What is Attachment Parenting?

After all these years of writing about attachment parenting on this Web site, it dawned on me a few days ago that we’ve never actually defined the phrase “attachment parenting”. This point was reinforced when a new friend of mine commented that he’d read through the articles on this site, but that he still didn’t really get what attachment parenting actually was, even though he agreed completely on what it appeared we were using as our basic approach to parenting.
And so, let us define what we mean when we talk about attachment parenting — a phrase that we didn’t coin, by the way. I think William and Martha Sears, authors of The Attachment Parenting Book, might have come up with it, but in any case, it’s a good name for our general philosophy of parenting!
First off, the main elements of attachment parenting to us are: extended breast feeding, co-sleeping, non-violence towards children, and carrying or otherwise being with babies (especially newborns) every hour of the day. You can tell us attachment parenting types, actually, by the slings we use to tote our babies. 🙂

Underlying these ideas is the basic philosophy that parenting is about really loving each stage of your child’s life, from newborn to toddler, infant to kid, child to teen.
Rather than push newborns into a crib and separate room as fast as possible, attachment parenting folk believe that newborns and babies need to be as close to their parents as possible, even throughout the night. We believe that newborns even learn healthy sleeping and breathing patterns from sleeping close to their parents at night.
We, as well as the other AP parents we know, have had the experience of co-sleeping with a young newborn only to have them stop breathing for an increasingly noticeable period of time. If one of the parents takes a deep breath, in all cases it prompted the baby to breathe again and the breath rhythm was reestablished. Overall, we prefer to cuddle, hold, play with, and generally interact with our little babies as much as possible, day and night.
Pushing children to become independent from the earliest possible age is a definite trend in our society and has been for decades. Attachment parents don’t aspire to have our children become so independent so quickly.
Pushing independence from such a young age also tends to sever the deep attachment a child needs to feel with his or her parents, a connection that forms the foundation of trust and attachment for the rest of his or her life.
I can remember about six years ago a pal of mine telling me proudly how he and his wife had traveled to France for two weeks and that their five and eight year old children didn’t even miss them. He was proud of how independent they were. Me? I was horrified: while I want my kids to be independent and able to live their own young lives, I certainly also want them to miss me, to want to see me and show me what’s important to them every single day, to know that I’m there to protect and love them.
But it’s what we see as this “pushing away” trend that us attachment parenting folk are fighting. Name any element of parenting and I can show you how there’s an element of separation involved. From the shorter and shorter times that women breastfeed to the use of strollers instead of carrying babies, to cribs and separate nurseries at earlier and earlier ages.
We go even further from the mainstream by embracing Waldorf education too, and the anti-media philosophy that is a common underpinning of Waldorf. The truth is that our kids watch some TV (mostly at restaurants) but never in our house. Total TV and movie time, annually, for our kids? Probably 5-10 hours total. But that’s another long posting…
Are there challenges to attachment parenting? Oh yeah, there’s no question that it’s probably a lot more difficult than following the more contemporary parenting approach of TV and video game as babysitter, kids pushed into their own rooms as soon as possible, nannies, au pairs, childcare in lieu of having a parent at home with the children, etc., but for us, at least, this is the path that resonates with our hearts, that illuminates what we’re trying to accomplish on this most important of journeys, the journey to create a whole, responsible, engaged, loving adult.
Or, in our case, three.

136 comments on “What is Attachment Parenting?

  1. I can see that you love your kids. While I don’t necessarily agree with everything you say, I appreciate the priority you give them in your lives. I totally agree with you media stand-point. I must confess my kids watch a little more than 10 hours a day. The time is still structured and strategic, though. They don’t sit mindlessly in front of it and we’re usually there making them interact with the shows. Thanks for the definition.

  2. Without even meaning to I do attchment parenting. I breastfed for almost two years, she weened herself. My daughter spent her first 5 or 6 months in bed with me. For a short while she slept in her crib but came back to bed with me at a year and some odd months (she is three now).
    She does watch more tv than I would like but that is parcially my fault, for teaching her how to use the DVD player and also buying DVDs I thought were cute. *shrug*
    I grew up very differently, after six months I was cared for by a siter who took care of three or so kids other than me and I went into daycare after than. I didn’t think I would do it differently but I went went back to work (kicking and screaming) three days after her first birthday and came back home six months before her third birthday. As hard as it is I am trying my best to be a stay at home (work from home) mom even though I am a single mom. I believe it to be the best thing for her and me. She benefits from having this one on one time. She has the rest of her life to be crammed in a class with 20 or so other kids. She gets to do things on her own time and at her own pace. But it’s not for everyone.
    I’m glad that I am able to do attatchment parenting. :0)

  3. This is an excellent definition, and I appreciate your posting it, Dave.
    I would say, “That sounds like a lot of work!” However, if you’re passionate about something — and especially if you have someone to share that passion with — then it doesn’t really feel so much like work.
    I appreciate your willingness to speak up about such a personal topic, especially since your approach to parenting isn’t exactly mainstream in Amercian culture.
    At the BlogHer conference for female bloggers this past weekend, it was a real eye-opener for me to learn how many “mommybloggers” (women who blog about their experiences with motherhood and parenting) routinely get criticized, flamed, or threatened by total strangers simply for explaining their views and approaches to parenting. Amazingly, parenting can be an incredibly volatile issue in public discourse, since people often hold strong (even rigid) opinions on the matter.
    For instance, several “mommybloggers” reported routinely being told, in public and private, by people who don’t even know them, that they’re terrible parents, they’re destorying their kids’ lives, and even that they should have their kids removed by Social Services.
    Some people really need to get a grip.
    Anyway, I’m glad to know a bit more about how you and Linda approach a matter that is so central to your lives. I’ve learned something here today. Even though I’m not a parent, by choice.
    – Amy Gahran

  4. Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Amy. I’ve seen some debate on this weblog, but nothing like what you’re reporting. Unless someone is blogging about consciously torturing or abusing their children, Ii would say that some folk need to just subscribe to different weblogs… But I believe that people are by nature critical and judgmental, and that we have to work at it, to consciously want to grow beyond that, to become what I consider a fully realized human being. To me: Different is good. Judgment is bad.

  5. Nice definition. Your weblog (I have been viewing it for the last two months or so)has given me a very clear-cut vision of how my wife and I have been raising our kids. We live in Japan, where attachment parenting is traditional (though perhaps no longer “mainstream”). I had always felt very much on the defensive about our child-raising style whenever my Kiwi parents or relatives started telling us how we “should” be raising our kids. To be honest, I had never thought much about it until my wife just naturally started bringing them up her way. Now, however, I am used to it, and couldn’t imagine any other lifestyle, although it is “a lot of work” as mentioned above.
    Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for giving me a clear definition and vision of my family’s lifestyle. I didn’t even know there was a word for it till I found your weblog on Yahoo!

  6. Well said! I’ve always been glad to see AP having such a wide reach through your blog. I also want to recommend the website of the Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children for an extremely articulate description of this same approach (the abridged versions of the principles and practices are a good place to start, at http://www.atlc.org).
    The connection between attachment parenting and Waldorf education is also easy to understand–parents who are concerned about their child’s balanced development (head, heart and hands) are naturally drawn to the Waldorf approach. So many AP parents end up involved in Waldorf schools or doing Waldorf home schooling–I would think the vast majority of parents at your Waldorf school have raised their children more like the way you’ve described than the more “traditional” way!
    When asked about education, Rudolf Steiner recognized the importance of familiarity and “bonding” even for school-aged children by suggesting that the same “main lesson” teacher stay with the children from first through eighth grade. During Steiner’s time it was normal for young children to be at home with their mothers, so the home became the model for the kindergarten (and now it is serving as the model for transforming childcare programs, through the LifeWays approach).
    Because extended breast-feeding and co-sleeping were no-longer cultural norms at the beginning of the last century, some of what has come down as “Steiner says” is is more the result of culture-bound interpretations by middle European pediatricians from the 1930s….but the indications he shared about the developing child certainly transformed my home life!
    –Rahima Baldwin Dancy, midwife and author of You Are Your Child’s First Teacher, http://www.waldorfinthehome.com.

  7. I turned to your blog for some support, it’s comforting to relate with your definition of AP and raising your own babies to become a trusting, caring and loving adults. AP is in my heart and have been practicing it with our first baby(now 5 months old. My babies emotional and physical needs are top priority. It’s funny, I am constantly being questioned by family and friends: Is she in her crib yet? Is she eating solids yet, have you let her cry it out? At times, I can’t believe what I am hearing! It’s great to connect with others who find AP the natural way to raise your child. Thanks for sharing your Blog.

  8. I’m so glad to read of others with similar parenting styles. I am the mother of a high need 3 month old(she is my first) and find attachment parenting natural. But it is so frustrating when others (even my husband) don’t understand. Its like they think all babies are the same and should be trained like dogs! To be convenient for adults. I get so sick of people saying “she is so spoiled already” because I hold my baby alot and I dont let her cry herself to sleep. Why is society in such a hurry to make babies independent? Personally I cherish every moment I can spend with my baby as time goes so quickly and soon she will not want me to hold her. I will be turning to this site for support and encouragement. Thanks.

  9. I hear you loud and clear, Adrienne, and have to wonder about people worried about babies being “spoiled”. It’s a sad commentary that holding your baby or wanting them to not cry for extended periods is viewed as a negative parenting skill, not a positive one.

  10. My husband and I happily practice attachment parenting. I get lots of smiles and comments about my sling, with an appropriate pin attached that says “Yes! I like being squished like this!” that’s what really gets the laughs going. We have had wonderful “results” in the 9 months that we have been parents, and we hope that our son grows up happy and secure after having wonderful attached relationships with us. I hope to spread attachment parenting just by being an example, and when people comment on what a good baby he is, I tell them why!

  11. I have a question. I have a child and I have to go back to work early, will day care affect my child’s bonding of attachment from me?

  12. Jenny, if you’re going to spend your non-work hours with your child and really pay attention to them, and if you find a good day care facility where they’ll be playing and offering a lot of kinesthetic interaction, I’m sure everything will work out just fine. Good luck!

  13. Although this sounds like a great idea for raising a baby; could you tell me if there are limits for the Family Bed practice? How do you feel about an opposite sex parent continuing to sleep with a child until age 6? I have an acquaintance that claims she is practicing a “family bed” with her son now that she is divorced. Would this be more acceptable if the child was the same sex?

  14. Rhea, I don’t see anything wrong or problematic with a parent still sleeping with a 6yo, but very soon I think it would be time for the child to move into their own bed and sleeping space. Otherwise I worry that the sleeping arrangement is more so the single parent doesn’t feel lonely in bed and that’s where it could ostensibly start to become unhealthy for the family.

  15. Dave, I read you article on AP for the first time today (was browsing blogs and accidentally came across the postings) and I think you have done a wonderful job of defining it and elaborating with the example of your family.
    I am a dad of a 22month old boy and have been practising a self-improvised form of AP this past couple of years. I am from the East where AP is a norm and my wife is from the West where as you correctly said, the stress is on teaching independence and accelerating the maturity of the child. Luckily for me my wife also agrees with me on the importance of AP and understands that how you ‘treat’ a child now greatly influences how the child will ‘treat’ you when he/she becomes a teenager and beyond. But being from widely different cultures is where our improvisation comes in.
    Our son stayed in the crib for the first few months and then at about 5 months started co-sleeping with us. The reason for this late start is that, even though I am a total supporter of AP, I also understand that certain concerns raised in West are valid – for example, SIDS or hurting the baby involuntarily. Having said that, I wouldn’t trade the co-sleeping regardless of what anyone says (a few months back when I said that our baby co-sleeps with us, one of our friends was horrified:-) ). In addition to the bonding aspect between the child and the parents, my own perspective is that AP in general and activities like co-sleeping allows the kid to grow confidence within themseleves and start to build the trust-factor with their parents. Even at 20 months, when my son picked up something from the ground or gets injured, he comes to me and tells me about it. The reason — he inherently trusts that I would do the right thing for him.
    A month ago, we started sending our son to day care. Again, this is a slight deviation from the traditional AP. I am of the strong opinion that the child should be with the parent at least for the first year or so. However, by the time the child is about 2 years, they recognize their parents and has developed the basic foundation of trust and love discussed above. From this point on what matters is the ‘quality’ of time spent with the child and not necessarily the ‘quantity’. I believe (and this is my personal opinion), that sending the kid to day care or having a nanny from this point on in no way changes the basic premise of AP. This so because when the kids comes back from day care, we(the parents) are there to recieve him and listen to his adventures and reinforce or trim the learnings. In fact, from this age, contact with other kids of similar age allows the kid to learn abstract concepts like ‘sharing’ faster than just being by himself.
    And this brings me to the last thing for now – the education system (I know, I have been rambling a while now:-). ). Like AP, I have decided to mix and match the educational methods for our kids (Again partly because of the duality between the East/West culture in my family). While I agree that there are a lot of merits to the Waldorf education, I am also of the opinion that other systems like Montessori also has certain strenths that can be brought in whenever appropriate. Just taking these two systems in particular (there are others), Waldorf is great for fueling the imagination and thinking capacities and letting the child explore new boundaries; but then, the Montessori process is useful in letting the child ‘apply’ some of that imagination in a more structured environment (which is more close to reality, since life is full of contraints in some form or other).
    Anyway, thought I will post my 2 bits. I read a few other articles on this blog and greatly enjoyed it. Great work Dave.

