So, local mama Jamie Lynne Grumet made the cover of TIME with her nursing child for an article on Attachment Parenting and a media frenzy has ensued. While many people are wasting their time judging Jamie and other mamas, I wanted to set the record straight on an idea that’s been dominating the blogosphere lately–the idea that Attachment Parenting is somehow oppressive for mothers or a luxury only stay-at-home moms can afford. Jamie is an AP parent, and also happens to be a WAHM; she works as a blogger, and is a talented writer. But many people are taking a look at the article written about her, which did not feature any out-of-the-home working moms, and coming to the incorrect conclusion that AP parenting is radical somehow. It’s not.
Like so many things, AP parenting is not an all or nothing proposition. The principles of AP parenting are simple:
1. Nurse your baby
2. Sleep with your baby close by
3. Hold and/or wear your baby
4. Respond to your babies cries as best you can
AP parenting doesn’t have a time-limit on it, but the general idea is to nurse, co-sleep, and hold your baby for as long as you both are happy doing so and always respond to your baby’s cry as best you can.
When I “discovered” AP parenting it was a “no duh” kind of moment, because that’s just how I figured parenting works. I don’t know if it’s because I am Latina, but except the nursing part (my mom couldn’t nurse), that was how I was raised and how I always saw babies treated when I was growing up. This is why the whole “working moms can’t AP parent” thing confuses me.
What makes the alternative more working mom friendly?
Having my baby sleep in another room would have been a huge hassle at night when I nursed or cuddled either one of them. Wearing my baby in a sling and ergo made my life so much easier, especially with baby number two, who could nap in the wrap while I took a walk with older sister. And why on earth would I ignore a crying person, especially a crying child?
Using formula would have been more expensive and time consuming, buying a crib would have been an additional cost, and none of these things would have made it easier for me to go to work as a full-time college professor! In fact, one of my favorite things about co-sleeping has been that even when I spend a long day away, I have the night to re-connect with my baby. Nursing at night has meant that I could pump less at work, and compared to my co-workers, you’d never be able to tell that I wake for a few minutes each night to nurse. Trust me–I do my job very well!
I know that I am privileged to have a space where I can pump, but many moms can do the same thing. Even if they don’t have an office, they can pump in the car with a cover–I’ve done this many places. If moms don’t have frequent breaks, they can wean during the day and nurse when it’s convenient only. It’s not all or nothing. Many AP moms use formula in addition to nursing–it’s a totally individual thing and not at all limiting.
Being an AP mom also doesn’t mean being “crunchy” necessarily (although I am, coincidentally, “crunchy” in many ways). Being an AP mom doesn’t mean having no time to one’s self either–AP moms are allowed to go out with friends, exercise, whatever. It’s not a cult.
AP parenting is a fancy name for something really simple. It probably describes the way many of our mothers or grandmothers were raised, before the advent of formula marketing, strollers, and vibrating baby recliners. It’s the instinctive way to parent–nurse your baby, hold your baby, sleep with your baby, respond to your baby.
What’s so radical about that?