Selfless vs Selfish

Jenni - posted on 08/05/2010 ( 64 moms have responded )

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So we've had lots of topics on selfless moms who advocate breastfeeding, co-sleeping, anti-CIO, organic feeding etc. etc. and general bending over backwards to fullfill the needs of your child. All while looking down their nose at moms who have chosen not to. Declaring them to be selfish and in some cases calling those moms "child abuser"! It gets a little ridiculious and i'm sure we've all experienced their wraith at one point.
So my question is does anyone else see that the selfless approach to parenting can also lead to it's share of psychological problems? Such as co-dependency, selfishness, an over allusioned sense of entitlement?
I personally feel a middle ground is the best approach to child-rearing.

Thoughts?

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Mary - posted on 08/05/2010

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Jennifer, while I pretty much agree with your overall sentiment, I actually disagree with the description of what basically falls into the Attachment Parenting philosphy as always being "selfless".

I'm a babywearer - and honestly, it started because I needed a way to continue walking my two big dogs after having my daughter. It was good for ALL of us, and something necessary to my physical and emotional well-being. It really had very little to do with thinking about her emotional security or bonding, and more about finding away to continue doing something I enjoyed pre-baby. Now, it turns out we all loved it, and I found it simply EASIER to baby wear while shopping, vacuuming, or whatever else.

I breastfed...but while hard in the beginning, it seemed a whole lot easier about a month out than staggering into the kitchen in the wee hours of the morning to make a bottle...and all of the dishwashing that involves. (I realized just how much more work that is when I returned to work and the hubby was stuck with warming up breastmilk, and came home in the am to sink full of dirty bottles!). Not to mention, it's a whole lot cheaper! From a purely financial perspective, I saved us a ton!

I realize it's easy to assume that AP styles are "selfless", but honestly, I doubt that so many people would continue to employ them if there weren't also some benefits to them as well as their children (and that can be as simple as the emotional and physical comfort of snuggling with your child in bed!). Honestly, I "co-sleep" with my dogs for physical comfort they give ME =)

Sarah - posted on 08/06/2010

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Yeah, to be honest, I think it's a shame people feel the need to put their parenting styles into a pigeon hole. I use different bits all sorts of things!

I think *some* people make such a fuss about what is "right" and "the best way" they come across as a bit sanctimonious! If everyone just admitted that they're just bumbling along, doing what they think is best, it would stop a lot of the bad feelings! :)

Johnny - posted on 08/05/2010

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I completely agree with what Mary said. We did much of the AP stuff because it worked for our family and was easiest for us. My husband loved babywearing and still sometimes wears our toddler. It's not about being selfless, it's fun. Neither of us feel good with using CIO, so we wouldn't. For us, leaving our daughter crying would make us unhappy, so we don't. My husband, who really doesn't even know what AP or CIO stands for is usually the first to attend to her crying. We are not trying to be "selfless", we are just going with what our guts tell us is the right thing to do. And so far we're happy with the results.

I will admit that my breastfeeding battle may have wandered into the "selfless" category. It was a difficult, painful, and sleep depriving battle, but succeeding in the end made ME feel a whole lot better than I would if I hadn't, so it isn't entirely selfless.

I find a lot of these "traditional" parents vs. "AP" parents discussions are just really divisive. We all use different techniques because we are all individuals with unique perspectives and unique babies. I find this to be such an arbitrary and silly battle. Unless someone is totally smothering their child with constant unwarranted, inappropriate attention (like forcing a 6 year old to breastfeed on threat of losing privileges - I know this mom) or is neglecting their child for hours in their crib while they scream their head off in filthy diapers with nothing to eat, I don't think we can apply the terms child abuse. Everyone does some selfish things and some selfless things, regardless of what sort of parenting style they have.

Oh, and I get really tired of the constant suggestion that AP style parenting leads to psychological problems like co-dependency, selfishness, over-entitlement, etc. That's just coming from complete ignorance. Really not necessary!