  16. For those looking for more information, my husband and I just picked up Dr. Sears’ “The Baby Book”, in anticipation of our first baby’s arrival this November. Dr. Sears says that until recently, no, there wasn’t a name for this parenting style, simply because it was the commonsense method that anyone would use if left to rely on our own healthy instincts. But there have been so many other parenting methods sold out there (a word I use deliberately) that it became necessary to put a name to Attachment Parenting just so you could talk about it!
    Digging through The Baby Book, here are the seven foundation concepts to AP:
    1. Birth Bonding – Connect with your baby early
    2. Belief in your baby’s cries – read and respond to your baby’s cues
    3. Breastfeed your baby
    4. Babywearing – Carry your baby a lot
    5. Bedding close to baby
    6. Balance and boundaries
    7. Beware of “Baby Trainers”
    His explanation of #2 really opened my eyes; even though I planned to do a lot of these things anyway, I hadn’t realized just how deep my assumptions ran that babies are these passive little critters you do things TO, not highly developed human beings you do things WITH. When baby cries, and you respond, you BOTH learn; you learn how to respond to baby’s needs, and she learns hot to more effectively communicate what her needs are. Blows my mind!
    And #7 seems to be what a lot of you are talking about. Baby training involves the whole scheduled feeding, planned nurturing, “don’t spoil”, watch out for manipulation THING. It aims to make babies more convenient… and I’m sorry, but my response to that is that appliances are meant to be “convenient”. You schedule maintenance. Babies are meant to be human beings.
    Finally, #6 is what a lot of the critics of attachment parenting point to as a justification to train babies. Oh, they say, you’re giving too much, you’re going to wear yourself out paying all that attention to the baby. Sure, AP takes more effort – so what? No one is saying you have to be a martyr, and no one is saying that you attend to the baby’s needs at the expense of your own. Your baby needs a healthy, rested, responsive parent more than she needs an exhausted, frazzled, burned-out parent.
    Personally, I don’t know yet whether I’ll end up agreeing with the authors of this website on every point… but again, so what? The idea is that my husband and I respond to our baby in our own way, and develop our own style. In return, our baby will respond to us, and trust us to care for her, and learn to trust her place in the world and her worth as a human being, and develop her own style.
    Now, how cool is that?
    Cheers, y’all.

  17. It’s great to see people who truly want their children to feel cherished. My in laws, while truly great people, treat me like a hippie freak because I breastfeed my new baby-they get over it when the child is weaned. (like my 3 older children) but with my new baby, I am expected to go into another room to feed him.
    I have also been bombarded with “You’re spoiling him by holding him all the time” comments. I think a baby is held in the womb for his first 9 months-he NEEDS to be held for at least the next 9 months. He is 5 weeks old, and he knows how I look and how I smell-he needs me near him, and I need to be near him too. I can’t see rushing him into growing up-he’ll never be this little and cuddly again-why rush through? People who do that are running full speed through Disneyworld-do they stop to enjoy the rides? no. They just dash through in an effort to get it done. I stop and enjoy every single ride.
    As far as co-sleeping, my husband and I understand the need of a baby to be close to us-even at night. We did buy a snuggle nest, but the baby wants to nurse and cuddle all night-not sleep in a box. For those non believers-MY breastfed baby sleeps ALL night! Seems to be working for us!
    Thanks again for this informative and important website!!

  18. It’s funny,before my daughter was born,i believed very strongly that babies should sleep in their own beds and learn to be independant beings right away.I was induced a week before my due date because they were very concerned that my baby was too small and seemed to have stopped growing(she turned out a whole pound bigger than they thought,she was 6 pounds,9 ounces and now at 2 months she is 14 pounds and exclusively breastfed thank you vey much!).When she came out she wasn’t breathing and continued to choke for the next 2 days.When I brought her home i couldn’t let her sleep in her crib at night or during the day because I was so scared she would choke that Iwould get up to look at her every 30 seconds.So at night she sleeps with me(which makes nursing very easy)and during the day she sleeps in my arms,in her bouncy seat,or Igo take a nap with her.Herfather has no involvement in her life so this now seems like the right and more peaceful for me decision.My parents(I still live with my mom)think she should start sleeping her her crib but I think I’ll let her take her time,I get more sleep this way and so does she.

  19. All along I thought I was the one off the mark. My husband and I though we both work full time, and have a child in school(formerly daycare) spend as much free time as we can with our child. Since we both work fulltime and must for financial reasons, we are parents who have chosen only to have one child in order to make sure she gets all of her emotional needs met. I am hearing imapaired and as a result can not wear my hearing aids sleeping. Since her birth I had her sleeping next too me or the crib next to me with my arm resting on her hand at all times. Well as you can see as she got older I then started letting her sleep in our bed or my husband and I would take turns sleeping by her side. You can imagine, now that she is five that other parents who hear this are horrified. I tell them all the time, that even if I could hear I would still want that time with her. One person in a previous remark echo’s my view, “someday she won’t want me to hold her anymore.” I will take all I can get now. My husband and I rarely take an evening to ourselves and believe that spending as much time with her now is necessary. We will have plenty of alone time when she moves on to college and her own family some day. As for the T.V. comments in the afore mentioned responses. My husband and I do let our daughter watch about 2hrs of t.v. a week and that includes if we allow a video. Generally they are educational materials, but I believe there are plenty of other activities we can spend our time on with our children that are fundamentally better for all three of us. God Bless.

  20. Thanks Linda and Dave. It’s great to have some reinforcement. I have a three year old angel, and before she was born I was all set to be the perfect modern mother, back to work at six weeks, no child in my bed – ever, and my child would behave perfectly in all situations. Hah!!! My perfect baby had severe colic and silent reflux. She slept no longer than 40 minutes (day or night) and screamed most of the time she was awake.
    As a result, I held her all day and all night, modified my diet dramatically and breast fed her until she weaned herself just after she turned two.
    Now my angel’s three, she still sleeps with me every night (and I love it), and I’m very happily an at home mum – no going back to work.
    Our social circle has changed a lot. It’s quite sad how the majority of society shun AP when it is the natural way.
    In the first days of my daughter’s life my attitudes changed dramatically, and for that I am greatful. She is a beautiful child, not at all naughty, full of life and vitality and never even looked like going through the “terrible twos”. I really believe this has a lot to do with constant physical contact when she was a baby and complete trust that I am there for her – always.
    The more people (not just parents) who are reassured and reminded of the benefits of Attachment Parenting the better!

  21. First of all i just want to asy thank you for this article because it has been very hard to even find articles about this. And I always am close to my son my fiance too and I just do what I feel is right and what is natural for me….little did I realize that I am attachment parenting! And I love it! My son is growing fast and very healthy and I no he has all the love in the world for his mommy and daddy and I will definetly do this with every child-it just feels right! Thank You Again!

  22. Hi i just want to say that attached parenting as far as the sleep side is crazy. Who in their right mind wants to be awake all the time, grouchy and irritable?? My son who was a big baby slept through the night oh his own at 8 weeks WITHOUT crying it out at all. he learned that he did not need feeding, rocking, coddling,c ar rides, stroller rides, etc to fall asleep. Downside is he wont sleep anywhere but his crib..so that if we go away we have trouble! Now in the day..i always had him near me in a sling..he has never been away from me once at all with a sitter or anyone…so are you telling me that I am not showing him enough attachment just because I let him sleep through the night on his own? I think that all people with this attached parenting mindset are basically stuck up and rude. I have yet to find a person who is non judgemental of me at all in the fact that I let my baby and my family get some sleep at night. And i never endangered my child. He is now 2 and sleeps from 7pm to 7am in his own room still in his crib and his daddy and i are happy and rested parents…not like the parents i know of ap..all arguing and fighting because they arent sleeping. i think the advice given to these parents especially new to ap is wrong and hurtful to their marriage. It makes me so angry to see these people being brainwashed.

  23. Interesting response, Mom22. Sounds like you have some pent-up guilt about your son’s sleeping arrangement, but I really can’t see where you should feel any sort of judgement from either me or any other AP parent on this site. In fact, it sounds to me like you’re a great Mom, very plugged in to your son, and figuring out a family arrangement that works for all of you. Congrats!
    Grumbly AP parents who are fighting all the time are clearly not selecting the correct parenting style for their lives / sleep needs / relationship, but AP certainly doesn’t have a corner on that particular problem: I know of parents with a wide variety of parenting styles who fight, split up, get divorced, etc etc.

  24. Hi it seems I have proven my point about the attitutes of ap believers by you..you said *Interesting response, Mom22. Sounds like you have some pent-up guilt about your son’s sleeping arrangement*..hmmmmm that sounds judgemental to me! Why,because I think that sleeping through the night is excellent in a babys/childs health and growth development..not to mention the mom and dads mental health…must that mean I have *pent up guilt?* This is the mindset I was talking about that makes me angry. I have no problem with the attached parenting ideas..however I just think that people who are depriving themselves of sleep..something that is nature intended are crazy. Can I ask you..if co sleeping was not working for your family..and you and your wife were not functioning would you give in and let your child into their own room? Your answer will not surprise me. These co sleepers that have this attitude of its this or nothing is what makes me angry. They think they are right and nothing else could even begin to creep into their way of thinking. I just do not like to see people suffer and I have seen lots of ap parents struggling because they think its wrong for thier children to get a good nights sleep in their own bed. People like you, dr. sears, and a few other *cult* leaders, as I would call you are brainwashing poor people who need true guidance. I hope I have not offended you, as that is not my intention, I just don’t understand that way of thinking.

  25. I was Googling “Attachment Parenting” for an essay I am writing and stumbled on this blog.
    In retrospect, we were attachment parents, and so were most of our friends and acquaintances back then. I nursed them till they weaned themselves well past age 3, they ended up in our bed, and were generally not thwarted much till they were old enough to reason with.
    The time was the seventies and early eighties,
    the place a neighborhood of “back-to-the-landers”
    aka hippies.
    There was no particular dogma involved, it was just easier that way. We all got more sleep!
    Both my grown kids are terrific adults with iron
    immune systems persuing academic careers.
    But. Both kids, and the other kids I knew who
    were raised this way, skipped the terrible twos and had the terrible almost-fours instead.
    A period when they were incredibly whiny and fussy and anxious to control the silliest details in life.
    Has anyone else experienced that?
    With the brilliance of hindsight I can see that they were suffering from “Omnipotent Child Syndrome”. At some point the indulged baby has
    to be trained to be an acceptable member of society. The time has come for the parents to be a bit more firm and set some boundaries.
    I used to be so terrified of scarring the tender
    little psyches that they got away with, well,
    not murder, but a lot of misbehaving.
    The oldest child picked up good manners anyhow.
    The youngest one did not. His tantrums terrorized
    the household more than was desirable. He was
    later “diagnosed” with ADD. (that is a whole other topic.)
    Eventually I stumbled on the work of Dr Thomas Millar, “The Omnipotent Child”.
    The gist of it: Once a child realizes the world does not revolve around him, he has to let go of
    the illusion of omnipotence. This is a necessary
    developmental task.
    Ideally, the child learns to trust that the parent will stand between him and this big scary world.
    If the parent is a pushover (because too many psychologist have scared ordinary instincts
    out of her) then the child cannot feel safe.
    In order for the child to feel safe, to develop
    basic trust, he has to fight a few battles with
    the parents, and THEY HAVE TO WIN.
    This book is highly recommended as a balance to
    the wonderful world of attachment parenting.
    I wish I had known about it earlier, and hope this is useful to someone.
    There is a website:http://omnipotentchild.com

  26. Ien, I check this site once in a while and I came across your comments yesterday. I couldn’t agree with you more that at some point the child needs to develop the necessary skills and confidence to fight his or her own battles. The key is how to go about imparting those to your child without going to either extremes.
    I also happen to read a few earlier comments and I feel that many people are missing the point. In the end it is not about attachment parenting or about getting enough sleep or anything else. One can’t blame attachment parenting for their personal issues or if their child grows up to be unruly (one cannot take the excuse of not following ap either for any issues).
    There are a million philosophies and theories on how to bring up your child. The challenge is not to pick one and stick with it — the real challenge is in identifying what works best for you and your kid and customizing the best from various philosophies for you and your family. When your child grows up to a confident, well-mannered and well-liked teenager, others are going to care less on what process you took; they are going to congratulate you on what a wonderful job you did.

  27. I find this interesting. I am really just beginning to consider parenting philosophies. I wonder- Are there any adults out there who grew up with this kind of parenting who can speak to their experiences? Also, When we teach by example, and hope our children will at some point explore on their own, or honor their own quiet and private time, how do we get time for ourselves? What behavior will they model? Thanks…

  28. Bravo….I am just finding out about attachment parenting although I have practiced it for years with my 13 yr old and my 5 year old. I didn’t know there was a name for it and a whole methodology. I just did what I thought was right. Co sleep, breastfeed, baby wear, being in touch with my childrens needs/feelings/wants/ etc.. And after reading some of the comments on this article, I just want to add that my children SLEPT better in my bed than they did in the crib…that worked for me. My youngest daughter slept thru the night in the hospital…because she was in bed with me. She slept from 8 pm to after 6 am. She learned that she did not need feeding, rocking, coddling, car rides, stroller rides, etc to fall asleep either. She was just more comfortable sharing the warmth and being next to the person that carried her for 9 months….seems a natural progression to me and it worked for us. Maybe for some people it won’t work. For my older daughter, she was up every 4 hours regardless…didn’t matter where she slept, but as she approached her first birthday I brought her back into our bed and she did begin to sleep through the night. I don’t remember if it was immediately but hey, that was 13 yrs ago!
    Now that my daughter is a teenager she’s not as rowdy and out of control as the other kids. She’s not into peer pressure. She doesn’t feel pressured to have a boyfriend and do the things some of the kids are doing. She’s confident, and self assured among a sea of frightened, insecure teenagers. I mean she’s dramatic and all that but in addition, she talks to me about what’s going on in her world and about her friends….we have a closer relationship than most of the other girls do with their parents….what’s the difference? I’m the only attachment parent. I remember the looks on their faces when I met them when the kids were in kindergarten and I said my daughter still slept in our bed. I remember having to expalin a “family bed” to more than one of them. And I remmember laughing off questions of “aren’t you afraid your going to roll over her?” by saying “your husband sleeps in bed with you, do you roll over him?” I remember those parents thinking I was from another planet and just plain weird for my parenting style…..this would be the same parents who’s child just got caught grafiting the park slide and the other one that’s had 12 boyfriends in 2 months…..yeah those parents. Our teen years are soooo much easier and no doubt it’s from my daughter feeling confident and knowing her mommy was there for her. Why wouldn’t you want your kids to learn this?

  29. Thank you for this website. I’d like to recommend another excellent attachment parenting site – The Natural Child Project at http://www.naturalchild.org. They have wonderful articles by Jan Hunt, Alice Miller, Peggy O’Mara, Marshall Rosenberg, etc. Take a look!

