A mother’s cry for justice

By Gratiela Sidor, a dual national from Romania living in the United Kingdom for 15 years

gratiela sidorThere is a worrying new trend in the English courts to separate infants from their primary carers overnight, despite compelling evidence that this can be psychologically harmful to them.

More worryingly, nursing mothers are forced to allow overnight contact for babies as young as 8 months old, despite all the health warnings and medical professionals advising against it, including La Leche League (LLL) International.

The courts do not take into consideration if a breastfed baby will feed from a bottle before making these determinations. Babies who are used to nursing through the night are being forced to spend up to 24 hours away from the breast, regardless of whether they will take a bottle, which exclusively breastfed infants often refuse.

The English family system is failing our infants.

Despite Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass) guidelines stating that overnight contact is not appropriate for children under age 2, its officers often ignore this and support instead the separation of infants from their main carer; thus ignoring its own guidelines, studies and World Health Organization (WHO) and National Health Service (NHS) guidelines.

The courts are so worried about so-called parental rights that they are ignoring the welfare and rights of the child in question.

Let’s not forget that parents don’t actually have “rights”: They have responsibilities to their children. Too many parents are blinded by their disagreements with the parent who is main carer and can’t see the harm their actions cause their children. This is further compounded by the courts allowing such access.

Of course overnight contact is completely appropriate for older children, but not for babies. If a mother was in a mother-and-baby unit in prison, she would not be separated from her infant overnight, regardless of the feeding method. Why do main carers defending unreasonable access demands not get the same treatment?

It is not surprising that England is on the bottom of the list of countries in Europe when it comes to breastfeeding, when court-ordered custody agreements force nursing mothers to give up breastfeeding before its time. It should be the infant and the mother’s choice when to stop breastfeeding, not the court’s decision.

Can you imagine the uproar if the court ordered a formula-feeding mother to breastfeed?

An infant who is thriving on the breast should not have that breastfeeding journey interfered with. It is perfectly possible for the father to have lots of reasonable, positive contact without interfering with breastfeeding–contact that can increase as the infant grows older and becomes less reliant on the breast until they are old enough for overnights.

So why are the courts not respecting this? Health care professionals are supporting the non-separation of mother and infant before age 2 for overnight contact with the non-resident parent, but the English courts are totally ignoring this advice and order overnight contact.

The lack of guidelines for the courts also creates inequality for families in that a decision made by one judge could be completely different from the decision made by another judge, so the outcome becomes a lottery for the child!

The English family law system is heading into the wrong direction. We need to act now for the sake of our children.

An Unexpected Evening Out with Our Son

By Barbara Nicholson, cofounder of Attachment Parenting International and coauthor of Attached at the Heart

barbaranicholsonYou never know when a precious family memory will start out as a seeming disaster!

Many years ago, my husband and I had been planning a special evening out with his boss. I bought a new dress and carefully arranged childcare with a trusted family friend. The plan was that I would drop off our boys ages 7, 5 and 2, and then come home for a leisurely bath, so we’d have plenty of time to get ready.

For some reason, our 5-year-old son did not want to be left that night. He worried about it all day, but I kept reassuring him that he’d have so much fun, we’d only be gone a few hours, and that Mommy and Daddy would spend some special time with him the next day.

I finally got them all in the car, but as I was pulling away from the curb, I looked back to see that he was still very distressed and begged me to let him stay home. Impulsively, he ran back into the house and I followed, asking my husband to talk to him, as I had no choice but to take the other boys to the sitter. I dreaded the scene when I returned home, thinking that they would both be upset, and my husband would be stressed about what to do. We were going to a very exclusive restaurant that did not cater to children, so I wondered if we’d have to cancel.

I will never forget the joy on my son’s face when I came back in the house. My husband had dressed him in his Sunday best suit, and they were both looking so handsome. They had talked through the problem and decided that if it was this traumatic to be left, and if he was willing to go to a grown-up event and sit quietly in the restaurant, we would let him go with us. Of course, he was an angel that night and all the guests couldn’t get over his maturity and sweetness.

