I’ve been seeing a lot of comments this week on Facebook and on blog posts from parents who have been questioning how “AP” something is or calling out something for not being AP. While in some cases, these concerns are legitimate (like pointing out that cry it out is not a solution when AP mamas are asking for suggestions on dealing with sleep issues), most of them are an attempt to be “more AP than thou” by pointing out nit picky details that overlook the bigger picture.
So what do I mean by that? Let me give you some examples. I saw a photo (I think on Mother Wise) of a woman nursing her baby, and one of the commenters questioned why the girl had her ears pierced.I posted a photo to I am Not the Babysitter‘s “Real Men of Attachment Parenting” (a worthy rival to my AP Ryan Gosling), and many of the comments questioned the use of the “crotch dangler” carrier — which I had ALREADY indicated we swapped out. (You can see a write up of some of the carriers we’ve used here. I’ve since added a few to the stash, which I’ll write about eventually.) Baby wearing isn’t enough, it has to be the right kind of baby wearing. I’ve even seen posts that called out women for wearing knock-off baby carriers.
Of course, the safety of our babies is the most important issue. But is there a need to be so sanctimonious in our approach and to try to “out-AP” each other by being perfect bastions of AP practice and only choosing the “most” AP items, foods and so on? Who is that serving? Oh, right.
Here’s a confession (which shouldn’t have been too hard to glean): My husband and I are AP — ish. While we agree with almost everything about attachment parenting principles, there are some places where we diverge. For example, I had a medicated, hospital birth. I went in planning on a natural birth, but it became clear to me very fast that I wasn’t going to make it without pain medication. So I got an epidural.
Does that mean the bond with my child won’t be as strong?
We stuck to the recommended vaccine schedule, and we received all the vaccines. I did my research, and I felt more comfortable getting them than not.
Does that mean I love my child any less, or that I’m somehow not as good a parent as you?
We use cloth diapers, but not all the time. The cloth diapers I do have are not name brand but are some cheap knockoffs I bought from China.
Does that mean my child is doomed to suffer a life of cancer or hormonal imbalances because of exposure to synthetic fabrics?
We try to feed Quinn all-natural foods, including plenty of organic fruits and vegetables, and we try to ban refined sugars. But we’ve given her more than a few French fries, and relatives and well-meaning friends have snuck her gummy snacks that are little more than candy in disguise.
Does that mean she’s stuck on a track toward obesity and chronic health problems?
Does any of this mean that we aren’t AP enough?
Here’s what we DO:
- I am still breastfeeding at 14 months and plan to continue until she’s ready to wean herself.
- We have co-slept with her in our bed since Day 1. Literally. Even in the hospital, she slept nestled in the crook of my arm or my husband’s the whole time.
- We have worn her in some baby carrier or another since she was born. We wouldn’t make it through some days without it.
- We don’t let her cry it out. Ever.
- We cloth diaper. Most of the time.
- We try to create a “yes” environment and using positive parenting as an alternative to punishment.
- We try to feed her natural, wholesome foods and to use natural products where we can.
Does all of that make me AP “enough?”
Ladies, let’s try forgetting about labels and just focusing on what really matters: Our children. Attachment parenting is a useful label that describes the way we parent generally, but rather than falling over myself trying to make sure that everything I do is AP enough, I’m more interested in making sure that what we do works in the best interests of our daughter and our family.
So should you.