  30. I am so excited to find this site.
    I had no idea that my parenting style had a name or anything. I have three children (10,3 1/2 and 2)and all of them I breastfed, carried around often, coslept with me and am a stay at home mother (who is debating on whether to home school her children in the future).
    I can not tell you how much slack I have gotten for all the above.
    I have a ton of opinions on this but I will try and keep it short. I think that this society is out of touch with nature’s way. Not just with parenting but in other forms as well.
    I believe there is a clear common sense to this way of raising your children. As for co sleeping: I did so with all three of my children. Infact, SIDS made me even more paranoid, and want to be close to my baby. With everyone of my children I was in a light sleep and VERY much aware of my child beside me.
    I also have a huge interest in nutrition so when I happened across a book called the super baby food book It fit perfectly for how I wanted to feed my children. I made all of their foods myself(organic) instead of buying jarred baby foods.
    I didn’t know a lot of people and it’s hard to meet peple when you have little ones (especially three of them). So I felt a sense of isolation. But was worse, was when the moms I did come across were judgemental (and even our families at time could be less then understanding) of my way of raising the children.
    Oh and don’t get me started on the whole tv thing. I have never had a tv (even before I had children) except when I was under my parents roof. So, I didn’t think twice about my children not having one. Its funny the way people react to hearing that we don’t have a tv though. The first question is always: Well, what do you do then? That always makes me giggle to myself. I think to myself, my goodness, what do YOU do with all your time?
    My children are all highly creative and active children. They are experimental and love to eat all sorts of foods.
    I wasn’t the raised the way I raised my children were. Though I wasn’t raised to just eat junk food and space out at a tv all day. Or spend my summers in daycare.
    Both my parents did work (though my mom took off every summer and took up babysitting jobs to be with us), we did have tv, and the average childhood.
    It amazed me when we moved here (we live in a huge development, with lots kids) and the first summer here, it was quiet, there was no children outside at all. They were all in daycare. That saddened me. It wasn’t like that when I was a kid.
    These kids spend all day in daycare and/or school and then shipped off to a ton activities, dinner on the go and I wonder what kind of childhood is that?
    I also wonder what effect that will have on their respect and appreciation for nature. Which could lead to future serious problems. Will they care for the enviroment and nature as they should?
    Their idea of family has to warped too. The people they spend most of their time with, learn from…
    PS> My son was colicky. Like clock work…6pm to 12am he would SCREAM! I would walk around with him the ENTIRE time NON STOP, EVERYDAY for almost 3 months (I look back sometimes and wonder how I made it through). He as well seemed to skim right over the terriable twos. Him and I have an incrediablly close relationship and bond. He is VERY well behaved!!! I get comments about it ALL the time.
    He is very sensitive and requires a lot of attention, love and closeness (not a problem though). He is just a pure sweetheart.
    My daughter on the other hand (a year and a half younger), I got very sick after I had her and had a lot going on in my life just after her birth (I was adopted and my birth parents found me just weeks after her birth…We moved just after her birth also…it was a crazy time in my life). Though I did breastfeed her, her. I didn’t get to bond with her as I did with my son. She was content laying by herself (she watched all the kids) and I didn’t get to hold her like I wanted to. She was my last child (I had my tubes tied after her) and I had planned to just sit and hold her and cherish every second of this “last” time of having a baby. (There is definately a since of quilt and sadness there, for me).
    She is now 2 years old. She is my most independant, dare devil, rambunctous child out of them all. She has definately defined “terriable twos” and we do not have that same closeness and bond that I do with the other two children. She doesn’t like to be held that much.
    She is happy though and the cutest littlest sweetheart ever 🙂
    ~ and I love her dearly.
    But I can’t help but to wonder if those first several months defined who she was.
    Okay I am totally rambling. I do apologize. I just have SO much to say on this broad subject and this is the only place I have found that was of this matter.

  31. To mom22:
    I think you are right.
    My children slept with me out of my own fears and personal preference.
    My youngest daughter preferred her crib around the age of 15mths old (when I stopped brest feeding her).
    My husband was tired of all the kids sleeping with us over the years. He was relieved when she was in her crib and no kids were in our beds.
    I think a parent should do whats best for their child AND their family. To raise their child in a way they see fit and be accepting of others ways of raising their children.
    I think that a lot of people are seeing these parents who are raising their children on “fast food” and overly processed foods diets, a lot of children being raised by daycares and school systems, that tv is filling childrens young and impressionable minds, and bounced around to one activity to another… and leaves you to wonder where are these childrens nutrition for their minds, their hearts, their bodies…
    I think that our society truely needs to look at our families. Who is truely raising them. Our value systems. and so on.
    I don’t think that all mothers have to stay at home nor do I think they should all be out in the work force. I think that our country needs to make it so that it is easier for working mothers to have their children close by (at on site daycares) and that stay at home mothers can more affordablly have the option to do so.
    But more then anything I think that we as a society need to bridge the gap and stop passing judgement.
    I also believe that older women need to pass their valued wisdom to the younger women. I think there is a lot of judgement and gap that needs bridged there too.
    By the way, You sound like a wonderful mother and respectful wife to your husband as well. 🙂

  32. PS> to mom22
    I don’t think that people “new” to ap are being brainwashed.
    I think people are trying to educate themselves on different parenting techniques. Find out what’s out there.
    I think in the end parents will do what’s in their hearts. What is comfortable and right for them and their child.
    I was brought up in the foster care system (till I was 7yrs old)…
    I applaud anyone who loves their child enough to commit to raising them for eighteen plus years and also takes the time to do some research on parenting.
    To love their child. And in the end…Love is what it all comes down to.
    I think if all of us parents could just have respect for each other and be understanding that we are all just trying to do the best that we can.
    There will be good days and bad days for us all.
    Our children have a whole lifetime of falling down and getting up. Of learning and loving. You can’t tell in 18 yrs. if you suceeded or not. Because what about when they are 25, 30, 40 and 50… A lot can happen.
    All you can do is pray and trust in God.
    Linda and Dave Taylor…
    I recently started working on a farm. The people who own it just recently had a child. The mother was a waldorff teacher for seven years. They are wonderful people (as are everyone else that works there). I have learned of Waldorff from them. I am a religious woman and so the whole reincarnation thing turns me off the school. But I do like a lot of other things about the school. But I was already onto a lot of that stuff myself. Like for example my son loves to cook (he is only 3 1/2 years old). It is simple stuff.
    I also have a lot of arts and crafts stuff that we do, looking at books, and musical time (but mainly because I love crafts, books, music and cooking myself). These are all just hobbies of mine that I like to share with the kids.
    Playing cars only entertains me for so long and then I want to do something with them that is something that I like. That way I am teaching them something and sharing who I am with them.
    All my children help me with household chores Mainly just because they like to be around me and like to be mommys little helper.
    My two year old unhelps more then anything 😉
    but my 31/2 year old loves to help me do anything he can. He “helps” do dishes, laundry, straighten up the house and sweeps.
    I’m not sure of what the entire idea of Waldorf school is. But I think that most stay at home parents just naturally are more inclined to reconize that their child isn’t just mentally need nurturing but spiritually, physically, and their hearts as well.
    I feel very intune with my motherly side, being a stay at home mom, a feeling to be the nurturer to my entire family in every way.
    It is up to me to make sure that my family is properly nourished, boo-boos are healed and kissed, that our house is clean… Not just for my children but my husband as well.
    I think that it is this understanding that a stay at home mother has, that makes them want or consider to homeschool their children.
    For me personally, I just don’t know if I can commit or sacrifice for the long haul of that.

  33. Hi Dave… I had some very mixed emotions when I read your blog and definition of AP. I have two sons (3 1/2 and 20 months old) and I worry that I haven’t been a very good parent up until now. I have tried to be close to them and patient with them, but sometimes it is just hard. Our pediatrician has given us some disagreeable advice such as not letting our kids sleep with us and my husband and I followed his advice not knowing any better. I think we’ve been told so often that our kids need to be “independentâ€? and even self-sufficient that we’ve lost the true view of what we want to be.
    I still dress my 3 ½ year old (even though the doctor says he should be doing that himself) and most people are shocked that I would do that for him, but I think it’s a very important time of the day. I’m either helping him prepare for the day or I’m helping him wind down from it… either way, I enjoy it regardless of popular opinion.
    I guess where my mixed emotion comes in is joy that I’ve found your website, renewed love and devotion for my children and husband, but fear I’ve messed it up already. I’m afraid I’ve already taught my 3 ½ year old to be too independent and that he doesn’t need me. Do you have any suggestions on how to regain that connection and interdependence? I really REALLY appreciate your website. Thank you so much!

  34. Oh gosh, you haven’t messed up at all, Chelle. Please don’t read attachment parenting as some sort of judgment of how parents chose to raise their children, but instead a vote of confidence, an encouragement to parent from your heart rather than from the recommendations of some analytic non-parent professional like your pediatrician.
    Different approaches and different styles work for different family units, we’re just strong advocates of an approach that’s more loving and involved than otherwise.

  35. I have a 4 year old and a 10 month old. I have nto been practicing AP, but I would like to. Is it too late? I work FT and so does my husband.

  36. Chelle, your post had me nervous… I still dress my son who is turning four in two weeks. I never even thought to have him start dressing himself. He can and sometimes dresses himself. I have a 10yr old a (almost) 4yr old and a 2yr old. and I let everyone of them pick out all their clothes. I think sometimes as a mom I am so used to (and enjoy) “taking care” of the family that I forget that I am to step back and teach them to do something on their own.
    I wouldn’t be too concerned about your parenting technique though, as long as you share plenty of love and spend plenty of time with your child(ren). They will eventually learn how to dress themselves and won’t let you do it for them forever. 🙂

  37. I understand where this site is coming from because I too sleep with my baby, hug and hold as much as possible… most of the things that you all mention. What is quite funny to me however, is that EVERY other society in this world except for ours have been so-called ATTACHMENT PARENTING since the beginning of time. Most woman in other cultures sleep with their babies! A crib is something never thought of. Breast feeding until an older age is also something that has always been done. So my point is that Attachment Parenting is not a new idea… we in this society are just behind in everything when it comes to nauture.

  38. I have a 3-month old baby boy and practice what is termed Attachment Parenting, all the controversy about essientially being nice to your child amazes me. As far as mom22s claim about tired AP parents- our son slept through the night at 5 weeks- which may have more to do with luck than anything else- but I have a hunch its at least partially to do with him being happy, safe and secure- nuzzled against his sleeping mommy.
    My mother also did attachment parenting (which she got tons of flack for in the 70’s) and tells stories of her children (my brother and I) being much more independent and explorative after the age of 2 than her friends children, her reasoning being that we learned to trust so were willing to leave mom knowing she would be there when we needed her- her friends children were still very clingy; not trusting so much. As far as teenage years- I never went through a major ‘rebellion” no drugs, lots of activities- essentially no major problems- I have great relationships with my parents-because of AP or not who knows?
    Mainly its what feels natural and right to me- and is consistent with my education in Anthropology (a BA). Chinadoll above is right- other cultures don’t seem to want to push their babies away – what is it in this culture. All this bonding is what makes us human- and it feels soooooo good to be good to your baby.

  39. My husband and I are also following the AP principles and lifestyle but are wondering how our 6 month old daughter is going to transition as a second child enters the picture. We are also wondering how to ever leave her with another person/grandma since she has only ever been around us! Do AP kids eventually transition out of severe clinginess? We are seeking advice on getting her used to other people, assistance in sleeping more than 2-3 hrs at night and how to minimize her fussiness if she is dry, fed, just out of the sling and not sleepy. Please offer any experiences that may help!!!

  40. Hey, We have a 6 week old girl and a 15month old boy. With our son, I coslept and breastfed for ~5months and he weaned himself due partly to my having to go back to work, him to daycare etc.it was a great if brief experience, & many many people remark on his fast development of motor, cognitive and social skills, independence, etc (for whatever reason or just inborn). I’d like the same with my daughter but it’s just harder with 2 little ones and though we give both a lot of attention, my son deals with occassional jealousy issues. We have my mom in law staying over and now we’re both working. She is a naturally AP type (breastfed and coslept with her children for very long), and tends that way with ours especially with my daughter (cuddles and holds her alot esp. when i’m away or busy with something), also naps with her sometimes for hours. I feel outraged at times and grab my girl away coz i want to be the one cuddling her but i just can’t coz of demands on my time.
    Do people have experience with a large part of the baby’s attachment being from other close relatives like grandparents?

  41. Nice to discover this site 🙂 — will be back to look at it some more!!
    BTW – what’s the deal with relinquishing ownership business? I was going to put down my e-mail and myspace addresses, but they are mine!! Just checking that it only means wot you put in your post??? xx

  42. Sorry about the disclaimer, Anna, we just want to ensure that no-one ever comes back and gives us grief about a comment that they left months or years prior. Nothing bad, and we certainly aren’t going to lay claim to your email address! (heck, we have too many of our own already!!)

  43. I gave birth to my first child four months ago, and have found motherhood to be a wonderful (and challening)experience.
    Whilst I do not neccessarily agree with all facets of Attachment Parenting, I do believe that it is an interesting and valid way to raise a child, should the parents wish to take that particular path.
    I take a little more ‘relaxed’ approach to parenting – while I do enjoy carying my baby in a sling (much more practical than lugging around a giant pram), I also found that she slept far better once in her own room rather than sleeping with my husband and I.
    I guess the point that I am trying to make is that if we all raised our children with a focus on teaching compassion, empathy, respect (for themselves and others) and love, then perhaps the world would be a better place. Attachment Parenting or not, surely loving our kids is the key?
    Thanks for an interesting read on an interesting form or parenting – it has been nice to read some facts, rather than giggle and raise my eyebrows at the ‘myths’ associated with this type of parenting.

  44. Hi there! I’m new to all of this. I’ve heard of AP and I really feel like this is what I want to do when our baby comes in a few months. I wanted to ask though about the book Babywise. I don’t know if anyone has read it. It’s basically the exact opposite of everything that is AP except they encourage breastfeeding. After seeing Oprah the other day and listening to the lady who discovered the baby language, I realize it’s possible to immediately meet your child’s needs without making them “cry it out.” I’ve also been with babies who have nothing wrong and will cry for ten minutes and then go to sleep. Is that causing them to become more independent sooner? I guess I just have a lot of questions. I’m also a little nervous because I know my family and friends will not understand. They barely think I’m sane as it is because I don’t want to eat meat with hormones in it. I wouldn’t dream of it now that I’m pregnant. They pick on me saying that if they babysit, they’ll fill my child with sugar and hormones. I know they’re probaly kidding, but they don’t realize that hurts my feelings. They also don’t realize that I’m serios when I say if they do, then that will be the last time they care for my child. I guess what I’m looking for is some affirmation that I’m not going overboard. Does anyone else feel the same? Maybe if you know of some good books to read that would help. Thanks in advance for reading this.