I remember how it felt so right to listen to him and find a positive solution that kept all of our dignity intact. And I will always be grateful to my husband for trusting that our son’s needs came above a dinner out with the boss!

Revering parenthood is patriotism

By Terri Murray

Terri Murray and familyWhile up in Washington, DC, USA, visiting my aunt and my grandma, one morning my husband and I were able to walk down the street with our youngest for a quick cup of coffee and to walk our Corgi.

The quick cup of coffee turned into a fascinating hour-long conversation with a former congressional candidate for the area. She was also a mother to 3 school-aged children and was very committed to being an active mom. She went on to tell me that she lived in France for some time and in various parts of the United States and had a very successful professional career as a Federal prosecutor that she gave up when she decided to become a mother.

With very little input from me, she went on to explain a lot of what drew her to run for Congress was that she wanted to honor and increase awareness on the patriotism of being a stay-at-home mom or the home-based mompreneur. Hmm…that was interesting. I had never thought to lump the stay-at-home mom or other committed mothers who may work outside the home with patriotism. I wanted to hear more!

She went on to explain that while living in France 30 years ago, she was pregnant and a new mom to their eldest child. She described that the French at that time perceived pregnancy and motherhood, among other qualities, as patriotic. France’s citizens revered moms, because they were raising the next generation of their society. They had a huge undertaking at hand. These moms were forged with raising and developing boys and girls that would one day be running their country and businesses, and serving their community.

And because of the gravity of this, moms were treated with respect and held in high regard. What a wonderful sentiment!

Instead of being the loathed fellow passengers on a plane, the nuisances in line at the grocery store or the disturbance at the restaurant, mothers with their children were treated like they were on an important mission and given respect and help when in public.

To her point, helping to raise and rear the children in our country–they don’t have to be your own–is as much of a moral obligation as it is patriotic. Our country is made up of citizens who were all once kids. Just as we should keep our parks clean and our roads in order, part of keeping this country great for everyone is ensuring kids are raised to become good citizens who contribute to society.

My newfound friend went on to berate a cover of TIME magazine, on which there are two young adults leisurely laying on a beach with the title, “The Childfree Life: When Having It All Means NOT Having Children.” The article described how the birthrate in the United States is the lowest in recorded American history: 1 in 5 women in America are not having kids. I think we both agreed that this was a personal choice and not all adults should or can have children. However, the point of her argument was the article’s claim of not having kids to be a prerequisite for “having it all.”

Should we really be reveling or trying to promote that not having kids in our lives is the only way to live the good life in America these days? After all, one day it is the kids that become the doctor or nurse giving us medical care, the political leader who will decide how our tax dollars are spent and what laws we must live by, the police officer or firefighter that protects us or responds to an emergency situation we may encounter, or the consumer or client for our products and services that support our economy and lifestyles.

Is it harmful to parenting or does it downplay the joys and happiness of the parents raising the next generation of Americans to headline you can’t “have it all,” because you have children. Is that really the society we want? If so, in the very simplest summations, we will have a short-lived society.

Now again, not everyone should or needs to have kids, and some want them but can’t physically, financially or emotionally have them. Fortunately, we live in a society where I don’t think childless adults are thought of as unfulfilled or living an abnormal life. But this title does imply a negative message about the undertaking of parenthood. “Having it all” is what I want! So because I have 4 kids, does that mean its not going to happen for me? I thought it already was happening!

