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Nappy Ever After: Do You Give Love A Bad Name?

I’m a very hands-on kind of mummy. I have co-slept with both my babies, carried them whenever possible in baby slings, breast-fed for as long as possible and generally been reluctant to be parted for them for any length of time. But I had no idea until very recently that there was a name for what I was instinctively doing. It’s called Attachment Parenting and it’s the Next Big Thing.

Like all parents, I want what’s best for my baby and I’m mostly making things up as I go. If it feels right for us, we do it, which is why I wasn’t afraid to co-sleep this time around. It worked while I breastfed my now seventeen year old daughter and it made life so much easier with my son. I breastfed him for eight months and he slept very little – if I hadn’t co-slept, the sleep deprivation would have killed me. It suited us but it might not suit others. And that’s where I ran into my first problem with Attachment Parenting – some parents seem to think that because it works for them, it should work for everyone.

I’ve seen desperate mothers ripped to shreds online by other Militant (mostly) Mums simply because they asked about switching to bottle feeding or weaning before the magic six months in the hope that it will coax their baby to sleep more at night. The Militant Mums think that their way is the only way and that anyone who says differently is a Bad Parent. Breastfeeding for six months is undoubtedly best for your baby but not every woman can manage it, for a whole host of valid reasons, and I’m sure they feel bad about that. They shouldn’t be made to feel worse by other mothers, or that they have somehow failed by giving their child formula milk. Similarly with weaning before the Government recommended age of six months – until recently, this age was four months but because current advice says six, Militant Mums claim anyone who weans before then is risking their child’s health. Believe me, I’ve seen that said quite aggressively on so-called support forums.

Personally, I’m reluctant to be away from my baby for too long (although I did spend a night away from him in July and we were both fine) but I know plenty of other mums who can’t wait to reclaim a bit of me-time. There’s nothing wrong with either attitude, or anything in between, but MMs might argue there is. So I’ve come to the conclusion that some attachment parents may be in danger of giving love a bad name. Like anyone who tries to impose their view on others, they come across as rather bullying. They might not mean to but they do. I’ve started calling them Extreme Parents.

The truth is that as long as you raise your child with love, common sense and boundaries, there’s no right or wrong way to do. As I’ve said above, do what suits you and your family. If an element of attachment parenting feels instinctively right for you, embrace or adapt it. But don’t think that because it works for you then everyone else should follow. And for goodness sake, don’t judge other parents if they do things differently. Raising kids is hard enough, without being hit by friendly fire.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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About Tamsyn Murray

I live in Hertfordshire and make things up for a living. At them moment, I am writing the Completely Cassidy series for readers aged 8-12. I own one cat, one dog and five rabbits, plus assorted humans.

7 comments on “Nappy Ever After: Do You Give Love A Bad Name?

  1. Anna
    September 22, 2012

    Well said! Militancy in all things is to be avoided…. babies, just like mothers, are individuals, and we need to find approaches that work for our selves, our children, and our circumstances. And need to be supported to do so…

    I’m especially wary of this because I’m hoping to adopt, and adopted children often have ‘developmental delay’ and need to be babied at an older age. Which can look odd and wrong to those obsessed with ages and development and percentiles…

    We’re in this together – mothers (and fathers!) should be cheering each other wrong, not seeking to defend their own choice by belittling the choices of others!

  2. Tamsyn Murray
    September 22, 2012

    Totally agree, Anna. What’s that old saying? Don’t judge me until you’ve walked a mile in my Fitflops? 🙂

  3. Stella
    September 22, 2012

    Yes, absolutely agree.

  4. Susan
    September 22, 2012

    Absolutely spot on!

  5. starsfromheavens
    September 26, 2012

    I’ve co-slept while breastfeeding my now 3 yrs old son. Then, with my first born, I could do it for the whole six months without additional bottle feeding. Yet now, since I’m working, I don’t know how I’m gonna do it with our second (if we had any soon). I guess we’ll surely make it work in ways we’re most convenient of, without worrying of the standard rules.

  6. Tamsyn Murray
    September 26, 2012

    Thanks, Stella and Susan!
    Starsfromheavens – I think that’s the most important thing, doing what’s right for you. Maybe you could express some milk if work is likely to get in the way?

    • starsfromheavens
      September 27, 2012

      Thank you for the suggestion. I think I might try that and see if it works fine. Happy motherhood 🙂

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This entry was posted on September 22, 2012 by in Bea Family and tagged , , .
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