Monday, June 25, 2012

Attached Parenting

Lately I have heard the term "attachment parenting" tossed around quite a lot.  I was not really sure what it meant, but I found this definition on Wikipedia.

"Attachment parenting, a phrase coined by pediatrician William Sears,[1] is a parenting philosophy based on the principles of attachment theory in developmental psychology. According to attachment theory, the child forms a strong emotional bond with caregivers during childhood with lifelong consequences."
"Principles of attachment parenting aim to increase development of a child's secure attachment and decrease insecure attachment."

Honestly, I really don't feel any wiser after reading this definition.  What I do know, however, is that attachment parenting has a lot to do with baby wearing, co-sleeping and breastfeeding.  I also know that that isn't what this post is about.
What this post is about is what Ryan thinks is my unhealthy attachment to Carter.  I didn't think that the bond would be so strong.
Over the past couple of weeks, Ryan has told me on several occasions that he thinks that I am getting "too attached".  Is that even possible?  How can a mother be too attached to her baby?  He feels that I am too quick to grab Carter when he cries.  That I should just let him cry it out a little bit.  He has been pushing to introduce the bottle to him.  He has scolded me when I tell him that I have brought Carter to bed without even trying to put him into the crib, because I can sleep better with him close to me instead of straining to hear if he is still making a sound in the next room.
In many cases, I think that Ryan is right.  That Carter won't suffer any long term emotional damage from me finishing my task before catering to him when he starts to cry.  That a bottle every now and then can allow me some more freedom, and that Carter isn't going to completely reject breastfeeding as a result.  That he isn't going to stop breathing in his crib.  I agree that these desires to be attached to him are coming more so from me than from him.  But I can't help it.
My most recent struggle revolves around leaving him with Ryan's mom for an entire day.  This coming weekend, there is a concert in our community that Ryan and I have planned on going to long before Carter was even born. We left some hints with Ryan's mom early on that we might need a babysitter, but we never really did ask her.  She, however, ended up taking the day off of work to babysit for us.
Now that Carter is here, however, I really don't feel ready to leave him for an entire day.  First off, he has had a couple of bottles that he has taken fine, but I don't know about him being bottle fed for an entire day.  He is also quite fussy in the evenings, and has been known to cry for hours on end.  I am fine with dealing with the crying, but it breaks my heart to think of him crying and me not being there to soothe him.  This concert is going to be late, so I also don't like the idea of him being put to bed by somebody else, in somebody else's house.  Finally, there is no cell phone service where we will be, and I hate the idea of Ryan's mom not being able to reach us if there is any problems.
Logically, I know that she can handle this.  She is a mom and a grandma, and this wouldn't be her first time dealing with a fussy baby.
Ryan says that we don't have to go, but I feel guilty if he misses this concert that he wanted so badly to see just because of me.  I also feel guilty if we don't go, because his mom took the day off of work.  But still, I can't bring myself to being OK with leaving Carter for a whole day.
So I am asking you what you all think.  I am not saying that it is going to change the way that I feel or what I do, but do you think that I should just suck it up and go to the concert, or do you think that I should follow my instincts and stay home with him?  When was the first time that you left your children with somebody else for an entire day?


  1. I think it's too soon. I absolutely, positively couldn't do it. You have instincts for a reason and if the thought of going fills you with all these doubts and worries, then you're not ready. Yes, he would be fine and yes, Grandma can handle it. But will you even enjoy yourself thinking about him the entire time and wondering what's going on? Not to mention the logistics of having to pump every few hours.

    I think the first time I left the girls was when they were around 9 months. I'd go for a few hours here and there well before then. I don't think it was necessarily on purpose though, it just didn't happen before then.

    I also respectfully disagree with Ryan. I don't think you can get too attached to your baby. I don't think you can spoil them by responding to their cries too early, holding them too much, etc. I clearly am/was into attachment parenting though.

  2. As a child psychologist and a mom, one of the things that is so misleading about attachment parenting is the name. It is only called attachment parenting because of the theory it was based upon. It is not called this because it is the only form of parenting which allows parents to develop a secure attachment relationship with their children. There are numerous ways to develop a secure attachment relationship with our kids. I explore more of this myth here for anyone who is interested:

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