The sexist origins of attachment parenting

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There has been considerable debate about whether attachment parenting is anti-feminist, placing as it does a tremendous burden on mothers to have an unmedicated childbirth, breastfeed exclusively for a year or years, carry a baby constantly, and let the baby sleep in the marital bed. So where did attachment parenting come from?

Bill and Martha Sears are widely credited as the originators of attachment parenting. They are generally reticent about its sexist, religious origins. They and others have promoted the idea that attachment parenting is the way children were raised in prehistoric times and that attachment parenting is supported by science. Neither claim is true.

The Sears deeply believe that attachment parenting is God’s plan for child rearing. As Martha Sears explains in her 1997 book, The Complete Book of Christian Parenting and Childcare:

“We have a deep personal conviction that this is the way God wants His children parented.”

The type of parenting we believe is God’s design for the father-mother-child relationship is a style we call “attachment parenting.” Our intent in recommending this style of parenting to you is so strong that we have spent more hours in prayerful thought on this topic than on any other topic in this book… We have a deep personal conviction that this is the way God wants His children parented.

What else does God purportedly expect from parents?

From husbands:

God has given the husband the prime responsibility for making the marriage relationship work, which is as it should be since he has been made the head…

From wives:

“Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything… and the wife must respect her husband.” The Greek word translated “submit” is derived from the same word meaning “to yield” in the sense of yielding to another’s authority…

What is attachment according to the Sears’?

Mother-infant attachment is a special bond of closeness between mother and baby. Mother’s care enables the young of each species to thrive and, for human babies, to reach their fullest potential. Babies come equipped with behaviors that help mothers deliver the right kind of care. God has placed within mothers both the chemistry and the sensitivity to respond to their babies appropriately. This maternal equipping is what is meant by the phrase “mother’s intuition.” It helps her get attached to her baby.

Elsewhere the Sears’ refer to the “science” behind attachment parenting, but the reality is that attachment parenting reflects the Sears’ fundamentalist Christian beliefs that traditional gender roles are part of God’s plan.

The similarity with the origins of both natural childbirth and lactivism is striking. In all cases, these represents the beliefs of traditionalists on the appropriate role of women in a modern society. Grantly Dick-Read believed that a woman’s natural role is as a mother; the women who started La Leche League believed that promoting breastfeeding was a way to keep mothers of small children out of the workforce and tied to the home; the Sears’ believe in hierarchical marriage and traditional gender roles as mandated by God.

Attachment parenting serves an important role in this cosmology. By tying women to the home and (literally through baby-wearing) to their children, attachment parenting emphasizes the subservient role of women, bars them from financial independence, and restricts them to their reproductive functions.

Attachment parenting has no basis in science and never did. It reflects a fundamentalist world view on the appropriate role of women, and as such, is deeply anti-feminist and retrograde. It’s religion smuggled into the mainstream in the guise of “science” and it has been remarkably sucessful at hiding its sexist, religious roots.

  • Francesca Violi

    Great point, Dr. Amy: “it has been remarkably sucessful at hiding its sexist, religious roots”: indeed! And it is really paradoxical that (at least in my country) A.P. seems to be most popular among people who consider themselves progressive,”alternative” and open minded – the opposite of conservative retrograde bigots. And women who embrace this AP thing love this whole mother-goddess stuff, and even find it empowering…

  • daisy

    I put my newborn in her crib in her own room as soon as we got home from the hospital. Never co-slept, had a C-Section (by choice!), formula fed, went on a date night 8 days after I gave birth and every 2 weeks after that, kid was in daycare at 10 weeks when I returned to work, Ferberized at 5 months.

    Now at age six, I still can’t get her to leave me the ^@%$ alone. She is literally attached to me either by wanting to hold my hand or my leg or sit on my lap. I don’t think these “experts” know what the heck they are talking about.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    Relevant story from the Onion

    http://www.theonion.com/r/50322

  • tariqata

    I agree with the posters who say it’s about finding the right balance, and recognizing that parenting strategies can and should evolve as the child grows. There are a lot of practices associated with AP that I like and that work well for my family right now, including baby wearing and breastfeeding, and I don’t feel that I’m undermining myself as a feminist by embracing them as long as they’re working for us. Incidentally, a lot of the practices I like are also things my mom did too, and I was born well before the Sears’ books came out – and I definitely learned to be a proud feminist from her.

    Scientific or not, I enjoyed that first hour of snuggling with my baby (with my husband right there with us) after giving birth, and I wanted to avoid pain medication during labour if possible because I was weirded out by the idea of not feeling something so dramatic and life changing. (I was fully prepared to ask for meds if I decided I couldn’t cope, however, and I was realistic about the fact that labour was going to hurt.) I breastfeed on demand and especially in these early months, I’m happy to do it (but I recognize that this choice is possible to a large extent because we are able to take advantage of Canadas full year of maternity/parental leave, and that choice isn’t available to everyone even here). Right now, we don’t let him cry it out – although realistically, of course he cries sometimes and as new parents, sometimes it takes us a while to figure out what’s wrong and how to deal with it. We did not co-sleep except occasionally in the first couple of weeks when the baby was feeding constantly at night and it was the only way for me to get some sleep, and we stopped room sharing after the first couple of months because, again, it was the only way for both me and the baby to get a reasonable amount of sleep. We also don’t keep our son in a wrap continuously because that’s absurd – he needs time to play and explore things after all, and it’s not always practical to have him attached to me or to my husband, and although he naps really well when being carried, it will not always be possible. We are working on getting my son to take bottles of pumped milk so that my husband and the grandparents can look after him without me there. It helps that we both think that it’s vital for my husband to be as fully involved as I am in caring for our son, and I don’t think it is at all impossible for him to develop secure attachment to both of us.

    I’m reasonably confident that we will manage to raise a happy, loving kid with healthy boundaries and the ability to take care of himself with our approach; I’m equally confident that friends who choose other approaches will do the same.I learned about the idea of “good enough” parenting as well as attachmeant theory when studying developmental psych long before we contemplated becoming parents or hearing about the AP approach though, and I’m glad that I did. That concept has helped me evaluate different parenting strategies and pick what works for us without being terrified that we are making the wrong choices, and it’s a useful reminder whenever I start to feel judgy about how someone else is raising their kid.

  • manabanana

    I felt positively smothered by AP. But I did it. Because that is what the midwifery community told me to do. This was the *BEST THING* and midwives are all about empowering women, right?

    I kept checking out books on AP hoping they would give advice on how to detach. I assumed that attachment parenting was intensive at first with a newborn, but then over time the infant’s intensive needs gradually decreased, and that I could wean myself from my child. Right? I found no such advice in any attachment parenting book. I also found no help from my midwife friends and colleagues who assured me that I was “doing the most important work of my life.”

    I knew AP parents who were still sleeping with their toddlers, school-aged children and yes, even bragging about their teenagers sleeping in bed with them. NO THANKYOU. I became frightened that I was signing up to be attached to my child for a dozen years or more. And, dare I say it, I hated being cooped up alone with my baby day after day after day. As an “empowered” AP mother, I wasn’t supposed to say this. My whole social network was gone, and I had taken a leave from work, and I couldn’t extract myself from my child. It was miserable.

    It was my husband who realized that I needed more than to feed and care for a newborn 24.7. It was my husband who encouraged me to seek out other activities that did not revolve around or include my baby. My – again, well meaning midwifery – friends discouraged me from doing anything but wearing, feeding, indulging my baby. I had to stop listening to them. I had to do something that wasn’t mothering. Even 2 hours of non-parenting activity was a craved and welcome respite.

    I couldn’t even put the word “oppresive” to what I was doing. Because the chorus of ‘supportive’ voices was telling me I was doing all the right things. They didn’t care that I was miserable. They wanted me to fulfill their agenda.

    To this day, I’m most proud that I am not suffering like many of my AP practicing friends are – with children who do not understand boundaries, who MUST sleep with their parents at night, who feel they are the center of their parents’ universe and who pretty much control the dynamic in the household – because no one knows how to detach from attachment parenting. We figured it out. I’m so grateful we did.

    • Roadstergal

      “My whole social network was gone”
      Ugh. I hate to use the “C” word…
      So sorry, and good on your husband for being the support you needed.

    • Toni35

      I think it’s all about finding that balance that works for you, your child, and your situation. When I was pregnant with my first I sneered at most of the AP stuff. Then she was born. And she was a super needy baby – horrible sleeper, wanted to be held constantly, refused a pack from day one (literally), wouldn’t take a bottle (we tried several times in the first few weeks), just plain clingy. So I held her and wore her a lot, I coslept, I nursed her all the friggin time. At one point I expressed concern to my mother that I might be “spoiling” her with all of this, and how on earth would she ever sleep on her own or drink from a cup etc? My mom shared her philosophy – for the first year the baby is the boss, you do what the baby needs you to do; after that it’s time to start setting the boundaries and showing child that YOU are, in fact, the boss.

      So I rolled with it. At 9 months, when she was good with a sippy cup and well established on solids, I stopped nursing her in public. Around that time she was getting too big for carrying her around (either in arms or in a carrier) so I would put her in the stroller, and she did come to accept it. At 15 months I night weaned her, and started the process towards independent sleeping. In many ways I was lucky – my first kid was my “trial by fire” (we almost didn’t have any more because she was so difficult). But, my three other kids proved much easier (maybe just by comparison, lol). I ended up liking some of the AP practices, and continue to employ them, but I’ve learned not to care about doing things the “right” way (according to some asshole who is mysteriously absent at 3 am) and to just do what feels right to me. To me, AP can be useful in that demanding first year (give or take), but after that, you need to “de”tatch (not liking that word, but can’t think of anything better) for your sanity, and for the child’s sake.

    • Tiffany Aching

      Sleeping in the same bed with your teenager kid is borderline abuse. Bragging about is CLEARLY abuse.

      • Mishimoo

        Thank you!! It’s one of those things that felt off at the time, but was so weird that I generally don’t mention it because I didn’t want to be told that it was just because my (abusive) mother loved me.

        • Tiffany Aching

          The mere fact that you felt that something was off but didn’t feel entitled to say something about it is in itself a signe of abuse. It is very difficult to admit that you had an emotionally abusive childhood (believe me, I know), and many people tend to downplay what you tell them about it. Your are completely entitled to your feelings, though, and you should trust yourself when you feel that something wasn’t quite right.

      • RMY

        The only person who I knew who slept in his parents bed as a teenager was a huge man child as an adult and had bad boundaries with his parents. I worked in the same plan add him for a few years. Thinking of him still creeps me out. He had something about him that made me feel like I should never leave a drink unguarded around him.

        • Tiffany Aching

          Obviously situations like “we have to sleep in the same bed because it’s more practical” (on vacations, when invited with family) don’t count, but when it is done on a regular basis, and when the reason for it is “because we love it !” and not “because there’s only one bed”, it is really creepy, in my opinion. Of course it is a cultural norm, and not a universal truth, but the fact that a norm is cultural doesn’t cancel the fact that it is a norm, and that it is considered transgressive not to abide to it. I always cringe when I read on attachement parenting blogs things like “I know that (breastfeeding till 4 / sleeping with kids past the toddler age / whatever is trendy right now) is frown upon, but hey, it’s only a cultural norm, so fuck it !”. Well, you children will probably live in the culture whose norms you choose to transgress, and it is foolish to think there won’t be any consequences. I mean if transgressing the cultural norm is having biracial or same-sex parents, I understand why you would choose to do it, and I would politically fight for the cultural norm to shift, but for trivial matters like bedding arrangements, it seems like valuing your own satisfaction over the child’s best interests.

  • RMY

    My biggest beef about attachment parenting is that it didn’t say it, but it’s engineered in such a way that it pretty much had to always be the gestational mother who basically can’t do anything but childcare, and her partner, the other parent, basically is in a situation where they can’t solo parent the kid until the child is older (unless the gestational mother can lactate enough to build up a supply and even then it sounds like not being available 24/7 for the baby is a no no). It creates an uneven parenting balance, and while that occurs to some extent, with attachment parenting it seems like it’s going back to the 1950ss, where mom is at home and does all the parenting and dad is basically a walking wallet who at best can babysit in dire situations.

    • yentavegan

      in my wee little voice I will disclose that I was an AP parent. And although my husband was the “wallet” so to speak, I eagerly showered him with affection to keep the balance of power in my favor. I raised our children to greet our conquering hero with joy and gratitude. I will own up to the retro fashion our family structure functioned in. AP mothers who denigrate and sneer at their husbands/children’s fathers and ignore his need for love and attention and respect and his need for private time end up in disfunctional relationships. You can’t claim to be a feminist and an AP parent.

      • AirPlant

        I am going to go ahead and assume that I read your last sentence wrong, because I am a card carrying crush the patriarchy feminist, and I love my husband more than I thought it was possible to love anybody, and I shower him with all the affection because that is a byproduct of loving him. When he comes home I literally run to the door with full body hugs and kisses. I sing him happy love songs every day. I am making him a tribute quilt because it is funny as hell. He shows his love in different ways, like doing the dishes and rubbing my feet when I make poor shoe choices. We are in breathtaking, all encompassing love with one another.
        Loving my husband and feminism are not mutually exclusive. My opinions on pay equality and reproductive rights do not have any connection to how much I love my husband. It is an offensive stereotype to say that feminists are man haters incapable of loving a man through their ideology.

        • Fallow

          I don’t think she was saying that married heterosexual women feminists don’t love their husbands. I think she was saying that AP parenting created an economy of affection and power in her household that was anti-feminist.

          • yentavegan

            thank you for clarifying my statement. Of course feminists love their husbands! But the whole AP approach is division of labor and division of economic power.