  45. Someone asked if anyone out there grew up as an AP child, and I didn’t, for sure, but my boyfriend sure did. And I suffer for it all the time. He is in his thirties but needs to visit his parents (who live in a different city) every month. He feels guilty any time he doesn’t see them every few weeks and any time we plan vacations, we have to make sure they don’t interfere with his “family time” because his parents will guilt trip him and make him feel horrible for not being as needy as they like. And even if our vacations don’t interfere with “family time,” he feels horribly guilty for not spending every possible day off with them.
    That’s not all. He also calls his parents EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. Before bedtime, if he doesn’t call, they worry, or he feels guilty, and all hell breaks loose. What kind of life is that? I will admit that I am too independent, to the point of not needing anyone, family or friends, to be happy in life, but I know that is because I was neglected as a child, and learned I could not depend on anyone but myself. But on the other extreme, raising a child to feel so attached to his parents that even after reaching his thirties he is uncomfortable unless he speaks to them every single day of his life, and can’t plan a single vacation or enjoy a few days off on his own without feeling guilty that he’s not spending that time with them is just insane! He’s actually told me that the only reason he doesn’t live with them now is because he needs to finish his PhD first, and he doesn’t want to live where he goes to school, so he bought them a house in the closest big city and will move back in with them after he finishes school. I asked him when he plans to move out and he said he planned to take care of them until they die. He even said that when we get married we are living with them. Heh, I don’t think so. I could never marry anyone so dysfunctionally attached to his parents that he needs to live with his parents their entire life.
    I admire many of the principles of AP, such as breastfeeding, prioritizing your child, and giving them plenty of love and attention, but there is such a thing as too much and he is a perfect example. Need another one? My sister is a single mom of 3 and raised her kids using AP. Everywhere she goes, her kids are all so attached to her that they fight over her. Constantly. Babysitting for her is a nightmare because the kids refuse to listen or behave with anyone but her. She sleeps with all three of them in her bed, and the oldest one is 14! It might be easy for a single parent to let their child sleep with them indefinitely, but who will ultimately hurt when the child can’t even go camping or sleep over with friends because he’s never slept in a bed alone? My youngest nephew is the worst, because he didn’t have another sibling born after him, and the babying and coddling has never stopped for him. He developed a severe selfish personality because he was treated like a god throughout his entire childhood and now he has no concept of “others”. He just doesn’t understand that there is more than one person in the world. He just doesn’t care, and has never been equipped with the tools to learn how to care about others. He is physically abusive to his mother, his siblings, and his classmates. He doesn’t know how to share, how to play games with other kids, or how to make friends. The world revolves around him and whatever he wants, no matter how expensive, painful, or unreasonable, if he doesn’t get it, he will make everyone’s lives a living hell until he gets it. He, too, will have social problems when he grows up. Thank god his sister and brother will not be as bad, because my sister does not have the time to coddle and baby all three of them, just the youngest. If she had a husband and had more time, they might all be that unruly.
    So please, AP advocates, make sure your child learns to be responsible for their actions. If you enable the bad behavior like my sister did, I hope, for your sake, and society’s sake, that you don’t create an egocentric monster (I know AP advocates hate the word “spoiled” but denying it doesn’t make it go away. It does happen). And if you never let go and catch the child at every fall, I hope they can somehow learn from their own mistakes and live as a strong, independent, self-sustaining individual.
    I have always promoted all of the wonderful things about attachment parenting: breastfeeding (it helps baby’s health and development), prioritizing the child’s NEEDS over your WANTS, and giving the child plenty of love, affection, and attention. But please understand that there are lines that need to be drawn. I don’t mean you should kick them out of your bed and stop giving them love and attention, but there IS a time when you should detach the child enough to develop into a independent person. I can’t tell you when it should happen, but I’m guessing it would be around the time would be upon entrance into school. But every child is different, so there is no “perfect age” for any single action or behavior. Use your instincts and good judgment! Unconditional love does not have to (and should not) hinder the child’s social development.

  46. Sounds like a nightmare, Michelle! Fortunately, I know that our kids do just great with our babysitters, are quite functional at sleepovers, and generally aren’t too far into the velcro department. And once they’re 18? Sayonara, time to be on their own…

  47. I’m a huge believer in your approach to parenting and was fortunate to have been brought into the world in the early 1950’s by a mother who fought to deliver naturally and breastfed me. There’s so much in our culture that is counter to what parents who want to practice attachment parenting want to do that I’m sure some of your readers could use some help following some of the practices they learn about here.
    By way of support, I’d like to offer you and 5 of your readers free downloads of Bit By Bit Gold (normally $45), a 28-day podcast-guided program that will support you in mastering a single new habit or skill. It’s almost like having a personal coach to support you every day until you succeed in establishing a reliable new habit.
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  48. This is the first post I have read on your site, and it was very helpful. I have been battling opposing viewpoints at church (or rather trying not to battle). My son’s teachers feel that I should just drop him off at class and if he cries just leave and he will get over it shortly. I resisted doing this for 2 years in the nursery, much to the annoyance of his teachers. Now he is three and in an older class and that instructor feels the same way. Last week she actually pulled him from me while he screamed for mommy. I have told him that I won’t make the mistake of letting that happen again. (Usually he decides after 5 min. that he fine with me leaving) It is frustrating for me because I really want him to attend church with me, but I have huge issues with the instructors attitudes. Both of them were preschool teachers/owners and I have to think that their attitudes come from that experience and dealing with parents who just intend to drop their children off no matter what. And I get so many comments in sympathy with that, ‘it makes it harder on the other children for you to stay’, etc.
    Anyway, thanks for listening to this ramble.

  49. Hi,
    I’m a first time Mum with six week old Oscar. I have recently read The Baby book by William and Martha Seers and really connect with the philosophy.
    However Oscar will not go into a sling. We have the sling easy which he was happy in the first week, but it hurt my back, so we got the Baby Bjorn. However he screams each time we put him in it and wont go in the Sling easy anymore. He likes to see what is going on but does not have the head support yet to face out in the sling!
    We slept together for the first five weeks, however now I am putting him in his cot after his feeds which we do in bed. He seems to sleep better in his cot. I go to him at the first sound and take him for a feed, if I’m still awake at the end I put him back in his cot. When he is in bed with me he wants to be on the breast all night, which has made me very sore and worn out. He tends to snack overnight which carries on through the day so it is difficult to get him to have a proper feed which includes the hindmilk. Also he wants to feed every half hour during the day!
    Is it still possible to foster the strong ties of attatchment parenting without the sling and sleeping together?

  50. I am the mother of a very contented three year old, and i had never heard of AP however on reading this blog i must have some of the principles in my heart anyway, i was never happy to leave him crying, even though well meaning parents, grandparents warned me i would spoil him, and i breast fed him until he flat out turned his nose up at it. as a baby i mostly fed him to sleep, and let him sleep where ever he was comfortable, which was sometimes on me or my husband sometimes in his cot and other times in our bed. although i am comfortable with the AP principles i also feel that there are too many rules with every different style of parenting, I am a really strong believer in following the ebb and flow or your own child/children, my son loves his bed and hated slings, however he does like to be carried a lot which i am happy to do. and he is never forced to sleep alone and if he choses to come to us in the night he is never turned away. i think that as a new parent it is very hard with so many ‘how to’ books telling you so many different things, when i really belive that your instincts are far more accurate. no one like to hear a baby cry and everone like a cuddle, so i do feel that your AP principles are pretty close to the mark. As for all the people who said i would turn my son in to a needy child could not be further from the truth, he started pre school this year and i could not be more proud of him, each time he goes he tells me he loves me and will miss me i tell him the same, and he heads in a happy confident little boy he fully trusts that i was always return to pick him up, and I encorage his trust by never, ever being even a minuite late to pick him up. i also try not to feel guilty about the days that don’t work out so well, as i am fully aware that I am far from perfect, but so is he, and although he is the centre of my world, he can also really push me sometimes. I take each day as it comes, praise myself for the good days and try not to scold myself for the not so good days and it all seems to be going pretty well. but i would just like to say that a parenting style that involves loving your child dearly and spending as much time as possible with them has to be a good one. Thanks

  51. Hello, I am a student in england doing a research project on attachment parenting and would possibly like to get some views on the idea and if anyone is a child that has been attachment parented then how has this been for you? Do the children benefit from the attachment parenting and are they home schooled or do they go to school?
    If anyone could write back this would be appreciated.

  52. Hello, I am a student in england doing a research project on attachment parenting and would possibly like to get some views on the idea and if anyone is a child that has been attachment parented then how has this been for you? Do the children benefit from the attachment parenting and are they home schooled or do they go to school?
    If anyone could write back this would be appreciated.

  53. message for ien van houghten,
    hi i have read your post with great interest as my neice appears to suffer many of the symptoms you describe, she was raised on a very tight routine you may have heard of Gina Ford,
    she was the contented little baby as described in the books however seems to be suffering now she is older, her routine was so strict when she was a baby that the world stopped when it was her nap time visitors had to leave, and the house was silent so she could rest in peace and god forbid antone who made her wait a minuite for her lunch time slot. her mum was so regimented, at the time i did not have children and admired her courage for putting her entire life on hold for her daughter. As the book described she had a ‘contented little baby’ she slept seven till seven in her own room, she seemed to be happy little girl. When i gave birth to my son a year after she was born i had the book given to me, and yes the though of a baby sleeping for twelve hours did appeal to me, however i could never bring myself to leave my baby crying, nor wake him up when he was asleep as the routine required, i therefore gave up on the book and followed my instincts, and boy am I glad now. My neice now four, appears to be suffering from the omnipitent child sydrome you describe, where the routine used to dictate her activties, she now does the dictating, if people are talking when she is persuing an activity, she will tell them to be quiet, she really stuggles to allow anyone to talk or pay any attention to her little sister, and is really quite difficult to be around. the very idea that the world is not revolving around her needs, seems quite alien to her. when i was pregnant i gave up work at eight weeks, as my job required three hours of comuting a day so in the first year of my neices life i was around her a lot and really adored her, and i still do, however i really struggle to spend time around her now when her behaviour is pretty bad, and keeping my mouth shut is proving ver difficult, as I am well aware telling my sister in law that I disagree with her parenting skills is the worst thing you can say to a mother, and i never would, any advice on how to deal with this situation as i really do not wish to break the bond I have with my neice, however I also do not like my son to see her behavior and spend time around someone so self centered.
    any post are welcome
    p.s Mel i use some of the attachment parenting veiws and ideas and am Happy to answer any q’s

  54. My husband and I stumbled upon Attachment Parenting after 6 weeks with a very colicky baby. We felt like it was our solution and joke about it saving our marriage. We have a 3 year old that is very well adjusted, transitioned to her own bed at 9 months of age, talked at 10 months, walked at 10 months and is very independent. We are doing it again now with our 6 week old newborn but from the start instead of starting at 6 weeks. We already notice a difference! I recommend Attachment Parenting to friends and family – we have had such a wonderful experience with it.

  55. This comment is for Helen. With my first child, she did not go into the sling until 4months of age and the Bjorn until about 6 months of age. If your baby doesn’t go in now, try again later.
    With this baby, she doesn’t like the carseat or the stroller. So we just accomodate each child to what they like and dislike. Makes life easier for me and my husband and our toddler.
    Good luck!

  56. Hello, i am student from England, i am doing a research project on attachment parenting and would like all contributions as to what people think of it, if you have ever done it, how was the experience and do the children benefit, educationally and development at all the correct and ages and stages.
    Any information would be greatly appreciated.

  57. sorry to post again, the computer was playin up and i did not realise it has posted my comment. Thankyou.
    The questions i would like to no, is what is it like to attachment parent? Do the children benefit? Educationally and develop correctly?

  58. What an interesting website. I enjoyed reading this article and hearing the different approaches and experiences with attachment parenting. AP is what came naturally to me. I breastfed for over a year, use positive discipline, held my baby all the time, and still at 21 months, my husband and I co-sleep with our son. We spend pretty much all of our time together as a close family unit and really enjoy bonding and being together. It does feel a bit isolating at times since most families we know are very mainstream. I have found a lot of encouragement and comradery online in websites such as this one and other forums such as babytalkers.com

  59. My brother and sister in law are raising their daughter using the attachment parenting philosophy. I will start out by saying that they both love their daughter more than life, and that she is growing up in a home where there are virtually never any arguments, and has two parents that adore her.
    I must say however, that attachment parenting has its down sides too. Their home is being ruled by a four year. Everything revolves around the desires of the child. They never take any time for themselves as a couple, the child always comes first. I have also noticed that the child is quite bossy when it comes to her wants, and the parents jump to right away.
    It makes me wonder if these children have any problems adjusting when it comes time to attend school.( No homeschooling for my sister-in-law)
    Are there any scientific studies that show how children raised under this philosophy turn out as adults.

  60. I think whether or not your child/baby cosleeps depends on alot of factors. And who cares where your baby sleeps, as long as they are sleeping well and so are both the parents?
    I worked fulltime and nursed my son from age 2 months and both his father and I had to work this way just to survive with the cost of living. Cosleeping was the only way I could nurse and sleep decently. He was sick so often with being in daycare, I had no choice but to nurse. My sister in law who is a stay at home mom looks down on me for this-her daughter sleeps perfectly all night in her crib. And that’s fine for them. But she has never had to be away from her child all day and she hardly nursed. I had to do what I had to in order for us all to function normally and work so much
    My son is now three and thriving and a full three inches taller than most kids that age. He is outgoing, bright, cheerful, creative and strong willed just like his father. Sure,he needs my husband or I to be there at night until he falls asleep but I’m pregnant and I need the extra rest, so does my husband who is working and starting his own business, so it’s just fine. And so what if he comes running into our bed in the middle of the night? Well-meaning parents have told me to lock him in his room so he can learn to fall asleep alone and stay there all night. My parents did this to me at 3 and it was miserably lonely. It doesn’t make any sense to have a little kid separated from his parents at childcare all day, come home and then be locked away to go to sleep at bed time. I wish this country would stop discouraging parents from doing what is vital for the well-being of their kids and families. It is hard enough having both parents work because they cannot afford for one to stay home. But having my parenting skills continually criticized makes it even worse.

