‘Attachment Parenting’ Is Code For ‘I’m Doing It Better Than You’
Mayim Bialik is in the news again today because of a comment she made about breastfeeding. She insists it’s not sexual – which I totally agree with. Inevitably, the article moved to her feelings about raising children. Bialik is a very vocal supporter of Attachment Parenting, or as I like to call it – “I’m Doing It Better Than You” Parenting.
Attachment parenting is all about making assertions about the best ways to birth, feed and raise children. It’s not saying, this is the way I do it, it’s saying this is the way TO do it. I find that incredibly annoying and condescending. Here are some quotes from her book that the Huffpost compiled today, so you can see where I’m coming from.
“Many women feel the following way about natural birth: “I’m going to give it a shot, but if I really can’t stand it, I’m going to the drugs; that’s what they’re there for.” It’s a staggering disservice to women to be told to “try” having a natural birth but be given insufficient resources, education, and support to make it happen. Natural birth is not something you try; it’s something you learn about, prepare for, and succeed by completing it.”
I just love shaming women who decide to use the miracles of modern medicine to avoid pain, don’t you? Guess what? Natural birth is something that you try. I spent my entire first pregnancy consumed with it – only to be two weeks late, have my child go into distress and require a c-section. I had all the resources, education and support around – and it still didn’t happen. A “successful” birth is one where baby and mom come through healthy.
Baby Needs To Be Held: “Babies need contact with us and with our bodies. We smell familiar, we sound good, and we feel right. They want to be held close to us, not simply next to us.”
Says who? My baby squirms like crazy when you try to hold her for too long. She wants to be crawling around and doing her own thing. She would rather be next to me than held by me. Are we now guilting parents who don’t hold their children 24/7?
Baby Needs Nighttime Parenting: “I have never owned a crib. Or a bassinet. We have one bedroom in our house. There are two mattresses in that bedroom. They are next to each other. One is a king-size. One is a full. We all sleep together. In one big bed.”
I don’t want a barge of mattresses in the middle of my bedroom. AP’s fifth principle of attachment parenting addresses “safe sleep – physically and emotionally.” I personally feel that my squirmy eight month old is safer in her crib than on the “family bed.”
The eight principles of attachment parenting are reasonable – it just feels strange that there is always a “best” way to be doing things. “Feed with Love” actually means “breastfeed,” as if parents who decide to bottle feed aren’t feeding with love as well. “Use nurturing touch” somehow translates into always carrying or babywearing. “Ensure safe sleep” somehow translates to co-sleeping. “Provide constant and loving care” somehow translates into not using outside caregivers when at all possible. I appreciate the principles – I just don’t agree with the assertion that there is a “best” way to parent for everyone.
(photo: Getty Images)