  • I have a question. There are studies saying that when mothers (or caregivers) were responding quickly and warmly, the babies turned into much calmer, happier adults. But when the mothers were depressed and showed a blank, emotionless face to their infants, the babies grew distressed. Is the study wrong? I mean attachment theory doesn’t require the mother to do everything but from what I understood it still says that babies are very needy and do require constant tending to. It doesn’t have to be the mother but the need to be cared for is there and the babies grow distressed if it doesn’t happen. Is that true?

    • Inmara

      Responding quickly and warmly =/= wearing baby nonstop and bedsharing. Some babies are more in need of physical contact and indeed benefit from babywearing (especially in the first months and if they are colicky) but at some point they need more and more time to explore the world without being attached to a caregiver physically. And it seems you are referring to study which measured cortisol levels in babies when they engaged with caregiver and it found increased cortisol if mother was unresponsive. I can’t find the link right away but I read it somewhere on Science of Mom in context of infant sleep and self-soothing.

      • thank you, Inmara for your quick answer. Yes I think that was the study I was referring to. The problem I see is that the study was done from the children’s point of view. For example the mother could have been unresponsive because she was depressed but the study made it look like her fault.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      I do wonder a bit about the causality here. If a woman is prone to depression and in particular post-partum depression, she might be more inclined to show a “blank” face to the baby than if she were not. And the baby might have inherited genes that would increase its risk of depression as well as (or even instead of) having environmental risks.

    • yugaya

      Mimicking is a prime tool of learning and development. Think of language – if a child is exposed to childspeak only their language development will be hindered. I don’t know if there are any studies out there but they would show similar results. That mimicking goes for emotional development too, and when exposed to blank-faced mother it is no wonder that babies responded negatively. I doubt this study you are talking about measured long term effects in adulthood, it was probably short term experimental one and someone made long term woo conclusions on top of it.

      • Actually child-speak could be beneficial for kids (mothers all over the world use the same way of talking to kids, sing-song voice, a higher pitch and a very overdone pronunciation (I’m raising my children to speak three languages and so read a lot about language development). Apparently that helps babies learn their language. It’s possible that this was a short term study and someone added their conclusions. the study simply worried me so much because I didn’t like breastfeeding, baby wearing or the idea of co-sleeping (and never tried the third option) and basically wanted to be left alone at first. And so I had this fear that I wasn’t attached enough.. and AP was telling me if I wasn’t waiting hand and foot on my kids they wouldn’t be properly attached.

        • yugaya

          “Actually child-speak could be beneficial for kids”

          No it could not. First of all you will screw up the phonological acquisition of sounds of mother tongue (0-6 months), then you will limit their options and ability to accumulate grammar patterns and so on. And sing-song voice and fabricated pitch will only result in long term negative impact on their ability to learn how to recognise, identify and produce stress and accents.

          • That’s what I read but didn’t use it much because I found it boring and I hated talking like that, it made me feel stupid. And what I think is more important is that the kids are exposed to different ways of pronouncing words. And by motherese I didn’t mean using nonsense cute words (baby talk) but using normal words just in a slightly more exaggerated manner. And apparently talking to the babies as if they understand everything helps as well. Others say it’s important to talk to your baby normally. In the end, I am not sure sure how much these things matter..the important thing is to talk (apparently it’s better to talk to the baby rather than at the baby). There are so many studies on this and I used to read them all and then decided I was making myself crazy and stopped. It all depends on the family situation, and the kids individual characteristics. Maybe motherese works better for some babies than for others. My first had a language delay, my second started talking at 10 months, my third speaks quite well. I’ve used mostly normal language with them (although maybe I spoke slower and pronounced the word more precisely). And they do speak all three languages. Just like with Attachment parenting you can try all the things and see how they work out, and then keep what does and discard what doesn’t. You can also do everything right and still get kids with problems. In the end, I’ve stopped reading about these things because it was just too much conflicting advice.

          • yugaya

            I teach mostly bilingual kids English as foreign language, and I am also raising kids who will be when they are out of their teens C1 proficient in two more languages on top of their mother tongues, and honestly what is out there on the internet on bilingualism and multilingualism and language learning in general is probably worse than all the attachment parenting crap and birth woo combined. Best way to initiate a response of heavy swearing in multiple languages is to share with me articles on raising bilinguals tips or benefits of it. 🙂

          • Hahaha! I am multilingual myself (English is my third language). I used to blog a lot about bilingualism but now decided I am so over it. Because seriously, can we just relax about it? I’m doing it because it’s how I was raised- with Polish and German and later learned English, Dutch and French. My parents didn’t care about the benefits they just thought since I already speak another language (we lived in Germany when I was a child), I should keep it so they spoke to me German every Sunday. According to all articles out there, I should never have grown up to speak German, but I do. So. I used to blog a lot about multilingualism but I am so over it now.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Toll! Ich kann keine Deutsche selbst weil ich bin Amerikanerin und Amerikanern konnen keine Fremdsprache.

          • Inmara

            From what I have read, babies need to be exposed to BOTH child-speak and normal speak. In the first months it can be beneficial to pronounce separate sounds distinctively so baby gets a clue that sound is connected to particular expression. But it’s very important to speak with infants and toddlers in real-speak and to let them hear and learn as many words as possible.

          • yugaya

            ” In the first months it can be beneficial to pronounce separate sounds distinctively so baby gets a clue that sound is connected to particular expression.”

            No, that’s complete woo. Human babies come equipped with built in mechanism that enables the most efficient sound discrimination that they go through at that stage of language development. No need to “help” that process.

          • Daleth

            Again, it’s certainly helpful for adults learning foreign languages, and I’m not seeing what your opinion that it’s harmful to babies’ learning is based on.

          • yugaya

            The mechanism of learning sounds of a foreign language at a later age and of acquisition of mother tongue sounds between 0 and six months is not the same. All babies are born capable of pronouncing all sounds of all languages. During those first six months they will learn to recognize and take in the sounds of their mother tongue. Or tongues if they are bilingual. There is absolutely no need for any help with this process other than baby hearing the normal, adult pronunciation in order to complete this phonological acquisition phase.

            Exposure to distorted babblespeak can only mess with the process in which the baby is on its own designed to identify the actual phonemic inventory of their native language.

          • Amy M

            Yeah, I remember doing both. I would do the squeaky voice to elicit smiles, but often, I was just offering a running commentary on whatever was going on. I decided not to deliberately dumb things down for them, because if they didn’t understand, it was usually clear. And now that they are older, they’ll just ask if they don’t knmow what something means. We only speak one language, but my children do have an excellent vocabulary.

          • Linden

            I’m very dubious that you can do much damage to a child’s language development, just with speaking in a sing-song voice, or anything else. I learnt English at age 7, and the only giveaway that I’m not a native speaker is my Vs occasionally come out as Ws. There is a massive window for children to develop language and speech.
            I thought I’d never be one of those sing-song-speaking mothers, I would speak to the baby as I would an adult. Yeah, that lasted about 10 seconds after I saw him and his ITTY BITTY TOESIES OMG SQUEE!
            🙂

          • yugaya

            “I’m very dubious that you can do much damage to a child’s language development, just with speaking in a sing-song voice, or anything else.” Just by doing it as a part of normal interaction with your baby no – which is why I said it would be negative if that was the only language child was exposed to. In that case there would be definite damage to language acquisition as a result.

          • Daleth

            No it could not. First of all you will screw up the phonological acquisition of sounds of mother tongue

            What are you basing that on?

            As a multilingual person who has studied a dozen foreign languages and also has taught both English as a foreign language and French as a foreign language, I don’t see how exaggerating the sounds and the contrasts between sounds of the mother tongue would have a detrimental impact on babies’ learning. If anything it would probably help–it is certainly easier to learn a foreign language when your initial lessons involve people speaking much more clearly (and slowly) with much more precise pronunciation than native speakers use in everyday life. Even Pimsleur and Berlitz lessons start out that way, and in my experience they are the best methods for foreign language acquisition (disclaimer: I used to teach at Berlitz, and later also studied Japanese there).

          • tariqata

            It’s been a while since I studied this issue, but my recollection is that there is a considerable body of evidence that suggests that infant-directed speech is widely used across cultures and languages, and there are relatively recent studies that suggest that exaggerating phonemes and pitch can help infants distinguish sounds and recognize words. (Here’s a link to one example: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2921436/). A large review of studies of IDS carried out between 1966 and 2011 also found that both the speech patterns and word use patterns are beneficial for language acquisition (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0078103).

            Can you post some references for why infant directed speech is problematic?

          • yugaya

            Sure. A good breakdown of how if any the benefits of IDS are moderate and best to be utilized at age when sound discrimination that begins in the womb is already completed:
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3188599/

            Cited in it is the paper about the link between maternal speech clarity and infant speech discrimination:http://ilabs.washington.edu/kuhl/pdf/Liu_Kuhl_2003.pdf which is especially interesting because the tested language was tonal. You will understand how someone who comes from a language where acquisition of vowel harmony (and preceding it as accurate and as unmessed with sound discrimination phase) is the most important factor that enables acquisition of all grammar: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:4wVqfzfGbTcJ:www.ibrarian.net/navon/paper/Hungarian_Language_Acquisition_as_an_Exemplificat.pdf%3Fpaperid%3D17835876+&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=hu

    • demodocus

      There’s a difference between AP, the usual variety of levels, and detached. Our dad was battling cancer when my sister was born and I was a toddler; I bet there were a lot of negative expressions on our parents’ faces but does this mean my sister and I cannot function as adults, that we never felt attached to our parents or cannot bond with our sons?

    • Tiffany Aching

      I think the studies you refer to dealt with babes raised in orphanages where they were basically just fed and kept clean, in the ex-USSR at the beginning of the 90’s, when the transition to the market economy took an extremely important toll on the social system. It is, for obvious reasons, impossible to design a study to compare attachement parenting to affective neglect. Anyway this is clearly not what we are talking about here, there are thousands and thousands of kilometers between complete affective neglect and becoming a complete slave to your baby.

    • LovleAnjel

      The studies I know of weren’t about them being adults, it was just an infant’s reaction to a caregiver either showing affection or showing them a blank face. But that’s not really surprising, if you happily greeted someone and they just give you a death stare in response, you’d be upset too.

  • Sue

    I wonder why they think God has only chosen this style of parenting for post-modernist developed countries?

    Doesn’t their God care about the parenting style of the rest of the world, where daily existence demands less intense child care, or for all the generations of people who came before us?

    IN my parents’ time and culture, mothers had lots of children and lots of manual labor, so toddlers were looked after by older kids, and not carried after they were able to walk.

    • True, but apparently before humans settled down, they had fewer babies (4 years apart) and carried their babies in their arms and later in a sling. However, the mother wasn’t the only person responsible for carrying and feeding the baby: other moms (especially if they were family) carried the baby and often nursed it.In fact, the moms didn’t carry the baby as much. Also, apart from the breast, the babies got fed other substances by other family members other than the mom. The differences between doing that and today’s attachment parent is that mothers didn’t spend so much time with their kids (they had to forage and stuff, they had work to do), and yes, while they carried the babies, they didn’t play with or talked to them. Kids were considered a burden until they could actually help- until maybe 4 years old (the so called age of reason). And they were never given choices, they were simply told what to do and did it. Later, when humans settled down, they needed more hands to help to tend to the crops and so had more children- 2 years apart and that’s when siblings started taking care of their little brothers and sisters. That’s why babies are swaddled, because then they can’t move and it keeps them quiet and out of danger making it easier for siblings to care for them while the mother was away working. This is from the book “Anthropology of childhood” by David Lancy.A

      • Wren

        Do we know this, or are we assuming it from more modern cultures that live a similar liefstyle? It seems difficult to glean most of that information from fossils, etc.

        • Daleth

          Yeah, I don’t see how we could possibly know that. And it seems highly unlikely to me that a mom carrying her baby around while she worked would not talk to them!

      • Tiffany Aching

        What you say cannot possibly be inferred from anything through sound historical methodology. From what I gather David Lancy teaches anthropology, I hope he doesn’t assume he can stretch his anthropological conclusions to paleolithic times.

  • CharlotteB

    So much of AP is based on our supposed instincts–do humans really have instincts?

    Plus, in animals, instincts don’t work perfectly–mothers eat or abandon their offspring. So sometimes, instincts are either absent or completely wrong.

    I wish I could remember exactly where I found it, but I read something that basically made the point that if you want your kid to have healthy boundaries, you need to model and enforce them. That made a really strong impression on me.

    • crazy grad mama

      Humans have evolutionarily adaptive behaviors, but they aren’t necessarily beneficial in our current environment. For instance, we like to eat fats and sugars because they are good sources of energy—great when you’re a caveperson with an irregular food supply, not so great when there’s a McDonald’s on every corner.

      The “instincts” in AP philosophy seem to just be naturalistic hooey, though,

    • crazy grad mama

      And following that train of thought a little farther… It doesn’t make sense, from an evolutionary standpoint, to invest all of one’s time and resources in being a perfect parent to one or two offspring. Especially considering the child mortality rates for most of human history. If anything, human parenting instincts ought to favor being just good enough.

      (This is an incredibly simplistic argument, of course, as individual human preferences are enormously variable.)

      • in the past hunter and gatherer humans had babies further apart (trough tabus about sex while breastfeeding etc and infanticide) – but they carried the baby, breastfed on demand, etc. Because for these societies, it made more sense to have fewer babies (they’re energetically very costly and besides, the mom was considered an important contributing member of society so noone wanted her to die in childbirth).. but if they did decide to have babies, these babies were intensily cared for- or that’s how the theory goes. Later, when human settled down and needed more hands to help, they had more kids. It’s always a balancing act between the need to multiply, culture, the economical situation etc.