  61. I have really been enjoying this blog. My husband and I, being older parents who waited a long time for our child as a result of infertility, felt it was insane to ask him to cry it out, or to sleep by himself as a very young baby. But we didn’t want to get all dogmatic or drive ourselves crazy by reading a bunch of parenting books, either. I remember reading in The Monks of New Skete dog training book that all pet dogs should sleep in a crate or on a mat at the foot of your bed in the bedroom because (paraphrase), “your dog is a pack animal. Give him an effortless extra eight hours of your time and let him sleep in your room with you…” Most of our parenting instincts came from our long experience as dog owners, actually.
    Anyway, our son slept in a lovely, safe bassinet in our bedroom, just a foot or two away from the bed, where we could see and hear him clearly, and life was good. We could hear him breathing, and soon accustomed ourselves to the normal ebbs and flows of his breathing patterns. He made excellent progress towards sleeping through the night, reaching all of the normal milestones at the normal times, and when he needed feeding or a change, he was right there. He was so happy to be with us we would sometimes wake up in the morning, hear him humming and see him waving his hands about, fall back asleep, and wake up again 45 minutes later to discover that he’d been awake the whole time, entertaining himself, hanging out, waiting for us to got up.
    We kept him in the bassinet in our room until he literally didn’t fit into it anymore, and then, because the summer was so hot, he slept on a crib mattress on the floor of our room, but eventually, our pediatrician pressured us to move him into his own room when he was 8 months old (in the name of “independence”), and we gave in. Sigh. Things are fine, but they have never been the same. If we want to know how he is, we have to stagger out and check on him. The baby monitor is constantly giving us false positives on his cries, that we would be shrugging off if we were there. We have to use thermometers to check the teperature of the room he’s in, for his own safety, and so on. It was so much more pleasing and convenient to have him closer to us.
    For those of you who think attachment parenting and co-sleeping is only for martyrs, let me tell you — if I had it to do all over again, he would still be in our room, in a bigger bassinet or a nest on the floor. And earlier on, he would have been in a sidecar box, where we could put a hand on him. Having him closer was easier. And more pleasing. And we all slept better. Sigh.

  62. Hi there! I was in yahoo!answers and someone asked for opinions on attachment parenting. I had never heard of it so I looked it up.
    I am a stay at home mom to a 22 month old and an 11 week old. From the beginning, my newborn, Lily, has been a continuous nurser. I worried about my milk supply, but the docs said she gained weight fine. She seems very clingy so I just naturally have her with me at all times. She always wants to nurse. Not screaming like shes hungry, but that it seems to be a comfort thing. My family gives me a hard time for doing this and tell me I am starving her, and that she should be content to be away from me. I put her to the breast most of the day or am carrying or holding her. Even naps are spent with me. Also, she does well at night. She sleeps in her own bed til about 1 am then sleeps the rest of the night with me, nursing when she wants. i worry for her safety on this and i take all safety precautions, but I still worry. she loves to sleep next to me in the crook of my arm. Is this a nono? Also my family says when are you going to get that baby on a bottle so we can take her. It is frusterating, but I didnt succeed in breastfeeding my son, so I am bound and determined to make this work. I dont know if this is attachment parenting or not. I guess everyone is making me think about how you said about the separation, left to cry a little longer. bed in a different room, put on a bottle, etc. She just hates to be alone and i stay away from situations where people expect us to be separated or I cant nurse her when she wants. I guess i am just looking for someone to tell me i am doing the right thing. It hurts my feelings to have family tell me I am doing it wrong. Also, if I am co sleeping wrong, can you give me other ideas that would make her just as secure. Also, we have no routine at all except bed at around 8:30. I had a routine at this age for my son. thanks for defining this and letting me post. I appreciate it. I must add that my husband is supportive.

  63. iys me again. I just read through the other posts and was confused by the womans view saying ap is brainwashed. How can that be true when I was doing it and didnt even know there was a term for it. I also forgot to add, my husband works nights so i dont co sleep with him in bed too, and we sleep on a firm futon. I think I sleep better than when i kept trying to put her in bed. Im tired, but not as tired as i was when I used to have to get up and walk to my sons room a million times a night. I also feel like I dont have to keep getting up to check on her. For the record, the only thing I regret about co sleeping is that i cant sleep on my stomach. which is where I like to sleep. Thanks

  64. As i agree with alot of your attachment parenting ideas. My first experience was a couple that maybe took it to a real extreme. I do allow tv but monitor it closely. i have not really tried to leaned to one method of parenting or another. But to my suprise as I really looked over the many different methods closely ours seems to resemble attachment and montessorie quite closely. I will brag a little and say that our children at the ages of 9, 7, and 41/2 are a lot more ready for this world and seem to know where they belong alot more then a friends kids that were put in their own beds at birth and pushed into independence. Our kids seem to have created their independence on their own and seem more comfortable in their decsions. They do not hesitate to walk away from what they know is wrong and don’t seem to worry about what their peers think about that. I believe that has a lot to with them being so connected to us and to eachother. They do not feel the NEED to create attachments with outside people, therefore they do not need others approval. They have strong attachments with their family already. They have made close friends with others. Does this make scence? Out of all I have read about attachment parenting one thing I haven’t read is what seems to be the outcome as these kids become adults?

  65. I did not know any kind of parenting there is for a newborn or toddler but attachment parenting. It just comes so naturally for both mother and child. When my daughter was born, she and I latched on to each other and I knew at that instant that she knew she belong. Her very soul seemed to be saying “yes, this is my mommy” I’ve never felt so comforted in my life. Naturally I found Ferberizing an infant/baby, so unnatural and unnecessary.
    She is three years old now, was able to talk, walk, even solve baby puzzles in the computer (I always brought her with me when I use the computer while she’s breastfeeding) earlier than her peers. Everyone asked what I did to her to make her so loving, articulate for her age and very aware of her surroundings.
    I would never trade that for the world. I will have another baby in a couple of months and I’m glad there is a name for this kind of baby/mother realationship.. attachment parenting. It’s the most natural thing for mothers to do for her babies.

  66. Hello Dave! It is nice to hear other parents that feel the same way we do about raising, loving, caring, engaged and whole children towards adulthood. As a chiropractor and owner of a wooden online toy store, I often come across parents who ask advice on “attachment” parenting issues. I try to teach in a gentle way while always reminding parents that they also need to find what resonates in their hearts on the best ways to raise their children and follow that. Be well 🙂
    Nancy Politis
    Owner, http://www.heirloomwoodentoys.com

  67. It is 1am and I stumbled upon this website as a result of trying to get our almost-8yr.old in her bed. We are trying our best, but it is like the scene from the exorcist. I can tell you that when she is not in our bed, I miss her dearly. I love the family bed theory and practice, but we felt the time was right to move her to her bed. We were going to try last summer, but I became pregnant and didn’t have the energy! We didn’t want it to seem that the baby was taking her place, so we waited few months. I am so much more comfortable with the second baby. I work as a teacher, and thankfully work for a great principal and was able to breastfeed baby one for 16 months. Knowing that this is probably our last, this baby may never wean! I think the AP concepts are right on, and like anything, need to be applied to each family and situation. I am a K teacher, and want to do some research on the Waldorf teaching. It’s one of those concepts you read about in college but file it away until you need it as a parent. THanks for the info.

  68. I have a 4 month old baby and have a question. I hold my baby all day, unless, of course, we are in the car. No matter what she always cries if I put her down, even to change her diaper! We basically comfort nurse all day long. She hates the sling (oh how I wish I could wear her in it!) and the Bjorn.
    Anyway, I am against crying it out, but basically what does that mean? I always put her down when I go to the bathroom. Sometimes she cries so hard she makes herself choke. I am usually never gone for more than 3 minutes. I talk to her the whole time, too.
    Am I the only one whose baby does this.

  69. I have just heard about AP and to my surprise this is what I natrualy practice. It is how my three siblings and I were raised. I am always defending the co sleeping and almost constant holding/contact with our daughter to my husband. Now I can give him a book and say “see, I’m not coddeling”.

  70. When you watch your child fall and bash her head against a wall, get up, shake off the pain without crying and move on, you realize pretty quickly that independence is NOT a healthy goal for a baby.
    We adopted our daughter from China when she was 12 months old. We actually had to work very hard to teach her to rely on us and to let us comfort her. We ignored advice from friends and family about letting her cry herself to sleep and all the rest and now we have a confident, affectionate, outgoing little darling and we are the envy of our friends who have “independent” kids.
    For those parents who are worried about starting too late, our daughter spent the first year of her life in institutional care and it took at least a year for her to “adopt” us completely. And she is just fine. It’s never too late to tune into your child and to do what feels right.

  71. A tip for all of the parents with sling/bjorn problems: Try the Ergo baby carrier. It is wonderful and supported by the AP community. It is designed so that the baby is in the proper position for comfort and growth, and I wear it for hours without any discomfort. It is pricy- $90, but I think no more than the bjorn and can be worn on the front or back. The baby is always facing in so if there is stimulation overload, the baby can ‘turn off.’ I should be their salesperson!! Just check it out…

  72. Thank you so much for posting this. Now when people tell us we are being “overly protective” or “spoiling” our baby I’m just going to tell them “Actually we’re practicing “attachment parenting”.”

  73. Dave & Linda –
    I saw that your links page was being worked on – thought maybe you’d like this page, that shows how prevalent babywearing is in the animal kingdom. I wanted to email you but there is no Contact Us link anywhere on the sit that I can see!
    Anyway, the page is not deep research, but it’s also not a “salesyâ€? page – just a lot of baby animals being carried around by their parents. (There are facts about how each animal does its babywearing, viewable when you click on a thumbnail.)
    Anyway, thought maybe you’d like it – it’s a unique and kind of cute way to make the point that babywearing is only natural!
    Happy Monday,

  74. I can tell you that Attachment Parenting pays off!
    I had my daughter in 1986. My son in 1992. They are both fantastic human beings and we are so close. When my daughter was born I had some ideas about how I was going to do things. Some were because I couldn’t imagine not having her with me every minute, others were fear driven, I was so afraid of SIDS and decided the best way to avoid that was for her to sleep with us. My family and In Laws(who I affectionately refer to as my Out Laws anyway)thought I was being ridiculous. Fortunate I had a cousin with a new son around the same age as my daughter who felt as I did. Her kids are great people nowadays too! Neither one of us has had a lick of trouble from our children who happen to be very social, smart and sought after for friendships. As far as the sleeping arangements and questions I had about it interferring with my marital relations in bed…We employed our imaginations and found alternate places and ways to have our times together. Heck, you can even have a bed somewhere else in the house for that.
    My children today are my answer to all those queries years ago. Nobody has knocked my parenting for years as they have watched the results. In fact people always ask how they turned out so good. And by the way, each was breast fed til 2 1/2 years old!

  75. I am pregnant for the first time, and doing some intial research on parenting methods. Whilst I am drawn to some aspects of AP, there are some areas I am unsure of.
    How do those in favour of co-sleeping deal with the issue of SIDS? Or do AP advocates not accept the research findings?

  76. I have recently started dating a woman of a 3 year old girl. She is 4 years older than I and has also participated in attachment parenting techniques. When she had first described these strategies to me I disagreeed with the whole idea. Because I care for her and her 3 year old the way I do, I decided to try and educate myself on this theory so that I can understand where she is coming from and so that if I disagree with something I have some information to base my objections on. I have no children of my own and would most likely do things differently… perhaps because of how I was raised. However, I want to be a source of support for the both of them. My question is, when should you try to ween them from co-sleeping?? The 3 year old seems to be very co-dependant in the way that she wants and demands to be held all of the time and asks to have things done for her that she is more than capable of doing herself. There is much more to it that I personally see as being “spoiled”, for lack of a better term. But these are my two major concerns and a good place for me to start. Any information would be very much appreciated…

  77. Nat, our experience was that we were so hyper-aware of our baby in the bed that we never had a hint of a problem the entire time we coslept. Of course, we don’t drink or do any drugs so we were never artificially deeper asleep than our normal sleep patterns. I don’t have the data, but recall that suffocation from cosleeping has a strong correlation with the parent drinking alcohol. Perhaps someone else can dig into that?
    Jason, in terms of whether a child is spoiled, I suggest that you try, just for one day, to change your entire way of thinking and instead consider that this three year old is seeing someone else competing with her for mommy [you] and that she’s just being three. Sometimes they’re completely independent, and other times they can’t even put a pair of socks on and whine for help brushing their hair. Deep breaths, go into the situation believing that the mom *is right* with how she’s parenting her daughter, and that it’s part of the package you’re getting into…
    In terms of weaning, we have had our 3yo daughter sleeping on a mattress on the floor of our bedroom for at least a year now. When Linda puts her to bed, they start out on the floor, but when I put her to bed, we go to sleep on the big bed and then I move her down once she’s asleep. Easy, and it really can be some of the best and most loving time of the day.
    Good luck! If I can encourage you to do one thing, it’s communicate clearly and frequently with your girlfriend about her parenting and daughter, and *listen* to her answers.

  78. I am a single mom who is lucky enough to have extended family support so I can be home with my little guy, who is now 17 months old. I would love to hear how other single mom’s do attachment parenting. I need to start working on supporting us financially and it is hard to figure out how to do that with extended breastfeeding, co sleeping and childcare that fits my beliefs.. any thoughts?