We could further rant on as to why are others trying to define what someone’s life should be like to “have it all?” Anyone can make the case they “have it all,” and each of them will have a different life–and hopefully most of us feel as though we are living life at its best. I am focusing on the fact that it is sad that a national publication through its cover title is subtly and coyly sensitizing and normalizing the thought that children are a nuisance and an intrusive aspect of a quality adult life. They are not.

patriotismAnd let’s revere the moms and caretakers who decide to immerse themselves into raising children and acknowledge when they are great moms just as we would revere her as a CEO or other successful professional who made sacrifices and did what was necessary to get to her elite professional status. As a society, let’s not forget that the job these moms do at home are just as important, if not more important than a job they may do outside the home, because they are rearing and developing the future of our country.

Being a proficient mom and raising high-functioning children doesn’t just happen. It takes hard work, dedication and perfecting your actions to be successful. And their success in raising  empathic and compassionate children helps better society as a whole.  Thus this woman’s point: that devoted, purposeful moms are not only benefiting the children that they raise, but that America as a whole is strengthened. These children will grow up into our doctors, lawyers, police officers, policy makers, etc. The job we do as as parents and adults raising and caring for our young will dictate the future state of our society and our country. Hence, motherhood is a form of patriotism.

I hope we, as members of a society, look for opportunities to be a positive, helping hand for the children who come into our lives from our neighborhoods, communities, households or social environments as they hold our legacy and future as a great nation. I hope we do not begin to perceive children as interfering with our adult lives or as a speed bump to happiness. Let’s not start looking at them or their needs in a negative light, but look at how we can make a difference in their lives. What can we do to make our future generation into empathic, high-functioning, compassionate, thriving adults.

It just happened to be an coincidental conversation that got started, because it was with me–who is trying to help promote the benefits of Attachment Parenting in my world back home in South Carolina, and I take my role as a mom very seriously. She, on the other hand, just saw me with a feisty 2-year-old, and we were sharing space at a cafe.

I was fascinated by her thought and claim that part of being a dedicated and engaged mom in a sense is very patriotic and is good for America. And after our conversation and reflecting on it more, I have to agree.

Terri Murray lives in Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA, with her husband and their 4 children. She leads the Charlotte Natural Moms playgroup. Terri feels that her kids have changed her for the better beyond imagination and keep her on a journey of self discovery and betterment. The more she has learned about Attachment Parenting International’s Eight Principles of Parenting, the more she has found her guidepost for raising her kids. Her background was in genetics, and she is currently a Certified Health Coach and loves all things nutrition, traveling the world and meeting people.

Confidence through motherhood

By Sarah Dubé

flowerI suppose when I think about it I have always had a fairly healthy level of confidence even if it was a more superficial sense. I had your basic “Yeah sure…I’m okay” level of appreciation for myself and for my body and never thought I was any less or more than average. In a way, it was good because I was happy with myself but the problem was that I never strived, in anything, to be more than average. I didn’t have the type of confidence that drives a person to accomplish more.

I didn’t, that is, until I became a Mother.

From the first moments I found out I was expecting, something inside me began to change. I looked at my changing body in a different way, realizing that what my body was doing was a true miracle. I gained a newfound amazement in myself and in my body, and this feeling climaxed in the moments of my son’s first breaths. I looked over at him, a brand new life where there wasn’t one before and it was there because of me. All of the possibilities and potential of that life kind of flashed before my eyes and it made me feel like God.

Life as a Mother was a whole new ball game. I was responsible for this whole other person and suddenly being average didn’t seem like good enough anymore. I navigated through the first year doing my best but always knowing that I should be striving to do better for my son and future children. I went through tremendous personal growth during my son’s first year. I learned so much about myself and about life, and came out of that first year with valuable life lessons. My confidence was still growing.

At the end of that first year, I learned I was expecting a second baby. The thought of two babies under 2 was mind blowing. With mixed feelings of a confidence and doubt, I prepared for the arrival of a second precious life to come into this world.