Becky - posted on 08/05/2010

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First off, there is this whole list of behaviors that is catagorized as AP - breastfeeding, babywearing, bedsharing, etc. And people catagorize their parenting style based on whether they do or don't do those things. But really, attachment parenting is simply being responsive to your child's needs - as promptly, gently and sensitively as possible. It is being able to discern what your child needs by reading their cues, and responding in the most appropriate way to those needs. Resulting in your child building a secure attachment with you because they trust that you know and love them and are going to meet their needs. You don't HAVE to breastfeed, bedshare or babywear to build a strong attachment to your child. Some children hate being worn. So forcing it on them would be damaging the attachment, not building it, because you're not responding to that child's individual need and preference.
I would have to agree with Mary and Carol - while I do quite a few "AP -style" things- breastfeeding, bedsharing (part time), some babywearing, don't CIO, etc, it's as much for me as it is for them. I breastfeed because it's best, but also because it's free and it's simple. (not easy, simple.) I cosleep because I get tired of getting up! I babywear because sometimes, I need to get something done!
I do not think that attachment parenting practices will result in psychological or social problems for your child. They will result in a strong, confident, secure and compassionate child. Overindulgence, lack of guidance and discipline, and allowing your child to believe he or she is the centre of the universe will lead to problems. But, contrary to the belief of some, this is NOT attachment parenting!

Sara - posted on 08/05/2010

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I agree. I think extremes at either end of the spectrum are going to be bad. It's finding balance, that's the key. I want my child to know she can depend on me for what she needs, but I also want her to make her own friends and have her own experiences in life. I hope to instill good values in her so that she can make educated decisions about her life. I want her to be the kind of person that I would want to be friends with, and that excludes people who are clingy or self-indulgent.

None of us are perfect, and we may not get it right 100% of the time, but doing everything for your child or doing nothing at all is doing them a great disservice.

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Tah - posted on 08/08/2010

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let me be clear as to what i am speaking too..parents who do not allow their children to develop the qualities of indepence, respect, etc because they do everything for the child....who put their partners and their health and needson the back burner..far on the back burner..to their childrens every whim.....i breastfed all 3 of mine for at least 6 -9 months..maybe more with the last one...they have slept with me also...but i let them know that they aren't entitled, they do for themselves in many respects...so i am not coming down on any of the mothers that do these things, though as the op stated sometimes we as moms are hard on each other when we don't parent the same way..



i looked and said why is everyone jumpng on me..lol..i actually had to read the post again and i said ok..they think i am saying that if they breastfeed, co-sleep etc..the children will have issues, well i did the same things in some regards..so i apologize if i wasn't clear on what i was referring to in my post...

[deleted account]

I'm not very keen on labels, so I don't know where I sit on this one. Like everyone, I did so much for my kids, maybe above and beyond, but I certainly didn't regret it. I breastfed all my girls for extended periods, we had a family bed, we took them with us lots, but not always. At the same time, I honestly don't feel that I could have been a good, rounded, balanced parent unless I had some "me" time, like taking the time to catch up with my reading, going out with friends, the occasional dinner (or pub meal, depending on finances!), making sure my husbands gets the chance to be with his mates...

So the kids always had a secure base, but were able to grow because they were always a part of the family. We always talked, disagreed, argued, read things together...I think we got it right, whatever category we were in!

Tara - posted on 08/06/2010

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to add.
While I may fall into the category of an AP parent because I breastfed, co slept etc. I also am a firm believer in treating children with the respect they deserve with regards to their own capabilities and learning.
What I strive for is kids that are strong in their mind, body and spirit. My kids are self-sufficient, my ten year old makes her own dentist appts. my 7 year old walks down the block to the hair dressers on her own to get her bangs trimmed. (she's a neighbour). My 5 year old can make her own breakfast, my 17 year old son has a job, two volunteer positions, is working towards a culinary arts diploma and is also homeschooling himself. With a 95% average.
My 14 year old son, busks for charity, writes beautiful music, is helpful with our elderly neighbour, can make a 3 course meal and treats me like with respect. We can debate and discuss religion, politics etc.
I have raised and am raising my kids to be thinkers. To think for themselves to do for themselves. By providing the strong attachments I dd early on, I have given them the skills they needed to be confident, outgoing, secure and emotionally intelligent people.
Instincts told me how.
Tara

Tara - posted on 08/06/2010

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Co sleeping to us means family bed sharing, we all share the bed. I wouldn't want my husband sleeping elsewhere because I chose to sleep with my child. It is the experience of sharing the bed as a family that makes it special and instinctive to me.

Jenni - posted on 08/06/2010

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I got the idea from a "Supernanny" episode i watched where the mother was co-sleeping with her 3 and 4 year old at the expense of her husband. (who had been sleeping on the couch for the last year).
I didn't pose the question very clearly I think.