        • crazy grad mama

          Do we have any actual information on the family sizes of pre-agricultural humans, or is this theory extrapolating from modern non-industrial cultures?

          Reproduction is all species is a balance between quantity and energy invested, but I think this theory is ascribing too much intent to the differences between populations. For most of human history, people didn’t “decide” to have babies—babies came when they came. Pre-agricultural mothers breastfed because that was the only way they had to feed their infant, not because they were making a deliberate choice about how to invest their energy.

          • it is extrapolating, I’ll admit that and yes it is hard to draw conclusions from current societies and assume that pre-agricultural societies were similar. The information I mentioned here is in a book called “Anthropology of childhood”. I think it wasn’t a conscious decision. Babies did come when they came but the decision whether to leave the baby or raise it was a conscious decision as well. That of course could all be wrong although I found it fascinating.

          • crazy grad mama

            Cool, I looked up a few reviews on that book and it sounds like something I’d enjoy reading. Conscious and culture-based decisions aren’t instinct, though.

    • Who?

      Around here, ‘instinctive’ or the appalling ‘instinctual’ are the reasons for everything. ‘It’s instinctive’ seems to have replaced, for now anyway, the judgmental and often frankly vicious ‘common sense’ test that the lazy and mean spirited use when people keep asking them pesky questions they’d rather not answer.

      • CharlotteB

        Putting on my nerd hat: In the middle ages, the ‘Common sense’ was the sum total of the input of the 5 senses. You put together your perceptions and they form one Common, or 6th, sense.

        For whatever reason, the idea of the 6th sense has become conflated with woo-woo ideas about intuition. You see comments about how a Mom “felt” that baby was fine despite evidence to the contrary–seeing a bad CFM reading, hearing a slowed heartbeat, etc. Our 6th sense should be our ability to process input into a rational conclusion, NOT ignore the evidence that we perceive through our senses.

        In order to have an accurate 6th sense (intuition), you need the evidence that you take in from your senses.

        • Who?

          I didn’t know that, but it’s an interesting etymology (sp?).

          If it still meant that, it would be a lot less irritating!

        • Amazed

          Gavin Michael came to mind. In her quest for something that would let her keep his mom in her “care”, Christy Collins wrote, “Mom feels that everything is OK.” Mom feels this… on the basis of her midwife falsely assuring her that it was no big deal.

    • Yes, humans have instincts as well (like the instinct to freeze, fight or flight). You take your hand away when you hurt yourself before you realize you burned yourself. That’s instinct. Animals like goats or duck imprint on their mothers (meaning to them, a mother is the first thing they see in a certain window of time) although animals were also known to adopt other animals. However, when it comes to parenting, the matters are more complex. 1) in many apes, caring for a baby is learned behavior: when a baby is born, young female monkeys want to carry it to practice. Apparently, there was a story of a gorilla in a zoo who wasn’t able to feed her baby until she saw human women breastfeeding.And when a baby is born, every mother makes a choice: she looks at the baby and ask herself: can I keep it? In the past (and still in some societies), babies who were sickly, cried a lot, were disabled, or there was anything else “wrong” with the baby, the baby was left in the woods to die (it’s estimated that infanticide was common in 80-90% of human societies). And a mother was more likely to keep a baby (which is super needy and very energetically costly) when she had help from her relatives, especially her mother.Parenting instinct is learned and some women don’t have it and some men have it. Besides, a study said that the higher the mom’s IQ, the lower the maternal urge.

      • CharlotteB

        That’s really interesting. I one case, I can see where I’ve had an instinctive feeling toward my baby, but it had nothing to do with CIO or co-sleeping or heck, even feeding. The fire alarm went off in our building–there’s never been a fire, but there have been broken pipes–anyway, alarms goes off, I grab baby and sling (didn’t even put him in it!) and ran out the door and down the stairs, leaving my husband to wrangle the dog. My husband didn’t even realize I’d left–yeah, I’d say in that case instinct took over.

        When he wakes up in the middle of the night, though? Not so much. My first thought is “oh, maybe he’ll go back to sleep.”

        • Yeah, my first instinct when they wake up is OK keep on sleeping! Often it’s my husband who wakes up because I don’t hear the cries 😀 Some people say oh my instincts are always right but I think they simply ignore the times the instinct was wrong.. I once had it when my daughter was crying and I simply knew she was too hot but that was learned and a conscious process not instinct. I often think animals also have imperfect instincts: for example one gazelle may start running when she hears a sound because she thinks it’s a lion even though it’s not. And another may stay in place curious what will happen.. and gets eaten by a lion.:D The same way parenting can go both way: either you can become too attached and enmeshed or you can become aloof and distant. And as some article said, parenting books can help you not become too fanatical in your parenting- you should read books “from the other side” to balance you out.

        • yentavegan

          I can admit that although I adored my very 1st newborn and I responded with warmth and devotion I did not immediately love her. I did not fall in love with her until she looked me in the eyes and smiled. For every baby after that I was heads overheels in love immediately. I think my ‘LOVE” responce needed to be primed.

      • Wren

        Is removing your hand from a hot stove or whatever actually instinct? I thought it was basically a reflex.

      • AirPlant

        I read on the internet once (so it must be true and totes not the naturalistic fallacy) that PPD was triggered in part by suboptimal conditions for the mother and baby and was intended to make it easier for the mother to abandon the baby when things went south. I have been back and forth about whether or not there is some truth or if it is six types of bullshit made up by people who have never been there to explain why human bodies are not perfect.
        Sometimes I feel like it would totally make sense that we would have something to allow us to more easily opt out of raising a baby that we don’t have resources to support and since evolution is messy you get this broad brush syndrome that effects some women more than others and serves no productive purpose in the modern world, but then I think about all the other random chance bad luck things that can happen and think that people just can’t wrap their head around women possessing negative emotions, particularly when babies are involved so we come up with random bullshit to make ourselves feel better.

      • Eater of Worlds
  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    OT: I don’t know how many of you saw my comment yesterday in a necromancer thread about how I was having a tooth pulled today. Well, I did have a tooth pulled, and I can report that they never offered me the option to do it without pain mefication. If I had wanted to go without pain relief, I would have had to request it. Pain relief is the default.

    Of course, not only did I not want to forego pain relief, I stopped them and insisted on more, because I was feeling some pain at the start. Knowing the pain would get worse, I said hit me again.

    So now I am the proud owner of a bouncing, very unhealthy baby tooth (actually, not really, I didn’t get it). Dad is doing alright, although that could be due to the pain pill.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Tsk. Clearly you were bullied by your dentist into getting pain medication. I can tell because you demanded more. That could only be because you lost faith in your body’s ability to have a tooth removed naturally, that is, with a string tied around it and the other end tied to a door which is then slammed shut. By a dolphin. Like nature intended.

      Sorry, I think my satire got away from me a little at the end. Glad you’re doing okay and that the tooth is now out.

      • Bugsy

        I dunno…sounds like dental rape to me.

        (again satire)

        • Roadstergal

          I refused dental exams. They’re not going to put their gloved hands in my mouth.

    • Who?

      Yay for pain-free dentistry!

    • Megan

      Yes, but are you bonding with your new tooth given that you had pain relief?

    • Roadstergal

      Oh, that’s okay, sometimes that’s just how it goes. Not everyone can be a Brave Warrior Toother, after all. Not everyone has read the science on tooth extraction and is willing to put in the work to learn hyponotoothing and avoid unnecessary tootherventions.

    • Tumbling

      True story: back in the 1970s a friend’s father had the last of his teeth extracted (about 10) so that he could get dentures. The father was a hard man who didn’t believe in namby-pamby girly things like pain meds, and so he did indeed insist that the dentist do all the extractions without novocaine or gas or even an aspirin. Reportedly, the dentist was shaking like a leaf by the end.

      You can guess how much sympathy and support my friend had when she broke her arm or went into the hospital with pneumonia as a child. She’s all about pain control herself, given that family background!

  • J.B.

    To be fair, fundies have covered the spectrum of child rearing practices to scheduling a teeny tiny baby (Enzos) or child abuse, I mean “training” (Pearls). I would be less concerned about a baby’s health from attachment parenting.

    Mom, on the other hand…Sears’ blithe assurances about better sleep aside, I attended a la leche meeting once for help latching. The conversation was all about the constant squirming awakenings while cosleeping. Umm…duh? Also, there are other options.

    • Hilary

      A friend of mine at a LLL meeting complained about her son using her as a “human pacifier” all the time. Instead of giving any advice, the leader went off on a rant about how there’s nothing wrong with being a human pacifier and that is what breasts are for and why would you prefer your baby to be comforted by a cold, inanimate object.

      • J.B.

        Why yes, yes I would : ) Particularly when my youngest started biting and wouldn’t stop.

      • JJ

        It is inhumane to expect a woman to have to be a human pacifier. Plus I just comforted my 4 week old with a cold inanimate object. She is happy and I am happy. No martyring here!

      • CharlotteB

        Pacifier isn’t clold for long! Haha. And I would prefer my baby be comforted by an inanimate object if it means we both get some sleep!

        • Hilary

          Oh but if you loved your child you wouldn’t need sleep! Sarcasm aside, pacifiers are the best invention ever.

      • Inmara

        Once I skimmed through local lactivist site (unfortunately only available source of practical breastfeeding information in my language) and there was looong rant about pacifiers, translated from Russian; short of “you are dooming your baby with that evil thing”. As my baby is doomed anyway (combo fed from 3 weeks) we are using pacifier just fine and introduced it solely because I didn’t want to bedshare and nurse him to sleep because of safety. Now he clearly prefers pacifier at one point in soothing process because he seems to be annoyed that there is milk to be swallowed when sucking on my breast. Lactivists would deem that failure but for us it’s a win.

      • DelphiniumFalcon

        Because you don’t have to drop everything to comfort the kid.

        My sister learned to self pacify and just shove the pacifier in her mouth on her own. Since she kept losing them and was then unable to pacify herself (and she had fire siren screaming fits so pacifying her was in the interest of everyone) Mom eventually tied one end of an elastic cord to the binkie and then attached the other to a locking safety pin pinned to her shirt.

        Problem solved!

        She doesn’t seem to have any abdandoment or attachment issues and probably has some of the healthiest coping mechanisms in the family when it comes to stress.

        • Hilary

          My son has a Wubbanub – a soothie with a little stuffed animal attached. It makes it a lot easier for him to find in the crib and to carry around without dropping.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            Oh my gosh! It’s so simple but so completely genius! I’m tucking that one away for later.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Those things are amazing. My son has the dog one. Makes if easier for us to find it too when he has dropped it.

      • Monkey Professor for a Head

        Perhaps the husband should take a turn as the pacifier, men have nipples after all, what else would they be there for? /sarcasm

        I’d love to see the LLL leaders response to that 🙂

        As for my own personal experience, my son isn’t that keen on a pacifier when he’s hungry, likes it the rest of the time, but he really doesn’t like the breast when he’s not hungry. In fact trying to force him to feed if he doesn’t want to is a sure fire way to provoke a meltdown.

        • Megan

          I like this idea. Doubt hubby would, though. 🙂

    • The more I read about parenting around the world, the more I think that parenting practices are cultural and there is no one right way to raise kids.

  • Why couldn’t they just leave it at, “this is what worked for us and why”? Why does their chosen parenting style have to be elevated to the level of “this is what god wants everyone to do”? It is never enough to just have a choice – and to have that choice be supported by many others…rather, there is this need to make others wrong for choosing differently.

    • Yes! Well it’s because the Searses are Christians so whatever they do must be God’s will (doesn’t apply to all Christians but it does to them). I see this in pretty much all parenting books: either you do it our way or you’re doing it wrong.

  • moto_librarian

    Maybe we need to stop obsessing so much about the children and think about the needs of the parents as well. Aside from a couple of brief vacations and conference trips, I haven’t had a decent night of sleep in more than six years. My kids still aren’t good sleepers, and I have been allowing them to co-sleep out of desperation. And you know what? I finally realized last week that it is taking a huge toll on me. Because I have been so busy thinking about everyone but myself, I missed the early clues that I was heading into a depressive episode. I really haven’t felt good for a long time, but I kept writing it off on normal working parent stress. I have been so good at it, in fact, that I whitewashed everything when talking to my doctor in the past. If I had been being honest and aware, maybe I would have realized that the Zoloft that I had to switch to before TTC simply wasn’t as good as the Effexor that I had taken with great success for years. All that I can say now is that at least I’m finally dealing with it, weaning off of Zoloft and back onto Effexor. It’s been a week, and I am feeling better than I have in a very long time. We need to remember to take care of ourselves too. My children certainly deserve a mom who is well.

    • Megan

      Amen to that! Glad you are finally thinking of you too! It’s hard work being a parent and moms are people whose needs matter too.

    • DiomedesV

      Take care of yourself. You do matter. And secondary to that, my experience is that a tired mom is a snarky mom. I hate it when I’m snarky mom.

      • araikwao

        Oh me too!!

    • Yes! Let’s bring the parent back into parenting.

    • Medwife

      I’m glad you’re doing better! May the trend continue 🙂

  • Kathleen

    I don’t know about the benefits/drawbacks of AP but I just took what I liked (nursing – which was luckily very easy for me with both babies, some babywearing – because we didn’t want to buy a double stroller), some co-sleeping (because I wanted the sleep, once they were older and because when it works out well, it was delicious to snuggle with them) and ignored the rest. We didn’t WANT to do CIO, but ended up doing it with both kids because if they’d had their way they would have nursed all night long and that just wasn’t working. Our 3 year old was hardest for CIO and our 19 month old has yet to completely wean, but is edging that way. I’m cutting him off at 24 months because I selfishly want my boobs back LOL.
    There were parts that I really loved, parts I thought were important for my own reasons, and parts I did differently depending on the kid (way more time babywearing our second so I could be hands free to hold my 2 year old’s hand, etc.).
    I figured what I did was just called parenting – doing what works for you and your family to have healthy, happy family MEMBERS.

