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From Miche: I'm getting very tired of people saying "I tried to AP, but just couldn't do it - it was too hard." What did they think was too hard? Following the rules? Technically there are no "rules" to AP . . . just a lot of suggestions on things that will help you form a SECURE attachment to your baby. If you follow Dr. Sears's suggestions, the goals of AP are (these are quotes out of "The Baby Book"):
He suggests achieving this by:
- to know your child
- to help your child feel right
- to enjoy parenting
He goes on to say:
- Connect with your baby early.
- Read and respond to your baby's cues.
- Breastfeed your baby.
- Wear your baby.
- Share sleep with your baby.
Attachment parenting is an ideal. Because of medical situations, lifestyle differences, or just plain rough times, you may not be able to practice all of these attachment tips all the time. parenting is too individual and baby is too complex for there to be only one way. But these five attachment concepts provide the basic tools from which you can develop a parenting style that works best for you.
Dr. Sears is actually pretty new to the field of baby and child attachment research. It has been going on for generations.
The important point is to get connected to your baby. Take advantage of all the valuable things that attachment parenting does for parents and babies. Once connected, stick with what is working and modify what is not. You will ultimately arrive at your own style. This is how you and your baby bring out the best in one another.
I, for one, am getting really tired of people assuming things about AP when they know nothing about it. The key to AP isn't breastfeeding or co-sleeping or carrying around your baby all day, it is BECOMING ATTACHED!. It just happens that doing those five things gives you a better chance of becoming securely attached than if you didn't do those five things.
I know that I started parenting "AP" because my baby demanded that kind of parenting. Everything that calmed him happened to be exactly what was suggested by the people on this forum and other experts on attachment.
From Gayesy: To me, I think the most important aspect of AP is responding to your child's cues, which incorporates really getting to know him, not being afraid of "spoiling" etc. AP is more an attitude than a list of instructions. The usual trademarks such as breastfeeding, co-sleeping and sling wearing are a natural response to the way an AP parent thinks and feels about his/her child. I know that I certainly consider Thomas and all children for that matter to be gifts from God, rather than inconveniences who need to be trained to be less needy. I automatically want to be close to him, and am very willing to allow him to be as dependent as he needs to be.
From Krystina: I still don't consider myself truly AP, but we are very attached. The CIO thing aside, we do and have done many of the things Dr. Sears recommends. I agree with much of the AP way and truly think you all are doing wonderful things with your babies. I wouldn't say I "tried AP and couldn't do it," but some things just didn't work with Kayla no matter how much I wished it so! Miche, you say the things that calmed Tommy just fit into the "attachment" arena; it was almost the exact opposite for Kayla! Believe me, she is like no other baby I've ever known! So I just try and follow her personality and read the cues and go from there. With the exception of letting her have all the graham crackers she wants which can cause a tantrum let me tell you! LOL. However, I believe we've met the goals of AP, according to Dr. Sears. And that's why I still come here.
From Mitaboy2: Thank you for explaining things Miche! Now that I am thinking about it, I am very attached to my baby. I know my child, always help her to feel right, and I enjoy being a mommy! Not all five main concepts were successful, but I certainly have connected with my baby and always read and responded to her cues and needs. Perhaps the "five main concepts" are seen as a list of "rules" to some. I know I was confused by it at first. She truly is a blessing from God, as well is every child. I also am very willing to allow her to be as dependent, or independent, as she needs to be. If AP means tending to my baby according to her needs and responding to them, then I do consider myself to be AP and would very much like to be a part of this support board. Have a nice day!
From Cath: Miche, the books are great but I had no idea who any of the parenting authors/experts were - with the exception of Penelope Leach and Christopher Green (oh and Doctor Spock). I just did what my heart told me to - it was easy to avoid criticism because we were in a big city far from home with no family there to butt in although the strangers in Vancouver who stop and harass you for piddling little things are just incredible and I had to think of some comebacks for them. But generally it just did not FEEL right to open those samples of formula when I had a rocky start to breastfeeding. The hospital where Bill was born encouraged co-bedding so Bill was already used to sleeping on me - and Rob had already said he was so excited about becoming a daddy so he would be able to let the baby sleep on his chest and co-sleeping was not an issue - anyway the baby taught us what to do in that area.