  79. I came across this website looking for some information about AP. I wanted a more clear definition; I have found that some AP parents can be quite extreme and opinionated about their form of parenting. Some times people are so extreme that they judge those who chose to parent differently and look down on them, thus creating an inaccurate stereotype of AP parents. I have not found this to be the case with this website and appreciate it very much. It seems to me that the most important aspect of AP is to have a strong bond between parent and child which gives them a solid foundation.
    I also appreciate the relaxed approach to those who try to use AP but adjust it to fit there lives. I appreciate the reassurance that these parents are doing the best for their child and they are not screwing up.
    I have several friends who are the pure definition of AP and thought that this was not my style at all and felt guilty about the way I chose to parent. But then I read the definition on this website and all the comments and realized while I don’t follow the exact AP style that my values and desires are still the same.
    I found breastfeeding very difficult (cracked nipples all the time and low milk supply) and grudgingly gave it up by the time he was 6 months old. We co-slept until he was about 2 months old but found that he was so wiggly when he slept that we moved him to his own bed. His bed was in our room which helped us feel close to him without compromising sleep. He is such a light sleeper that he is now in his own bed in his own room and it works well for our family. I have used a stoller since he was born and did use a baby carrier when I would go to the grocery store. I found the baby slings difficult and uncomfortable to wear and they put a terrible strain on my back. I do however interact with him while he is in the shopping cart and would carry him and hold him if I wasn’t walking a long distance. Now that he is walking he hates to be restrained, he is a very very busy boy.
    I feel good about the decisions we have made and know that he is happy, well adjust child who knows he is loved by the two most important people in his life. I love my son and love being a mom and enjoy every stage of it. I am now pregnant again and am excited to meet our little girl and all of the joys and challenges she will bring to our family.
    Thanks for listening and being so open and welcoming to everyone.

  80. I remember reading about attachment parenting when I was pregnant and thinking ‘these people are freaks.’ (No offence!)
    But now I have my daughter (7 and a half months old) attachment parenting seems the norm to me.
    I breastfeed (Probably more then I should. Some days she wont even have solids), we co-sleep (Much to the discussed of a lot of my friends and family) and I carry her a lot. (Not all the time, we do use a pram if we are going to be out a while).
    But we do have the TV on a lot. As background noise. Mostly with Music DVD’s playing, not actual TV shows.
    Although Hermione is very dependant on me, she also like to have her own ‘me’ time, which she will happily play on the floor by herself, with her toys. She’s fine, so long as I’m in the room. If I disappear into another room for too long (even if it’s just to the kitchen to grab a snack) she freaks out and starts crying. A few soothing words calm her right down.
    I didn’t even realise it was attachment parenting till the other day when I was discussing Hermione’s sleep and eating habits with a friend and she goes ‘Oh I’m into atachment parenting too.’ Kind of took me aback.
    So I looked it up and stumbled upon this website. Thank you so much for helping explain it. I’ll now be refering people to it going ‘That’s what I do, it works for me and Hermione so I’m not changing a thing!’

  81. I didn’t practice AP at all when my son was born.
    I came down with severe PPD and preferred to sleep alone. I attempted to breastfeed but it was very uncomfortable to me. I was resolved my son should get breastmilk for at least the first few weeks so I pumped. He used commercial infant formula until I weaned him at one year because of the advice and suggestion of his pediatrician and my own mother. It wasn’t hard at all, and I have obviously since realized I wasn’t doing him a service by shoving a bottle into his mouth every time he cried at night. I’m sure he wanted to be held and comforted more than anything.
    I have a very close and loving relationship with my son now. After getting over the initial problems, like PPD, I starte unofficially practicing a form of AP. I am naturally empathic and I have tried to teach my son to be. He has definitely picked up on it, although as he gets older he leans more towards the natural boy tendancies of ‘proving’ himself rather than understanding.
    We love to cuddle, hug and kiss and we tell each other how much we love each other all the time. I try to encourage his natural abilities, creativity and individual rights. I have spent many years with him as a stay at home mom, and some times as the full time worker (meaning he stayed with his aunt, grandma, or dad).
    We have practiced the ‘Family bed’ without even realizing it, mostly due to circumstances. I am an extremely light sleeper and have to toss/turn and sleep on my stomach a lot. So there have been times when he slept on a little toddler converter couch near our bed instead. At five he got his own room for the first time and loved it. He started sleeping in his own ‘real’ bed and did ok at first. Eventually he started waking up in the middle of the night and coming into our room to be re-tucked in.
    My son and I have recently moved. We no longer live with his father and we have re-established the family bed. He sleeps a lot easier and likes to be touching me throughout the night, usually a leg over me or his hand on my arm.
    He is a mix of independence and dependence. He likes to be given a chance to do things on his own first, but there are some things he automatically asks for help on. As for dressing him, he is five years old and I never even once thought he should be doing it on his own. I dress him every day and enlist him to help by pulling on a shirt, or socks and sometimes shoes.
    He does watch a lot more TV than I would like, but that is a mixture of me indulging him more than I should have in the past, and having a roommate family who have five television sets in their house and constantly have them on. The good thing is whenever I let him watch TV he watches mostly OPB and educational videos. He is also very much into computer games, which I think is a good thing because he taught himself how to use, turn on and click to sign on to the computer at three years old. My family is also full of computer programmers and builders so I think he will follow in their footsteps.

  82. I, too, stumbled onto this site by accident while searching for answers. As I sit here reading and typing, my 5-month-old son is nap-snacking on my lap. We unintentionally have practiced our own form of AP without knowing what it was because it feels more natural.Sure, there are some problems with co-sleeping, but it is easier for our family, than getting up throughtout the night. Those of you blessed with children who sleep thru the night in their own beds, good for you–I think it has a lot to do with the baby’s individual temperment. Our daughter (now 15) co-slept with us for about 2 years, then she had a little pad on the floor next to our bed for nights when she needed to be in our room. She has always been sensitive, but easy-going, friendly. We were never embarrassed to take her out in public (though she did throw some tantrums at home) She started sleeping over with friends by age 4 (neighbors mostly) and went away to summer camp, 4-8 days, starting at age 7, and on a Girl Scout trip traveling by herself at age 12. She has always known that we are here for her and we have a close relationship. I hope we are as lucky with our son!
    As to Mommy22, I get, Dave, what you werre saying about pent-up guilt. I don’t think you were being judgemental, but her initial and follow-up posts were very hostile and defensive. I have seen nothing but supportive comments here for whatever parenting decisions are made, as long as they are in the best interest of the child and the family. Kudos for creating a asfe, supportive environment not only for your children, but for fellow parents!
    Dear Vicki! It is indeed hard to do what you feel is best when others in your life criticie or even ridicule you for it–we’ve been there too! As long as you have your child’s/family’s best interests at heart–you are doing the right thing, keep the faith! Its not you, its our society. I feel fortunate to have fellow BF moms as friends and I’ve recently joined a local mommymilk group–its nice to be out with other people who understand that nursing is natural! We are also fortunate to have a family doc who is supportive and not judgemental 🙂
    Dawn, my son cries a lot too when not being held, but as he has gotten older, it is getting easier. He loves being in his front pack or hanging out in his exersaucer if I’m doing something he can’t “help” with, but there were days when I would just NEED to go o the bathroom or take a quick shower and would just cry with him until I was finished.
    Okay, I’ve rambled on a lot here too, seems to be a good place for doing that! Thanks Dave!

  83. Generally I feel each parent parents how they chose, and with the technique that works best for their families. I will preface my comment by stating that after reading your explanation of attachment parenting, I DISagree with about 75% of your method, but nevertheless respect it. My most presing question, however is how attachment parenting accomplishes the ultimate role of a parent: Raising wise, idependent adults. This method does not seem to recognize that these precious children who need you also need to become successful adults who can take care of themselves without the constant direction of their parents. If through attachement parenting you shelter your children so by closing them off to the media world and teaching them that you are there at all times of the day, how do they evolve into an independent adult without a serious culture shock? Additionally, God forbid something ever happen to you while your children are young. Not only will they have the shock of losing their parents, they won’t know how to funtion in their lives with any guardian but you. I am not saying you are wrong, but it may be wise to rememebr these points while raising your children with any parenting style.

  84. I have just discovered this website and have always been interested in ‘Attachment Parenting’ but had never known quite what to call it. The pro’s and con’s for it are quite evident from the reader comments on your site.
    I work for a new parenting website called http://www.gurgle.com which is supported by Mothercare in the UK and covers everything from fertility to 3 years old. It has 52 video’s in which you can view things like ‘how to correctly swaddle a baby’ or ‘how to steralise your bottles’ etc. It is very informative but also a fun way to chat to other Mum’s in the same position as you through our social networking section. You can post comments, talk about kit, which are the best/worst toys etc.
    We just wanted to make sure you were aware of us as we have had a large number of Australian registered users which we are very excited about! Please have a look at the website. We are yet to feature an article on attachment parenting but would be very interested in doing so.
    Many thanks,
    Natalie Gregson

  85. My husband and I are starting a family in the next couple of years, and we are beginning to think about different parenting philosophies. When I came across attachment parenting, it seemed like the most sensible, natural approach possible. My husband and I both have Masters degrees in anthropology, and the fundamental practices of attachment parenting are the normal ways to bring up children in virtually every culture across the world apart from our own. I remember reading a study that the average time for caregivers to respond to babies in various non-Western cultures was something like 4 seconds, compared to Western culture where caregivers’ average response time is closer to a minute. A minute is a very long time for a newborn!
    I have also been influenced how my parents raised me, which included co-sleeping and extended breastfeeding. I was apparently a very nervous and high need baby, and when my mother admitted to her mother and mother-in-law that I didn’t sleep through the night (I was three months old) they both told her in no uncertain terms that it was entirely because she was a bad mother and I was being spoilt because she was picking me up on demand, and that I must be left alone to cry myself to sleep. I understand this was fairly standard advice thirty years ago. My parents tried this, and apparently I cried solidly for an entire five hours, with both my parents in the next room also crying. After a miserable night for the entire family, my mother picked me up and I was white, whimpering, shaking and tearful for the next 36 hours. After that my parents just kept me in their bed with them, and lied to the well-meaning family members that I was sleeping through the night (who agreed that the four hour schedule must have sorted me out!).

  86. Hi, Dave! I am writing an article on good parenting blogs for a local paper/magazine in the Springfield, MA area. May I use some quotes from your blog?
    Thank you!

  87. have just come across the term attachment parenting and I am very pleased to realise that this is exactly what my husband and I have been doing, I have been feeling a lot of guilt about my return to work (our son was a year and a half when I returned to work), my mom looks after him for which I am eternally grateful hate the idea of day care, creche, however just wondering how large a part you think co-sleeping plays in attachment parenting, my son who is now three was premature, had apnea issues, SIDS was a very real concern, very controlled room temperature at all times, however once this passed we did try cosleeping and he did not like it all !!!!! much to our dismay. However in all other aspects we are there for him, on return home from work, family time, discuss our days, no housework done until he is gone to bed, have gotten used to having very late nights etc. etc. he knows that he comes first and that he is loved.
    Like I stated above would like to know your opinions on the importance of cosleeping, or is it just really about spending enough time getting to know your child and letting them get to know you so that you can respond appropriately to their needs.

  88. My husband and I practice AP with our 20-month-old son. While it is truly rewarding in many ways, I have a question about babywearing at this age. What are the limits? Is it still best to hold him whenever he wants/needs, or only when he really needs to be held? (‘Need’ can be subjective.) I think my son has entered a clingy stage, which leaves me a little overwhelmed at times — although I’m happy to do whatever is best for him.

  89. To Glenda: I don’t think you have to follow all the AP elements to the letter to be an attachment parent. Just follow as many elements as you can, adapting them to your family. Your situation proves that all children are different! By the way, I have actually read that the incidents of SIDS are lower when babies co-sleep, because they mimic the mothers’ breathing patterns. Of course, there are other issues to be mindful of when co-sleeping, such as making sure the sleeping environment is safe according to guidelines mentioned in Searses’ book, “Attachment Parenting.”

  90. I am a new mom to my beautiful 3 month old daughter as of March 1. Most of my friends have in one way or all ways parented in the AP style. I just knew I was going to based on the behavior of these children and the fact that it seemed natural. I don’t think there is a rule book at all and over these last 3 months my daughter and I have developed out own style. We co-sleep, something I wanted to do but initially was afraid, but now I am so glad I did because we had some serious breastfeeding issues because I suffered from ductal yeast for a month!! We have gotten through that now. We take walks every day for about 1 hour a day and I carrier her. Around the house she doesn’t really care to be in the sling/carrier/wrap. She has been particular about the way she is held since day 1. She does nap in our bed alone, unless I am really tired. These naps are what give me time to get work around the house done. She loves her swing and her bouncy chair. Sometimes, believe it or not, she enjoys time on the bed without me! I have learned this and I take her cues. She has special sounds she makes and it only lasts 30 minutes or less, she lets me know with different louder sounds she is ready for me again, she never has to cry. BUT, she does cry and I do my best to soothe her when she does and show her I am there. I am not forcing her into any kind of independence but I recognize her ‘request’ for some time. I was very surprised that she would need it this early. I was forced into independent thinking, playing, soothing at a very early age. My grandmother died when my mom was very young and my mother was devastated by this, and she did not adjust very well to living without her. My mother thought teaching me ‘independence’ help me cope if she wasn’t around. Well, mom is still around and although I love her, we just don’ have the bond she wishes we did. Even after all of that, she still will say to me ” don’t you think you are holding her too much?” “Are you entertaining her too much?” ” Are you EVERYTHING too much?”. The lesson for her was never learned. When your child needs you it is never too much. That is the lesson I have learned. I will not go too far the other way either by smothering. You just learn the cues and the language of your child and what is best for your own family, cues are important. Children are like snowflakes.

  91. Is the attachment parenting have anything to do with Gordon Neufeld’s attachment theory paradigm?
    I know Sears started using the attachment term after Neufeld, but do “attachment parents” mean Sears or know anything about Neufeld’s theory?
    I’ve been saying I use attachment parenting and run an attachment classroom, but it’s clearly based in Neufeld attachment theory.
    Now I found this website and am a little confused about what terminology.

  92. What a great site. It’s been encourageing reading all these comments. I have a 13 year old daughter and a 10 year old son. I practiced attachment parenting (influenced by Dr. Sears). Mothering has been a wonderful experience (not easy), thanks to AP. My kids are secure, strong minded, loving, happy individuals. They are not influenced by peer pressure, their love-tanks are full, they are not desperate for the esteem of thier peers. They’re not perfect, and I’m far from a perfect mom, but AP has been a most helpful tool in learning how to parent. I did the baby-wearing, late weaning, sleep sharing. We kept them out of day care. I worked very part time, at a financial sacrifice. We never let them “cry it out.” We trusted that their cries were a legitimate form of communication, and responded the best we could. I always felt as if we were treating them as if their feelings and needs mattered. Our daughter was “high need” so she cried a lot and needed to be held a LOT. We got a lot of criticism, but I see the results today and I’m glad we stuck to our convictions.
    My favorite authors were Dr. Sears, and Gordon Neufeld (Hold on to Your Kids), with Gabor Mate.
    So hang in there. It really works.