    • Kathleen

      I should also add that my kids are FIRMLY attached to me, despite our CIO and weaning before the age of 2, or whatever else we did wrong according to AP parents….so attached, in fact, that my husband continually complains that our oldest HATED him as a baby (which I think is only partly correct) and that while our second doesn’t HATE him, vastly prefers mommy. Probably TOO attached for some people (ie. members of my family)

    • Yes! That is exactly called parenting.

  • naturalbirthalmostkilledme

    AP has always seemed to me, mostly about the mom. I feel like the AP & breastfeeding crazies are struggling and trying SO hard for some sort of validation.
    I don’t even think AP parents see their babies as separate people who will one day be adults. They want to constantly keep them dependent, while children naturally want independence.
    “I breastfed for two years! I baby wore all day yesterday! I bed share even though my husband is unhappy with it! My three year old still doesn’t sleep through the night, I haven’t got a full nights rest since becoming a mom.” Before I had my two babies I read and studied many books, one stuck with me the most. It was a book about French parenting. One quote that stuck with me was “Even as an infant, begin to teach that every family member has to adapt and balance with the entire family’s wellbeing. Babies are smart, they aren’t ever helpless blobs.” They have another term for how most American’s raise their children as well “Child Kings.”
    At 3 months old I had fully transitioned my daughter to her crib from a co sleeper by our bed, to sleeping 8 hours a night. At the exact same time every night I’d put her down after a night routine that was always the same. Even if she fussed or cried a little while, I knew she was perfectly safe and enough sleep was benefitting her, and healthy for her own good. So yes, I guess I believe in crying it out because babies sometimes don’t know what’s best for their own health and happiness. THE HORROR.

    We got pregnant when she was 4 months old, and we have a second child almost a year apart to the day. When I go out with both of them one is in the stroller or shopping cart, and one is in the car seat. (If it’s a longer time sometimes baby wearing.) I regularly bust out a bottle for them.
    Yeah, I get a LOT of judgmental looks, and I dare not even say that I ever let my baby cry it out or “force them” to sleep and nap in a dark room. God forbid.

    When did people forget that babies are people too? Sleep is beneficial, they will one day NOT be in the same bed as their parents, why create a bad sleep habit or make it harder for your marital relationship? Babies will one day grow up. AP is creating a whole generation of whiny little brats who are co-dependant and unsure of themselves…
    As an adult I would be totally weirded out that my mom breastfed me past a certain age… and totally annoyed if she was validating her existence upon me.
    The French encourage independence, patience and solid schedules and sleep habits. They remember that adults need to also have ADULT lives that don’t involve being attached to their children 24/7 because one day their children will grow up!!! I find it so incredibly interesting that all these other cultures are all raising children to be adults, and Americans are parenting based upon guilt and martyrdom. I’m not saying the French have it 100% correct but I DO think that AP is to blame for a lot of the instant gratification, narcissistic culture.

    Sorry for the long rant.

    • Bugsy

      Completely agree. To add to your comment “When did people forget that babies are people too?” would be my question: when did people forget that moms are people too? My brief experience with AP led me to feel as though _I_ wasn’t important. It’s much more enjoyable this time around, now that I’ve learned to prioritize me as well. If mama isn’t happy, no one’s happy.

      • naturalbirthalmostkilledme

        I totally agree! To not EVER let my babies cry… and to wear them 24/7 and bed share would make me very miserable… and being miserable is no way to parent kids

      • Naturalbirthalmostkilledme

        Sometimes when I’m getting really overwhelmed with the two little ones my husband tells me, “Always remember in the event of a plane crash- to put on YOUR air mask first.” Moms cannot care for a family if not caring for themselves also. Thought you might relate to that 🙂

        • crazy grad mama

          The oxygen mask thing came up a lot in my PPD support group. It’s become my mantra for when the mom guilt gets really bad.

    • naturalbirthalmostkilledme

      I love my kids more than anything in the world. What’s best for me, &my husband is also what’s best for our kids because we are all a team. AP is not balanced in any way shape or form.

      • Bugsy

        Yep x100. 🙂

    • neuro mum

      Do you remember what the French parenting book was called? I’d be interested to read it.

      • Naturalbirthalmostkilledme

        Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman. Fantastic read, I’ve read it a few times & bought a hard copy 🙂

        • Bugsy

          I read it a few months ago – definitely a great read.

        • Bombshellrisa

          My dad got me that book! I loved it, we have used a lot of the things we read. There is also a condensed version called Bebe Day by Day, it has the core ideas without the personal parts included.

        • Gene

          I liked that book as well as French kids eat everything. My 6y old told me tonight that her favorite vegetable was broccoli. We then all proceeded to list our favorite veggies (mine is artichoke..does that count?). People always seem surprised that my kids will eat thing like bell peppers and asparagus. It’s fairly easy for us, though. Rare snacks so you are hungry for dinner and you eat what is served. I am not a short order cook. You never have to clean the plate, but if you want seconds, you must finish everything on your plate first. There are plenty of times that my kids will pout and refuse to eat something. That’s fine. They won’t starve. But substitution food (I hate eggplant parm, can I have PB&J?) doesn’t fly.

          • fiftyfifty1

            I have one kid who loves veggies. I thought I was doing something right….until the second kid came along.

          • Megan

            This is exactly what I’m sure will happen to me. My daughter loves fruits and veggies. I know I can’t get this lucky twice. Same worry with the good sleeping…

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            My younger son’s favorite meal is Beef and Broccoli from Panda Express

          • D/

            I had one easy-breezy kid who slept through the night *every* night from 4 weeks old on, loved veggies of all manner, and pretty much always played by the rules no matter what the rules happened to be. I was an insufferable parenting know-it-all … until the universe humbled me with the second kid and then sealed the deal with easy-breezy’s teenagerdom.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Teenagerdom. Yeah…So far, my contribution to the “give pregnant women advice they don’t need” game has been to assure women that this (the pregnancy) was, for me, the hardest part and that it actually gets easier from here. 3 am feedings? Not fun, but easier than being a human life support machine. Tantrums? Better than 3 am feedings. Plus you can “reason” with toddlers, if you get into their world view enough. But kiddo’s only 12 and I haven’t faced teenagerdom yet…

          • D/

            Truthfully, the hardest for me has been young adulthood. I’ve found it to be quite a challenge to manage my role in their I-must-learn-every-lesson-the-hard-way approach to everything that their mother has already learned (the hard way). In my worst moments, if I listen closely, I can hear my grandmother’s whispered “I hope you have many daughters, all just like you” curse 😉

          • Wren

            My first ate anything but bananas (there is an allergy in the family so I let that one go) and lamb until about 8, when he started weeding out foods. My second ate almost nothing in the way of solid food until nearly 2, and even then remained super picky. I did the same thing with both though. When the younger one decided she could eat chicken (not grilled though–the lines make it look dirty) it changed our lives. We could finally go out to eat. She’s still picky at 8, but we can usually work around it. Veggies she’s mostly great on, but no tomato sauce and pizza is right out even without the sauce. Kids’ menus can be a nightmare.

          • I didn’t realize I was actually raised to eat the French way- my father was raised in France and we always had to try new things and he spend a lot of time talking about the food like he was doing poetry. So now I am raising my kids the same way.

      • I loved Bringing Up Bebe! It was very interesting.. just don’t read it with “the French are doing it better” mindset more like a “this is how the French are raising their kids”…

    • StephanieA

      So true. We did CIO with our son as it was probably the best parenting decision we have made so far. I have a lot of mom guilt about silly things; especially food. I feel pressure to cook meals from scratch, when in reality that’s stressful (I do like to cook so if I didn’t have a kid that’s what I would be doing). I found a quote on a budget cooking site that’s stuck with me- ‘your toddler does not care if the mushrooms are canned or fresh, so save the gourmet cooking for when the kids are older.’ I’ve now started using more canned and frozen foods and I’m much less stressed about dinner.

    • it is about the mom because the father can’t breastfeed. And the Searses even suggest to loan money rather than go back to work (this applies to women only though)…I can’t believe I once wanted to parent like that.

    • DelphiniumFalcon

      I wonder what happened to being validated as a parent by raising a child to be a functional member of society? Isn’t that kind of the end goal?

    • Monkey Professor for a Head

      Thanks for the book recommendation, I’ve just read the whole thing in the last 2 days :). Quite a lot of it makes sense to me, and it’s nice to have the reassurance that not pandering to my Childs every whim isn’t going to hurt him.

    • Tiffany Aching

      The advice of the book you read seems to make perfect good sense, but don’t be fooled by the “french do it better” thing : we do have our fair share of whiny brats and narcissistic bragging moms too. What is true, though, is that people have a very low tolerance for other people’s kids, and that children are not welcome in many places. While I enjoy the fact that I can go to a nice restaurant without kids running between the tables, I also hear many of my friends with (perfectly nice and well-behaved) kids complain about the fact that it is very difficult to find family-friendly places in Paris (many of them were told that “we don’t have any tables” in half-empty restaurants when showing up with kids, while loud parties of drunken adults were seated). It really has its downsides.

      • Monkey Professor for a Head

        I think there’s no set formula where if you just do everything “right”, you will end up with “perfect” kids. You just have to do what works for all of you. But I did find the book a nice change from all the rather UScentric AP leaning parenting advice I seem to see on the Internet.

  • Mel

    Totally OT: I was in a minor car accident on Thursday and didn’t think much of it. Turns out that I got a concussion and am having issues with post-concussion syndrome. It really sucks, although it would suck more if I had any short-term memory to speak of and slept less than 16 hours a day.

    • FormerPhysicist

      So sorry. I wish you healing.

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

      OUch, hope you feel better soon.

    • Roadstergal

      Oh no… you’ve had the scan of the CAT and all? I hope you recover soon, that’s so much no-fun and a strange brain-space…

      • Mel

        Got a CAT scan the day after the accident when it was clear that my speech was badly slurred (turns out that was the cerebral palsy acting up again) and I was having problems putting sentences together. Brain looks fine.

        • Roadstergal

          Glad that’s clean… sorry you’re having to slog through this, though. 🙁

    • moto_librarian

      Heal fast!

    • Mishimoo

      Hope you’re better soon!!

    • Hoping for a good recovery – it is not infrequent for folks to not think much of it and then discover that the crash has more impact than first assumed. Listen to your doctors, take it easy and do what you must to recover well… Sorry about your crash, hoping your insurer/employer are reasonable to deal with and that you find good counsel to help you through.

    • araikwao

      Make sure you limit your screen time and do all the sensible things – hope it’s a quick recovery 🙂

    • Amazed

      I wish you a quick recovery! Take it easy!

  • LizzieSt

    If the Bible tells us that we have to be attachment parents, why is it Naomi who cares for and nurses Ruth’s baby? Why isn’t Ruth “attached” to her baby, staring into his pupils 23 hours a day, “wearing” him, or nursing him? We read this passage from the Book of Ruth in church last Sunday, and I thought about how it would make attachment parents scream.

    • yentavegan

      Well. when the story of Ruth is read in the language it was originally told in and with the appropriate sing song tune it becomes obvious that the story of Ruth is a Fairy Tale with all the markers of one…Ruth did not breastfeed her own infant because the ancient Israelis were still a bit bigoted and the milk of a Moabite ( even though she converted to Judaism) was unseemly for a child destine to father a future king. Its only a story…but it reflects the mores of it’s era.

      • LizzieSt

        Hm. Thanks for this! You learn something new every day.

      • Esther

        Wha? Reading the story of Ruth in the langauage it was originally told (which I happen to be fluent in), there’s nothing about Ruth not breastfeeding or Naomi nursing him. The word used is “Omenet” (governess). I don’t know where you got that quasi-feminist commentary from, but there’s nothing in the plain text that supports it.

        • yentavegan

          Modern spoken Hebrew is not the same as the old Biblical Hebrew. And although I am not a native speaker by any means, the Drash is that Ruth did not nurse her own child…it is a story after all not a historical account of events.

  • ArmyChick

    This is such nonsense. No wonder fundies love it: keep women barefoot and pregnant and making them believe their only roles in life are baby making and submitting to men. How has mankind been able to survive without all women being attached to their children 24/7?

  • Sherri McInnis

    There are some proven benefits to baby wearing, skin to skin contact, human babies drinking human milk, and sleeping together like all other animals rather than in a dark room down the hall. At this time in evolution babies’ brains expect certain things. As a society, we have let them down. Have they adapted? Maybe. But if we can keep mothers and babies close, it is more natural and healthy.

    • fiftyfifty1

      Citations please.

      • Sherri McInnis

        I will research and try to find some citations that will not be mocked. My children are mostly grown now, but I bought into the whole attachment parenting lifestyle. Not for fundie reasons but because of my anthropology major perhaps. And I loved every single minute of it. With each child, our parenting became more natural and less commercial. I was that mom I guess…… cloth diapers, extended breastfeeding, homemade baby food started after a year old, family bed, and so on. And it was pure joy. The children were happy and healthy. And so was I. It might not be for everyone, but it is an experience unlike any other I’ve had in my life. I think it is common sense that attachment parenting is good for babies. Maybe it’s just at one end of the spectrum and other ways are also good enough. But if it is also good for the mother, then it is a lifestyle worth celebrating.