Tara - posted on 08/06/2010

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Like so many other posters I parented using this style of parenting long before I knew what it was. I have a 17 year old and a 8 month old and 4 others in between.
I am not selfless nor am I selfish.
I always referred to my style as "instinctive parenting". I did what my animal instincts told me to do.
None of my children suffer any psychological problems, just the opposite, they are all very well adjusted, independent, reliable, responsible, emotionally intelligent, articulate, people. They have the skills to think for themselves, they have a strong sense of self awareness.
They do not feel any kind of entitlement at all, in fact are very generous with their time and resources. They are not co dependent, in fact can easily depend on themselves for their needs. They are not selfish, just the opposite.
I don't look down my nose at anyone who does things differently. I do however think there is a good way to do things and a better way to do things.
I'm not an extreme AP parent. My kids were out of our bed by 2.5 when they weaned. I did not let my kids self-wean from bf'ing. I made that choice and did it slowly over time.
I buy or grow organic, so what? It's healthier.
I don't use cloth diapers, we pay for our water and sewer and it's costly to wash laundry for 7 people let alone diapers.
Not everything is for everybody. I homeschool, do I think everyone should?? Hell no. There are people who most certainly shouldn't homeschool their kids.
I liked the post that read something like.."There are other methods?" What are they? And when did they develop? Cause the way I do it is kind of the way us human animals have been doing it for a long time. :)

Isobel - posted on 08/06/2010

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I'm (once again) flat in the middle. I co-slept with my babies (sometimes) because I was really too lazy to get up and rock them and feed them and get back to bed, only to have them wake me again a few minutes later...if you can nurse in my bed with me...we both get a little comfort.

I didn't use CIO, but I definitely tried not to feel guilty when they were crying and I couldn't get to them immediately...life goes on.

I lie to them sometimes so that I can eat the last of the ice cream...but sometimes, I go without cause they deserve it.

I don't fit into any box...I didn't even know that half of these boxes existed till I came to com.

[deleted account]

Tah Dula i would love for you to come meet my kids. Not prepared for the real world my ass, my kids are independant they can cook, they can clean, my nearly 12 year old can change a flat tyre on my car, i can send him to the post office to pay bills. He walks to school on his own (20 min walk), he is as we speak away with the scouts camping (not missing mom one bit lol). He cant wait to be an adult so he can join the navy. But wait how can this possibly be because i breastfed him for a year, co slept with him until he was four and i put him before any other tom, dick or harry i meet on the street. As i said before he cant be an exception to the rule because his ten year old brother is the same.

Brandy - posted on 08/06/2010

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My parenting choices don't depend on how 'selfless' they are. I do what works for my family and so far that has included breastfeeding, co-sleeping, not using CIO and I don't consider it to be selfless because I enjoy every minute of it. I also don't consider myself to be bending over backwards. I am doing what I feel is right to do as a mother to my own children. I don't really care if that means a little less room in the bed or that I have to get up once more in the night than you do. It really doesn't bother me. I came into being a mother expecting, wanting to dedicate my time to my children. So, really, you could actually call me selfISH if you want because I'm getting exactly what I want out of it.



And, no my kids aren't dependant on me 24/7 or selfish or anything like that. My 2 year old has no problem playing and sharing with other children and my 6 month old can play by himself for long enough for me to do my chores and take care of his sister and whatever else comes up during the day. I believe that by meeting their needs when I am needed, I am making them more independant and confidant because they know that when they do need me, I am there. They don't need to cause a fuss over nothing to constantly try to reassure themselves of this. And my children are disciplined. I try to practice positive parenting and use time-outs when needed.



And like Loureen said, they grow out of those things. Yes, my daughter co-slept with us on and off for the first bit, but moved to her own bed permanently at just over a year and a half. Yes, I breastfed her, but I weaned her just before a year. No, we didn't use CIO when she was a baby but now that she is a 2 year old toddler, if she makes a fuss about going to bed and pouts about it for 5 minutes before she falls asleep, no big deal but I still won't let her all out scream in her room by herself for a half hour or anything like that.



And I really don't care if you parent your kids differently than I parent mine. Like I said, I do these things because they work for us and they seem to keep my children happy and well-behaved. Isn't it you who is looking down your nose at somebody else by posting the topic and using phrases such as "general bending over backwards to fullfill the needs of your child" an referring to their "wrath"? I wouldn't have been so annoyed at your post if it wasn't for the fact that you are judging these people right back for their own methods. Sure, go ahead and rant about some lady who pissed you off by trying to tell you what you should do with your own kids but don't sit there and do to others exactly what she just did to you to make you angry in the first place. Just because we have similar parenting methods to whoever made you angry doesn't mean we are all judgemental too.





