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Jun 25 2014

The Dark Side of Dr. Sears

By at 4:15 pm

dr-sears

My little sister is pregnant. This is a big deal. A HUGE deal. It’s what we’ve all been waiting for for years.

So, I do what I do every time someone dear is about to become a mother. I go online and find the Dr. Sears parenting books.

Thoughts of my sister as a beautiful, natural mother dance through my head as I search. I see her clothed in a long white dress, a perfect pink infant wrapped close to her heart as she nurses her in a garden of roses. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 23 2014

Ask a Sleep Coach: Single Mom With Two Sleepless Tots

By at 10:10 am

single-mom-sleep-training

Dear Batya,

I have a 3.5-year-old and 8.5-month-old. The baby is waking and feeding every two hours. Everyone says to try and cry it out which I can’t do. Others say I’m feeding him too often. I try not to pick him up unless necessary. I just lay my hand on him. I’m getting very sleep deprived as my husband (of 19 years) just left me and I don’t have anyone else to help me. Will he learn to sleep on his own with time or do I have to teach him? People say I need to be stronger with him. I am trying to follow Attachment Parenting. He slept with me until he was 6 months old and always woke up happy. It’s difficult now because the older child comes in and wakes us as there’s no husband anymore to go to. Please help.

All the coffee, vitamin pills, energy drinks, and pick-me-ups in the world won’t help if you are chronically deprived of sleep. Sleep deprivation is hard to handle, and can negatively take a toll on other aspects of your life as well. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 18 2013

Sleep Training Gets a Bad Rap

By at 2:13 pm

sleep

After reading Mayim Bialik’s recent article on why she disagrees with sleep training, I felt I had to write a response to show everyone the second side of the sleep-deprived coin.

I want to start out by saying that I think Mayim’s take on parenting is so refreshing and honest. She is so in tune with herself and what her needs are as a mother–which is the single most important aspect in parenting our children. I am not writing this response to “battle” anything she has written, or to contribute to the “Mommy Wars” that exists today. I just want every mother to feel true to herself…

Unfortunately, sleep training has a very negative connotation these days. It is often wrongly associated with leaving Baby to cry for endless hours alone, leaving him emotionally and physically traumatized. Although there are many methods out there, amongst them are also gentle, holistic ideas. Sleep training doesn’t always mean teaching your baby how to sleep. It also means teaching your baby when to sleep or how to become less irritable. There are so many factors included in the blanket of helping improve sleep habits that I could write a 20-page article alone just discussing that!

But don’t worry, I won’t bore you. I also won’t spend time addressing what sleep training is in more detail. I just want to share my thoughts on why it isn’t necessarily a disciplined, last-resort measure. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 19 2012

Why I Stopped Calling Myself an Attachment Parent

By at 1:07 pm

According to Dr. Sears, the person who originally coined the term attachment parenting in his popular books about child rearing, “attachment parenting is a style of caring for your infant that brings out the best in the baby and the best in the parents.”

“Well, sign me up!” was my first thought when I read this eight years ago when my second daughter was just an itty-bitty thing. Who doesn’t want to bring out the best in their baby and themselves? There was no question! I had tried other parenting methods, but this one promised something far more important to me than a baby who can learn the alphabet by aged 2 or a baby who sleeps 10 straight hours a night. This method seemed to be promising me a baby who was not only happy, but who would have a life of healthy self-esteem and self-confidence–something I never had. I quickly recalled how painfully shy and awkward I was as a child, then I got online and ordered myself a sling. Read the rest of this entry →

May 18 2012

What I Don’t Get About Attachment Parenting

By at 1:13 pm
cloth diapers

Do I get bonus points for using cloth diapers?

I think I may be missing the point.

I’ve been reading up on attachment parenting and caught Dr. Sears on TV the other day. Besides the fact that “attachment mothering” seems a more apt description, most of what it describes seems fairly sensible, if, to my way of thinking, not absolutely necessary. Looking back, I guess I practiced most of this method without calling it AP, or even knowing of such a thing 20-plus years ago. This method of parenting infants fit my style and value system and I was home full-time. I did hold my babies when they seemed to need holding, tried to learn to understand their cries, breastfed, co-slept (it was so much easier for night feedings), and didn’t let my infants “cry it out at night.” Heck, I even used cloth diapers through 3 ½ kids! Read the rest of this entry →

May 16 2012

Dr. Sears Made Me Cry

By at 10:42 am

I yelled at my daughter this morning. She’s not even 2, and I yelled at her. More than once. Even as I was doing it, I knew that I shouldn’t be raising my voice, that I didn’t want to be responding to her that way. I knew that my yelling was not only ineffective, but it was hurtful, and not the way I want to parent my daughters.