        One of my daughters was born prematurely, at 28 weeks. She came home at 34 weeks gestational age. I was told by all the professionals to keep her beside me in bed. It would keep her warm, her heart beat would sync with mine, and the natural noises and movements we make while sleeping would keep her from falling into a too deep of sleep for a prolonged time (and possibly forgetting to breathe as premies are at risk for) I took safety precautions in the bed. She slept on her back and I rolled her toward me to nurse. Co-sleeping has been done since the beginning of time. I consider it safer than putting a child in an automobile and driving around town.

        • Megan

          It’s certainly great that those things worked out well for you and your family. The problem becomes when “This worked for me” turns into “This worked for me, so it is the best way and way things should be done” and when it is presented as “proven by science” and it hasn’t been.

          • Sherri McInnis

            Absolutely. I don’t think there is a “best” way. A mother who felt guilted into wearing her baby would be a miserable mother indeed. There are all sorts of choices for families. But attachment parenting definitely has a lot of feel good bonus if you enjoy that sort of thing. I did love it. But maybe another mom has a great job that she doesn’t want to lose. Some days I wish I had a great job. We all make choices. And if parents choose attachment parenting because they like keeping babies close, that’s okay too. I really like this blog, but there is a lot of meanness here.

          • Roadstergal

            “I don’t think there is a “best” way”

            But in the initial post, you busted out with how not doing AP is ‘letting kids down’ and how AP is more ‘natural and healthy,’ and talked about the ‘proven benefits’ of AP. How is this not saying that what you did is the best way overall?

          • Sherri McInnis
          • Roadstergal

            So you _do_ believe your way is better than that of moms who make different choices? I just want to make that clear, because you keep saying that isn’t what you mean, then posting “I’m better than you” links and comments.

            Also, that’s a web page, not a paper. Please post links to actual papers, so we can read them and evaluate the quality of the data.

          • Sherri McInnis

            I think there are some environments for babies to grow up in that are better than others. That’s common sense. Attachment Parenting was a positive experience for my family. I would encourage anyone who wanted to have children to read and learn all they can about baby and child development and the importance of secure relationships, and decide for themselves. I’m older now and I don’t really give a shit what anyone else does. It worked for us. I think it’s awesome. You can do whatever you want.

          • Roadstergal

            “I don’t really give a shit what anyone else does”

            You give enough of a shit to come here and evangelize.

          • Sherri McInnis

            yeah, but you wore me down.

            Happy?

          • Fallow

            If AP works for a family, I say: great, do whatever it takes to make your own life go as smoothly as possible. However, you can’t come here and say you believe in different strokes, when you actually believe AP is the best thing, and when you cite the appeal-to-nature fallacy as proof that you’re correct.

          • Sherri McInnis

            The webpage has links to research if you look down the page.

        • Mel

          Your daughter must be much older than I am. I was preemie that was born at 28-29 weeks gestation and was brought home at 34-35 weeks gestation 34 years ago.

          The pediatrician and neonatologist were both agreed that I should be in my own bed.

          • Sherri McInnis

            Mel, my daughter is actually much younger than you.

        • Roadstergal

          “It might not be for everyone, but it is an experience unlike any other I’ve had in my life.”

          And that’s the problem. You’re talking like it IS for everyone, if they REEALLY love their babies and want the best for them.

          Which is silly. Your story is a walking advertisement for doing what’s best for you and your own individual circumstances, not one-size-fits-all. If you want to co-sleep, fine, but realize the suffocation dangers. If you want to breastfeed, fine, but if you don’t, formula is just as good in the developed world. If you want to baby-wear because it’s more convenient for you, that’s great, and if a stroller works better for you, that’s what you should do.

        • fiftyfifty1

          “her heart beat would sync with mine”
          Let’s hope not! Babies die if their hearts beat at adult rates.

          • FEDUP MD

            I hope not too. Adult athletes typically have heart rates below 60 just walking around. We start CPR on babies when they drop below 60.

        • Bugsy

          “I think it is common sense that attachment parenting is good for babies. ”

          Wow, talk about self-righteous.

          I personally think it is common sense that happy and healthy families are good for babies. However that family defines happiness, that is.

          • Sherri McInnis

            Not self righteous. Attachment Parenting may be one extreme end of the spectrum. The extreme other end is neglect. In between there are a variety of ways one can care for their baby. All the details like where they sleep, if they use daycare, if they let the baby cry it out. All those choices. Everyone is free to choose. And don’t we all choose what we think is going to work best for us? I’m happy with my choice and you are happy with your choice.

          • Michele

            Not self righteous. Attachment Parenting may be one extreme end of the spectrum. The extreme other end is neglect.

            Wow. Just wow.

          • Sherri McInnis

            What? That’s the message I am getting here. That only the extremist parent would want to be part of attachment parenting. It is the end of the spectrum whereby a mother spends 24/7 with her baby.

          • Michele

            You position attachment parenting at one end of the spectrum with the opposite being neglect. Sure comes across to me as if you’re equating “less attachment parenting” with “more neglectful.”

          • Bugsy

            I agree with your basic premise that everyone is free to choose. My criticism is when people elevate their decisions as the best for everyone.

        • Ennis Demeter

          My daughter slept in her own room the day she came home from the hospital. She was a day old. She slept through the night at two months. The only time we ever co-slept was in hotels, and it wasn’t restful at all. I have loved raising her and our family is happy and healthy. She gets excellent grades and is a very good person. I think my way was common sense. Maybe I should write a book.

          • RMY

            That’s how it was for me. I always had my own room. I slept well as a baby.

        • Poogles

          “homemade baby food started after a year old”

          Do you mean the baby had nothing but liquids (breastmilk, presumably) for the first year of life? I certainly hope that’s not what you meant, since that does not meet all the nutritional requirements of the child after about 6 months.
          http://www.who.int/features/qa/21/en/

          • RaineyDay

            After about six months, the baby was always nursed before the meal, and then offered tastes here and there as developmentally ready.. I didn’t have internet back then so I didn’t read the WHO report but I had very large and happy babies who nursed long term.

    • Hi

      Historically, other caregivers frequently cared for babies other than their own. Yes, babies may have been close to a body, but it was not necessarily their mothers. The idea of an individual mother caring independently for their baby is a modern creation.

    • mostlyclueless

      I agree. We should strive to replicate our ancestors’ lifestyles to the greatest extent possible.

      115 degrees outside? No air conditioning for me, thanks!

      Feeling a bit peckish? No grocery stores for this natural mama — I’ll just forage for some berries and nuts, and hope my husband manages to kill and disembowel a wild animal for me.

      Having an appendicitis? Better to just let it rupture and die of sepsis.

      The natural way is the BEST way.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      No, there are no proven benefits to baby wearing, skin to skin and sleeping together. There are some benefits to breastmilk, but in industrialized societies these are trivial.

      • Fallow

        I was told NOT to wear our baby because it could complicate her recovery from her birth injury. Often I wonder, what happens to babies with a similar injury, when their mothers are AP cultists and wear them anyway? Is their recovery worsened or thwarted? Do they suffer more pain? I have no idea wht happens, but our child’s doctors and therapists were adamant that wearing her could harm her.

    • Ennis Demeter

      There are proven benefits to getting a good nights sleep without a baby in your bed, using formula when you don’t want to breast-feed, pushing a stroller when you don’t want to feel hot and itchy from “wearing” a baby. It is all so, so dumb. Anybody with a child who is past infant hood realizes how utterly unimportant all that stuff is.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Ah, baby wearing. I am starting to come to the conclusion that “baby wearing” in current society is nothing more than maternal vanity. The first hint was the time someone reported they had seen on facebook the pronouncement something like “Went hiking in the mountains, 40 hours of baby wearing!” or something like that. Really? Went hiking in the mountains and your response is to boast about baby wearing? Come on…

      But then there was the other night. Went to the restaurant. Saw a woman getting up to leave with some sort of wrap, and thought, hmm, that’s some sort of wrap.

      Sure enough, next time I see her, she has the baby all wrapped up in it.

      All well and good, right?

      But I started thinking, um, why? She is going to walk from the restaurant to the car. Presumably, when she gets in the car, she is gong to put the baby in the carseat, right? So why the big deal about wrapping the baby up in some fancy wrap just to take him to the car? Unless, of course, it’s not about the baby, it’s about showing off how cool and trendy you are by having your fancy, expensive wrap….

      Baby wearing from the restaurant to the car. Yeah, that’s all about the baby, isn’t it?

      • Megan

        Admittedly, I used to put my daughter in a sling at restaurants frequently because that kept her quiet so we could finish our dinner. Many babywearers do wear for vanity but some of us do it out of convenience.

        • Bombshellrisa

          If you are part of a “baby wearing and cloth diaper support group” (these are real things!) then it’s probably not about convenience. I remember strapping first child into a baby bjorn that she clearly hated because I couldn’t push my mom’s wheelchair and hold a newborn at the same time. It was more convenient at the time. Second child was an ergo baby until he figured out he could walk and then he would have none of the baby wearing. It was nice in restaurants and while shopping to have him napping on me and not throwing a fit.

          • Megan

            Babywearing, for us, meant that we could go places and do things that we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. We could eat out, go to the store, go to museums, go to church, all without distrubing other people with our baby’s cries. She got a nice naps (since she loved being wrapped; I realize not all babies do) and I got to get out the house for some fresh air and a break from being at home. Win-win. I know, some other people spend lots of money on wraps, etc. and for them it may be a status ,but they aren’t hurting anyone by doing that so I’m hard-pressed to care. Babywearing is just another parenting choice. And incidentally, when DD got a bit older she preferred to be in the shopping cart or in the stroller, so we adjusted. I don’t think there’s any need for wraps/carriers and other methods of baby transport to be mutually exclusive.

          • Dr Kitty

            The only time that it was clearly more convenient to wear the baby rather than use a stroller so far has been picking sloes to make sloe gin.
            The blackthorn thicket was at the far end of a field, up a big hill, and having free hands was necessary.

            I agree, I make the choice that worked best for me, the child and activity.
            In our case, rarely does that choice end up involving baby wearing.

            But you do you.

          • Bugsy

            Very similar to us. We moved to Canada when #1 was 5 months old, and that was also the point at which we wore him the most frequently. Having a wrap was incredibly handy on a flight itinerary that also included a ridiculous # of suitcases, carry-ons, 3 carry-on cats and the baby gear. We’ve got the wraps ready to go for #2 should we decide to take that route (the Ergo as well), but they really weren’t particularly useful for us.

          • anh

            THANK YOU DR KITTY!!!!!!!
            I’ve been seeing sloes all over Cambridgeshire and could not figure out what the hell they were! Kept texting pics to my mom. I don’t think we have them in the US.
            I know what I’m doing tomorrow. Sloe gin to go with my damson gin!!

          • Dr Kitty

            Lovely!
            I’d use more sugar than you use for the damsons and put the sloes in the freezer overnight before you add them to the gin, if you have the time.

            Hawthorn is more common here than blackthorn, but I finally found a thicket on public land nearby a couple of years ago. It is easier in spring, because you look for the thorn bushes with white flowers and no leaves, as hawthorn gets leaves before it flowers and blackthorn doesn’t.

            Blackberries and nettles are also easy to forage.
            Nettle soup is quite nice in spring if you use the young leaves, and blackberry and apple crumble is an easy and cheap way of getting kiddo to eat fruit ( she loves the fact that she can eat the apples she picked from our tree and the blackberries she picks on our walks).

            While I’m not a gardener, if I can turn weeds into free food and cheap booze, I’m all for it. Identifying sloes, nettles and blackberries is thankfully idiot proof (I’m not crazy enough to pick my own mushrooms).
            My mother used to make dandelion wine, but I can’t say that ever appealed to me.

          • Trixie

            Some people join those groups for practical tips on buying the right carrier, for example. It’s not always ideological, although I agree many of the members of such groups are BSC.

          • Bombshellrisa

            They have get togethers at the dog park and other places. I liked the idea of trying different carriers out before we bought one but I found the women to be so sanctimommy-ess about everything. It might be different in other areas, we are a privileged lot here and it shows.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          She wasn’t wearing the baby at the meal. She put the baby in the wrap to walk to the parking lot.

          • Megan

            How do you know she wasn’t walking home or taking the bus or running an errand up the street after dinner?
            More importantly, why do you care so much?

          • Trixie

            You followed her out to the parking lot to see whether she was baby wearing for Bofa-approved reasons?

      • Trixie

        Maybe it was cold out? Maybe the baby wanted to nurse and she was trying to top it up before she got to the car? Maybe it was about to cry, and she put it in the wrap to get it to stop so it didn’t disturb other diners? Maybe the wrap makes the baby fall asleep and she was hoping to get it to sleep in the car? I wouldn’t automatically conclude it was about a statement.
        I wore my wraps pretty much all the time in the first few months because it’s a pain to retie them. Especially with my second, she was a fast nurser and could nurse very well hands free in the wrap. By putting her in the wrap, I could nurse her pretty much anywhere in public even while walking and no one had any idea. 5 minutes would have been all it took.
        There could be a million reasons that had nothing to do with status.

      • Houston Mom

        There’s a mother at my son’s school who straps on her infant before walking her two preschoolers into the building and then unstraps the baby and pops her back in the car seat. It does seem to be a waste of time for such a short trip. All of the other mothers with infants just carry them in with the older kids.

        • Trixie

          If you’re trying to hold hands with two preschoolers in a busy parking lot, which hand do you use to carry the baby?
          That’s why she’s using the carrier.

          • Dinolindor

            Thank you for being the voice of reason. Holy hell people. It’s just a mode of baby transportation.

          • Houston Mom

            She’s not holding their hands.