As far as CIO - It was really hard because there was a lot of pressure from the community health nurses at the mom and baby drop in and there was a definite emphasis on how your babies SHOULD be sleeping through by now and CIO was seen as a necessity like vaccinating so it was assumed we'd all just "do it". I just used to say Bill was sleeping longer than five hours at a stretch and they left us alone but it broke my heart to hear the testimonies of my friends who had all used CIO and were telling us how awful it was but "for the best." Rob and I decided to nix the advice of the parenting experts and make our own decision on THAT aspect.
Anyhow, although I moderate a forum called "Attachment Parenting" I actually don't like the term because a label comes with rules and baggage - however we need a term which serves as a common point of reference so I guess AP it is! I had always thought of it as "gentle nurturing" which is another thing that AP is all about. It's not about whether you CIO - or breastfeed or whatever. To me it's about a whole approach and philosophy which embraces the child as a real meaningful person and not a nuisance or a visitor in your home - who has the right to be treated with respect - and has the right to be taught respect for others.
From Kurtney: Top of the afternoon to you all! I have been studying your posts for quiet awhile now, and I must ask...how do you find time to "spend" time on your home computer to post and associate with each other, if your baby is always with you? I am not a mother but soon will be one, and I am back and fourth on being a "stay home mom" or continue with my current high management job. I believe in most of your values of parenting, and I am just concerned how your values and time on your home computers work out?
From Cath: Welcome to the AP forum! Speaking for myself, it's Sunday morning here and I have been online for a couple of hours while my husband and children are asleep. I usually get online when the children are napping, or playing together or out with my husband or at night after they have gone to bed.
Being AP doesn't mean never getting any time to yourself otherwise we'd all stink to high heavens and be starving - and we'd all only have one child If my children wake up soon - which is most likely I will probably finish up here and get offline. The nice thing about a computer as opposed to the telephone is you can leave the screen and come back later to finish what you started.
From Gayesy: I usually get on the computer in the mornings while my three-year-old is playing nearby and/or watching PlaySchool on the TV, and then again in the evenings when my husband is home from work and has some "Daddy/Thomas time" in the bath and playing. When Thomas was littler, he would often sit nursing on my lap while I worked on the computer, or I would confine it to his naptime. Now, he is very happy for me to "do things" as long as he has access to me, which of course he does!
From Miche: I spend a lot of time nursing while I'm on the computer. Tommy also loves to play at my feet with his toys. Just because we are "attached" doesn't mean its a physical attachment or 24/7 holding of your baby. In the early months it was, but not anymore.
From Kurtney: Thank you both for replying. Now I am really confused. I imagined that when your baby was sleeping he/she was sleeping with you. Isn't that attached parenting? Yes, I understand that one may deviate from the "norm" and there are no rules in AP, but I rarely find time now to spend time on the computer as it is, and I haven't even given birth yet. It is wonderful to hear that your dh helps you with the children. What is your husband's stance on AP, and does he also sleep with the children? My husband says he will refuse to sleep with our new baby, do you have any advice on this?
From Penny: Yeah, make him responsible for bringing the baby to you for night nursings, waiting for it to go back to sleep, and returning it to its crib. By the time he's done that 3 or 4 times in one night (very likely indeed in the first few weeks), he'll start to see the benefits of it!!
From Flyingfingers: Glad to hear the "definition" of AP. I was definitely 100% AP with Katie. Robb is 100% attached to me. When he's awake, he is no more than a few feet from me, usually being held or played with. However, he had health problems that precluded breastfeeding and wanted NOTHING to do with co-sleeping. He much prefers to be put down awake in his own space (unfortunately a crib for safety's sake) and go to sleep on his own. Katie never did this. In fact, she just moved out of our room about two months ago, and she is almost four years old. She was always a co-sleeper (actually moved to a bed on the floor at nine months because she was so wiggly no one was sleeping.) Even though Robb and I do not follow the "normal" meaning of AP, I am definitely an attached Mommy and he is an attached boy. I wear my baby almost daily, cuddly, carry, respond to his cries, and tend to his needs as an "attached" parent would.
