Thursday, May 10, 2012

There is something I'd like to address

Let me preface this by saying that I believe there is no "right way" to parent. The only right way, is whatever way enables your family to produce healthy, happy, well adjusted children.

Now that I have that out of the way....

Today, after I finished school with the kids, I decided to turn on The View, to listen to while I did some picking up downstairs. They brought up the new controversial TIME Magazine cover.

Note: This toddler is 3. Not 8 or whatever other age people are saying he is.
I view this differently than most people. I see this is a portrayal of defiance and strength against those who shun it. I think it's a powerful image. As for the title, it was to get your attention. I can't speak to the article itself. I have not read it.

The ladies of The View discussed Attachment Parenting and Extended Breastfeeding. It was all negative, of course. Driven by ignorance, I imagine. Elisabeth Hasselbeck went as far as to say that it can have a negative impact on a marriage. I have a few problems with the way this subject was approached on their show today. My first, smaller issue, is the fact that the photo had a black circle over the toddler breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is not dirty, inappropriate or sexual, so there is no need for censorship. My second issue is seeing such negativity and misinformation spoken about a style of parenting that has so many proven benefits. My final issue is it being said that it can negatively impact a marriage.

Attachment parenting isn't a label that is strictly reserved for stay at home mothers. There are working mothers, who practice many aspects of attachment parenting. Attachment parenting is many things. You don't have to practice every single thing that falls under the AP umbrella to consider yourself an "attachment parent". This was part of the misinformation when discussing it on The View.

Extended Breastfeeding and Attachment Parenting in general, are practiced all over the world. They are  not something new. They might be gaining popularity in the US, but it is far from a "new" style of parenting. Extended Breastfeeding has many nutritional and emotional benefits. Attachment Parenting has many proven physical, emotional and developmental benefits. I think it's a shame that they put such a negative light on a style of parenting that isn't harmful and has been proven to be beneficial in many ways. It might not be the more common choice, but why try to make the parents who choose to parent this way feel they are doing something wrong? It's not for everyone, but it's great for the families that it works for. 

As far as the comments about it harming a marriage or relationship. It's about balance but furthermore,  if a couple is blaming attachment parenting itself for relationship issues, there are other issues beyond that. When a couple is a "team" and on the same page in regards to parenting... their parenting choices, regardless of what they may be, should not be an issue. 
Attachment Parenting doesn't negatively impact my marriage in any way. We have 6 children, I homeschool, I breastfeed the youngest and he also sleeps with us at night (he will until he's ready for his own bed). Our marriage is excellent. We're happy, loving toward each other and our sex life does not suffer whatsoever. This is on top of my husband being in the Navy, which is a demanding career with long hours (when he's here). This style of parenting works for us in all aspects.

I practice Baby Led Weening and none of mine have nursed passed 14 months, but that doesn't mean I will shame the mother who is still breastfeeding her 2.5 year old or the mother who formula feeds. We co-sleep/bed-share until the baby shows us signs that he/she is ready to sleep alone, that has not usually been more than a year, but I will not shame the families who have a family bed or those who do not co-sleep at all. 

It's all about what works for your family. Attachment parenting may not be the right choice for your family, but it is for mine. We are all just doing what is best for our families.


Paige said...

I LOVE this post! Thank you for voicing your opinion and being open to so called, "new" ideas!

Allison said...

You've done well with this post! I breastfed one child for six months and my other child for 2.5 years, they are 11.5 months apart. Even to me, the picture is be seen as extreme, but that was the tone that TIME was trying to achieve. No doubt they've done their job because we keep hearing about it over and over again. I wish I would have been watching The View, but it's certain these views of breastfeeding exist. AP parents like ourselves base our methods on science. Those shows play up on radical politics.

RAY J said...

The biggest complaint I keep hearing about the cover isn't so much the picture, but the title/caption on it implying that if you don't BF your child past babyhood then you're not "mom enough" or whatever.

It has definitely sparked some interesting discussions though!