          • Houston Mom

            That’s probably why I notice her strapping the kid on when she gets out of the car – she’s not paying any attention to the two older ones who are jumping around beside the van. They walk in on their own carrying their own stuff. It makes me nervous that she isn’t holding on to them but they haven’t been run over yet. There are a few parking spaces in front of the school so no busy parking lot.

          • Toni35

            Ah…. My three year old stays strapped in the toddler seat until baby is secured in the carrier. The older two (5 and 8) are trained to exit the vehicle and immediately come around to my side and wait by the side door. Then I unbuckle the three year old and we traipse across the lot. Wrangling a baby bucket and managing three other kids is not happening (those fucking things get heavy!). I would flip on my kids if they horses around in a parking lot…. But then they know that

        • Dinolindor

          Ok and one mom at my son’s school strapped her younger kids into a double stroller to bring her preschooler in. That always seemed like a lot of trouble…but so does bringing 3 little kids all under 5 into a building! It’s not always a statement, it’s getting through life. Geez.

        • LovleAnjel

          I have bad carpal tunnel, and when it acts up I can’t hold a child for any real length of time without my hands going numb. If I had a child who couldn’t walk, they’d be in a carrier.

      • demodocus

        If she is, I agree that’s a bit odd, but a year ago you would have seen the spouse or me strapping kiddo in at the restaurant to walk or take the bus.

      • Daleth

        I would have done that too, if we’d gone out when our twins were smaller. I far prefer having both hands free and zero risk of dropping the baby.

      • mostlyclueless

        “I am starting to come to the conclusion that ‘baby wearing’ in current society is nothing more than maternal vanity.”

        Don’t be a dick. You know there are plenty of great reasons to wear babies. It’s not going to make your baby healthier or smarter but for a lot of parents/kids it makes both your lives a fuckload easier. Is it still vanity when dads do it btw? Or is it just moms who can literally never do anything right?

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          How does baby wearing from the restaurant to the parking lit make anything easier?

          If it was about being easier, she’d throw a blanket over his head and carry him to the car.

          • mostlyclueless

            I don’t know, you’d have to ask her.

            I just seriously doubt some woman who’s having dinner with her family gives one one-millionth of a shit how the strangers in the parking lot evaluate her.

            It’s a little narcissistic to imagine that she’s putting on some kind of show for YOU rather than defaulting to the assumption that she has some perfectly legitimate reason to do this.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Or she could be a narcissistic twit

          • mostlyclueless

            Well. Someone in that scenario was, for sure.

          • Mariana Baca

            this has gone from an interesting post musing on the sexist implicatins of AP to just insulting random mothers. :/ Any reason why you feel like insulting someone you don’t even know and is doing nothing harmful?

          • Dinolindor

            You know what’s also equally likely? That mother got to the car and said, “Oh man, that was stupid, why did I bother putting the baby in the carrier just for that short walk? Lesson learned.”

          • Um, I do that. My carrier is hands-free. That means I can have my wallet/keys/diaper bag/other assorted crap that I am carrying around (and it’s always something) and know that the kid is safe, even in that moment when I’m opening the car door to put him in the seat. But sure, it’s all vanity.

          • Trixie

            I have put a baby Ina wrap for a 5 minute walk.. Because it was easier for me. And the baby liked it. It wasn’t harmful, so why do you care?

          • Trixie

            And you know, when I was early postpartum, wrangling a newborn in a restaurant, having a pretty wrap made me feel good. I’m sure glad I never had anyone stare disapprovingly at me for carrying my baby in a safe way that my baby liked.

      • LovleAnjel

        I babywore from the car into Starbucks because it was the easiest way to keep DD contained while I got my drink.

      • Mariana Baca

        If it is vanity, who the fuck cares? If a mother wants to feel pretty or bonded or whatever on her way out of the restaurant, that is her business.

        I have a problem with people saying “all should baby wear” or “baby wearing turns kids into geniuses” or “you are bad if you don’t babywear”. But if someone chooses to babywear, who am I to criticize? It is one of these natural practices that literally has no adverse effects and is way easier on society since it cuts down on the number of huge strollers in the world.

        • Fallow

          A few adverse effects of baby wearing that I can think of:

          1) As I’ve said elsewhere, we were told not to babywear because it could exacerbate our kid’s birth injury.

          2) Some women are in such bad physical shape after birth that wearing their baby is too painful for them to deal with. This was definitely me, and I was actually prepared to babywear before I faced the reality of my physical condition, and my baby’s injury.

          3) Our daughter’s pediatrician told us that he has treated a few serious injuries in babies, whose mothers fell on them while babywearing. As in, the mother fell down stairs or slipped on ice, and landed on the baby. (Obviously, those injuries are also possible when someone is just carrying their baby, as well.) Babies in strollers can find themselves in dangerous situations, too, but I was pretty happy that I was cutting the risk of my clumsy self falling on my baby.

          All in all, people should do whatever the hell works for them, though. There are upsides and downsides to everything. I have no issue with babywearing. People have to do what works for their lives and their babies. The fact that people get up in arms about it is just weird. Who cares how a person hauls their babies around? If the person isn’t doing anything dangerous for the child, it’s just not worth giving a crap about.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            Plus if I babywear in the current weather conditions, I risk giving myself and my baby heatstroke. The stroller is far more comfortable for us both at present.

          • demodocus

            I wasn’t *wearing* my toddler, though I was weary when I tripped last summer. We both went down and part of my weight came down on his little leg, snapping it. He’s fine now, thankfully, and running around like the toddler-tornado he should be.

          • Fallow

            I said that it could also happen when you were just carrying the child.

          • demodocus

            I know, mostly I was focusing on the weary- wearing pun.

          • Fallow

            My husband came pretty close to tripping on ice while just carrying our baby once. Don’t even want to think about how badly that could have gone.

      • Susan

        That’s what makes me batshit crazy about the amber teething necklaces. It makes the baby look cool and tribal. I don’t think its got a thing to do with teething and it sure as hell makes zero sense to hang anything, especially beads, around a baby’s neck.. Makes me NUTS. Yes, natural baby as fashion accessory ….

        • Bugsy

          Yep…I remember reading that the necklaces are supposed to give off some natural anesthetic-type properties, something like that. Even when I did some AP stuff w #1, all I could think was “if that’s true, how the heck can it be safe for a baby to wear w/ unquantified amounts of it on/near the baby?”

      • Mer

        Well I have done that, I use a gorgeous woven sling that I like because it’s pretty and I wear that baby because he’s a CHUNK and my arms can’t handle carrying him, the diaper bag, the other random stuff that you end up carrying, and opening doors. So it could just be vanity or it could be easier than trying to juggle everything out to car. Its a short trip but sometimes I’m afraid I’m going to drop something and my sling helps keep Pudge secure. So for me, it’s a mix of a little vanity with some actual benefits. 🙂

    • LizzieSt

      Nice dichotomy: You’re either sleeping in the same bed as your baby or you’re banishing him to “a dark room down the hall.” There’s nothing in between that, of course.

      Besides, putting the baby in your bed can be very dangerous. I’ve seen more than one baby end up in the emergency room because he rolled off of his sleeping mother and cracked his poor little head on the floor.

      • NoLongerCrunching

        There are risks and benefits to both ways of sleeping.

        • Trixie

          The benefits of bedsharing, if they exist at all, don’t outweigh the added risk of death.

          • NoLongerCrunching

            Babies can also die in cribs. In fact, SIDS used to be called crib death. The key is maximizing the safety of the environment. You also have to take into account sleep deprivation for mothers who have a hard time getting up to go to the crib. If she gets enough sleep with the baby in bed she will be less likely to drop the baby while sitting up feeding or to have a car accident.

          • Trixie

            “Babies can also die in cribs” sounds an awful lot like “babies die in hospitals too.” The RATE of death from bedsharing is higher, particularly in the first 4 months.
            No Western adult mattress is a safe surface for infant sleep.
            If you want to bed share on a tatami mat on the floor with no blankets or pillows or other adults, I guess, have at it.

          • NoLongerCrunching

            You are right it does. However that does not mean both hold true. The research on crib sleeping versus cosleeping has confounding factors and does not account for sleep deprivation related injuries. Dr. Amy posted one study (see http://www.skepticalob.com/2013/05/la-leche-league-is-not-honest-about-the-risks-of-co-sleeping.html) that looked good, but that is just one study. And unfortunately the link is broken so I can’t see the original.

            The fact that it works in other countries such as Japan is proof that must be something about the environment in American beds that is causing the lack of safety, not the act of cosleeping itself. This is similar to how cribs have improved in safety since various aspects have been found to be unsafe, such as bumpers on the sides.

          • Daleth

            About Japan, sleeping on a tatami mat on the floor poses near-zero suffocation risk to the baby compared with sleeping on a pillowtop mattress. To see why, check out this picture of a tatami mat:

            http://www.sleepexquisite.com/products/tatami/sleep-exquisite-tatami/

          • mythsayer

            I lived in Japan for three years and I am pretty sure that most Japanese do not sleep just on a tatami mat. They sleep on futons a lot, which are definitely harder than mattresses. A LOT of them sleep on beds now though. They sell beds in stores… tons of beds. Regular beds and regular mattresses. The thing about the mattresses there, though, is that they are HARD. SUPER HARD. So your underlying point is valid. No matter what they sleep on, it’s harder than what Americans sleep on. But they are definitely not just sleeping on tatami mats (which I assume you know… I was just pointing out that they still use mattresses of some kind even if they do sleep on the floor).

            When my mom lived in Tokyo in the 70’s, they did pretty much all sleep on futon mattresses on the floor. That is definitely true. But these days I think many of them have moved to sleeping on beds. Hard beds, but beds nonetheless.

            And yes, they co-sleep.

            You know what’s interesting about Japan? They are pro-baby wearing, pro-breastfeeding, pro-co-sleeping, and generally pretty co-attachment parenting. But if you DON’T do those things, they don’t get mad. Nope. They just say “feed the baby formula, that’s cool.” They are so much more laid back about it.

          • Roadstergal

            “But these days I think many of them have moved to sleeping on beds. Hard beds, but beds nonetheless.

            And yes, they co-sleep.”

            That makes me wonder – are their good co-sleeping outcomes changing as the bed situation changes? What are their numbers on co-sleeping rates and mortality?

            (I have no dog in this fight, I’m just curious.)

          • mythsayer

            Oh and and that website… yeah… I would say that pretty much no one sleeps JUST no those mats. They seem to be fairly adverse to comfort over there… but not THAT adverse.

          • yugaya

            It does not “work” just like that in countries in Japan – SIDS rates cannot be compared directly between countries in which the cultural factors definitely influence diagnosis and reporting of SIDS. Rates of autopsies in Japan are significantly lower than in USA.

            Of all the woo out there, bedsharing myths seem to be the hardest to let go.

      • Gene

        Or suffocating when a parent rolls onto them. Or suffocating against the soft bedding. Or suffocating when it rolls between the bed and wall. Notice I keep using the word suffocating. Those deaths are not from SIDS. They are mechanical suffocation.

        • Anna

          Suffocation during sleep is my nightmare. A bit OT: anyone may know since what age is it 100% safe to use pillows and blankets with babies? Currently using baby sleeping bags.

        • LizzieSt

          Which is also in the Bible! In the story of Solomon, the two women, and the disputed baby. The Bible’s position on attachment parenting is pretty clear at this point, I think. Just say no!

    • Nick Sanders

      There are some proven benefits to baby wearing, skin to skin contact,

      And they are?

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        I thought I remembered there is some known benefit for skin-to-skin care for premies?

        Ditto for breastmilk.

        That’s the closest I can come.

        • Roadstergal

          I thought kangaroo care was an objectively useful thing only in resource-poor environments?

        • swbarnes2

          The “Science of Mom” has a good article about skin-to-skin. Basically, the studies we have either aren’t blinded, or they are comparing skin-to-skin to leaving the baby alone in a bassinett. Nothing saying that skin-to-skin is way better than just holding the baby.

          http://scienceofmom.com/2013/10/02/the-magic-and-the-mystery-of-skin-to-skin/

      • Trixie

        The benefits of baby wearing have to do with convenience. It doesn’t work for everyone of course, but for some, it adds a lot of convenience.

        • Roadstergal

          When I go hiking or to the dog park, I see men carrying babies at least as often as women. Which makes sense – the parent who hasn’t had their core and twixt-the-legs bit potentially highly affected by bringing the kid into the world can do the work for a change. But I almost never see them in wraps, maybe only twice – the dads all seem to prefer the backpack style carriers, which do seem a better way to carry the weight?

          • Megan

            My husband has used a wrap but prefers our carrier. He thinks the wrap is too hot. Personally, I prefer wraps and ring slings because they are more adjustable for my vertically-challenged self (and for me, this makes the weight actually feel lighter) but would use the carrier on my back when we are in a parking lot or in a hurry because it’s easier than back-wrapping.

          • mythsayer

            Do you have a baby right now (that you can put in a carrier)? The reason I ask is because my aunt and I are thinking about making some Japanese style baby carriers for possible sale on eBay/Etsy. They don’t sell the type I’m thinking about here in the US…. I’m not sure about the UK or Australia. What’s awesome about them is they are super comfortable and they can go in a carry bag that you can keep on your purse. So you can easily carry around a lightweight, COMFORTABLE carrier. I need some people to try them out so I can get some feedback. Are you interested in trying one? They aren’t made yet, but if you are, we can make one and you can try it out. Anyone else who is interested can try, too. I’m not trying to use the site here for advertising… I’m not looking to charge anyone here. I’m basically offering to give away some carriers for feedback on what people like/don’t like. You can look my username up on Facebook and send me a message if you’re interested. Christmas/holiday gift 🙂

          • Megan

            At this point, I am actually not babywearing. My daughter is old enough and big enough for shopping carts and our stroller and she seems to prefer that now. I am due with a new baby in March and will likely take up wearing at least sometimes again, unless this little lady doesn’t like it or it aggravates a previous shoulder injury. So currently, I’m not too helpful for you. Sorry. 🙂

          • mythsayer

            That’s cool. I was just offering 🙂 My offer stands for anyone who does want to try one.

