written by Sarah of RealSimpleMama.com
We attachment parents like to think of ourselves as martyrs. The benefits of attachment parenting are undeniable, but sometimes we lose that focus by dramatizing in an attempt to look selfless and noble.
The media doesn’t help this misconception, portraying us as half-crazed self-righteous hippies. Our argument is always that we are doing what’s best for the child, and we are sacrificing so much in order to do so. And while I do believe that attachment parenting is usually the ideal way to parent (for both parents and children), this perception isn’t exactly reality.
It turns out, we’re also just lazy.
There. I said it. The internet now knows the truth! (And if it’s on the interwebs it must be true, right?).
When I started my blog, I wanted a succinct name for my website. My emphasis was going to be on attachment parenting and its three pillars: breastfeeding, cosleeping, and baby wearing. My name, “real simple mama,” came from the image I wanted to portray: that what’s best for the mama and child is also usually what’s the simplest.
Let me break it down this way – of course all parenting styles have pick-and-choose concepts, AP included. But you’ll probably find that you just need a lot less stuff. For example, breastfeeding eliminates the need for formula and bottles (even more so if you are lucky enough to stay at home, since you won’t need to pump!). No warming up water in the middle of the night, no powder to mix and no horribly smelly diapers. No, just whip a boob out and you’re good to go. Free, convenient, simple.
AP also loooves to emphasize the health benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby, which are all certainly true: Mom has reduced risk of cancer, loses baby weight faster, the uterus shrinks back down faster, and she gets a delightful cocktail of endorphins in her system. Baby gets custom-made nourishment from the tap which has over 300 ingredients, as well as comfort from an irreplaceable bond with Mama. But really, it’s just so much easier to breastfeed! Fight through the first few weeks of newborn nursing, and you’ve got it made.
Cosleeping is the greatest. Seriously, I love it. I never planned to bedshare with my kids, but now I can’t imagine doing it any other way. It greatly reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in babies (if done safely and correctly), makes it easier to breastfeed in the night, gets everyone more sleep, and gives you peace of mind that baby’s ok… Because they’re right there! And if you bedshare you also lose the crib, mattress, pad, sheets… Less junk. Hey these are all fantastic reasons. But you forgot about the “I don’t have to get out of bed all night even though I have two kids under three.” See what I mean? Lay-ZEE.
And who could forget about my dear baby wearing? With two kids, I would be seriously screwed if I didn’t baby wear. (Or honestly, my baby would just have to sit in a bouncer or swing a lot, which isn’t fair to her). Baby wearing is what baby wants: to be close to Mama, to have body temp regulated, to hear Mama’s heartbeat like they did in the womb, to help stabilize breathing. Mama benefits from it too: baby is right with you, you have hands free to do chores or errands or unproductive activities, and did I mention you can nurse hands-free in these things?!
I think the most beautiful thing about being AP is that I just follow my heart. This became glaringly apparent the first night my firstborn was home. We had a scare, I had to call 911; while he ended up being ok, I was terrified to sleep without being able to see him. We brought his small bassinet into bed with us, and have not looked back since. Cosleeping is what I had needed to calm my heart, and it’s worked beautifully. I’ll always be grateful that I did what I felt was right, even though I didn’t know anyone else who had bed shared.
Now my infant daughter wants to be with me all the time, and the only way I can meet her needs and not stop everything is for me to wear her. She’s a breastfeeding champion and loves cuddling in bed with me; her needs are simple, and they’re easily met. AP is literally just a no-brainer – you do what comes naturally to you, and trust your gut. Less thinking, less worry, less stuff, less complex.
I know that new mothers are given advice from everybody in every direction, whether they want it or not. And when you have that first child, you’re so terrified that you’re going to screw them up. But let everything settle down and it will all start to make sense. You will start to recognize your child’s different cries, and will be able to anticipate what they need. The baby will start to sleep a little bit longer at a time, and you will feel like a human being again. And one day you will pause, realizing that you actually have a pretty good groove going on. Those instincts, that sixth sense, they’re there for a reason. It is hardwired into us as Homo sapiens and has been there for 200,000 years. And the attachment parenting benefits continue throughout your child’s life… and yours.
Attachment parenting really just takes so much of the unnecessary junk, literally and figuratively, out of raising children. AP tells you that it is OK to trust your heart. And that is the simplest, and most beautiful, thing of all.
“What good mothers and fathers instinctively feel like doing for their babies is usually best after all.”– Benjamin Spock
Sarah lives in south Texas with her high school sweetheart and their two amazing children, Kiddo and Tiny. A former music educator, Sarah now divides her free time between the kitchen, the laundry, and diaper duty. Even with endless messes, being a stay-at-home mom is the best job she’s ever had! Read her stories, advice and reviews at RealSimpleMama.com or follow her on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.
You can also read some of Sarah’s other super informative posts on attachment parenting and the benefits of attachment parenting:
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