From ilmok: For me, attachment parenting is responding to your baby, not letting baby cry, and being with your baby as much as possible, holding or wearing your baby, breastfeeding until the child decides he's done. There are so many little things we do each day that makes me attached to my children, it would be hard to list them all! I also think it's a mindset we have. When other moms are speaking of "needing a break from their kids," I'm thinking I could use break from the rest of the world, to be with just my kids! I love being near my kids; I wouldn't want to be away from them! I do like the way Dr. Sears describes AP, too.
From Kurtney: As I read through the posts, I am starting to wonder why there is a separate standard for mothers or families that have the same ideals that I have had all along, without ever knowing anything about AP. I understand society isn't perfect, just open the newspaper and anyone would find an article about mothers mistreating their infants/children, but does that create a need to be labeled an AP'er. Is there a need to feel that Ap'ers are better than the rest? Who is the rest . . . I am not sure, but what I have read so far in the AP'ers bulletin board seems natural for mothers. My husband feels the same way. In fact, he gets six months automatically when I deliver our first baby. (paid!) This is he's company's policy for fathers to spend time with their children. What is AP standard for fathers? So far, I only read about mothers. I am very curious.
From Cath: I am sorry you gained that impression Kurtney - I don't believe you will find a single person here - and yes most of us here ARE mothers as are most people on ALL parenting boards - who believes that we are "better" than another parent who chooses a different way to approach their role, however I do believe that the philosophies which AP parents hold dear are a better way to go. Just as each religious person believes their religion is best!
No there is no "need to be labeled an AP'er" however we need a common reference point so we know which board to post on. Using the term "label" implies something negative so would you feel better if we said attachment parenting was not a 'label' but 'a description of the way many people choose to parent'? Bottom line is it all means the same thing.
When you say these are the ideals you have had all along you are describing most AP parents' feelings. It doesn't matter whether it has a name or a description or a "label" but because it is an instinctive and intuitive way of approaching the parenting role most people who do it feel it is all so familiar and something they already know. I say time and time again I don't like the term AP but I am happy to bow to the consensus and recognize that if we want to get together as a group we need a signpost.
From Kurtney: Thank you Cath. I am not downing a group term. I agree that people who feel the same way, should be able to have a place to discuss their similarities. I just wonder why AP is considered a different way of parenting, when in fact, it is the same way I feel, due to natural instincts, education and maturity and never heard of AP before. You almost accuse me of not having any stance because I am not a parent yet. Unlike most births, mine was planned, and I look so forward to becoming a parent. Should I not, comment until I deliver?
From Suecnm2b: Hi Kurtney, congrats on your pregnancy! I am so glad that your instincts have already told you exactly how you want to parent your child. I can tell you that I never would have thought that I "AP'd" my 1st two DS's. Not that I wasn't a good mother to my other two children, not that my entire world wasn't shaken up with the birth of my first, but to be honest with you, I didn't have any idea how I was going to parent before I had children. I didn't breastfeed my first two children (not for lack of trying, but that is an entirely different subject) I never heard of "wearing" my child, never slept with them and didn't let them cry it out (for long anyway, to me that seemed wrong) and worked full time.
I became a SAHM when my third DS was born. I will, however, be going back into the workforce (with a new career - nursing, easing into midwifery) in September. I breastfeed Jared, wear him in a sling, everywhere!, sleep with him and respond to his every need as soon as I can.
While I feel that I parent Jared differently than I parented my other children, I know that everything I did, I relied on my instincts as a mother. There is something to be said for being a SAHM. I love being with my kids! Our days are rarely planned, we just go with the flow. I don't have to rush to be anywhere at any specific time, leaving time to look under rocks for salamanders (which was yesterdays project) or lay in the grass and decide what the clouds look like, or have pajama and "junk food" day in the middle of the week. I am much less stressed than I was, for the most part, than when I worked.