Now, my first birthing experience was actually quite traumatic. It was more like a nine-day-long nightmare. This experience left me slightly terrified but also slightly determined to take a little more control, which is something I didn’t have the confidence to do before. My second birth ended up being a much more enjoyable experience for me, although I let my fear take control and agreed to be induced and eventually have an epidural. I did insist on rooming-in with my daughter even though the nurses suggested on several occasions that I send her to the nursery so I can get some sleep. I also insisted on going home early the next day even, though my doctor suggested I stay in the hospital one more night to make sure breastfeeding was well established. The instincts within me were becoming a little more defined.

The real change within me happened when I looked down at my 1-month-old nursling, all chubby and thriving, and realized that it was my body and only my body that sustained this precious life. My body did just as it was supposed to and produced the milk to nourish my baby–no bottles, no formula, just me. At that moment, I felt a wave of realization come over me: I was extraordinary.

In July of 2010, I embarked on yet another womanly experience: natural childbirth. More confident than ever and armed with more information than I could possibly retain, I began to plan my perfect birth. A lovely, serene home water birth would welcome my third baby into the world. With all that I had learned, how could I walk away from this experience?

All the preparation in the world, though, could not have prepared me for the deeply spiritual and life-changing event. I felt as if I had been let in on a secret kept by all mothers before me since the beginning of time: that I am powerful, primal, connected and creative. That’s heavy! It connects me to them, and now I have that same wisdom to pass along to the next generation of mothers to follow.

The experiences of Womanhood and Motherhood are incredibly powerful, and for some of us, they are the defining moments of our life, as without them we wouldn’t be the fierce women we are today. I believe with all my heart that, for me, this is true. The place of deep understanding and appreciation for myself that I have attained through experiencing motherhood could not have been reached any other way, and I am forever grateful to my children for giving me those experiences.

Sarah Dubé, 30, is a stay-at-home mother to 3 children: sons Hayden and Oliver (who I was pregnant with when the author wrote this), and daughter Lily. Sarah had an amazing home water birth with Oliver, but that’s a whole other story. Sarah and her family live in a small Northern Ontario town called Bruce Mines, which is just a blink along the Trans-Canada highway.  The kids just love it here as they get a lot of freedom and fresh air.  Sarah spends most of her time doing Mommy things, and her husband is a trucker. Sarah’s hobbies include photography, writing and star gazing.

Lessons from Parents of a Sleepless Baby – Part 2

Continued from Part 1

As we relearned loving sleep routines with our son, we did strike upon a few techniques that worked well for us as a family.

We are Roman Catholic, and praying a quiet rosary with our son before bedtime has two benefits: It relaxes him, and it relaxes us. He delights in our voices, in the soothing and soft repetition of sounds he remembers from the night before. The meditative sound and pacing of the prayer likewise soothes us, which reassures our son further.

Those who are not Roman Catholic or who do not want to pray a rosary might try memorizing a longer poem they love and repeating it several times in a row, in a slow, gentle voice. Knowing how long the prayers or the poems are, too, helps provide a realistic sense of time for parents. I recommend avoiding clock-watching while soothing a baby to sleep.

Reviewing the great parts of the day, quietly, is also a wonderful way to relax both parents and children. You can snuggle up, one-on-one or as a group, and review fun activities that everyone enjoyed, especially good behavior from a little one, and how proud you are of them and how much you love them. For example, Thomas is now 19 months old and has been working to leave breakables alone. One day, he made wonderful progress: When he had opened the bookcase and had pulled out an especially fragile little thing, he immediately put it back on the shelf and closed the door, when asked. That night, I paid special attention to how well he had done, which reminded him not only of what behavior we desire of him but also the praise he had received earlier in the day when the event happened. He loves it when I snuggle up with him, and whisper, “I love being your mommy, sweet baby.”

Everyone else says this, too, but it cannot be said enough; otherwise, you will forget when you are exhausted and desperate. Keep to the same routines and the same order. Do not try one set of ideas for a few days and then switch to another set because the first attempt is not “working.” If what you are doing is otherwise sound, keep to it for a few weeks.

