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Time breastfeeding cover: Attachment parenting vs. an attached parent (+video)

Time breastfeeding cover: It's as controversial for its breastfeeding toddler as for the actual content, and is all about 'The Baby Book,' the William Sears philosophy that has redefined the mother and baby relationship. But the Time magazine breastfeeding cover aside, aren't we all into "attachment" when it comes to our kids?

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So, it’d be really easy for me to critique the type of attachment parenting described in the Time magazine article.  I could wonder whether the intense, all-consuming emotion focused on one little baby is a way of making up for the emptiness of the privileged class in capitalistic America. I could make some snarky comments about the marital life of people who never go out with one another and share a bed for years with their child.

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is a longtime Monitor correspondent. She lives in Andover, Mass. with her husband, her two young daughters, a South African Labrador retriever and an imperialist cat..

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I could also point out that while “people all over the world” may wear and sleep with their babies, this is far easier to do when you’ve got a village full of other women to whom you can hand the baby when you want a break. (Easier still when you can give the baby to her older sister, who is probably not in school because she’s helping out with this sort of thing.) I could wonder whether American moms see the difference between snuggling their Baby-Bjorned progeny on a walk to Starbucks and the way African women carry babies when they work (and boy, do women in rural Africa work).

But you know, these thoughts of mine really don’t matter for another mom and dad going through that exhausting, beautiful, challenging process of figuring out how to raise their child.

When I finally found “The Baby Book,” I realized that Dr. Sears quite agrees with me on this point.

(And in full disclosure, I’ll admit that the reason this book is so well worn is because it is a hand-me-down. We were more Penelope Leach fans in this house. But I read Sears, too.)

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In his first chapter, entitled “Getting Attached: What it Means,” Sears lists three goals for beginning parents. They are: to know your child, to help your child feel right, and to enjoy parenting.

Pretty mainstream, no?

But what about his tenets of attachment parenting?

Turns out that Sears lists five, not three.  Here are the two missing from the Time story, which Sears actually puts at the top of his list:

  • Connect with your baby early.
  • Read and respond to your baby’s cues.

Well then. That’s more like it. 

We seem to be all about divisions and partisan lines in the U.S. these days. But as the debate about attachment parenting rages on, perhaps we can remember what we agree upon rather than on what seems so very “other.”

Because when it comes to child rearing, I’m guessing most of us probably want the same thing: healthy, happy, kind kids. 

How we get there... well, maybe not so important.

Happy baby-carrying weekend, folks.



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