I know people that have completely different approaches to parenting. No attempt at breastfeeding, sleeping through the night (by CIO methods) at 8 weeks, scheduled play time, nap time, eating time . . . I am not saying that it is bad, just trying to point out a "different" instinct of parenting.
This post isn't saying exactly what I am trying to say, but I know that my mothering has grown in the four almost five years that I have been a mother. While I knew that I would "be" there for my children, I didn't know just what that meant for a very long time.
Again, I am so happy for you that you feel what it will be like to be a mother before you are even a mother. I envy that! Just keep going with those instincts and you will have a wonderful relationship with your children. And please, keep posting here! Your advice and insight will be most welcome!
Miche: Kurtney - I am very happy that you have never received opposition on your ideas of parenting, hopefully this will not change after your baby is born, however, most of us are not that lucky. Even my mother who is AP-friendly (I hate to use the term, but like Cath stated it is something that can describe the general parenting style) keeps trying to convince me that I *need* to put my son in a crib, or that my husband and I *need* time alone together, etc.
Parenting the way those of us on this forum do is sadly not the norm out there. I am absolutely amazed that your husband gets six months of paid time off for your baby. My husband had to return to work while I was still in the hospital! And the day after I was discharged he was stuck at work for a full 36 hours! He called me crying because he missed Tommy so much. My mother and I ended up bringing Tommy to his office to visit him (just four days after my c-section). I was the one who gave birth and I only got six weeks of paid time off, and a total of 12 more that I could take unpaid before I would lose my job. (I chose not to go back anyway).
As for feeling that I'm a better parent than others, no, I don't feel that I am am, but I do feel that this is the best way to parent MY child. I feel that any child would benefit from this type of parenting. If I didn't feel this way I definitely wouldn't choose to parent this way.
I don't believe that Cath meant to imply that you were not welcome to post here until your baby was born. I think she was emphasizing the word mother because you asked a question regarding fathers. Until a recent post, I have never seen a father post on this forum, and very rarely do dads post on other forums. I happen to feel that you are already a mother; just because your child isn't born yet does not make you not a mother. I have been a mother for 19 months, not just the 10 that Tommy has been outside of my womb.
From Chrish: Kurtney, Hi! Welcome to parenting! You will work out how to find time to get on the computer, even if you have to let your infant sleep balancing on your shoulder like I did with my daughter. I'm sure as a manager you'd realize how hard it is to balance your schedule but in the end you work it out.
The first three months are the most time-demanding. We found if they were awake, they needed to be fed, cuddled or played with. After three months they start to become happy to lie on the floor or in the bouncer or wherever and study their new world. I know that might sound not like AP - but there is sometimes a misconception about AP that you never put your baby down. But we do! They need to learn their own independence too. But gently and slowly!
The truth is, we go at their pace. For example, with our third we were determined to never leave him with a babysitter unless we knew he wasn't in a clingy phase and that he was ready for it. Thus he was over a year old before we left him. (We left our daughter for about three hours at about 7months - a common clingy age - when we knew she was a little clingy and it took her months to recover, she was soooo clingy for ages afterwards).
When you choose to become a parent, you should also be choosing to accept a committment to be with your children as necessary. To hold them for hours when they're infants, to play with them when they're babies, to teach them to talk and walk, to cuddle the sick toddler, to go to your five year old's game in the cold and rain, to drive them all over the place to get to Scouts, sports etc etc.
Many people try to either renege on or "outsource" those responsibilities. Some people would lose jobs if they approached them with the same lack of committment they do their children! Another example! I have a friend, a new mother, who refuses to read any parenting books! Why? Would she also enroll in university but say she wasn't going to read any books??!!
It is great to have you here, someone who has clearly accepted that committment. With that attitude you will find parenting rewarding more often than not. We look forward to hearing how parenting rewards you. As far as your hubby and the bed thing goes - ask him if it would be ok if you pushed the bed against the wall and put the baby next to the wall. Then he could still cuddle you - and, it will only take waking up to a sleeping baby once to have his heart melted forever!!
PS But I do spend more time on the computer than I should - some very late nights!!