Watch your caffeine intake if you are nursing, especially during teething. My son had not been sensitive to my morning cup of coffee until his teething became more pronounced. If you must eliminate caffeine,do so gradually. I cut down from two cups to one, then down from six ounces to four, before eliminating it altogether for a time. Rest assured, you will probably enjoy your coffee again in the near future.

Pay attention to sleep milestones. As children grow older, they shorten some nap periods a little before dropping them altogether. During that period, their night sleep can become more problematic. Be patient and work to help him or her through this time. Do not force nap periods on a child who no longer needs them. You will both cry.

Say to yourself, “Sleep? Stay awake? It doesn’t matter either way. Nothing is at stake here.” Truly, the world will not come to an end if your child wakes up more often than you would prefer, or has trouble falling asleep to begin with. This is, of course, nearly impossible to imagine when you are sleep-deprived and desperate for some alone time or couple time.

And, finally, please do not stress if your child does not sleep as long or as well as your neighbor’s or cousin’s or colleague’s child. If you have eliminated all obstacles to a good night’s sleep—constant access to television and computer screens, too much family stress, too much activity before bedtime, too much brightness or darkness, too much or too little noise, medical issues, feeding issues —then you are doing your job. Your child will develop better sleep routines in time. He or she is less likely to do so if you become stressed about sleep. He or she is more likely to do so if you regularly delight in the little details of being a parent.

Lessons from Parents of a Sleepless Baby – Part 1

by Abigail Flavin

My husband and I learned about Attachment Parenting when, after reading many, many reviews of various baby books, we selected one by William Sears, MD. We found the principles and practices intriguing. They offered us clarity for our own thoughts and hopes for ourselves as parents. Repeatedly, we discussed the principles, sharing anecdotes from our own childhoods and from what we were reading about parenting. We thought we were completely ready for our son’s arrival, since we had acquired a car seat, clothing, diapers, and parenting ideas. We were unprepared for our spirited son, Thomas, who has proven that babies can get by just fine on less than the required range of sleep time so often touted by experts.

The first month was about what we expected. Then, he stopped sleeping well and began fussing more. He never wanted to be put down, and even the sling and constant nursing never seemed to provide enough contact. Our pediatrician diagnosed him as having Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), which became quite serious between his third and fourth months, requiring medication. At that point, we could understand the irregular habits and the inability to sleep well, even with cosleeping and constant nursing.  By his seventh month, however, his sleep problems could no longer be linked to GERD nor did they correlate to introducing solids. As he began sleeping less often and less regularly, we became progressively more frantic.

We were always asked by others, how is he sleeping? Is he sleeping through the night yet? Honestly, these questions need to stop. They imply that either the parent is a bad parent or that the baby is a bad baby. They amp up the pressure that already tired and insecure first-time parents feel. Let us banish these questions to the realm of etiquette hell, where they belong.

When nothing else worked, we fell off the AP wagon and tried the graduated extinction sleep-training method. Three days in, he was down to sleeping six out of 24 hours, the worst he’d ever slept. We were all exhausted and miserable. I saw a long, bleak tunnel ahead, and I am sure our son only saw pain and confusion. Where was Mommy? Her warmth? Her food? Her snuggles? Why am I alone in a crib, in the dark, and nobody is coming to me? What is wrong with me that they won’t come to me? I cannot find the words to describe how I imagine my child must have felt, for it is far darker than that. We gave up and gave up ourselves completely to our son so that he could reestablish his trust in us. We kissed and snuggled him constantly, providing one favorite activity after another: reading, peek-a-boo, snuggles, bath time, walks in the garden, singing, and of course, co-sleeping. Of course, he recovered; our little ones are far more resilient than we can imagine. And in the meantime, he taught us the value of patience.

What many sleep methods bank on is that parents want results now; we are exhausted, we sometimes miss our “old lives,” we wonder when we will have space and time to enjoy some of our independent activities, we long for a few hours where we do not have to decide whether to take an uninterrupted shower or call an old friend. What we must learn from our children is the value of patience, of delayed gratification. They teach us these lessons so that we may, in turn, teach them as they grow older.