*edited to correct the spelling of Loureen's name

[deleted account]

YES! That makes sense and definitely a different debate which I think we should start?!....I also think I fall somewhere in the middle with that too BUT I do, for the most part, naturally gravitate toward CL. Either way I don't want to be labelled as a "child-led parent" and then have someone assume that means my child is coddled and clingy their entire life.

[deleted account]

PL and CL = Parent Led and Child led???

That's my best guess. And an entirely different debate if you ask me.

[deleted account]

Tah- No one wants to be lumped into a category or stereotyped as a certain type of parent just because they may or may not follow/fit some list of guidelines.

Just because I technically meet the "requirements" of some list and SOME might categorize me as an "AP" parent, doesn't mean I "bend" to my daughter or that my daughter is going to end up coddled later in life. What you're talking about are the extremes, and I'm sure they're out there but to say that someone who leans towards this "AP" is going to have a coddled, dependent child is stereotyping.

No one wants to be stereotyped or stuck in some category because they checked yes to 5 out of the 8 principles. And Tah, this wasn't directed just at you. sorry. I'm just speaking to everyone, in general and summing up my thoughts....rambling, some might say! Whatevs.

Jenni - posted on 08/06/2010

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As for myself.. i've breastfed(feed) both of my children. I co-slept with my son on many occasions in the first 3 months. Breastfeeding to me just felt natural, we've all heard the benefits of it, and it is conveinent and inexpensive.
I co-slept with my son because i struggled getting him to sleep on his own. I understand what a lot of you have said about it not necessarily being selfless b/c i too did it so i could get a better night sleep and function properly the next day. :) With my ND i didn't have to b/c she's a good sleeper and napper.
Many of you brought to my attention that the examples i gave aren't always selfless. I guess I was referring to the style of parenting. PL vs CL just to clear that up.

Tania - posted on 08/06/2010

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To be honest I had never heard of any particular parenting style until COM.
I don't breastfeed...my son spent the first month of his life in the NICU so I never had him in my
bed plus he was so tiny. My husband or I did sleep in the same room as him though while he slept soundly in his buggy.
Now he sleeps in his crib in the same room as us only because we recently moved back in with my parents while we save for our house. I practice disipline with my 14 yr old and I will do the same with Wyatt.
For me and some of you may find this selfish but I put my health at the front burner. If I don't I end up in the hospital or worse so a healthy Mommy is first in that respect.
I am there and will be there for my kids no matter what and they will both know I love them unconditionally.

Lea - posted on 08/06/2010

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Please don't lump breastfeeding advocates in with people that are codependent on their children. The examples you give are extreme exceptions, not the rule and it sounds a little prejudiced honestly.

Tah - posted on 08/06/2010

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i could not have said it better myself, this selflessness..as it is called can cause children to believe that the world is there to coddle and bend to them. ..like krista said, some parents start to put everyone else a distant second to their children...husbands having to sleep by themselves because little Johnny needs you there til he's 12...whatever...when you raise your children like this they are missing some key factors, they never get to develpo independence if at 16 you are still doing doing everything for them, so when they get out in the real world it's a smack in the face, they are ill-euipped with persons who expect them to work and be respectful, and do things for themselves. When they find a partner that is hell on wheels because the expectations are unreal..i love my children, but mommy needs time to read a book, go to the gym, karate..recoup...and i teach them to be self- sufficent, independent, caring, empathetic, sympathietic, exercise common sense and good judgment so when they are older, they are not living at home with me because i didnt equip them for the real world...

[deleted account]

"(although there are some parenting practices that I do think are not conducive to a secure attachment, but this debate isn't about that, so I won't go into those.)" - Becky

Becky - I would LOVE to know specifically what things you're talking about. Perhaps we should start another debate? Perhaps in PBS if not here?

[deleted account]

I have co slept with all my kids until they were about 4, ive breastfed all my kids until they were at least one year old. I look at my almost 12 year old, is he dependant on me? Is he overly attached? He is extremely independant to the point that the only thing i physically do for him these days is wash his clothes and cook his dinner. He makes his own meals unless im cooking anyway, he irons his own clothes, he goes out with his friends and spends weekends away with the Scouts etc. He cant just be a freak of nature because his 10 year old brother is exactly the same and his three year old brother is one of the most independant little boys i know even though he sleeps in my bed at night. He never cried when he started school, hes quite happy to do his own thing. The only reason i ever co slept was because i wanted a good nights sleep and if they are sleeping beside me i get it which makes me a happy and better mother. Yes my husband sleeps in another room but seems as hes been in there for 10 years on and off and we are still happily married and currently pregnant i cant see its done any harm to our marraige. Mind lack of sleep would probably have done it a lot of damage because im a bloody nightmare to live with if i havent slept. I agree it doesnt work for some people but it does for us and i just wish those who dont like it would stop telling us that our kids are going to end up with emotional issues because of it.