From Kel: Before coming to StorkNet, I never even knew that my way of parenting even HAD a "name"! I've always made my children's needs my number one priority, with nothing else coming before them. My DH and I decided that we would make them our focus, as we have the rest of our lives together to grow old and focus on one another. Because we have chosen to parent in this way, we have become closer in the process. I don't look at it as putting one before the other, but more of a total package deal!
My children have NEVER cried it out, and have slept with us for as long as they have chosen to. Our 7 year old still comes into our room whenever she feels the need to be close to us, as does out 5 year old. We do not believe in physical (corporal) punishment, but rather a discussion and/or removal of desired privileges. We are very strict parents, with significant rules and boundaries, however, because our children know this, and we equally respect one another, discipline is rarely an issue.
I have time for *me* and DH and I have time for *us*, but honestly, that's not what being a parent is all about, is it? Well, at least it isn't to me. If I wanted to have a lot of *me* time or *us* time with DH, we would have waited to have children. Anyway, that's how I feel about the comments I get from others who say that I NEED to have some time to myself or that DH and I NEED to have a vacation together. No, our children NEED us to be there for them 24/7, and when they get older, sure, a vacation would be nice. However, how nice can it be when we'd miss the kids every second we'd be gone?
From Kurtney: Thanks Chrish, I enjoyed reading your comments. I can't wait until I give birth! It is hard to sleep with all those wonderful thoughts of being a mommy! Thanks for welcoming me.
My husband and I live half the year in Norway and the other half in the USA. I was interested in knowing if anyone is from Norway who contributes to this forum? I have met more people in Norway, who share our similar values, than in the US. Is it cultural or just a matter of chance that I haven't met as many people here in the US?
From Hedra: Regarding the Norway question, from what I've observed from my 'bi-country' friends, what Americans call AP is commonly just assumed to be the usual method of parenting other places! I have a friend who is half-Norwegian, and her approach was definitely very AP-style (did what worked to keep her and her son connected and close), even though she did it as a single mom (which can make it hard at times!). She has NEVER said anything that indicated that her style conflicted with the usual Norwegian style. So perhaps, indeed, there is a cultural element to it - certainly we Americans been trained to over-trust the scientific 'reality' rather than our own instincts - or have for the last two or three generations, anyway. Look how long it has taken for formula use to rise in Europe, whereas once it was introduced, it took no time at all for most American mothers to jump at it.
American culture, in my opinion (of course, being an 'insider'), is very much based on the subtle fact that (culturally speaking) nearly everyone here had to separate from someone just to GET here (which attitude and effect gets passed down in different ways over time). This wasn't mostly groups of families migrating slowly over time, it was people yanking up roots in desperation, or in hope, or being driven here by worse things elsewhere, or shipped off here as punishment, or captured and taken here by force. (Australia ended up with a different spin on the same issues, but that's not one of my areas of specialty.)
No matter how they got here, until recently, most emigrants had to give up their close and comfortable connections - either that, or they didn't have connections in the first place. It was the only way to survive - get comfortable with being lonely and struggling COMPLETELY on your own. And don't trust anyone else, either. Hey, it kept the country going, right? It was a valuable approach, for a while.
Once that culture was set, we ended up with a fairly high glorification of the 'new and advanced' over the 'old' and also of being 'independent' over being 'connected' - part self-defense against the pain of feeling that missing connection to our families and our past, perhaps. We ended up with a drive to be SO independent that we wouldn't have to notice how much it hurt to be alone. And each generation has put their own spin on that fundamental culture of separation. It has gone in cycles from the political (founding fathers; Civil War), to the economic (big business and enterpreneurs), to moral/religious (persecution; diverging faiths), to gender (male dominance followed by feminism), to familial (cry it out). All these americanisms are strongly related to being an independent individual responsible to nobody and turning to nobody for assistance.