Check back with us for Part 2, where Abigail shares tips she learned from a long and exhausting period of irregular baby sleep.

The Challenges of AP Fathering – Part 2

Continued from The Challenges of AP Fathering – Part 1

To be very honest, I believe sensitivity is the key for a father to get along with Attachment Parenting. We must allow ourselves to feel like this, without fearing or caring about what others might think of our manhood. What is to be a man, after all? If it is to drink beer and watch football, then I am afraid I have never been truly a man. It ought to be more than that!

But sadly, many men today have not created secure attachments with their own parents. Many of us have not received love and affection when we were little. Some of us even say that despite everything, we survived. So why, now, we should provide all the love and affection most of us did not receive? Because it is not a matter of survival, it is a matter of thriving, and everybody in the family should have a chance to thrive through love.

Still not so sure about why we should be attached fathers?


Because it is worth it.

I have not been a dad for that long and I can already say it is really worth it. As soon as I realized that it is, indeed, possible (and enjoyable) to be an attached father, I knew I had to help spread the word. It is about time that we take our roles of fathers (not mere providers) and live it up. It is time for new generations of fathers to go beyond helping their wives at home.

It is time for attached fathers.

Fortunately, all around the internet, we can find mothers writing about their experiences and challenges while raising their children the attached way. There are many beautiful and empowering stories out there that you can easily find and learn from. Sadly, we cannot say the same thing for fathers. There are still few men talking about parenting.

In response, I started my own blog in Brazil, and my main goal was to show to all fathers that it is possible to break the cycle. A man is not less of a man if he cares and loves his baby. Being sensible is a blessing, not a curse.

Soon enough, I realized the blog’s purpose should go beyond helping men build a conscience around active fatherhood. I knew I could help both mothers and fathers, writing about my experiences with Attachment Parenting.

This is especially good because, here in Brazil, there is not much material available in our language specifically about Attachment Parenting. However, to my fortunate surprise, I have found out that many mothers and fathers were already practicing Attachment Parenting in Brazil without even knowing it had a name. They did it by instinct, which is one of the foundations of Attachment Parenting. Trust your instincts. You are the specialist of your baby.

A couple months later, I noticed I could do a little more, so I decided to enter the API Leader Application Program in order to start an API support group here in Brazil. I hope this way I will be able to help even more parents, having the support from the entire API organization.

The Application Program itself has been an incredible self-knowledge journey. Each time I exchange emails with my Application Liaison, every book I read, every reflection I make helps me understand better not only child rearing practices, but also helps me to understand the other. People are out there and they do not just need help raising their children, they need compassion and empathy as well.

Today, I organize some parent meet-ups in my community to talk about Attachment Parenting. It is not an official API Support Group per se, but I like to think about it as an internship. It is great to see how many people are looking for support, to feel they are not the only ones when it comes to the choices we make in child rearing. It has been an amazing experience and I have no doubt it will become even better as soon as I become an accredited API Leader.

Many people think I might receive some resistance for being a man and being so active in Attachment Parenting. But I do believe I can offer a different point of view that might be interesting for many mothers. I am fully aware of the different roles both mother and father play in parenting, and how important those are. I also know I do not have the birthing and breastfeeding superpowers, but I can offer support as well, through empathic listening. After all, sometimes, all we need is empathy when we are struggling.

Besides, being a father on a discussion group has shown to be an incentive for other fathers to participate, which is quite amazing. Some men may envision a parenting discussion group as a bunch of women with their babies in slings talking about many parenting topics. Well, that picture is accurate, but it does not have to be avoided by fathers. So when they know a guy is over there talking to the group, men feel more comfortable attending the meet-ups.

My son, my wife and Attachment Parenting not only helped me being a better father, but also helped me on the journey of becoming a better human being.


