I turn on the radio, my TV and even twitter and next to 50 Shades of Grey, the trending topic is attachment parenting. Time Magazine’s latest cover of a young hip mom with a toddler standing on a chair attached to her boob is shocking to say the least. At the same time, it doesn’t seem so odd to me. By definition I seem like I practice attachment parenting. My son is about 2 and a half years old now and I am still breastfeeding and we co-sleep. Although I am not ashamed to admit this because its instinctive to me, I do often find myself gauging who I say this too and I often follow up with the sentence, I know I need to start weaning him. Then again, I feel like I have a crutch, my son is severely allergic to cow dairy, and of course I also mentally justify it because my son has a brain tumor. I wear it like a defensive armor – don’t judge me, my son may be dying, I will do what I want and if I want to be attached to my son and spend every waking minute basking in his love, I will because I don’t know how many days or weeks or months or even years he has and I don’t want to regret a minute of it. I even switched careers to spend and maximize my time with my children. I always tell anyone who questions my choices, I didn’t have children for someone else to take care of them or raise them. I’ve never defined his attachment to me other than simply a phase toddler boys go thru, but if I am an attachment parent, then so be it.
According to Dr. Sears, founder of the term “Attachment Parenting”, infants’ brains are “hardwired with strong needs to be nurtured and to remain physically close to the primary caregiver, usually the mother, during the first few years of life.” I agree!
While my husband has always been incredibly supportive of my commitment to breastfeeding, I can see him waning as my son can now throw full on temper tantrums to get his “nai nai“. Why does society want to make me feel ashamed about doing something so natural all around the world? I love this article by USA Today entitled, Breast-feeding a 3-year-old is normal, anthropologist says
Breast milk is one of the only sources of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids that build brain tissue… It isn’t until age 5 or 6 that “95% of brain growth has been reached, and that’s also about the time that the child’s immune system is ramped up to full production,” says Katherine Dettwyler, a professor of anthropology at the University of Delaware in Newark, Del.
I think our time with them as youngsters who so wholeheartly love us with all their hearts is all too short and soon they will run off to be with their friends, want not to hold your hands anymore and be independent. I’ve seen it many times with my nieces and nephews, my friend’s children and years later, all is well. I don’t know any grown ups that are still attached to their mothers physically rather I admire the many close mother/son relationships that I do observe. I think it’s sweet and it speaks a lot to the character of that man, who respects, loves and adores his mother. I am slowly weaning my son off breastmilk, but it’s not a hard stop, I’m not forcing it. He only nurses when he wakes up and when he goes to bed. I don’t know any teenagers still breastfeeding.
As for the co-sleeping, I know those days are numbered too and when he’s ready, he will go and sleep in his big boy bed on his own. In fact, last night, with my sister visiting from Beirut and the aerobed pulled out, he actually wanted to sleep in the bouncy bed with his sister. He only lasted about an hour, but it was a step towards moving out of our bed.
I am not an extreme Attachment Parent. Yes my sex life had to get a little more creative with baby making three in the bed, but at the same time it made it more fun too. The careful planning, the anticipation.
So what do you think about Time Magazine’s new cover? Attachment Parenting?