid I would roll over onto and suffocate in my sleep.

I for one like to sleep alone, I get better sleep and I suspect that most others do as well. Having the entire family in one bed has to make for a restless nights sleep. For one there's never enough room and you're always worried you are going to wake the other people up when you turn over.

Babies will stay awake for hours after being woken up unexpectedly. If they are in their own bed or crib and in their own room, parents won't have to worry about waking them up.

Baby Wearing.
Attachment parenting dictates that you never leave you baby alone. You should wear them all the time. I've been around my fair share of children including my own, my nieces and nephews and some children don't like to be held all the time. A parent should not be called a bad parent because they choose to use a stroller or a crib. Always holding or wearing your baby creates 'needy babies' that will cry and/or fuss whenever they are not being held or carried.

Do these children end up having separation anxiety when they are left with grandma or a baby sitter if an emergency arises.

Breast Feeding.
If a mother is able to breastfeed her baby for the first 6 months or so, I say Good for you. But for some mother's it's just not an option. Mother's who have had a mastectomy or are on anti-biotics or who can't breastfeed for others reason should not be thought of as bad mother's because they choose to bottle feed their children.

After my daughter was born I was very ill and was put on anti-boitics for 2 weeks. During that time I was told not to breastfeed my daughter and she got used to the bottle and would not take to breastfeeding after that, no matter how much I tried.

Some attachment parents will breastfeed their children well into and even after they are two years old. Once a child can eat solid foods, is there really any reason for them to still be breastfeeding?

With attachment parenting children are allowed to nurse until they decide to stop. If this means they are still breastfeeding when they are 3, 4 or even 5 years old then that's what they do. Mother's also breastfeed on demand, meaning whenever the child wants to feed the mother feeds the child. Instead of sticking to a schedule the child could be fed several times an hour if he or she wishes it.

Home schooling.
I see nothing wrong with home schooling kids, but the parent doing the schooling should be knowledgeable enough to teach their children what they will need to know to be a productive member of society.

Preparation for Childbirth.
Most parents will prepare for the birth of their child, but parents who are part of the attachment parenting group will have a lot more to learn because some if not all will be using home birthing and/or natural birthing.

Home birthing comes with its own set of dangers as a medical emergency can happen at any time and if you aren't prepared for it, you may end up with bad consequences.

Having an experienced midwife that isn't afraid to tell you when you need to go to the hospital if the need arises should be the first thing you find.

While this in no way covers all aspects of Attachment parenting and I am no authority or expert on the subject, this article should give you an idea of what attachment parenting is.