When Attachment Parenting Speaks for Itself

by Amber Strocel on October 30, 2009

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When my first child was born I often felt like I was swimming against the current. My decisions to exclusively breastfeed, co-sleep, wear my baby and practice gentle discipline often set me apart from other parents. For the most part, that was fine with me. I had carefully considered my decisions, and was comfortable with them. But I would be lying if I said I didn’t experience the occasional twinge of self-doubt.

From time to time, and particularly when I was having ‘one of those days’, I wondered if I was making a horrible mistake. What if I was really just being over-indulgent? What if all of the things I did to foster a secure connection ended up creating a monster? I know that all parents face these sorts of questions from time to time. I am no different, I’ll admit it.

My friends and family were very understanding, and accepted my parenting decisions without question. Their support meant a lot to me. As my daughter grew, though, I began to sense an undercurrent of doubt from them as well. Breastfeeding a 2-year-old is still very unusual in our culture. Foregoing the naughty chair is, too. I might have been projecting my own concerns, but I think they sometimes wondered how all of my wacky ideas would turn out in the end.

The kiddos having fun together
My attachment-parented children

By the time my daughter became a preschooler things turned around. She grew old enough to speak for herself. She weaned from the breast. She decided she wanted to walk instead of being carried. She grew into an outgoing and independent little girl. In short, she did all of those things that attachment parenting advocates said that she would.

Today my daughter is 4 1/2 and my son is 14 months old. They are both still very young children, relatively speaking. But as they’ve gotten older they have both silenced my self-doubt, and the doubts of others. It’s one thing to read about attachment theory, it’s quite another to see it play out in front of your eyes. There is no greater endorsement of attachment parenting than watching attachment-parented kids are grow into great little people.

If I could go back and tell myself one thing in the early days of parenting, it would be that it gets easier. As your little ones grow and develop and mature, you reach a point where you don’t need to explain your parenting choices anymore. This is even more true when you have another baby. Issues that generated a lot of discussion with my first child didn’t even merit a thought with my second. These days, for the most part, my attachment parenting choices speak for themselves. I’m so glad that I stuck with it when I was unsure, and that I’ve made it this far.

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Amber Strocel (28 Posts)

Amber is a hippie mama to two, a writer, a dreamer, a student, an erstwhile engineer and a lover of chocolate. She lives in suburban Vancouver with her family and one very cranky tabby cat. Keep up with her on her blog at Strocel.com.


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Zahra October 30, 2009 at 7:30 am

This is so wonderful to hear. As a first-time mother I experience a lot of self-doubt, especially when family and friends question my choices. But I just can’t bring myself to parent my daughter any other way. I really do believe that attachment parenting is the way to raise a confident, loving, empathetic child, and I look forward to seeing this choice play out.

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Leah Lenk October 30, 2009 at 8:42 am

That’s wonderful. Your story gives great encouragement to all of us AP parents. Thanks for sharing!

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mollie October 30, 2009 at 9:21 am

i must admit, i’ve had some doubts too. my son is 7 months old and my husband asked me, so how are we going to transition him to his own room/bed (he wasn’t doubting, it was just a question and he wanted to know the answer). i said, when he is ready we will move him to his room but at the same time leave our door always open. he just simply said, ok, but in my mind i was thinking… oh my, does that mean we will have a child in our bed for 2? 3? 4? years!?! i began to wonder is this the right course? then i look at my son who wakes up smiling at me and my husband instead of crying in a crib until we get him… and i feel like he is already telling me that this is what he wants.

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Elizabeth October 30, 2009 at 11:26 am

My toddler is now 17 months old. We have attachment parented since the beginning. I, too, had my doubts at the beginning — was I doing the right thing? What if I was messing up his life? Those doubts went away a long time ago when I realized that I was doing the most natural thing that could be done in parenting. I wouldn’t have it any other way now.

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justine October 30, 2009 at 2:11 pm

There is nothing nicer than having someone who was once a doubter (like my parents, for instance) comment on how “sweet”, “content” or “joyful” my children are.

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Anne Lyken-Garner October 31, 2009 at 10:14 am

It’s refreshing to hear mothers not confirming to ‘must dos’ and ‘laws’ when bringing up their kids. I breast-fed too (all 3 of my kids) my son was the hardest because he was the hungriest. It worked out really well for us, and I would do it again.

I now tell my readers that this is indeed the way to go. We shared a room with the kids when they were tiny. They always had their own beds though. Transitions to their own bedrooms when they were ready were never a problem.

I agree with doing things the way you have. I stayed at home with my kids until they went out to school. They’re confident, well-behaved kids. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

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Mandy November 1, 2009 at 4:44 pm

What a great blog… where have you been all of my parenting life?

My oldest is 8 (I also have a 5yr old and 2yr old) and my goodness.. that’s exactly how I felt the first 4 years of being a mother. (and..sometimes still with the now two year old..)

I live in the South and to say my parenting methods are a ‘little’ different than most is a serious understatement! I only have one IRL friend that also does AP and she moved here from up north. *lol*

I wanted to say that this rang true for me, too. All of my self-doubt on if all of this AP stuff would actually result in a WELL-BEHAVED child, and not just a kid that was totally attached to mommy and refused to listen because “what was I gonna do about it?” all has flown out of the window.

People tell me all of the time how polite, quiet, well-behaved, and gentle my kids are. I don’t see them being much different than other kids.. until I’m around other kids for a long time. Wow.. what a difference!

Don’t worry new parents! You can practice AP with confidence!

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Beth November 4, 2009 at 9:54 am

I am a mother to one beautiful daughter Sadie 18 mths. I find the simpliest things are what bring us closer together. I sleep every night snuggled up close to my baby. I constantly found people telling me this was not OK to do. I don’t care it feels right is what I replied. Americans are too uptight.

I carry my baby, even around the house in a baby carrier. I found mine at a locally owned business: http://www.snappydiapers.com/ I highly recommend the Patapum.I experienced back pain with several different other carriers but not this one. I love my carrier because it feels like my baby is giving me a HUGE bear hug all day long either on my front on back. Although I really love her against my chest!

I choose to breastfeed my daughter even through an extremely painful inverted nipple. I keep breastfeeding even though people exclaim, “You are still breastfeeding!?!” I say yes would you rather I fed her formula even though I have perfectly working breasts? What is wrong with people..

My point is that the simplest things I do for Sadie are what bring us closest together. I wish all mothers would follow their instincts and parent their children with their heart rather than their mind or the minds of others.

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Matt Metzgar November 24, 2009 at 7:08 pm

Great article. Have confidence in your methods, you are doing the right things. Whether attachment parenting is popular or not, it is the natural way for parents and children.

It is the old way, the good way – and that will never change.

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