Time Magazine’s cover of a woman breastfeeding her son was intended to bring awareness to attachment parenting. Instead it made the long-suffering magazine look desperate for attention, and some poor kid a lifelong subject of playground bullying. I mean, what is the cutoff for breastfeeding, little league?
Most of my friends who breastfed didn’t have the cover subject’s fresh “après yoga” appearance. If the article was actually about parenting, why didn’t Time choose someone who looked more like an exhausted mom than a model? Let’s face it, being with a kid 24 hours a day is not relaxing.
Attachment parenting encourages practices like co-sleeping (baby sleeps with the parents) and baby-wearing (do I have to explain it?). According to some research, those children will grow up to be good-natured and happy adults.
Does that mean the rest of us have ruined our kids for life if we didn’t do “the right thing.”
I felt like the perfect mother and did do all the right things—until I gave birth. I was consumed with attachment parenting, but for all the wrong reasons.
My baby nursed around the clock, and never slept for more than an hour at a time. An “expert” told me to put her in the bed with us at night to make things easier (or was that more dangerous). I awoke one morning to find her helpless little noggin embedded face-first in my husband’s equally exhausted armpit.
I conducted an emergency extraction and cursed my poor judgment and inability to live without sleep.
Another tip I got was to put her in a baby carrier on my chest (baby wearing), so she could relax and feel my heartbeat. As soon as I strapped her in that thing she screamed like a cat stuck in revolving bicycle spokes. I pulled her out and cursed myself for spending 80 bucks on a sling that wasn’t suitable to hold a philodendron.
After three months of constant attachment to a miserable baby, my desire to be the perfect mom gave way to a desire to lie down and sleep for several months. I looked like a tired zombie. That’s when my neighbor came to the rescue.
“You need the Ferber book,” she said. And, by following the sage Dr. Ferber’s advice, we learned to let our baby cry herself to sleep—a practice that is probably not in the attachment parenting rule book, so sue me.
Maybe I didn’t do all of the right things, but I did some things right—like weaning her before she started tap dancing. That would have been awkward.