Are you an attachment parent?

I’ve got a confession over here.. I might be an attachment parent.

Attachment parenting. The new (or not-so-new depending on how you look at it) “buzz word” in parenting. Another trend. Another set of idealistic rituals we might strive towards in being the parents our parents could not have POSSIBLY been without the Internet.

But is it all it is cracked up to be? Who is this parenting style for? Hippies. Right? Totally. Hippies.

A little “back story” for you all, and the inspiration behind this post.

Recently I had a consultation with a lovely family from Vancouver. This mom signed up to work with me 2 months ago! 2 months. She did not want to miss her chance to get that beautiful baby of hers sleeping, and she knew she wanted MY support in doing so. Out of all of the sleep consultants in Vancouver she could have possibly chosen from, she honed in on me, and locked in hard!

Her first words, “It is weird that you are actually talking to me after I have been stalking you for months on facebook and instagram!”

This couple was awesome. As we began our skype call I knew we would instantly click. They were lighthearted, and funny. Just a couple of people who you would love to have at your house for a barbecue, drinking a couple of cold ones, while your kids run butt naked through the sprinkler in the backyard.

We got off to a great start. I started asking them about their wants and needs. Their desires in raising their children. What soothing this baby to sleep might look like, and how we were going to go about getting their baby to sleep better. Probably guessing where I was going in suggesting a sleep-training alternative, or gentler strategy than they were expecting me to suggest, dad perked up and make a quick, witty remark.

“Yeah. But I think attachment parenting is stupid.”

Interesting was the first thought to come to my mind. But I wasn’t surprised in the slightest. Often people come to me hoping I will empower them to “sleep-train” their baby in a “bootcamp” style. Hard. Fast. Done and dusted in 4 days. But, little did this dad know.. that is just really not my style. Mom had a feeling. She had been stalking me for months after all, but I am pretty sure dad was just along for the ride.

I love the dads. The dads are always awesome. They say it like it is – and they don’t bullsh*t. They also have NO clue what they’re getting themselves into.

“What does attachment parenting look like to you? How would you define it?” was my next question for dad.

He stumbled a bit. Shocked I think, but he had a pretty clear idea in his mind of what this parenting style might look like.

  • cuddling your kid til they’re 45
  • responding to every single cry they make, never letting kids learn any independence
  • cloth diapering
  • driving a mini-van
  • breastfeeding til they self-wean at 15
  • and co-sleeping throughout all of the above

Okay – so he didn’t come up with this list. I actually helped him, because these are some of the stereotypes I often hear when people refer to attachment parenting.

To be honest, before taking Bebo Mia’s Infant Sleep Educator course, I didn’t even realize that I was an attachment parent?! OMG. It is like a sickness. Someone get it off of me!! I’m joking. But truly, I wouldn’t have put myself in this camp until I really had some exposure to what it was all about and how it is defined, and why it is so awesome for families.

So there – you have it. I might be an attachment parent. Read on before you judge me!

Probably many of the people reading this now are attachment parenting in some way, shape or form, and may not even know it.

Let me tell you what the defined points are of attachment parenting from Attachment Parenting International. I’ve paraphrased them a bit, and given some of my own thoughts. But, you get the gist.

  1. Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting – you gave it some thought. You realized a baby was going to come out your vagina, and you should probably have some kind of plan on where it will land.
  2. Feed with Love and Respect – breast or bottle. You don’t force feed your child. You feed on demand. Stop feeding when they are full. And watch your baby’s cues for hunger.
  3. Respond with Sensitivity – you hear baby cry and wonder what might be wrong. Is there something I can do to help you? You celebrate their joys, and help them through the hard times.
  4. Use Nurturing Touch – hugs, kisses, you don’t hold back on the love and caresses.
  5. Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally – crib, safe co-sleeping, you respond middle of the night to your child, if they need you to be there. AKA. You don’t lock the door and refuse to go in the room from 7:00 pm to 7:00 am.
  6. Provide Consistent and Loving Care – again, around the clock, your baby knows you will come. They trust that you are there for them and are doing your best.
  7. Practice Positive Discipline – basically treating your child like you would want to be treated – as a human being. Not someone who is below you. You craft solutions together to overcome difficult times, and help your child develop their conscience in deciding right from wrong.
  8. Strive for Balance in Your Personal and Family Life – ultimately, this one is super important. You don’t compromise your own physical and emotional health for your child. You look for ways to be a responsive parent, while ensuring you still have time to be you.

When you see it like that, it seems like less of a Pauly Shore movie right? Having our children attached to us is not a bad thing. Is there someone else you would prefer they attach to?!