Well first off, I hope that all the amazing moms out there had a wonderful Mother’s Day this past weekend. Frankly, there should probably be a few more of these days sprinkled throughout the year; but I suppose having it on a weekend, when the weather is typically beautiful and Spring is certainly in the air, seems more than appropriate if it is only going to be once a year.
And so I find it more than ironic that right before Mother’s Day, TIME Magazine
decided to not only publish a feature article about attachment parenting, but also gave the cover photo to a mother breastfeeding her 3-year-old child while standing up. And while this may surprise a few of you, the thing that bothered me most was not the cover photo, but rather the sensational journalism that was certainly at play here.
I just felt that more drama and unnecessary debate was being created for the sake of readership. I also feel that if you removed the photo image from the cover, discussion about attachment parenting would not have even reached the holiday weekend. But by throwing the breastfeeding picture on the cover, attachment parenting has now been thrown in the spotlight where it appears everyone has an opinion about this parenting technique. And frankly, I really don’t get what’s all the fuss.
Basically, attachment parenting places great emphasis on a nurturing connection between parents and their children. When digging a little bit deeper, attachment parenting is also linked to 8 core principles ranging from nighttime parenting and co-sleeping, to promotion of breastfeeding.
But really, when I discuss attachment parenting with new parents or parents-to-be, I emphasize it's just one approach to parenting. I remind parents there are many different approaches and styles out there. Furthermore, I tell parents it’s not my job to pick a parenting style for them (most don’t ask anyway,) but what I will do is make sure they don’t deviate “too far off the path” that they’ve chosen. And most parents seem to appreciate that.
So while I don’t have any good research to tell parents to breast feed until 3 years of age, I don’t have any research saying children shouldn’t be breastfeeding until the age of 3. So let’s all take a step back and try to respect the various parenting styles and approaches out there. What may work for one family may not always work for another.
- Dr. Jeremy
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