Thiago Queiroz is an attached father who found AP after his son was born at home. Currently, he is an API Leader Applicant seeking to start an API support group in Rio, Brazil.




The Challenges of AP Fathering

Let me start off telling a little bit about myself and my family. My name is Thiago, I live in Brazil, and I have a beautiful one-year-old toddler, Dante. I am also currently an API Leader Applicant, preparing myself to start the first API support group in Brazil: API Rio.


Dante was born at a planned home birth, which was a totally life-changing experience both for myself and my wife. I would never believe I could become a completely different person, a father.

Getting there was not that simple. The obstetrics situation in Brazil is quite unfortunate for the birth experience. In 2010, 52% of the babies were born through C-section and accounting for the private health care system, that number goes beyond 80%. Women in Brazil still need to fight to get the respectful birth they want for themselves and because of that, we studied and prepared ourselves very much for the birth until we were able to come to the best option for everybody.

However, as soon as he was born, I really did not have a clue what to do afterwards. I mean, we applied so much effort on ensuring a loving and respectful birth for our baby. So what now? We did not know how to care for him lovingly and respectfully after he was born.

I remember that we had bought a crib for our son, but we have never used it. Since the first day, we slept with our son in our bed, not because we read something or we heard somebody, but because it felt right for us. It was the practical decision, given the fact that my wife was breastfeeding on demand, but soon enough we realized it was more than just a practical decision. It was an enjoyable experience and good for the whole family, for our circumstances.  This is how Attachment Parenting entered my life and the crib became a cloth deposit.

Now that you know me a little better, I would like to talk about the challenges of being an attached dad. Overall, raising a child with respect, empathy and compassion is not one of the easiest things to do. Creating strong and secure attachment with our children is something that requires will, but something that also offers a lot of joy in the process.

I do not mean being an attached father is different or harder than being an attached mother, but there are different types of challenges involved. For starters, we fathers, have a lot of work to do in order to undo the (not so good) history of how the fathers used to parent in past generations. We must struggle to put away that image of fathers who simply were food providers and authoritarian figures. For some men, this is particularly harder, considering the type of education they received and how deep this concept is built within each one of them.

Additionally, we do not have (what I like to say) the birthing and breastfeeding superpowers. Nature, through the nurturing hormones, gives a hand to mothers in creating secure attachments with their babies. For instance, a mother who has a natural birth experience and breastfeeds has a nature’s boost in her attachment with her baby. I am not saying that it is a piece of cake for mothers to become attached to their babies, but at least nature gives them a little hand. Mother and baby are naturally bonded; they have such a deep and strong connection that is almost visible to the naked eye.

The attachment between father and son, though, is something that takes time. It requires us to be aware and present, being a part of that new life. Through consistent and loving care, we can build a strong attachment with our babies that will last a lifetime. But again, it requires a lot of dedication that can be easily distracted if we do not remain focused.

We cannot give birth and we cannot breastfeed. So what is left for us to do? Well, fathers have two paths to choose here:

1- We can assume that, since there is nothing to do, it is better to stay off the path and help with some basic tasks, like washing the dishes, changing diapers and stuff like that. After all, we do not have breasts anyway, right?

2- Or we can actually join the whole experience and help our attachment with our children flourish. We can stay close and see these events as a blessing; we can live our parenting to the fullest.

I have chosen the second path. I got my “dad badge” and I want to use it. I did not get a “mother’s helper badge,” so I need to be a father now. It has some additional challenges, because I need to be there, I need to focus myself on parenting and, most of all, I need to grow that sensitivity that men were culturally trained to forget since when they were very young.

Check back with us next week to find out how Thiago works to overcome the challenges faced by AP dads!

Thiago Queiroz is an attached father who found AP after his son was born at home. Currently, he is an API Leader Applicant seeking to start an API support group in Rio, Brazil.

The Portuguese translation of Part 1 can be found here.


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