Mary - posted on 08/06/2010

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Exactly, Sarah! None of us are perfect - all we can do is try, and hope for the best!

The truth is, a mother can be as self-righteous and sanctimonious as she pleases...she won't really know how "effective" or "right" her methods or choices really were until that child is an adult! ANd even then....I know how much my parents loved me, and I would say my mom was the definition of all that a mom should be. However, my sister and I are far from perfect, but I don't think any of the mistakes we've made can be attributed to her parenting methods when we were small.

Charlie - posted on 08/06/2010

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Exactly Sarah ,
AP isnt necessarily following those exact practices , no where in the 8 points does it say you must breastfeed or you must wear your baby it just happens to be common practice amongst AP but not law so to speak .

There are a lot of things i dont and wont practice like unschooling or cloth diapering or homebirthing but its not about following those exactly its about the philosophy which is why you cannot define an Attachment parent.

Sarah - posted on 08/06/2010

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I just want to echo what Shelley said, If Attachment Parenting is being loving and tending to our childs needs, then we ALL do it.

That's what I was trying to say in my earlier post, people sometimes feel like AP parents are putting them down because saying that AP is simply tending to your child's needs, implies that anyone NOT using AP ISN'T attending to their child's needs.

I mean, I lean away from AP, but those 8 points Loureen has written down (except for the preparation bit with me! lol) is how I see the MAJORITY of parents I know behaving towards their kids. I don't think you have to breastfeed, co-sleep etc to achieve those things. :)

Charlie - posted on 08/06/2010

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Emma , attachment parenting doesnt mean physically attached although some of us do have slingriders / are baby wearers that also doesnt mean we wear them all day long .

here is an official statement on what it entails.

Attachment parenting, a phrase coined by pediatrician William Sears, is a parenting philosophy based on the principles of the attachment theory in developmental psychology. According to attachment theory, the child forms a strong emotional bond with caregivers during childhood with lifelong consequences. Sensitive and emotionally available parenting helps the child to form a secure attachment style which fosters a child's socio-emotional development and well being.

Per Dr. Sears' theory of attachment parenting (AP), proponents such as the API attempt to foster a secure bond with their children by promoting eight principles which are identified as goals for parents to strive for. These eight principles are:

1. Preparation for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting
2. Feed with Love and Respect
3. Respond with Sensitivity
4. Use Nurturing Touch
5. Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally
6. Provide Consistent Loving Care
7. Practice Positive Discipline
8. Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life

These values are interpreted in a variety of ways. Many attachment parents also choose to live a natural family living (NFL) lifestyle, such as natural childbirth, home birth, stay-at-home parenting, co-sleeping, breastfeeding, babywearing, homeschooling, unschooling, the anti-circumcision movement, natural health, cooperative movements, naturism and support of organic and local foods.

However, Dr. Sears does not require a parent to strictly follow any set of rules, instead encouraging parents to be creative in responding to their child's needs.

The whole point being that attachment parenting is open , flexible and adaptive but always in a positive and respectful way .

Shelley - posted on 08/05/2010

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We can put whatever pretty names around what we do but of course we all love and attend to our kids even animals do that. If thats all attatchment parenting is then we all do that

Stifler's - posted on 08/05/2010

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that's sort of what i was getting at. how can a baby not be attached to their mother if he's around her 24/7? i didn't breastfeed because i couldn't and my kid is still attached to me. but if i had never let him whinge on the floor or in his swing chair while i did things i would never have done anything. and if i didn't let him cry it out i wouldn't have a relationship with my partner because i'd always be holding the baby trying to get him to sleep.