Now, with this generation, we've started (or are perhaps enlarging) the swing back - because with the last generation or so, that ideal of separate, independent individual invaded the newborn period . . . and that's as fundamental as it gets. It can't go much farther (debates about genetic engineering and cloning aside), and that means that we can NOW, FINALLY start really pulling the pendulum back the other way. We can start feeling connected at a personal and familial level, and it is slowly becoming okay to think that is best. We can start to re-encourage community connections, corporate connections to the rest of life, and so forth. We can encourage fathers to stay connected to their children instead of to their job and their 'independence', and we can encourage all parents to find the connection that was always there but had been repressed or ignored.
Problem one is that you can't kill a culture, only modify it. That means that both the old 'independent' and the new 'interconnected' will have to merge, and it will take a while to synthesize the culture into a unit where both are functional at all levels: Independent WITHIN a network of life, family, community; and free to be independent BECAUSE of that connection to our families, communities, and roots, and so forth.
Honestly, a lot of what I've heard in other countries as commentary on Americans reflects a sense that we as Americans don't 'get' it - we don't take care of our children in the same way other people do, or of our elderly, or of our infrastructure, etc. - that is, we're not connected. We're getting there, but it is taking a while. Our environment is actually one of the FEW areas where we have a clue, and look what a lovely job we've done on THAT! YUCK.
Anyway, that's my personal take. 'AP' is the first big swing back to 'normal' from the far edge. There is a negative attitude among some americans about it for two reasons - one, it isn't 'following the rules' (that you have to force absolute independence or you won't survive), and two (possibly more importantly) it makes people have to think about whether their own approach (or their mother's) was the right one. That makes people angry and uncomfortable.
Cultures are pretty 'dumb' living systems themselves - they try to maintain the status quo through social pressure (instead of an immune system) even if the change is a patch of good growth building up an area that isn't working or is even causing harm. Only when the tendrils of this new growth stretch back past the center point will the tide really turn and you'll suddenly see people openly cutting out the deadwood (we're actually getting pretty close to that point - check out the newer parenting books - more of them are encouraging flexibility and connection than are NOT . . . ). Each culture has their own issues to work out - Americans just have some really obvious ones! And of course, subcultures within each culture have their own spin on each issue, too - plus unique issues of their own.
That's a long enough post - hope it made some kind of sense, and answered your question. There are plenty of great things about American culture, but there are some places where it simply hasn't gone through enough maturing cycles to be completely functional and balanced. This is a bit of an oversimplified answer - the full details would take years to work out, but hope it helps you understand why AP is even an issue here.
orchid: We have a need to define and it is like trying to retain sand in hand. We can always refine. I really like Cath's suggestion "gentle nuturing" though AP is fine, we already have a wheel.
I have been following this band before I had my first baby and now Yoel is 4 month old, the concept of attachment for us has been constantly reshaping, it has became psychic closeness for us as well. I bet with myself daily that I would beat to the baby crying signal (I am deaf) and the flashing light went off maybe once a week or less. Soon when I finished drying myself, I could sense Yoel was about to holler so I rushed out to check on him and I could see he wanted me to be near him. At night time, I nurse him once or twice, Yoel just shake his legs and arms to wake me up. He never cried and the bed vibrator rarely went off. It usually shook when we were screaming on purpose.
He comes with me to work four hours four days a week. I have two babysitters, both of them are affectionate and really worship Yoel. I told them that they may take the liberty to be cuddly as they like to as long as Yoel feels comfortable too. When Yoel goes out with his babysitter, I feel assured not just for safety but for communal nuturing as well, that is to me when love goes all round in a full circle. It encompasses more.
From danieladaniela:I realize reality in the USA is different than reality here (Italy). In particular I learned about this enigmatic
letters CIO that is "let him cry out" that was never heard of here. It must be before such books are realized to be bullish before being translated in marginal languages. I thought I was an AP, even if I didn't know the name, because I always carry baby around, sleep with her, go around with a scarf to the purpose of breastfeeding her any place, etc. Some of my friends breastfeed each 3 hours, have a stroller and baby sleeps in cradle near the bed, but when they cry, they are instantly picked up. How comes that people let babies cry and so on? It is far more hard (FOR THE ADULTS) and time consuming. Just wondering.