            My daughter is 5 so I can’t use them myself. My friend is having a baby, so I’ll probably give one to her (she loves the sling carriers you mentioned actually). I just really think it’s crazy that we don’t have any good and comfortable carriers that are portable. The Japanese have the best baby stuff, no joke.

          • Megan

            I am legitimately curious to see what it looks like though. Do you have a link with a pic?

          • Roadstergal

            I gotcha. Having a vertically-challenged-friendly option is definitely important (I’m 5’1″) – I got an Ogio female-specific backpack recently, and the difference in comfort and adjustability vs my past backpacks is substantial. I’m just wondering if the effects of the various options on back and shoulder pain are a Thing that’s discussed in ‘wearing’ circles.

          • Dinolindor

            I believe so. When my husband and I purchased our carriers it was talked about at our local store for all things “natural” for babies. We tried on a whole bunch of different ones with our son and settled on a wrap for me and a backpack style (but carried on the front for a newborn) for my husband. I found the wrap much easier to get into place securely and distributed the extra weight better for me. This place also talked about donor breastmilk nonsense when I was having trouble pumping enough, so I would imagine that if that crunchy of a place talked about the ergonomics of babywearing it must happen at others.

          • Roadstergal

            Thanks, that’s good to know. It’s silly, but I really worry about my friends with kids (I live in a very AP area), and I sometimes think I over-worry after hearing the stories on this site…

          • Megan

            Well I can tell you as much as I loved wrapping, it did flare up a shoulder injury for me, which is one of the reasons why I stopped. It was really the back wrapping that did it. Spreading passes over your back does require freely mobile shoulder joints, and mine apaprently weren’t as mobile as I thought. 🙂

          • Modernist Mom

            I’ve carried a baby in Deuter Kid Comfort II (on a month-long, 500-mile walking trip), an Ergo, and a Baby Bjorn, and a slingling (as a newborn). The pack won hands down for comfort and adjustability, but baby has to be sitting alone to use it. I carried him in it on daily dog walks until he was well over two. I was too short for my Ergo (I’m 5’2)–just couldn’t get those straps tight enough. LOVED the sling for an infant–Easy, can be a blanket in a pinch, but it was sized for me. Only I could wear it. The Baby Bjorn killed my back after kiddo was 4 months old. My posture wasn’t right for it.

            If you have friends with any of these, see if you can borrow or try them our before buying. I NEVER would have thought my height was a problem for the Ergo until I had shelled out $$ for it.

          • tariqata

            I’m not sure that dad’s’ reluctance to use wraps is entirely because structured carriers are always more comfortable. I’ve used both a moby stretchy wrap and a structured carrier and both are comfortable, but better for different purposes (carrier is great for long walks, wrap is really convenient for running errands or short outings, especially where there is not a good place to set the baby down, because it’s easy to pop him in and out and for me to move around in). My husband however will not use the wrap at all, no matter what he is doing. He can’t seem to articulate why.

            And as far as my take on it goes – I like baby wearing (whether wrap or carrier) because its often much easier to get around without having to haul a stroller, and it’s effective for calming down my baby when he’s fussy, but I don’t think that’s true for every baby (or even some babies all the time). I’ve read that it can help with core muscle development for babies as they have to move with the parent in a way that they don’t if they are in a stroller or something, but I don’t expect that to have any significant long term benefits even if true.

          • Roadstergal

            That’s a very good point. I can see dads thinking of backpack carriers as more ‘manly,’ for lack of a better word, than wraps…

    • Amy M

      We’ve let them down? What kind of nonsense is that? Maybe it could be said that we’ve let down the babies who are living in poverty—neither the federal nor any state government has come up with a good solution to that and all the problems it causes.

      A baby getting adequate nourishment from breast or bottle, sleeping in a warm,safe place and having people who care about it and love it, is not let down in any way. That’s a baby that has what it needs and is thriving.

      And natural does not necessarily mean healthier. Unless you are counting the bit where humans developed big smart brains and used them to improve their circumstances. After all, that did happen naturally.

    • Roadstergal

      What on earth is wrong with sleeping in a dark room? What do you do, have spotlights trained on your kids?

      “like all other animals”

      I shit in toilets instead of out in the yard like all other animals. I also cook my food. I don’t get this ‘do it like animals do’ fetish.

      • Megan

        ‘do it like animals do’ fetish
        Somewhere in the back of my head is a Bloodhound Gang song…

        • Gene

          You and me baby ain’t nothing but mammals…

        • Roadstergal

          Now you have it stuck in my head.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xat1GVnl8-k

          • Megan

            You gotta admit, it’d be a great AP theme song. Somehow though, I doubt the Sears family would approve…

          • Bombshellrisa

            Oh boy, what is it about certain commenters that makes us compile play lists?

    • demodocus

      All the other animals don’t carry their babies. Just the primates, marsupials, and a couple others do. Human milk is definitely beneficial for preemies over formula but its benefits become pretty negligible with term babies. Many animals also leave their babies for various portions of the day, some leave ’em alone, and others leave them with an older offspring, a sibling, or even a grandparent. PBS’s nature a few weeks ago showed a cat getting a babysitter for her little kitten so she could go eat.

      • Nick Sanders

        Plenty of animals carry their babies, even when there are more than one, like scorpions or the surinam toad! Don’t you want to be like the surinam toad?

        • demodocus

          Sure!

        • mythsayer

          OMG… the toads are so gross. I about threw up when I was looking at an exhibit about them at the Natural History museum in NYC. And when I said that, another woman said she felt the same (so it wasn’t just me). No… I do not want to be like the surinam toad. It just looks so, so wrong. So wrong.

          • Nick Sanders

            But you have to admit, they are very attached to their kids. :p

      • Roadstergal

        Animals often eat or abandon their babies.

        • demodocus

          true enough

      • crazy grad mama

        Aw, I love the idea of a cat getting a babysitter! *goes off to Google PBS nature shows*

        • demodocus

          If memory serves, it was a multi-episode show about pets and their instincts that hark back to their wild ancestors

          • crazy grad mama

            Found it! It’s called Pets: Wild at Heart. Thanks!

      • LeighW

        lol, My cocker spaniel did that when she had pups. I remember walking into the barn and there were half a dozen cats sitting around the litter.

    • Isilzha

      Um, no. Kangaroos will toss out the joey if they’re being pursued. Stressed hamsters eat their young. Many animals will kill the existing young when they take over a herd/pride. In many animals species, mortality is 50% or more for newborns.

      Humans are actually adapted to be preyed upon so if you really want to give your kid’s brain what it “expects” then be sure to let it be stalked by a predator a few times a year (at least)! You could also say that evolution “expects” us to have no other heat sources than the sun or fire, to have no analgesics, and to experience extreme food shortages. So, go ahead, have fun with some REAL natural parenting!!

    • Mel

      Please spell out in very clear terms:
      -the benefits are derived from each of those practices
      – the negative side effects from absence of each of those practices.
      – the process by which you would set up a control and experimental group for each of those practices.
      -the statistical methods you would use to analyze the data collected from that experiment.

      When you do that, we can have a real conversation. Until then, there’s not much for me to talk to you about.

    • Roadstergal

      “it is more natural”

      It’s odd, though – do you know what’s a _really_ unnatural thing? 28-week preemies surviving.

      • Sherri McInnis

        Absolutely. It was difficult for all of us having a newborn hospitalized for 7 weeks. I spent as much time as possible with her and held her agains my skin and I pumped milk every 2 hours around the clock so that she could have only breast milk. The NICU nurses knew the power of breast milk for these tiny babies. At 28 weeks, it can be a life or death decision. They begged the mothers of premies to provide some milk even if they didn’t plan to breastfeed. It was shocking when the mothers refused.

        Yes, indeed, this birth started out in high tech. But she was our third and we knew how we wanted to parent once she was able to come home.

        • Roadstergal

          “It was shocking when the mothers refused.”

          Do you think a woman can ever have a legitimate reason to not provide breastmilk?

          Did that give you a sense of ‘donating to a bank that will properly screen and process milk to provide to preemies that need it is important’ and ‘research into NEC-preventing factors to make formula better for preemies is important,’ or just this sense you project of ‘wow, some mothers are bad mothers who don’t love their babies as much as I do?’

          • Sherri McInnis

            it was shocking to the staff. It was mentioned because I was extremely committed to providing my milk for my baby. I guess they were just talking about the contrast between people. heck, some babies in the NICU never even had a visitor. That would be the polar opposite of attachment parenting.

          • Modernist Mom

            Look, I mean this in the nicest possible way, but I saw a lot of mommy martyring when my son was in the NICU. A lot of us pumped around the clock because it was the only thing we COULD do, and it’s very sobering to know how little you can actually do for your own baby when they need so much. These feelings are compounded by the inevitable guilt that maybe you did something to make them come early. A lot of people take this powerlessness in stride. Others use it to make themselves feel better about it by pumping when there is no milk, fighting with the doctors over release dates (which those poor doctors already are fighting the insurance companies about), arguing with nurses over procedures, etc. The whole experience is a goat rodeo of emotions.

            Everyone wants their baby to get better. Judging other peoples’ NICU experiences is just not cool, and sometimes the nurses were the biggest culprits of that, fwiw.

          • the wingless one

            “A lot of us pumped around the clock because it was the only thing we COULD do, and it’s very sobering to know how little you can actually do for your own baby when they need so much”

            Yup, saw so much of this too and in fact I was one of those who pumped regularly even though my milk wasn’t being fed to my son at all (for many reasons). At one point my mom was a bit hard on me for pumping as opposed to being at his bedside (this was when things had just taken a turn for the worse and it looked like there was a chance he wouldn’t make it). I broke down crying and remember just yelling at her that this was all I could do for him. It really does make you feel so helpless having a baby fighting for their lives and you are relying on other people to save them.

            That’s why I’m so disgusted by this woman and her judgy, I was the bet mom in the NICU shtick. Ugh. So thankful for the sweet supportive mom’s in our NICU.

          • MaineJen

            Don’t be too quick to judge those parents who couldn’t be there round the clock. A lot of parents have no paid parental leave and cannot afford to take unpaid time off. Some parents have to go to work in order to keep the insurance that is keeping their baby in the hospital for so long. Don’t be so quick to judge those whose situation you don’t know.

            Working to support your family is a different kind of sacrifice, but it’s a sacrifice all the same.

          • Sherri McInnis

            I’m not talking about families who could not take off work. I’m talking about babies who had been in the NICU for weeks and weeks and no one came to see them. Not just my observation.

          • Megan

            What if mom is in the ICU herself (which has happened to two of our patients recently, one of whom is now in a long term ventilator facility)? How do you know what the circumstances of those families were?

          • Sherri McInnis

            The nurse told me of some situations. Maybe she should not have. But she told me some things about some of the babies. I wasn’t assuming anything.

          • Nick Sanders

            No maybe about it, it was none of your business, and almost certainly illegal for her to have said anything.

          • Megan

            You assumed the nurse knew the whole story, which may or may not have been true. I have had nurses get patients’ stories wrong on many many occasions. Sometimes it is nothing more than gossip. Sometimes patients, for whatever reason, don’t tell nurses the whole story.

          • Amazed

            You’re moving the goalposts, though. Your initial post defiitely gave the vibes of unloving mothers who left their babies in the NICU and just came back to fetch them when they were already out of danger, so they shouldn’t go through the process of dealing with a baby in the NICU.

            How does my grandparents’ situation fit into your near world of a supermommy? My mom was born all of 5 pounds. She spent a few weeks in the hospital without anyone visiting her. They contacted my grandfather to come from the village (don’t assume that he had a car) and take her, leaving my grandmother behind. And no, she didn’t go to see her even once. She was busy trying not to die of full-blown eclampsia. It was 40 days postpartum when she was discharged.

            Does she pass the test of being mom enough?

          • fiftyfifty1

            Yes, what your nurse did was a HIPAA violation. Not just a bad idea, actually illegal.

          • Montserrat Blanco

            That is illegal.

            And, as the mom of a 28 week preemie, I have never ever felt entitled to judge one of the Other moms at the NICU as you have just made.

          • Guest

            I was a NICU mom, for 5 weeks. It sucked. I did the pumping around the clock and the endless trips to the hospital and the skin-to-skin (once a day) and the scrubbing in and everything. That NICU served many outlying rural areas, and some families lived hours away and couldn’t come to see their babies very often. I was there long enough to see them when they COULD come, and how much those babies were missed. You’re mocking people that may have limited resources, may have medical issues that you know nothing about, or may be in situations that they have no control over. Sure, there are bad parents out there who can’t be bothered to come see their kids. But I doubt you know enough about what is going on in those families that they deserve to be mocked by you. I don’t care what a nurse told you or what she thinks she knows about them, its none of your damn business and defending your ridicule of these people is disgusting.

          • Sherri McInnis

            I’m not mocking or ridiculing anyone. That is not my intent. Abandoning a baby in a hospital is as different from attachment parenting as any situation I can think of. I’m not the type of person who is judgmental or ridiculing. I spoke up and said, “hey, I like attachment parenting” and it seems like a natural way to live…… like having a garden. I haven’t said anything negative about people who want to parent in a different style.