Becky - posted on 08/05/2010

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Being responsive to your children is not pandering to them. I would imagine that all but the most extreme AP parents can and do put their children down and do stuff around the house. I would consider myself to lean towards the AP method of parenting, but my children spend plenty of time playing on their own - with me in the general vicinity of course, because they're still young - even the baby. They are both quite independent. But they both know that if they need mommy, I will be there. They know that if they get hurt or are sick or just need a snuggle, they can come to me. I don't leave them screaming on their own simply because I need to get something done. Most of what I need to do can wait a few minutes while I tend to their needs - except going to the bathroom, sometimes that just can't wait! :)
Like I said, AP is a term that has been used to describe a set of behaviors that apparently are supposed to ensure that your child has a strong attachment to you - breastfeeding, baby-wearing, and bedsharing among those. (there are others, but I think those are kind of the big 3) In reality, while all of these are great, and probably do help with building the attachment, none of them are necessary for your child to have a secure attachment to you. A mom who finds breastfeeding incredibly stressful or has a very poor supply will probably have a better attachment to her child if she bottle feeds than if she continues to try breastfeeding just because she thinks she has to. A child who is not cuddly and needs his or her own space will probably have a better attachment if they are not worn or made to share a bed. Not to mention, like some said, not everyone can wear their babies, due to back problems or whatever, and not everyone can or should bed share. It's really about knowing your child and meeting their individual needs. All good parenting is selfless to an extent - whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, you are making sure your baby is fed, most likely, sometimes at the expense of things you'd rather be doing - like sleeping! Whether you co-sleep or put your baby in his crib in his own room from day one, you are making sure your baby is getting enough rest, in a safe, comfortable location. The lables are a little silly, because I would say the majority of us are parenting in a way that is going to lead our children to have a strong attachment to us, whether we follow "AP" practices or not. (although there are some parenting practices that I do think are not conducive to a secure attachment, but this debate isn't about that, so I won't go into those.)

Stifler's - posted on 08/05/2010

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Oh my back's not up I am just sick of people I know pandering to their kid and then wondering why they can't put them down or do anything around the house. Plus in Australia CIO is advised by health professionals.

[deleted account]

If AP is defined as being responsive to your child's needs, then I'd say I was AP. Though in the past I've described myself as not AP (not necessarily opposite of it). I breastfed but weaned at a year. I co-slept for 2 months but didn't bedshare. She went to her own room once she started sleeping more than 6 hours/night. I used a very controlled version of CIO but won't take time to explain it now. I wanted to baby wear, but wasn't comfortable with either sling I had and took them both back to the store. I want to try one of the more expensive slings with this next baby. It seems like it could be useful having a nursing baby and active toddler. We eat as much organic as we can afford, but my daughter definitely knows McDonalds. We like to share the $1 hot fudge sundae! All of this that I described meets both our needs (okay the sundae is a want). I don't know why we have to segregate ourselves by defining ourselves as one way or another. This world takes all kinds.

[deleted account]

Emma- why are you getting your back up? You seem angry? Did someone say something that upset you?

I just want to add one more thing....I had never heard the term 'baby wearing' until this thread. SO CUTE! Anyhow, I've never heard of it nor did we do it.....I found it uncomfortable and Roxanne didn't seem to enjoy it....she's always been quite independent in that respect. Not much of a snuggler unless she's not feeling well! The more and more we talk about this the more I'm too realizing that "AP" can't necessarily be defined by certain practices but like Becky said, "attachment parenting is simply being responsive to your child's needs - as promptly, gently and sensitively as possible. It is being able to discern what your child needs by reading their cues, and responding in the most appropriate way to those needs"

While we did do some things that are considered "AP", we didn't/don't do all them apparently because 'baby wearing' was non-existant before today!

Thanks Becky!

[deleted account]

I guess i would have to consider myself a selfish mum. I'm all for breastfeeding, but i know it's just not always possible. I co-sleep but thats only cause i BF. I do CIO but only once they have understanding of bedtime so generally after 6 months but i have never done it with my children until they were well over 1yr. Organic feeding.... If only. My children do know what a Mcdonalds, KFC and Red rooster is ( only know red rooster from the ad's on TV).
I'm in no way perfect but i choose not to criticise other mums Unless their child is being harmed.
Middle of the road with flexibility is the way to go!

Ava - posted on 08/05/2010

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I think they both have their faults. I co-sleep sometimes, try to feed my daughter healthy stuff without a bunch of chemicals in it I can't name, and that sort of thing, but I am not holding a gun to peoples' heads about it nor do I always stick to it myself. I think there's an important mix of both necessary to raising a child; enough free spirit not to be so concerned over what they eat, with enough restraint to stay healthy and proportionally sized.

Stifler's - posted on 08/05/2010

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putting my kid in his own room, bottle feeding, CIO and not wearing a sling and not co sleeping all that doesn't make me a selfish parent so pffft. i don't want a 5 year old who can't sleep in his own room. that doesn't make me selfish it makes me not obsessed with my kid.