  93. I am a big believer in attachment parenting. I wanted to carry my babies with me all the time, but I had so much trouble finding a baby sling that didn’t hurt my back. With my second child I got a Mei Tai Carrier http://www.all-natural-mommies.com and I was hooked. It has been such a blessing to be so close to my babies. I hope all parents come to know how wonderful attachment parenting is.

  94. This is somewhat of a reply to Judy; I don’t know if anyone else has answered her question because I was too lazy to pour through all of the responses since then (so many!!). Reading your initial post, Dave, I’m almost certain I was raised in an AP way (I’m in my late teens now). I was breastfed until I was two, held quite often, and I slept with my parents until I was almost four, with the occassional night when I was scared until I was six or seven. Although, I was allowed to watch as much television as I pleased..I don’t even know how many hours a day, though I do know I also spent a lot of time going places with my parents or in the backyard. In addition, though my father worked pretty much full-time and mother was going to nursing school throughout my infancy, I think I can safely say I was doted on nearly every hour they had with me. I don’t think that they particularly subscribed to a method of parenting, not even AP, they just raised me that way naturally–it was probably because they had been trying for a baby for several years and when I finally came along I was the miracle baby. (I have no siblings.) This mindset carried on into my extended family, who often slept with me when they visited, held me consistently, and loved me almost as though I were their own child. My parents have never recieved criticism over the way they raised me from family, friends, or medical personnel (my mom’s even a pediatric nurse!); in fact, when I was little, most parents were asking them how they did it.
    My parents never hesistated to bring me along to get-togethers or dinners, and I’ve been told many times that I was never fussy at such events, only a “good baby.” I’ve attended many events over the years that kids were expected to be horrid at, only to make friends with the adults. Though it’s hard to judge oneself, I think I’ve turned out a very good person. I’ve only ever gotten straight-A’s in school, have never had any disciplinary problems at school or at home, I’ve had the best relationship with my parents (and extended family, for that matter) of any of my friends, and have been told that I’m a very kind, empathetic, polite, mature person.
    One last note (I know I wrote a lot!): I consider AP a very organic way to raise kids, and had never even heard of any controversy over it until now! I fully intend to raise my children this way, when I have them.

  95. Hi Dave. HELP! I’m 14 weeks pregnant and have just read the book ‘the continuum concept’ which sounds like a very similar concept to AP. I am keen to employ AP principles but am left a bit confused by the continuum concept book. I live in the UK but am struggling to find UK based information – surely there are people in the UK bringing their little ones up using AP?!! I got the impression from the book I’ve read that you should have your baby ‘in-arms’ 24 – 7, which does sound like quite a feat. What happens when we need to go out in the car for example? Also – I’m not sure the idea of co-sleeping works for us, but I like the idea of my baby being next to us in a crib during the night for most of it’s first year. Does this make me a bad AP parent? Aaaagh! Can you recommend any good resources that give examples of ‘modern’ families using AP (as opposed to the Yequana tribes talked about in the continuum concept book?). Thanks and well done for helping to spread the word on AP, Nic.

  96. I have been hearing about this attachment parenting on my mamasource sharing web site I am involved in I had to find out what it was. I do a lot of what is talked about here.I hope that the word could get out to mainstream more as our old school thoughts of cribs and formula just dont seem natural. I was thinking I would stop breastfeeding him when he was one but I hear more and more mothers continuing this longer. My husband was BF until three!

  97. I agree with you about television. When I was young, I didn’t really watch television. Instead, I just went out to play. Mindless television doesn’t really add any extra value to childhood development.

  98. we have a 6 month old baby boy and have been baby wearing, co sleeping etc and we have a very happy baby boy, but we would like some advise about what people do at bedtime/ when their child gets tired in the evening. Our son gets very grizzley in the evening around 7/8pm so we give him a bath by which time he is desperate to sleep so i pop him into bed and feed him to sleep. But as i am then not ready to go to bed i get up and perhaps because i/we are not there he is up and down then between then and around 11pm when he eventually sleeps or we join him in bed. What do other people do in the evenings??
    also we have just moved to oslo norway and would like advise about groups of AP parents here/ sling wearing in cold temperatures so that our son is warm enough when we are out and about.

  99. I understand what Attachment Parenting is. How do you reinforce that in a 13 yr old? My step-daughter has Attachment Disorder due to the abandonment of her biological mom at 2 1/2 yrs of age. After many, many years we still have behavior issues to deal with.
    From birth her mom was never around like a mother should be. So, she never had that bonding and security that most kids get. How could we reinforce that bond and security at her age? We’ve tried bonding with her whenever there is a consequence. For example, she stole something from her teacher. We gave her the consequence to sit on daddy’s lap for 15 minutes. During this time daddy would communicate with her on what happened and why it happened. What can be done to change it and so forth. This method is done so she would understand that we will bond with her when she does something inappropiate.
    So, if there is any advice on how we can be an Attachment Parent with our 13 yr old we would appreciate it.

  100. I do agree that once you have a child they should be your first priority and that their safety and well being should be of upmost importance. I definitely disagree that one specific style of parenting is best and works for all parents and children.While my first child loved being under me at all times my second did not. They are a year and a half apart. The second one did appreciate me spending time with him. However once he reached six months he wanted to explore and I certainly allowed him to by getting rid of the sling. Its not to say i did not hold him and cuddle with him and was not there when he neeeded me. But there is a limit to everything.Both of my children walked at nine months. Although, I do believe that parents should demonstrate love to their children I believe that they should be given room to grow and develop. I have a friend who’s child is 16 months and still does not walk and yes she has her on a sling all day. I think every extreme is bad. In addition parents need a break every once in a while a happy paretnt is a better parent and you will have a happier child in the end. And no I do not believe that your child is doomed if he watches an hour or two a day. There are 24 hrs in the day people. My brothers and sisters as well as my self watched two hours of TV. daily. And yes oh no we did not co-sleep. We are all well adjusted adults. We are all professionals. We speak three languages. I can speak for my self I felt loved and secure. I think all these restrictions placed on parenting (stating that a specific way is best) only creates confusion and a bigger headache for new parents. I think as long as you give your child the basic needs in order to develop they should be fine. Nourishment,love, stability, safety etc. Get a grip people and ease up parenting is hard enough. Provide support not criticism. If “A “parenting style works for one parent it is great but don’t look down on another parent who is only trying their best.

  101. Attachment parenting may be the best thing for a child, but I wonder: what of the cost? We’ve been doing it for almost 3 years now and there’s no question that has eroded our spousal relationship. Also, it requires us parents to give up even more of our individual selves since our time is even less our own than it is for regular, non-co-sleeping, un-loving parents. There are more costs, of course, but I only ever read about how this approach affects the relationship between mother and child. As positive as this may be when looking at it from the perspective of that one relationship, I wonder how the equation would look when you look at how it affects everyone around that relationship. Is there room for compromise?

  102. Oh yeah… And that thing about a baby not breathing for a long time and then starting again because of the mother: I’m pretty sure that’s normal with or without co-sleeping. It happens to everyone when you fall deeper into sleep.

  103. I live in the UK and my parents are from Guyana, South America. I was brought up very family orientated. My parents culture in bringing up children, I believe, was AP, even though it wasn’t recognised as such a method of parenting. I feel it is just the right and natural thing to do with babies and bringing them up. I love this way and wish I had more home time to spend with my 5 month old but I will be starting full time work next month. However, my baby will be looked after by my mother in law who also is very family bonding. I do stress out as I have no friends who support my decision to extend breastfeeding and I just wouldn’t mention co sleeping – as it works for me and my husband, as it did for my 4 year old, who now happily sleeps in her own room since 2 and a half year old – my friends would be horrified thinking I would have problems later on in life. Today, I tried putting my younger baby in her cot to sleep for a nap. She cried for 35 long minutes and even though I checked her I didnt pick her up. I tried the crying technique where they would learn to soothe themselves to sleep. It was heart wrenching and never again. It was a cry that was so distressing for my baby and I dont think any baby should go through that. I just picked her up and held her so close to comfort her. Well done to all who practise AP.

  104. Dave I want to thank you for doing a wonderful job at not only putting together this blog but for being a real daddy! I am 100% AP Mommy. I have 2 daughters, Abbie is 5 and Emma Sue is 3. Both still co sleep and are happy healthy very smart little girls. I fall into the category of being a mom that has been harrassed for everything i do. Especially when it comes to not vaxing. Both of my children are 100% Vaccine Free and that alone causes bullets to fly!!! I BF both of them for 2 years until they self weined, we eat only heathly oraganic foods, i suppliment with shaklee vitamins, as well as only use all green cleaning product so my house is safe for my children as well as the planet. I teach my children morals, values and manners. The importance of Respecting your elders but never being afraid to stnd up for what you believe in and alway do the right thing. I have a remarkable realtionship with my children and i have been there the entire time. I am my kids mom!!!!

  105. Great article, I just think you could have used a diffrent word other than push. In fact you could have just left it out entierly and still explained attachment parenting the same. Instead it felt more like you were defending AP while giving the definition. I have two friends that are AP parents and I am going to let them know about your blog, I think they would really enjoy it!

  106. Thanks for the great definition, its something we firmly believe in and do as well.
    I too am hoping the first commenter meant 10 hrs a year 🙂
    Being brought up myself on TV it has been hard to stop watching it. I no longer watch any television(We unplugged our roof aerial), only dvd’s and not every night of the week.
    Our kids only ever watch tv (by that I mean a DVD) if they are sick, otherwise they never watch it.
    And the closer the kids are to you the more independent they become, I have witnessed this with my own eyes as unfortuantley we didn’t attachment parent for the first 6 months of our first born. And now that we attachment parent all of our children you can see the confidence boost in all of them.

  107. I have a question…I just learned about this Attatchment Parenting. I am a mother of 3 already and expecting my fourth. I agree to an extent with some things that I have been reading. I currently have a 5 yo girl (daddy’s girl#, 3 yo boy, and 2 yo boy #mamma’s boy). I’m really worried that my daughter will not want me around when she gets older because she already doesn’t “care for” me…? I stay home with the kids most of the day, but work part time mostly at night. When daddy is home, she doesn’t want me any where near her. Even to get a glass of milk, she will go to daddy instead of me after he has told her to come to me. I am closest to the youngest and I noticed that I did breast feed him the longest. I can’t change the past of how I raised them when they were younger, but I want to know what I can do from this point on to bring them closer to me so they have more respect for me in their teens, and trust that they can come to me with any concerns as they get older.

  108. Miranda, I would suggest that you relax and let your daughter have a strong connection with daddy: My experience with my kids is that their “affiliation” varies over time. My eldest girl, for example, seems to be more into her Mom right now, while my youngest is definitely attached to me. In six months that might completely shift.

  109. Thank you for this blog. I am a stay-at-home mother of 3 (4 1/2 y.o. boy, 2 1/2 y.o. boy and 10 month girl). When I was pregnant with my first son I had talked to people about parenting (somehow a bulging belly brings the topic out in a lot of people). In these discussions I found that most people’s advice was things like: don’t hold the baby too much, if he’s sleeping definitely don’t hold him, do not let the baby come to be with you-you’ll never get them back out, babies cry it’s ok to let them cry for a while, etc. Before even becoming a parent I had set a lot of “rules” for myself, listening to such “advice”. I had already planned on breastfeeding my child but it was mostly because my husband has allergies and I read that breastfeeding could help spare my child from some allergies and also formula is so expensive, I didn’t know how we were going to afford it.
    Once my adorable baby boy was born almost all “rules” went out the window and I was following my instincts. I held him and “wore” him as much as I could however he didn’t sleep in bed with us. I would respond to his cry’s immediately and so on. My breastfeeding experience was great and at first had only planned on nursing for 6 months, ended up nursing for 14 months. I was working at the time (didn’t quit until I had my 3rd baby) so he did go to a home day care, although it was only him and the caregiver was a very close family friend. With my 2nd I of course did all the same things, this time co-sleeping also. He is now 2 1/2 and sleeps most of the time in his own bed, he still comes to bed with us sometime early in the morning. He was nursed until he was 16 months. I now stay home with and my 10 month old is “parented” the same way.
    I didn’t know until my 2nd child that my “parenting style” was AP but it was great to find out that there are others out there with the same philosophies as me. I am kind of an oddity in my community and amongst my friends. A lot of my friends are like you said “proud” of their childs independence and I find that sad in a way. One of my friends called me one time “bragging” that her 8 week old is now eating a big bowl of cereal before bed and sleeping through the night, as if that was a milestone! I have gotten strange looks from my friends and family because I believe in child-led weaning, extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping, make my own baby food, extended rear facing carseats, baby wearing, etc. I don’t expect a pat on the back for some of the things I do even though they are “more work” I would just like people to not comment rudely or give me looks like I’m insane.
    Well, I think I win the prize for longest post, I have bookmarked this page and hope to have time to come here more as I do need some support now and then.

  110. I just returned from a weekend with some siblings during which my brother and sister-in-law were extolling the virtues of sleep training to my sister with a 2yo. The common myths were being bandied about: they’ll never sleep on their own, they’ll never be independent, etc., Having practiced AP myself, I can say that I feel the opposite is true. Our 7 1/2 yo sleeps through the night every night on her own and has since she was about 3 1/2. Up until that point, she was always either in our bed (till about 14 months) or in the room with us till almost 3. It was only then that we sensed she was ready and transitioned her easily to her own bedroom. We did not need to sleep train her.
    I would only suggest that AP is about listening to your heart and knowing your child and your family. What works for one family won’t necessarily work for you.

  111. Hi, it’s so wonderful to hear how you cherish and care for your children in such a wonderful way. I have been loosely caring for my baby girl in this style, I carry her in a sling and she sleeps in a co-sleeper cot attached to my bed. However I unfortunatley stopped breastfeeding her at 5 months, so is attachment parenting still for us?