And yet, I couldn’t help myself.

I have all sorts of excuses, reasons, whatever you want to call them.  My husband is traveling for work this week, and I’m stressed out by solo parenting and my own work demands. I’m getting over a cold. It’s raining. I was up three times in the middle of the night with her sister, before being awakened at 5 am for the morning. My new diet is stressing me out. I hadn’t had my coffee. She wasn’t behaving well, and I did ask nicely several times. Blah blah blah. Read the rest of this entry →

May 1 2012

Motherhood Vs. Feminism: Join the Debate with Mayim

By at 3:52 pm

motherhood vs. feminismThe New York Times “Room for Debate” section has tackled a topic near and dear to many of our readers’ hearts: Has women’s obsession with being the perfect mother destroyed feminism?

Among the featured debaters (along with Erica Jong and Bringing up Bebe author Pamela Druckerman) is Mayim Bialik, who argues that attachment parenting goes hand in hand with feminism.

What do you think? Can you be a feminist attachment parent? Read Mayim’s full debate here and then throw in your own two cents.

Feb 20 2012

What if You Want to Attach, But Can’t?

By at 2:56 pm

With Mayim’s book about attachment parenting coming out soon, I have been reflecting on my own mother’s experience. She has kindly agreed to let me write about her ordeal and I want to thank her for allowing me to share her story. (Please note that my interpretation of the events and the conclusions I have drawn are entirely my own). Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 5 2011

Attached to the Baby Nest

By at 1:12 pm

I’m fortunate in many ways, but one of the ways is that I happen to have terrific siblings. One of them was kind enough to have had her baby girl approximately 46 hours after I had mine. It was very thoughtful of her, as it means that I have a buddy with whom to go on the physical and emotional Slip and Slide of new motherhood.  I mean, sure, each of us has friends…but there’s just no one with whom you can discuss vaginal health with the same degree of intimacy as you can with a sister. Actually, she blogs about the state of her post-birth vagina to an unseen audience of hundreds if not more, but let’s move on.

I live in a place famed for its mall. It’s a coincidence: my family was here on these suburban streets long before the mall really wielded its fame and fortune.  It’s a fancypants mall where you can find, among other assorted goodies, baby clothes that cost more than I’d spend on an outfit for myself. But I speak of it not in terms of its Xanadu consumerist delights, but rather as a walking venue.

My sister and I decided that on the summer days that are hotter than hot, we’d go for a stroll in the mall with the wee ones. When you are three weeks out from having pushed out a kid, this is what is considered “rigorous exercise.” Yes, I’m aware of how pathetic it is to be lapped around the concourse by the speedy-looking 80 year old who applies makeup with a spatula, but that’s how things are at the moment. It’s a sorry state of affairs. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 28 2011

Mayim Bialik Not Done Defending Attachment Parenting

By at 10:41 am

Mayim Bialik with her two sons.

Jordana’s manifesto of the “normal” mom just trying to be happy sums up exactly what my point has been all along: our culture does not value parents being at home and we are not taught to see parenting the way our bodies tell us to as natural, normal, or fulfilling.

With all due respect, each of us do the best we can with the resources, support, and education available to us. Breastfeeding is the recognized best way to feed and nourish your baby. Wearing your baby, keeping them close to you, and cosleeping are things that facilitate breastfeeding. That’s just a fact. That’s why lactation consultants suggest it. Giving “an ounce or two” of formula historically and statistically leads to more formula, less demand at the breast, less milk being made, and eventual weaning. That’s why lactation consultants warn against it. That’s also a fact.

I don’t feel the need to combat every point Jordana makes. I mean, I do, but I choose not to.  It astounds me that mainstream “conventional” parents get to devalue the very things that got mammals here, while if I were to post the equivalent, I would be accused of being self-righteous and judgmental.

The majority parenting style clearly gets the upper hand here and cries “judgment” when someone nurses, holds, or spends “more” time with their babies than others. Not all things are the same. That doesn’t make one choice better than the other, but to insist that we equate all choices as equal is, frankly, silly.

I will stop here and let you wait for my book to come out in March. My goal is to place attachment parenting in an historical and neurobiological context while allowing for everyone to make choices that work for them after being educated about why many of us “espouse” attachment parenting.

I also hope that we can put our country’s parenting trends in their proper perspective: a capitalist country emphasizes work, productivity, and wealth. Countries that emphasize natural birth, paid maternity and paternity leave and a culture of helping women see being at home as a legitimate and fulfilling job have their priorities where I want mine. And I hope we can get there.

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