Charlie - posted on 08/05/2010

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Let me see , I breastfeed , co-sleep , i dont use CIO , i buy organic , i dont spank but i do discipline , my baby is a slingrider , I dont see it as bending over backwards i do these things because it is what came to me instinctively before i knew there was a name or category for it , its whats works for my family and my children , i breastfeed because i can , i co sleep because it makes breastfeeding SO much easier and we love the bonding and closeness , i dont use CIO because i personally feel my kids need comforting while they are small , i buy organic because it tastes better and is actually cheaper from our farmers markets , i use a sling because it provides great resistance training for getting my body back into shape , it provides a bonding experience and it frees up time and arms for doing other things .

On the other hand i use disposable nappies , i vaccinate on time , my boys are my world but not the center of the universe i also have my fiance that i dedicate time to and of course myself , i have needs too , i certainly do not engross myself so much into children so that other things suffer .
Our "AP" methods mainly applies to my children as babies my toddler has different needs he doesnt co sleep , transitioned to his bed at one year without a problem , walks everywhere not even a pram for him using instincts means changing and adapting with age .
Psychological problems ? ah sure if your an extremist anything extreme can cause issues of course its about finding a middle ground which is why not all of these "AP" things apply to him anymore many studies done about AP shows that it creates confident , independent children , i have no idea why you would think it would cause selfishness , in my personal experience it has made a very thoughtful , empathetic , confidant, independent child , but why the animosity ? the OP seems quiet angry , you talk of experiencing their wrath and yet berate AP mums in the entire first half of your post .

I do what works for my family , i am proud of how its worked with my son and will continue to use it with Harry , Do these things work with every child OF COURSE NOT , each child and family member ( mum and dad ) is an individual with different needs .

Barbara - posted on 08/05/2010

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I don't think it's what you do that makes you a good parent, it's how you do it. If you're meeting all your child's physical and emotional needs, then who cares what your parenting style is called?

ME - posted on 08/05/2010

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I don't think that I ever thought of the way I parent as "selfless"...I definitely lean toward AP, but when I became a parent the first time, I didn't know what that was. I just didn't want to be away from my baby. He slept with us until he was 18 mos. and quit nursing. I tried baby wearing, but I have too many back problems, and couldn't do it. With my daughter, I expected her to want to sleep with us too, but that doesn't seem to be something that she needs. She goes down in her bed awake and falls asleep on her own, she has since 3 mos., she loves to be around us, but not when she's tired...I just try to be sensitive to both of their needs, no matter how the differ from each other or my expectations!

Annmarie - posted on 08/05/2010

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I agree! Middle ground. I feel a parent is there to guide a child. You must allow them to make mistakes. I think you're right in saying a child can become co-dependent if a parent is controlling and making all the decisions. It amazes me when I meet a college age adult who needs constant direction as if they are a robot.

Shelley - posted on 08/05/2010

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Jennifer,
What a great topic and what great posts. I particularily like Dana's that no act is selfless so true. I think its amazing that there is so much debate over the first 2 years of life who remembers there's i don't. Also i'm yet to meet the perfect parent as i still have not met a perfect child.(apart from mine of course:)
I don't think any of the actual individual topics or ways make much difference. I think the attitude behind does. Are we doing what the child wants? or
Are we doing whats best for the child?
sometimes they are the same thing other times they are not.
Is your child an important member of society? or
Is your child the centre of the universe?
This is where i think psycological issues can occur as if they are the centre of the universe at some point they will no longer be. This might be when another baby comes, when they go to school, when they go to work or even when they have their own child. it will happen and it will be devistating.
On the other hand if we fail to teach our children they are loved, they can depend on us and they like everyone is important and should be treated with respect. There we will find other psycological issues.

We as adults all have our faults our hang ups ect sometimes thats just personality. We shouldn't be so hard on each other. If we put more time into love and fun than stress and worry i think things would just all come together.

No matter what beliefs you have i believe as a parent you have your child for a reason and that you are the best person there is to parent that child for the journey that lies ahead for them.

Joanna - posted on 08/05/2010

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I never really knew where I stood in the parenting spectrum... I breastfed for 3 weeks while supplementing with formula, then went straight to formula. I wore my daughter in my moby carrier at times but preferred her in her stroller/swing/wherever most of the time. She was sleeping in her own room when she was 1 week old, but oftentimes would end up in bed with us at 4 am due to me caving in. I did some minor CIO for a few days for sleep training, but once her sleep was established I would go to her right away if her cry suggested she needed me. I adore her cuddles but also make sure she has alone time playing in her room for half hour to an hour every day (gives us both a break that we need and enjoy).

