‘Attachment parenting’... umm
By Jane Han
NEW YORK ― American moms prize independence and self-sufficiency when raising their kids ― or so we thought, until Time magazine’s latest provocative cover of a young mom breastfeeding her 3-year-old son.
In the photo, Jamie Lynne Grumet, 26, poses confidently as her son stands on a stool sucking on her semi-exposed breast. Next to the controversial image ran the equally controversial title, ``Are You Mom Enough?” This instantly sparked a national debate over the new child-rearing trend known as ``attachment parenting.’’
Attachment parenting stresses the importance of connecting with children on deep emotional levels. In reality, it’s understood as moms who share the same bed with their kids, wear their baby in a sling and breastfeed until they are aged 4 or above.
For traditional parents, all of this may seem too much. But a growing number of attachment parents consider this completely normal and healthy.
``This is a normal option for your child and it should not be stigmatized,’’ Grumet, a California mom, was quoted as saying about breastfeeding her son. ``I’m never going to say this is for everybody, but it should be something that is accepted.’’
Advocates of attachment parenting expressed their support for extended nursing.
``American culture is unhealthily obsessed with two things: independence and the sexual objectification of breasts. Two huge roadblocks to normal feeding of our children,’’ Jane Church wrote on Attachment Parenting International’s Facebook page.
``I’ll breastfeed and I’ll be breastfeeding until my son is finished and he weans,’’ singer Alanis Morissettee said of her 16-month-old son on a television show.
According to Attachment Parenting International, the new trend is starting to go mainstream.
``For many years, we have been witnessing a silent transition in the mainstream culture to attachment parenting ― not extremism, as parents experience the benefits of parenting compassionately and become more confident in trusting their instincts,’’ it said.
Despite the slow but noticeable changes, many traditional parents are vocally against what they see as an odd and overly-involved parenting method.
``If a child can come up to you, lift up your shirt and ask for milk, it’s time to stop breastfeeding,’’ wrote one mom on The Bump, a popular pregnancy and parenting website, where thousands of moms buzzed on the hot topic.
``Sleeping with your baby is not only dangerous for the child, but can lead to over-dependent, clingy behavior. It’s just going overboard. Parents need to know when to say no,’’ wrote another mom.
Experts are also at odds over the effects of attachment parenting, but their bottom line is that parents should make decisions based on their unique situations.
``There is no right or wrong answer. It works for some people, but it doesn’t work for others. Attachment parenting, like other new trends, is something many parents will try out of curiosity,’’ says Milena Hills, a Connecticut-based pediatrician.