"Are You Mom Enough?" This title and extreme picture of a mother nursing her 4 year old on the cover of Time magazine would be the cause of much heated argument between nursing moms and formula feeding moms, AP moms and CIO moms, and just all different groups of moms in the United States. Rather than opening people's eyes to what AP means, it only confirmed the belief in minds of close-minded individuals that all attachment parents are insane. On one facebook post, I remember reading the following response in regard to attachment parenting: "The next generation of over-babied brats."
You know what I think? Oh goodness, you're thinking...here it comes...out of the mouth of the oddball. On both sides, there are extremists. There are the parents who say, "My son had lots of health issues and I just let him cry it out. 45 minutes of screaming, then he fell asleep, and he never cried again." *cough* Bullshit *cough* Then there's the parent who says, "I use AP, wear my child everywhere, did baby led weaning, cloth diapered, nursed til he/she was 2, co-slept, never go on dates with my husband, give my child everything he/she needs and don't feel that my husband and I are missing any intimacy even though we never talk and mostly just fight." *rolling my eyes* Can you see how each side is a bit intense...and a tad bit silly?
Let's look at the real definition of attachment parenting according to Dr. Sears:
Attachment parenting is a style of caring for your infant that brings out the best in the baby and the best in the parents. Attachment parenting implies first opening your mind and heart to the individual needs of your baby, and eventually you will develop the wisdom on how to make on-the-spot decisions on what works best for both you and your baby. (http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/attachment-parenting)
If you really take the time to read the above definition, attachment parenting is about nurturing your child, attending to needs early on, and getting to know your child so that you can do what works best for him or her with on the spot decision making. Some babies fuss to fall asleep as a way to blow off steam at the end of the day, others are highly sensitive and if left to fuss will cry and scream until he or she is hyperventilating. Instead of listening to the unsolicited advice that you inevitably will get from everyone, listen to your heart, because you as a parent knows best. Do you need to pick one side over the other? NO! You don't need to follow every tenet of one philosophy or the other. You can be a middle-of-the-road parent like me who truly makes decision based on knowing your child. And guess what...you'll have a happy, blessed family.