So I'm kind of all over the place. I am a bit selfish, yes, because honestly too much touching or being too close just isn't comfortable for me (my therapist calls it being "touched out" which usually happens by evening time). So I'm selfish and will tell my daughter I need some alone time. But I would give my life up for her in a second. She ALWAYS eats before I do, she always gets to use the potty before I do (no matter how much this baby is bladder-kicking), she gets her baths/showers before I do. It's just the way it is for us. I think nearly every parent is smart and caring enough to parent the way they AND their child need it, and that's the way it should be.

Hannah - posted on 08/05/2010

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I am most definitely AP style parenting. Although I do CIO quite a bit. I don't think that I am neither selfless or selfish, just a happy mommy who loves her babies and would do anything for them. I bed share with my son and my daughters crib is in our room. It is mainly due to limited space in our current town home. We are moving into a house at the end of October and I plan to have both kids out and in their own rooms. I am afraid I have created a monster with my son and fear it will be difficult to get him out of my bed into his toddler bed. My daughter sleeps in her crib at 1 yr and I dont feel she will be difficult to move her crib into her own room. So, AP parenting has been wonderful for me but I am afraid it will be harder to break that habit.

[deleted account]

Becky-while I totally agree with you I wanted to make one statement about something you said.

"You don't HAVE to breastfeed, bedshare or babywear to build a strong attachment to your child."

Absolutely correct BUT some would argue that taking away a bottle or a pacifier etc. ....weaning before the child is ready, can cause the opposite affects the parent is actually trying to achieve and the child may not be as independent and self assured as they had hoped.

Rosie - posted on 08/05/2010

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theres a happy middle for us as well. :) i definitely lean AWAY from AP style of parenting though. however when my boys were first born they slept in the same bed as me for a couple weeks (well i tried with vinnie, but he's his own type of monster, didn't want me, or his bed or anything else for that matter, lol), and they all slept in their cribs in our room for their first year of life except for my last one when we moved into our house :) he was out after 3 months.
i've actually heard that the AP style of parenting leads to less clingy kids later on. all i know for sure is that, i don't want clingy attached kids while they are young either, and yet i have great non clingy, yet powerful relationship with my oldest boy, and my youngest boys are turning out the same way. vinnie is actually growing up so fast and being so independent it scares me a bit, lol! but he still has to come running to his mommy when i get home from work to give me a big hug and tell me about his day. i know i did something right, :)

[deleted account]

My understanding is that bed-sharing falls under the co-sleeping umbrella BUT not everyone that co-sleeps or has their child in the same room, necessarily bed-shares. That's my understanding anyhow.

[deleted account]

I'm confused I thought Co-sleeping was sharing a bed with your child? If it is just sleeping in the same room my son had his cot in my bedroom until he was 6 1/2 months old - as recommended by the guidelines! Bu on the odd occasion we have bed shared.

[deleted account]

I also think I'm somewhere in the middle but by the original posters definition I guess I'm categorized as an AP parent. I did all those things that were mentioned but I don't think, actually I KNOW that Roxanne isn't coddled.

Sarah- I think there's a difference b/w co-sleeping and bed-sharing....sounds like you've co-slept?! I've done both....Roxanne was in her moses basket for the first couple months but as she got a lil' older and less fragile I would often bring her right into my bed while I was breastfeeding at night. Not always and it isn't still happening.

I don't think we can lump any one person into any one specific category and to assume or stereotype based on the fact that I breastfed, co-slept, am anti-CIO (FOR US, not everyone) or pro child-led weaning etc. seems obsurd. Generally speaking....I'm not singling you out and I'm sure you can agree?

There are obviously extremists on both sides but I doubt they'll voice their opinions here? Anyone?

Sarah - posted on 08/05/2010

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I think with the co-sleeping thing, it depends on your definition of it. I mean I didn't co-sleep as in shared the same bed, but I kinda co-slept because they were in the same room with me, in their moses basket right next to my bed. My eldest for 4 months, my youngest for 6!

For me I guess that's hitting a happy medium between AP and traditional. :)

[deleted account]

I don't think there is a right way to parent and I don't think any parent is selfless. I tend to lean away from AP although I do not think that AP is wrong and have been known to do AP style things. I co-sleep when it is needed - generally when we are in somebody elses home or a hotel and my son wakes in the middle of the night it is not fair on those around us to let him CIO so we co-sleep, but he has his own bed in his own room and CIO when we are at home. I tried to bf but my milk dried up I wanted to bf for a whole year - did not happen. I think organic food is a con and is companies excuse to charge you an arm and a leg.

I think that as long as parents are doing what is best for THEIR child then who are we to judge!

Sara - posted on 08/05/2010

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I agree Dana. Not even Mother Teresa was a pure altruist, everyone has motivations for doing something.

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