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Attachment Parenting

Is AP Hard or Easy?
From Our AP Forum Archives
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From SusanH: I've been wondering what others think. I'm having trouble deciding if APing is easier than mainstream parenting or harder. Lots of it seems simpler to me - following Susy's cues is so much less stressful than trying to get her to do things when some book says she should. When to start solids? When she seems ready. When will she sleep through the night? When she's ready to. What if she won't sleep in a crib? Put her in bed with you and enjoy your rest. She wants to be held a lot, won't that spoil her? No, pick her up and you'll find she stops crying.

I practice AP because I really think it's better for the child and the family, but I have to confess that I would find practicing an Ezzo-style philosophy completely exhausting. I am not a scheduled person, and I would hate to live my life according to the clock.

So is it easier or harder? Are we slaves to our children as some would say, or are we all just lazy gits?

From earthmother: While I am not sure that I fall into the "strictly AP" category, I DO follow my children's cues, I cuddle them as much as they need, I let them tell me and show me what they need to be loved and secure, etc. For my DD, that is carrying her around for a lot of the day . . . no problems here. She won't be small enough for me to carry her around a lot before I know it, so I will enjoy it while I can.

But to answer your question, I think that this style of parenting is easier. I have healthy, content, well-behaved children who I believe will grow up to be happy, healthy, and considerate members of society. I can't live by a clock either, it is just not who I am. Some things DO happen at roughly the same time every day in my house, like dinner, and afternoon tea time (DS and I drink herbal tea and we all sit down and cuddle and read children's poetry), but I give my kids they things they need to have when they need them. If they are hungry, they get fed . . . if isn't mealtime, they get a small healthy snack until dinner is ready . . . if they are tired earlier than bedtime, I cuddle them to sleep...I think Ezzo-style parenting would exhaust me too...it would just be too wearing on my nerves and my heartstrings to see my children crying for food and thinking "no, I can't feed them yet, it is half an hour before schedule" and trying to console them for that . . .

I parent the way I do because it makes no sense to me to go against my instincts because of a book. These are MY children, I brought them into the world, and it is my responsibility to make sure that they feel loved and are secure. Being a small child must be confusing enough, by acting the way I do I give my children the courage to explore the world in a safe way.

Maybe I am a slave to my children, or so some would say (and have!), but never, since the moment I knew I was pregnant, have I thought for one second that it was my baby's job to fit into MY schedule . . . that just isn't the way it works for me.

I eat when I am hungry, I sleep when I am tired...I need hugs sometimes for "no" reason and I would LOVE to have someone who could carry me around all day. Can I expect anything else from my children?

From mao2: First let me say, I have not done it yet, since my first is not yet born. However, my thought is that AP is much more time consuming and will be "harder" the first 2 years or so. I think AP involves the parent more, with the baby wearing, the breastfeeding, responding to all those cues . . . however, the REWARD. I think the reward is greater and your confident, independent toddler makes life so much EASIER! I can't wait!

From Ms.Dmoe: MUCH easier!!! I started out trying to parent with the traditional style of a crib, etc. but found myself overstressed. I ended up sleeping with DD and nursing, holding, etc when she needed it. It feels right and I am much more confident as a mommy because of it. I am a schedule person who likes everything organized, but I have found a happy medium between my desire for structure and my DD's need for me. Basically, I changed my schedule to fit her.

From PaulaSue: IMO, I would say it is much easier.

From mom2jazzygirl: I don't think I would bother if it were harder. It's SO much easier. Trust me, I wake up most nights and wonder how the 3.5 month old got on the booby cause I didn't put him there!

I am all for the cheap and easy route. Does that make me a lazy parent? Nay, I think it makes me less stressed. There are too many other things in life to stress, what do I care if she spills her milk or wants to cuddle in my bed past her bedtime?

From KristaLove: Easier.

From rockmom: Much easier. It would be dreadfully stressful to constantly be in conflict with my kiddo. Being in harmony is infinitely easier.

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From Gayesy: I think it is both easier and harder, if that makes any sense at all!

Definitely easier in the fact that you are not constantly fighting your instincts (or your child for that matter!), that you can "go with the flow". Breastfeeding is extremely convenient, as is co-sleeping, sling use and so on. I couldn't even imagine having to get up out of my comfy bed at night to heat up a bottle, sit up and feed it to my baby and then try to get him settled back in his cot in his own room. It would be exhausting both physically and emotionally!

I think that in some ways though APing is harder. It DOES take considerable dedication. It DOES mean that you are available to your child 24/7. Life cannot just go on as before. I think that even though there is no way I could live with myself if I did the "Ezzo thing" for example, for some parents, it is kind of an easy way out because they can still get their uninterrupted sleep, their mommy/daddy dates, things happen at pretty set times etc. Kids don't get the chance to be inconvenient or to have high needs (well, they probably have them, but tough luck! I guess that if you want your life to be "unencumbered" and unaffected by your kids then APing is probably not going to be the way to go!

For me, APing is very easy though because I am doing what feels right to me, and I really think that following your instincts and your conscience makes for a happy and easier life. At times, meeting Thomas's high demands has been very tough physically, but I wouldn't have done things any other way!

From momofsugarplum: I agree. MUCH EASIER! I think it makes for a happier mommy and baby too.

From Kel: Both. It's easier in the sense that there is no rigidity or schedules to follow. I don't have to do things that go against what I feel in my heart. There's no right or wrong . . . I just do what FEELS right for us.

But on the other hand, it's harder. It's not harder for ME, but it's harder (PHYSICALLY) than just plopping your baby down in a crib and walking out of the room while your baby cries for you. I don't know if that makes any sense or not.

From ShelleyJ: I would say that AP is emotionally and in some ways physically easier. I'm thinking specifically of co-sleeping, which means I don't have to get out of bed to nurse, and allowing TJ to set his own pace and schedules, rather than thinking I have to be rigidly scheduled and "in charge". Also, there's not the sense of a power struggle that I see in some parents ("She has to learn who's the boss", "He has to cry in his crib to learn to respect his bedtime rules", etc.).

On the other hand, there are aspects that are definitely more difficult. First and foremost would be the time I set aside to meet TJ's needs when I might otherwise leave him to "comfort himself". Also, the social stigma that sometimes comes with families who choose to AP is more difficult to deal with than the "accepted" practices of CIO, bottle feeding, etc.

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