Adventures in Attachment Parenting: Am I AP Enough? by Allison Silver
Nine months ago I created an Attachment Parenting meetup group in hopes to find some other local mamas who shared similar beliefs on parenting. In all honesty I was hoping to find maybe six or seven other moms who could get together regularly and offer each other support. As of last week seventy people have joined my group. Yep, you read that right 70! This kind of a response definitely makes me believe that there was a need for this kind of a group in our area and that I wasn’t alone in my parenting beliefs.
As our group has grown we have also added a Facebook group to help members connect between meetup activities. A few weeks ago a new member joined our group and she posted a comment on our Facebook page that I found really interesting. She thanked everyone for welcoming her and then mentioned that when she joined she wasn’t sure if she was AP enough for our group. AP enough? What does that even mean?
I think many people have a preconceived notion of what Attachment Parenting (AP) looks like and it doesn’t help that the media has portrayed it as some form of extreme parenting! So what do parents who practice attachment parenting believe? According to Attachment Parenting International (API), “Attachment parenting is about forming and nurturing strong connections between parents and their children.” What’s so extreme about that? I would like to think that every parent would like to foster a strong connection with their child.
Now with that being said API does endorse eight principles of parenting. These principles include: Preparing for pregnancy, birth, and parenting; Feeding with love and respect; Responding with Sensitivity; Using nurturing touch; Ensuring safe sleep (physically and emotionally); Providing consistent and loving care; Practicing positive discipline; Striving for balance in personal and family life. After reading ths you might be thinking, “That’s fine and dandy but don’t you have to home-birth, breastfeed, wear your baby, and cosleep to be AP? The simple answer to this question is, NO!
Do we endorse natural birth, breastfeeding, baby wearing, and co-sleeping? Yes, but only to the extent that it works for you and your family. Take me for example, I admire women who can have natural childbirth but my body just wasn’t designed that way! I had to have a c-section with my daughter and will most likely have to have a c-section again with any future pregnancies. Now does that make me less AP? Absolutely not! There is another mom in our group who is fighting cancer. She was unable to breastfeed her daughter due to chemo and radiation treatments. Does that make her less AP because she can’t breastfeed? Absolutely not! She feeds her daughter with love and that is what matters most! Or what about the mom who has a bad back and wearing her baby is uncomfortable. Is she less AP because she isn’t wearing her baby and uses a stroller? Absolutely not! And how about the parents who have no desire to have their child sleep in their bed. Are they less AP because their child sleeps in a crib? Again, absolutely not.
Attacment parenting is a parenting philosophy with the general premise being that as parents we strive to meet the physical and emotional needs of our children. Again, what’s so strange about that? When you really take a moment to think about it, it’s pretty instictual. As parents we all strive to meet our child’s needs. And no two parents do it the same! Their are multiple paths that lead to the same destination and in our Western Society attachment parenting can be seen as the path less traveled.
So in response to the mom who asked, “Am I AP enough?” If you have a stong desire to meet your child’s physical and emotional needs in a positive manner then the answer is, Yes! No matter where you are on your parenting journey you are welcome here!