10 Things No One Will Tell You About Attachment Parenting, But I Will

Ad failed to load

I didn't know much about attachment parenting until I had my son. It all sounded a little "crunchy granola" to me and I imagined patchouli-smelling hippie moms, who were totally chilled out, churning their own butter and banning TV. Once I started to join some mommy groups, especially online forums, I realized that a lot of parenting practices that were treated traditionally attachment style really jived with the way I wanted to mother my baby. So because I could have really done with a little 101 myself, I'm here to share the things no one will tell you about attachment parenting.

Most advocates of attachment parenting seek to return to a more natural way of caring for children, and they recommend lots of affection, picking babies up straight away when they cry, gentle discipline, extended breastfeeding, baby wearing, and bed sharing. And according to Dr. Sears, the main tenets of AP are birth bonding, breastfeeding, babywearing, bed sharing, belief in your baby's cries, beware of baby trainers and balance.

What I found so interesting about attachment parenting (AP) is that some of the practices seemed so intuitive and obvious to me that I was surprised everyone wasn't doing them. Yet there were other parts of the philosophy that seemed unworkable to me and even potentially dangerous, such as a distrust of vaccinations among AP advocates.

Ad failed to load

Like all parenting philosophies, there are pros and cons to attachment parenting, but as I discovered, there are some things no one tells you about attachment parenting, so I will.

Ad failed to load

It's Not An All-Or-Nothing Philosophy

Personally, breastfeeding just made sense to me and after a rocky start I found I loved feeding my baby this way and in fact, I continued until he was more than 2-and-half years old. Similarly, I loved wearing my son in a sling and later, a structured carrier and found having my hands free was super convenient. My son would become calm and sleepy by being close to me and being jostled gently by my movements.

However, bed sharing did not appeal to me at all, and I was paranoid about rolling on him or knocking him out of the bed. Plus, I like my own space when I sleep. When my son was close to 1 year old, we transitioned him to his own room and sleep trained him, a huge no-no for most AP followers.

What I found was that attachment parenting is not a religion. I am free to cherry pick the parts of the philosophy that suit me, my child, and my family and reject the rest. There's no membership that will be revoked if you don't follow the program in full, so make decisions based on your own needs not on following a set of guidelines that may or may not apply to your unique family.

It's Not Just For Hippies


Leave your preconceptions at the door, working moms can be attachment parents too, you don't need to home school your kids or grow your own vegetables (although you can, if you want).

Attachment parenting followers are not one type of parent, but a range of individuals who share some of the same ideas about what effective parenting can look like.

It's More Popular Than You May Think

You only need to visit any mother and new baby group to see women openly breastfeeding and carrying their babies in slings, although AP moms can and formula feed and use strollers as well. In fact, these practices show just how mainstream AP practices have become.

In my baby group the majority of us used baby carriers and arranged baby and mommy hikes as a fun group activity.

Ad failed to load

It's The Way Most Kids Are Raised


Globally and historically, most families sleep in one bed, children are breastfed until they wean and are carried by their mothers as they go about their daily chores. One of the most popular parenting strategy worldwide is attachment parenting although if asked most parents, they'd say they follow these traditional practices because they're simply the most convenient and cost effective way of raising children.

It's Not Perfect

Attachment parenting advocates are often anti-vaxxers and for me, that's a problem. Seeking out more research on complex topics is a smart strategy but I felt that blindly believing conspiracy theories and spreading unfounded pseudo-science to be ignorant and dangerous.

I had to leave a few attachment parenting forums because the extreme views on vaccinations in particular were giving me panic attacks.

It Can Cause Arguments


Attachment parenting can seem extreme and unusual to some people and therefore can create arguments in families and between co-parents. It's important to remember that your parenting decisions should be negotiated only between the child's parents and no one else's opinion really counts.

Ad failed to load

It Can Attract Extremists

Like any philosophy, attachment parenting attracts quite a few extremists and some of these are crackpots.

It's always a good idea to practice moderation. For me, I made my own baby food and I was very strict about the things my baby ate, but once he became a toddler he was such a picky eater that literally any food I could get into his body was a success. I've learned not to sweat the details.

It Can Be Seen As "Elitist"


Many feel that attachment parenting as a philosophy is adopted by middle-class women who have enough money to choose to stay home with their children, buy organic foods, and can spurn the sort of judgment that makes people feel like they are superior to others who don't make the same choices.

One online group I left had a comment thread saying parents who didn't buy organic food were abusing their children. That didn't feel true to my experience or who I was, so I left the group. Problem solved.

It Can Save You Money

Even though many believe AP parents are well off and have the means to buy all organic, BPA-free, locally grown and sourced materials, many of the suggested practices are actually very cost effective. Breastfeeding and cloth diapering are both economical options, and if you babywear and bed share you can potentially save money on unwanted furniture and resources.

The very reason why most of the developing world follows this lifestyle is because many people, especially those living in remote areas, simply don't have the finances for strollers, separate bedrooms, and formula. I always felt that for me, AP was about getting back to the basics of what worked.

Ad failed to load

You're Gonna Hear A Lot Of Opinions


Whether its on talk shows, celebrity soundbites, on social media, or from real people in your life, you are going to hear a lot of opinions about attachment parenting. The movement has been quite controversial and issues such as extended breastfeeding and bed sharing seem to get people all riled up.

There is also an ugly and false association between being an attachment-parenting advocate and being somehow anti-feminist. But surely the aim of all of us fighting for equality is to give women freedom of choice? It doesn't really matter what parenting strategy you adopt as long as you put your child's best interests front and center, which, thankfully, most parents do. All children thrive on the one thing that you can give them in abundance, regardless of your parenting philosophy: love.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

6 Early Signs You're Going To Have A Short Labor, According To Experts

As far as I'm concerned, a short labor is right up there with winning the lottery in terms of lucky life events. (And when I was actually in labor, I would absolutely have traded a bucketful of lottery winnings for a speedier birth.) While some women…
By Kelly Mullen-McWilliams

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In March

You can always count on Netflix to keep it fresh: though there are already so many movies and shows to choose from, every month there's an influx of new content to keep your entire family entertained. As February enters its final weeks, it's time to …
By Megan Walsh

Here Are 10 Ways To Boost Your Baby's Immunity To The Flu

As I'm sure you've read in the thousands upon thousands of articles written about it this winter, the flu is spreading like wildfire and it's bad. Really bad. This strand of flu is the worst we've had in a very long time and it's the most widespread,…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Khloé Kardashian Asked Twitter About Her Bump, & Moms Totally Delivered

Like her younger sister Kylie Jenner, Khloé Kardashian managed to keep most of her pregnancy a sort-of secret. But unlike Jenner, Kardashian chose to publicly announce her pregnancy several months before the baby's due date. While there's no wrong wa…
By Sophie Hirsh

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack