When I decided to become a mom, I knew I had certain values and goals for my kids, but wasn't especially invested in labeling it a certain way. If I had to label it, though, “attachment parenting,” or AP, seems the most fitting. Stereotypically AP practices like co-sleeping, nursing on demand, and babywearing all feel very intuitive and right for us. Though most people I’m close to know better than to talk sh*t to me about my parenting, I’ve definitely heard a few of the things people feel fine saying to attachment parents. When it’s a stranger, I just shoot them a quick side-eye and keep going about my business, but the few times I’ve heard stuff from people I actually know, I’ve taken the time to respond.
Though habits like co-sleeping, breastfeeding on demand and babywearing are often associated with attachment parenting, attachment parenting is about more than that (and definitely doesn't need to revolve around certain feeding choices over others, as dads and non-nursing moms can definitely be attachment parents, too.) Attachment parenting is rooted in attachment theory, a robust body of psychological research that finds babies and young children who develop secure attachments with their primary caregivers reap many cognitive and social benefits throughout childhood, and have an easier time forming and maintaining fulfilling relationships throughout their lives.
Now, when it comes to what other people say, I don't believe anyone should feel like they need to justify or defend their parenting choices to anyone. It’s really nobody’s business how anyone chooses to parent, as long as their children are safe, healthy, and loved. However, if you’re hearing some flack from people who are close to you and whom you want to keep in your life, it can be helpful to have some quick responses to shut down annoying or disrespectful questioning. With that in mind, here are some common things people say to attachment parents, and some examples of what you might say if you’re tired of hearing it.