          • Guest

            You think that people who are unable to visit their children in the NICU “abandoned” them?!? How is that NOT ridicule?

          • Sherri McInnis

            no. please read my words carefully. While my daughter was in the NICU, there were some babies born who were abandoned in the hospital. Their parents did not come back. Not ever. It’s just a fact.

          • Mom2Many

            Again…you seem to speak only from a place of extreme privilege. Have you had a sobbing addict cry on your shoulder, deeply ashamed of what they’ve become, mortified to face the judgement of the medical staff that knows what she has done to her child? Have you ever thought about how painful it would be to see your child suffer because of your decisions? Do you ever think about how difficult it is to love your child but know that it is likely too late to fix your life and keep them in your life? Can you imagine how someone might stay away out of a sense of guilt? Out of a desperation not to prolong the agony by falling even deeper in love with a child you believe will never remain yours and believing that someone else can be a better parent?
            Love is much more than breastmilk.

          • Sarah

            How do you know you’re not talking about families who couldn’t take time off work, then? Did you ask all the visitors who didn’t come why they weren’t coming?

          • Sherri McInnis

            Sarah, I knew of some of the situations of the babies who were next to mine in the NICU. Some babies are abandoned. They go into foster care when they are able to leave the hospital.

          • Sarah

            Righty ho, and it was the lack of breastmilk in this situation you found so shocking as to deserve mention? Either that’s a colossal and highly convenient drip feed, or you have some bizarre priorities.

          • Sherri McInnis

            I have no idea what this comment even means?

          • the wingless one

            It means that for some bizarre reason you completely buried the lede. The big deal to you is that you were such a #1 mom that you won a gold star for being committed to breastfeeding while other moms refused. Yet apparently there were babies in your NICU completely abandoned and you mention that like 16 posts later or something. The fact that I am even typing this comment right now is making me feel sick to my stomach.

            I was a NICU mom too and I didn’t sit around judging all the other mom’s. I tried to support them because they were going through something horrific.

          • Roadstergal

            It’s certainly interesting that the narrative turned from ‘the nurses begged the women to pump breastmilk, and they refused’ to ‘the babies were abandoned’ – how do you beg someone who isn’t there?

          • Sarah

            Yes, were they begging them over the phone perhaps?

          • moto_librarian

            And? Plenty of babies who don’t go to the NICU wind up going into foster care or being put for adoption.

          • An Actual Attorney

            How were the nurses begging these mothers for breast milk if they had disclaimed parental rights?

          • Mom2Many

            You seem to ‘know’ an awful lot. As a foster mom to multiple babies withdrawing from substance abuse, I have spent up to 7 weeks going to spend 3-4 hours with ‘our’ newest baby at the hospital. Babies that have been abandoned as you write it, are put on our agency’s radar almost immediately and they let the new interim parents know asap. I’ve spent hours upon hours holding and humming to ‘my’ little one, (once they are able to tolerate the stimulation) because human touch is such a basic need. However…I am one of those privileged parents that has a tremendous amount of support, have a vehicle that can do the 90 minute round trip reliably, and can find childcare fairly easily for my other little one at home. (Built in older foster sibling sitters are the best!!)
            The very first thing you need to know in spending months in a NICU is NOT to judge. That goes for those other families in the NICU that you know absolutely nothing about, as much as it does for the natural parents that sometimes come to see their addicted child. We do not know what pain and suffering has brought them to this difficult point in their lives. Judging those who have messed up horrifically says as much about you as it does about the addict. Everyone has a story…

          • Roadstergal

            I can think of two reasons not to provide breastmilk right off the bat, previous sexual abuse and mastectomy. Neither of which I would think a woman would want to explain to the NICU staff.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Breast reduction surgery too. Plenty of my friends dealt with the “my breasts are so big they are causing my back, neck and knees to hurt terribly, making life miserable” issue. They understood it might make breastfeeding difficult or impossible, but their quality of life was not great so they had the surgery. Despite not getting breast milk, all the kids they had are thriving, healthy, delightful children who love both their parents and can interact with their peers.

          • EM

            Wow! How judgemental? ! My son and I were separated for most of the first 9 days of his life. We were both in ICU, fighting for life. I pumped and dumped my breastmilk as it could not be given to my son, (due to the medication I was on and the ct scans I had every single day in ICU ) So did I want to be there for my son? Yes! Did I want to breastfeed? Yes! I was dying to…

          • Azuran

            Maybe because some parents could not afford to visit them?
            Maybe it’s 5 hours away?
            Maybe the parents do not have paid parental leave and cannot afford to take days off?
            Maybe they have multiple other kids to take care of?

            One of my coworker had a very premature baby. It was hospitalised for 3 months after birth. She had paid maternity leave and public health care, so money wasn’t a problem. But at some point she had to leave him there alone and get back to her life. The NICU was hours away and she had other childrens who needed her.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Huh.
            I suppose that if I had a preemie, then, you’d think me a terrible mom. Why?
            Because I have a toddler, a husband who has a job he can’t leave for any period of time, no family support locally, and the closest NICU is an hour away, and I think it rather unlikely they’ll let me bring my cute-but-germy toddler with me to see a preemie there.
            Pray tell, what am I supposed to do in that situation? Put DD in foster care?

          • moto_librarian

            Can we just admit that she and the other nurses were probably talking about black babies? That’s the subtext here.

          • Sherri McInnis

            I think the mastectomy would probably come up during the pregnancy and birth planning. Having only one breast would not prevent breastmilk production.

          • Nick Sanders

            Woah…

          • Roadstergal

            Hey, now, women with mastectomies can lactate from their armpits. The lactivists are very clear on that.

          • Sherri McInnis

            ?????

          • the wingless one

            The fact that you even have to ask pretty much says it all…

        • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

          Some mothers and fathers don’t get parental leave and can’t afford to take any more time away from work, they may have other children to support and can’t afford to get fired. Some mothers are single parents and have other kids at home they can’t get a babysitter for. Some people have already had one preemie they lost previously and can’t handle getting attached only to lose another. Some preemies have teenage mothers who can’t cope emotionally with the fact that their baby is in intensive care. I’m not going to judge any preemie’s parent as i was lucky enough not to have to walk in their shoes.

          • KarenJJ

            And some mothers do get some parental leave and choose to take it when baby comes home as opposed to when baby is being cared for by competent and caring staff in the hospital (one story I came across during a debate on parental leave in Australia).

        • Sarah

          No doubt it is shocking if you’re utterly unable to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. That’s a failing of yours, though, not anybody else’s.

          • Sherri McInnis

            I did not say it shocked ME> The nurses were shocked and saddened when mothers did not provide milk for their babies because they (the nurses) felt it was the best thing for the babies.

          • Sarah

            Nah, no dice. That’s not the way you’d have written it if you were trying to say that other people were shocked but you yourself did not wish to pass comment.

          • crazy grad mama

            To be fair to RaineyDay, the only NICU nurse I know personally is an intense lactivist and thinks women who choose to FF are “selfish.” It wouldn’t surprise me to learn there are more like that.

          • Sarah

            Me neither, but the point is that’s not the way she’d have written it if she were talking about someone else being shocked rather than herself.

          • crazy grad mama

            True. (I also read the rest of her posts in this thread after I posted this, and…yeah.)

          • Fallow

            Sounds like your NICU nurses were busybodies who gossiped about their patients to other patients who they liked better. Not really professional, even if their care was good.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Mmmm, yes, I’m familiar with those sort of nurses.
          Shortly before I left the group, a woman posted to the local LLL page. She had just had 27-28 week preemie twins delivered vi C-section because of maternal infection. She was less than a day post-op, sitting on the hospital bathroom floor, and trying to pump while tearfully posting to the page because the nurses kept yelling at her that if she didn’t produce enough milk, her babies could die.
          Mom hadn’t eaten in a very long time or slept in over a day or showered within recent memory, but none of that mattered to the nurses or the LLLers who kept telling her to hurry up and produce. I’m sure the massive amount of stress from the yelling/scolding on top of no sleep, food, or hygiene and recovery from both an emergency CS *and* an infection were doing wonders for her as a patient, as a mom, and as someone trying to produce milk.

          • the wingless one

            That sounds awful 🙁 poor woman.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Indeed. I’m no nurse, nor even an IBCLC, but it seemed to me that the best possible thing would be to tell mom “Take a shower, eat a square meal, take a good 2-4 hour nap, and then try again with the pump.” At the very least, she wouldn’t be doing worse than she had been (she was getting virtually nothing), and I find it entirely plausible that when clean, fed, and (somewhat) rested, she might be more relaxed, and her body, in turn, might pick up on that and produce more milk. Or, worst case scenario, her babies would have a mom who wasn’t stressed out of her mind and risking God-alone-knows what kind of infection by sitting on a freaking hospital bathroom floor and trying to pump. Either way, a win for all concerned, I thought.
            But then, what do I know?

          • the wingless one

            At the time I didn’t think much of it, but after my c/s I had some truly wonderful nurses. One of them straight up told me that sleep would probably help with my supply and that she always recommends that her new moms try and get some rest even if it means skipping or delaying a pumping session here and there. It really sucks that your friend had such bullies for nurses.

          • D/

            At least daily, I find the need to deliver my one-liner on this topic. “You know, there is a point at which sleep makes milk too … and this is that point!”

          • moto_librarian

            The hospital LC didn’t give a shit about the fact that I had a severe pph and was in significant pain from a cervical laceration and 2nd degree tear. I was too weak to walk, yet she was more than willing to tell me that my first attempts at nursing our son in the NICU were wrong. She grabbed my breasts without asking permission. It does not surprise me one bit that this crap happens often. That poor mother.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            That is fifty shades of totally inappropriate, uncaring, and just plain nasty. I’m sorry.

    • Bugsy

      Resources? Legitimate studies to back your claims? Frankly, I disagree that these particular actions are necessary to ensure a child is bonded, natural and healthy.

      My 3-year-old son has co-slept a total of 10 nights since his birth, and I baby-wore on only a handful of occasions. He’s one of the most closely bonded kids I’ve ever met, sweet and loving to his dad and me, and incredibly over-protective of his new brother.

      It’s taken me three years to get to the point of being comfortable with my decisions without the social guilt I’d picked up from AP. As such, I highly resent the implied assumption that thoughtful parenting decisions that diverge from AP ideology are unnatural or unhealthy. I’m raising thriving children, and _that_ is what matters…NOT whether I adhere to a rigid parenting ideology to which others ascribe that primarily caused my family a lot of grief and guilt.

      • crazy grad mama

        “I highly resent the implied assumption that thoughtful parenting decisions that diverge from AP ideology are unnatural or unhealthy.”—yes yes yes yes yes yes yes.

        (I don’t have anything coherent to add, just commenting to say THIS SO MUCH.)

    • fiftyfifty1

      “rather than in a dark room”
      Isn’t it dark in utero? If dark is bad, maybe we had better find a way to send in a fiber optic cable?

      • Bugsy

        I can see it now: the modern uterus…complete w/ Wi-Fi & Facebook connections!

        • Roadstergal

          “We are live-streaming our natural childbirth from both ends.”

      • Sherri McInnis

        I meant being left ALONE in a dark room. Baby is used to be connected at the mother’s very core. Being born and being alone is an idea someone came up with. It’s an idea that goes agains instincts of mothers and babies in many cases.

        • fiftyfifty1

          ” It’s an idea that goes agains instincts of mothers and babies”
          How would you know if it went against their instincts?
          If a baby is sleeping happily and soundly all night in his or her crib and waking with smiles, and mom and dad are sleeping well and waking happy and refreshed…is that a sign that things are “against their instincts” or not?

          • KarenJJ

            And even if it’s not sleeping through the night and someone comes and gives it a cuddle and a feed and bub falls back asleep in its cot, does it feel alone? Or cared for?

          • Amy M

            When my boys were infants, they didn’t do much besides sleep and eat. They would fuss if they got hungry or cold or whatever, but (luckily!) they weren’t especially fussy babies. So I would feed them, and they’d fall back asleep, and I’d put them somewhere safe—could be the bassinet in the living room or one of their cribs or whatever and they’d sleep on. They clearly were not bothered by any of the locations they ended up in, regardless of time of day or how much light. They also seemed fine with the fact that I wasn’t necessarily in the room. True, they were usually right by each other, but they certainly weren’t caring for each other.

        • Sue

          Does a fetus even KNOW that they are “connected at the mother’s very core”.

          Being born is “an idea someone came up with”? Huh? What is the alternative?

        • Tiffany Aching

          The thing is, teaching you child to become able to survive and thrive without being “connected” with his parents all the time IS what education is about.

    • FEDUP MD

      My son hated co sleeping. He slept happily (and longer) in his own room with no crying at the age of 4 months. He cried if you held him even while trying to go to sleep, he wanted full motion and body control. I guess he is just unnatural and unhealthy. I’ll have to tell him when I see him, he’s just off teaching himself to read in the other room at 4 years old.

    • Who?

      Tell us about them-studies, reviews for a start.

      And advise the clear benefits, separated from the benefits of parental education and wealth, at 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 3 years and school entry.

      I take it, with these proven benefits, you can look at a group of three year olds and reliably assess which ones were raised which way?

    • Perhaps this is true when humans were in more natural habitats – sleeping in less than warm and dry places, eating less than ideal diets, and being at risk of predation. In a modern home with heating, clean water and free of pests, it becomes far more debateable. What is perhaps most unnatural is not to have an extended network of family to share the parenting responsibilities with…

    • Montserrat Blanco

      So, how did the insects you had yesterday for lunch tasted???? And what are you doing on the internet??? And how much time does it take you to get to work walking barefooted????? As you are a Natural Life defendant… I assumed you live like we did in the African savannah…