Trusting my instincts

by API Blog on January 10, 2009

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When my son was 16 months old, I decided to try leaving him with a babysitter while I went to a medical appointment.  Up to this point, he’d never been cared for by anyone other than me, my husband, or very occasionally by his grandparents.  He knew the babysitter fairly well, but nonetheless, was miserable the entire time I was gone.  She eventually resorted to wearing him on her back, but even there he wasn’t terribly happy.

I know many people would have taken this as a sign that he needed to get used to being cared for by others,  and recommended that I start leaving him with a babysitter on a regular basis.  I even got offers from some of my friends to look after him.  

But it seemed to me that what he needed wasn’t some kind of acclimatization program, but simply to be older.  So I waited.

Four months later, he stayed with a friend and her child while I went to another medical appointment.  This time, it was no problem.  A few weeks later, another friend, another great playdate.  Today, at 23 months, he stayed with someone he barely knew for a couple of hours with no trouble at all.

We often hear that a secure attachment helps children to become more independent in the long run.  Obviously, every child is different, so there are no guarantees about how any given child will develop.  But I’m certainly glad I trusted my instinct about what was right for my child, and trusted that he would outgrow his need to be with me constantly in his own time.

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APtly Said, Formerly API Speaks launched in April of 2008 as part of Attachment Parenting International's larger effort to offer interactive content through their newly-redesigned web site: All contributors to APtly Said, as with so many of API's staff, are volunteers who donate their time and energy to promote Attachment Parenting world wide.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Theresa January 10, 2009 at 3:01 pm

My 13 month old barely even stays with her dad for more than an half an hour. I know the time will come when it will be me begging her to hang out with me. It can be hard sometimes though.


TwinToddlersDad January 11, 2009 at 12:42 pm

This is another great example of how we need to pay attention to the unique needs of our infants and toddlers and not force them into situations just because someone says so! I agree, every child is different and as a parent we need to tune our antennas to receive their signals.

It is also good to try different things; pull back if they are not ready and try at a different time.

Kudos to you for trusting your natural instincts. Good luck


justine January 18, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Good for you! I know so many parents who try to “teach” their child some skill that their little one is not developmentally ready for yet. I love hearing about parents who choose to listen to themselves and get such great results!


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