  112. Ella’s Mummy, I see no reason why nursing is a requirement for attachment parenting. It’s more of a philosophy and an approach to how you interact with – and how often you interact with – your baby and child. Parent from the heart and I think you’ll be delighted at the results. And Ella will too. 🙂

  113. So glad I came across this site. I love it. Little did I know that for the past ten years I have been attachment parenting!!! I have only been doing what seemed like the right thing to do for my family. I can now say that I do most certainly have a parenting style:) I live in the south and you don’t hear about it much here (especially co-sleeping). I have been told how crazy I am and the list could go on for the way I parent, but I love it and it makes my kids and me happy. Most of all I know now that there are a lot of people out there that are just like me and I don’t have to worry so much about it now. Next time someone gives me trouble about the way I do things I’m just going to say here is a website you should visit:)
    I was thrilled to see the vaccination info on here too! Great website, I look forward to a lot of great reading from here on!

  114. Hi just wanted to let you know that I have been attachment parenting (if thats what you call it) for 20 odd years. I have also chosen to autonimously homeschool my 4 children which for me has meant never “making” them do anything. My eldest is 24 and is likely to leave Uni with first class honours this year, she is dyslexic with a reading age of 12 and writing age of 10. But boy is she confident and so are the rest of them.
    great blog cheers sheila

  115. I have a 12 week old little girl who is a breastfed baby. Unfortunately she has suffered with colic but is now getting better. Pretty much for the first 2 months of her life i slept sitting up with her in my arms we have continued to co-sleep (which works well) and she spends most of her day in my arms.
    At times when she is put down she cries to be held again and I have been advised by my health visitor that I have to teach her to self soothe by slowly allowing her to cry for longer periods until she can calm herself? this doesn’t sit comfortably with me. What would you advise.
    Also I have to start back work when she is 9 months, as she is so used to close contact with Mum and Dad I am a little anxious about how she will react to be seperated or mixing with others. What would advise.
    thank you for the support.

  116. Mary, that’s pretty much a core attachment parenting ideal: holding and cuddling your baby as much as possible. It doesn’t create little monsters that can’t be by themselves, don’t worry, but the progressive desensitization that your advisor is suggesting? That sure didn’t work for us, we just decided that when they’re tiny, their needs were more important. So while it’s not the end of the world if they lay in the middle of the bed (safe, unable to roll off, of course) crying while you have a shower, I don’t agree with the “let them cry for 10-15 minutes before you sooth them” philosophy.
    In terms of going back to work, steel yourself, because those first few weeks, those first few separations are going to be hard. If you have them with loving child care, though, they’ll have someone else to hold and hug them and they’ll get over it. We went through quite a journey, especially with our oldest, on the drop-off emotional rollercoaster bit, but it did eventually settle down. One thing to try: get the Dad more involved and let him drop the baby off at day care. Might make a big difference.
    Even to this day, with my 6yo, she can get clingy with Mom at kindergarten, but she’s always calm, happy and confident when I drop her off. Just a different vibe, and the teachers tell us how they see the difference too.
    Also, get the baby used to other people as much as possible. Let your friends / family hold them, get them used to the idea that it’s more than just mom + dad are safe, everyone else is unknown who are you? WAAAHHHH! 🙂
    Good luck!

  117. Thanks Dave,
    At least now I don’t feel that I’m failing as a parent. (no need to reply to my email)

  118. I do disagree with some points of ap parenting, mostly the co-sleeping and wearing of the child, I do think that your hearts are in the right places. I am a very traditional parent, even though I was raised by my mother and grandmother ( both who were working guardians)but I just don’t see how having your children in bed with you every night, I don’t know what the common “cut off” point is, is healthy for your marriage or your childs over all adjustment to being independment. I don’t have any issues with children sleeping together but as far as children and parents; I just don’t see how hving a 3 or 4 year old child in bed with you every night is good for them. Please don’t think i’m being judgemental, I am ust totally unused to the idea.j

  119. Interesting concepts although I must confess I haven’t heard of this before. I will leave the conclusions to more experienced minds. I would, however point out my experience with regard to raising children. I’ve parented lots of children 23 to be exact and fathered none but adopted some. We have some children which are called “attachment disorder” children. All science aside this is a very real condition. If children don’t bond with their birth parents they don’t bond with much of anyone, don’t respect authority and exhibit a whole host of other symptoms that are really not helpful to anyone. This is what happens on the extreme other end of the care regimen. This not only damages the child but also society as a whole. That said; if the child has a healthy bond with the parents they are much more likely to grow up healthy and well adjusted to the extent that it’s possible in this somewhat mixed up world.

  120. I think I also have tended to lean unconsciously towards attachment parenting style. This revelation may get me lambasted by some, but I do work full time and my son attends a very good child development program. I spend nearly every moment I am not at work with my child. He is 10-months old and I breastfeed and we cosleep as well as spend a lot of time snuggling, reading, singing, etc. Leaving my job is not an option for me right now and I struggle with feeling like the daycare (with all good intentions) does push development. Anyone have any similar experiences?

  121. I came across this website through one of your other websites and was curious. After I read the above I realized that I participated in attachment parenting without even knowing it. It was just what I thought was right at the time. Although I’ve been married for over 30 years and my husband was a participating father, most of what we did was just what felt right to me. It was a lot of work but with a lot of love.
    My kids never had a baby bottle, not even baby food, actually, I never owned a stroller, just a couple of Snuglis. To this day my grown sons will tell everyone how they were not allowed to watch tv until after they graduated from high school. Hardly anyone would believe them. No, there were no computers in their rooms, we ate dinners together, we spent lots of time with our extended families, and did lots of family projects.
    So, my older son graduated valedictorian of his HS class, graduated from Princeton, then Columbia Law School and has a great career in Manhattan. His brother, 1 year younger, graduated in the top 5% of his HS class, was accepted early decision to the University of his choice, and went on to be a drug addict. And so it goes.
    If you are interested, check out my website and blog and my new book.
    At this time, life is good, both boys are well and happy, only one has lots of money and no time and the other has no time (working 4 jobs, finishing college, having his ongoing recovery as his priority) and very little money.
    We can only do what we can do. Every day is a small miracle. We just need to notice it.

  122. It would be nice to have a set rule for humans, but alas the old ‘human factor’ prevails I’m afraid, and an individually-tailored, ad-hoc answer is best.
    Considering the four different attachments styles we all have hard-wired into us – avoidant, secure, anxious/ambivalent, disorganised – the child’s needs should be catered to as is observed as being the best for their own peace of mind.
    It shouldnt be forgotten that in Buddhism there is a very valuable lesson that Attachment leads to Suffering, so while I do embrace the continuum concept and showing unconditional love, I certainly don’t want to overdose my child on comfort at any time.
    If the ad-hoc/hybrid approach is embraced, you could have a child still breastfeeding once or twice a day at age 4, sleeping with the parents until age 7, but fully aware that self actualisation and impenetrable self-esteem can only come from asking for what you want, recognising that others have their own body to take care of, and that nobody is perfect.
    Perfect parents are impossible to live up to.

  123. I stumbled on this website by accident, and found it interesting, and overly self-important. Parenting is a continuum – I see overweight moms buying twinkies, screaming at their kids in the Food Lion, or smoking in a closed up car with the kids in the back seat. It’s all relative, so get over yourselves.
    My daughter slept in a crib in her own room. But it was a room full of books.
    I loved her as best I could, but could have done much better if not for my own issues.
    I did have the luxury of driving her to school every day from Kindergarten through 2nd grade. We did math problems, spelling, and discussed the nature of friendship, cliques, and Santa Claus.
    Regarding TV, it was a presence, but never an overwhelming focus. Living in the country with a satellite dish, we never had the networks.
    Her mother and I split when she was 12 because her mother met another woman that she liked more than me.
    Yet somehow, she is better adjusted that either of her parents. Valedictorian of her High School. Happy to be a nerd – not immune to fashion, but not overwhelmed by it.
    Well organized and focused.
    Likes boys but keeps them in perspective.
    Doesn’t do drugs.
    Is kind to people and animals.
    What else can I say? She didn’t get it all from me? You do the best you can as a parent, but all this New Age mumbo jumbo is guaranteed to make the parents feel better about themselves. Not necessarily the kids.

  124. omg..sounds like me. I slept with all my boys.used slings, rocked them sang to them breast fed them..everyone thought I was spoiling them…they are all grown now ..but my younger two even though old enough to be on their own to me are not ready and beleive me I have heard people say they should join the military etc etc..but I have decided to be here until they are ready. They will know when they are. Im in no hurry to remove my kids..I feel by throwing them out early they will just come back later any way. This way they are not rushed into careers they dont like and/or marriages they arent ready for along with parenthood.

  125. Don’t you wonder if sometimes the parenting style of the 60s when breastfeeding, cosleeping and natural childbirth were uncommon in the west, has now backlashed toward the other extreme? I hold my kids a lot when they are awake, but sleep is another matter altogether. What’s best for me, my baby, and my baby’s future is learning how to get a good nights rest, because aren’t we all happier and more productive? I’m never surprised when 1st time parents tend toward the AP method, it comes naturally, but ask someone with more experience and you might find that more independence from 8-10 months on is what your baby naturally seeks.
    Mostly you will find happy kids whether they cosleep or not, this is not the issue with that aspect of AP. The issue is confidence and self-coping and problem solving abilities. For babies, crying = frustration often due to a change in routine, self-soothing follows crying and results in confidence that they can adapt to changes in their environment/routine. After the baby stage, a child who does not adapt well tends to be moodier, harder to please and harder on himself for becoming easily frustrated. I am describing my firstborn there, he is the one we coslept with the first 18 months. I felt it was a minor mistake that I did not want to repeat with the next children, and boy what a difference.
    I did carry my kids a lot the first 6 months, but not to get them to sleep. We had a family room with separate sleeping spaces until my youngest turned 2. Now my children know we are in the next room, if they cry it wakes me up even with the door closed, but for me to sleep sometimes I need to close my door whether it’s because one of them is coughing or the dishwasher is on. Thanks to our persistence and a couple rough weeks for each of them, they now all sleep through the night from 8p-7a in one room together ages 5, 3.5 & 2.5. They transitioned from sleeping in cribs to toddler beds at 18 months so they could autonomously climb in and out of their own beds and consequently choose to sleep and feel safe and comfortable in their own space.
    In order to do this, weaning by one year was most compatible. By the time they started talking and reasoning, we could bond in a different way, through words instead of my body. I liked having my body back. We liked being able to leave the kids with our family, friend or sitter for an evening now and then without there being an issue of putting them down for the night. Everyone remarks on how they are content to climb into their beds, close their eyes and fall asleep.
    When they are potty training they tend to revert to night waking and calling out to us or getting out of bed. I take care of their needs then put them back to bed. I will even lock my door if they keep coming out looking for attention. If it’s the middle of the night, they need to learn to fall back to sleep on their own. They get plenty of attention and comfort during the day, but nighttime is for sleeping. As it is 12:00 and my bedtime, I will end my two cents, and see what people have to say.

  126. Hi, I agree with your parenting style.
    Sorry to bring up religion here, in Islam, a mother should breast-feed her child for two years. It’s been suggested since 14 centuries ago.

  127. It is so strange to me that this type of parenting has a name, definition, and it’s own following. My own mother did none of these things and had passed away before I had my daughter; however, attachment parenting was just my own maternal instinct.
    It didn’t occur to me that it was different or controversial until other people in my life starting commenting an criticizing. I told them that’s why God gave them their children to raise and me my child to raise- because we’re all different with different strengths and weaknesses. I also invited them to compare notes with me in 20 years when our children are grown.
    The only time I have had challenges with my parenting style is with my son. He’s 4.5 and we adopted him at 18 months. He’s special needs and presents his own set of challenges, but we’re trying.
    I am having my 3rd child in two weeks and super excited to feel that warm little body wrapped close to mine. 🙂

  128. Hello!! Oh my goodness, I am an AP mama!! Wow, although I have to admit if I had read this when my first one was born I would have said, “I’ll never do that”! I now have a 10 and 7 year old. I nursed the first until 2.5 and the last until 2. I co-sleep and still do as needed. I even used a sling that another mom gave me. My first born was in a bassinet the first few weeks and for my sanity and hers I pulled her in bed with us and there she stayed! It actually didn’t affect my husband and I’s relationship in any negative way, it helped us in so many ways! We got creative with our alone time and he loved seeing his girls next to him. He often worked long hours and said the best part of his day was laying in bed with his daughter on his chest for an hour or so. We all got sleep in those first few months when I’d hear other mom’s complain about the lack thereof, I’d just shrug. I slept when baby slept, nursed when she wanted, and she barely cried (unless sick or something like that). We obviously had time to create another miracle and honestly it was never an issue (we just went somewhere else). Our then, almost 3 year old was still in our bed as we brought our newest little girl home. We did the same with her. We did upgrade to a King bed and put a twin next to it for more room and slowly our first gravitated towards it (all on her own). When she was 4 she asked for a big girl bed and so we gave it to her, she crawled in bed all on her own asked for hugs and kisses and off she went to independent sleeping. Occasionally(about once a week at first)she would crawl back in with us. The second was a little less eager to have her own bed but would switch from sleeping with her sister to our bed. We loved it. My eldest daughter went to kindergarten just fine but after 1st grade we decided to home school as well (another story for another day). They are well-rounded kiddos who have a lot freedom to be kids and who they want to be. After all of that, tragedy struck our home when my husband passed away 2 years ago. Both girls began sleeping in bed with me. I had no problems with that, they were grieving and I let them do so how they needed to. I am so thankful for the AP style I didn’t even know I was doing but they were able to attach not only to me but their dad and they carry that with them now! They never questioned his love for them and haven’t felt abandoned by him, which is amazing in my eyes because I do sometimes…they tell me he is just waiting for us to be with him again. Now both my girls sleep in their own beds by choice and they do self-sooth, something that people say they won’t learn if they co-sleep. We now have movie night on Friday’s and that is when we take that special night and they get to sleep in mommies bed. I have been so blessed to continue this AP parenting and be able to stay home with them and home school them, I have plenty of years to work when they are off to college. Things maybe a little tighter than if I worked but I counting the 2 very special blessing I have and that they are growing up healthy, happy, and well adjusted!

  129. This is an interesting topic. Does anyone know of any studies comparing attachment parenting to “non-attachment” parenting? It would be interesting to see how kids turn out on both sides of the spectrum?

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