From Kurtney: Let's hear it for Hedra! Your reply was exactly where my thoughts were on the issues of "raising baby" -- and the differences from culture to culture. I am the American in our family; my husband is the Norwegian. Did you know that there was a recent study on the best country for a mother to raise her baby? They chose Norway. I am not surprised! Norway belief's on raising children mirror what AP is all about...with NO questions asked. Thanks for diving into your post. It was intelligently written, and it broaden the scope of "how" there are so many differences in parenting.
From MommyBess: To me sleeping with my infant, breastfeeding, and carrying/holding or wearing my baby just *feels right*. That's why I do it. I wasn't always an AP'er, with my oldest son I didn't breastfeed him (though I was misled by Pediatrician that he needed to be on formula) and I was told sleeping with him was a bad thing. In my heart when my second son was born I knew what I needed to do, what my heart tells me to do. I have four sons and any given night there could be 1 or 4 in our room, and some nights dh and I are alone. To me and dh it all boils down to respect for our children and their needs; they are only children once.
From Cath: I think something else which is important to point out is that just "going through the motions" does NOT mean someone is "AP". I was reading something about this on another site. There was a discussion about AP and one mother said something along the lines of her friend being "AP because she never seemed to put her baby down." I found that interesting because it was kind of the theory that if you do all the stuff - whether you do it happily or because you totally resent not being able to shut the baby up - as long as you are wearing the baby or carrying him/her all the time you are therefore AP!
It's great to have this site where we can discuss not only what AP *is* but what it *isn't* too
From Schrody2: I totally agree! I think that AP is a mindset, not a list of behaviors. I really think that AP is more of a philosophy involving empathy and respect. Treating your child as a child, but also as an important member of the family whose opinions and feelings deserve consideration, whether or not they will be given what they want. It does NOT mean letting your child do whatever they want with no limits or boundaries, but the limits are not just set autocratically or whimsically; explanations are offered beyond "Because I said so." AP also involves helping your child learn to deal with their emotions rather than leaving them to cope on their own.
From ANG: I don't know what AP is. I'm still getting educated. I don't follow everything people say, but I do feel very attached to Matthew. He seems to enjoy me, and other's around him. He's a very well-adjusted child. Attachment parenting, to me, is doing what's best for your child and yourself. I listen to my instincts. I do find that there's a lot of criticism out there. And that there are strong opinions. And that in general people need to be more open minded, and listen to or find the whole story before making judgments. It just been my finding, in the past 16 1/2 months of motherhood I'm learning a lot about people listening to their experiences.
From luv2beemom:Back in 1998 when I became a new mom, I tried to do everything the way I thought it was supposed to be, and it just wasn't working. I finally tuned out all the other people (including dh at times, but he eventually got on the same page with me) and let my tiny new baby communicate to me what kind of mommy she needed me to be. Things were sooooo much easier after that. She is almost 3 now, and I really love the connection we have. I can read her emotions so well. I am an AP Parent because I am attached and proud of it. It's not because I happened to also carry her in a sling, breastfeed for 2 years and have her sleep in our bed. Those things just naturally happened as a result of being attached.
From Ursula: AP to me, is a label for the parenting ideas that I naturally have but which aren't necessarily the norm in my culture. As a new parent, I expect that I will be immediately responsive to my baby's needs and cues, that I, or another family member, will be holding her or in physical contact with her at almost all times, that I will view her wants as her needs and respond to them as such, that I will breastfeed exclusively and extendedly.
My beliefs come from my childhood, my travels, from my education as a psychologist, and from perhaps something primitive in me that tells me it's the right thing for me and my family. I value connectedness over independence, yet see independence as growing out of security and connectedness, so the two don't necessarily work against each other.
Already I have had some comments such as "you're not going to be one of those women who breastfeeds when the kid is old enough to ask for it" and "babies need to be allowed to cry. It exercises their lungs."
I've also have had comments such as, "Oh, we never had a crib either. It just seemed so right to keep him in bed with us and we missed him when he got his own bed."
This forum is a place for me to talk about my ideas and to learn from other parents' experiences.