ATTACHMENT PARENTING FAQ

 

Questions:

 


Answers:

  • What is attachment parenting?
    • It is a philosophy which allows me, to better nurture my child. It is recognizing the child as an individual with rights and feelings that should be respected. It is not a list of objects, or things 'to do', but rather an idea that says, learn, listen and respect your child.  ~Debi
    • At its heart, I believe it is parenting that places a high priority on the needs of the child. It usually includes the following:
      • the goal of natural childbirth, minimal invasive procedures after birth, respectful treatment thereafter (homebirth, birthing center, or rooming in at hospital, no separation from baby for "routine" procedures, no circ. except maybe for religious reasons)
      • informed decision making re vaccinations, whether none, delayed, or "on schedule"
      • nursing on request (no need to demand), extended breastfeeding, including night nursing and child-lead weaning. no bottles or pacifiers.
      • introducing solids on a child-led timeframe between 6-12 months. no vitamin, iron, or fluoride supplements. Informed decision making re fluoride toothpaste or oral treatment.
      • shared sleep and nighttime parenting. Mostly typically, this means a family bed. May also include sidecar sleeping, beds in the same room, or "musical"
        beds. Night nursing, no "letting them cry it out, " no teddies, "blankies," or "lovies" as parent substitutes.
      • lots of physical contact and holding via arms, sling, front carrier, side carrier, backpack, or whatever works for you. no or minimal use of bouncers, mechanical swings, bouncers, etc.
      • non-violent, non-shaming, positive discipline (demonstrating, directing and educating vs. saying no, yelling or hitting)
      • staying with your kids pretty much all the time until they are happily verbal. no leaving them "just for an hour," no letting medical personal take the kid away or make you leave the room during a procedure. OTOH, leaving them for a short time with a trusted relative or friend who they are attached to at the appropriate age can be a blessing for all making your child's environment child friendly, so you don't have to say no all the time.
      • sensitivity to child's needs, such as bringing them early to an environment so that they have time to get comfortable with it before a scheduled activity. Avoiding hyper or otherwise unpleasant environments and people. ~Sharon
    • Putting your child's needs first, including breastfeeding and child led weaning, "wearing" or carrying your child, family bed and generally gentle parenting and guidance. ~Tami
    • I can't define this style of parenting without plagiarizing, but I can tell you I was drawn to it because it encourages parents to study their child to best know how to relate to him/her. I believe the better you know your child, the easier it is to know what he/she needs to flourish. ~Terri
    • Respectful, family-centered parenting, based on a strong basis of factual knowledge of what children really need, as well as their developmental stages. Also, it requires confidence that children's needs can and should be filled, not suppressed or made to go away for the parents' convenience. I don't think there are hard and fast rules for being an AP parent, but it's important to recognize that all children share a few basic universal needs: nurturing at the breast, large amounts of physical contact, little separation from a primary caregiver, etc. I prefer to use the term "family-centered" to "child-centered," because I believe that all children are naturally social beings who want to become full participants in family life - they want to enter our world, rather than being segregated in a child-only world of toys, cribs, etc. ~Laura M.
    • I don't have a better definition than what's on the intro message from this list! :)   ~Sue
    • parenting in a way to promote attachment   ~Wendey
    • Parenting from the gut... Parenting the way humans are supposed to... Parenting where children's needs aren't considered extraneous, and where a child is respected and not "trained".  ~Nancy
    • Attachment parenting to me is a lifestyle. It is the practice of creating and maintaining a healthy, bonded, respectful family situation, through breastfeeding, wearing your baby, family bed, gentle discipline. I believe that as children get older, they benefit from a supportive environment that guides them through decisions, while empowering them to make decisions on their own. I also believe that many families who AP their young children move easily into homeschooling their older children. I don't believe that homeschooling is necessarily vital to being AP, but I have found that many parents incorporate this into their lifestyle in an effort to provide their children with positive role models, protect them from the *socialization* they will find in a school setting, and to allow them to follow their minds and hearts in their education.  ~Kelly
    • It's a philosophy and a style of parenting that ideally includes natural childbirth, no separation of mother and baby at birth, immediate/early breastfeeding, nursing on demand, no artificial means of feeding until the introduction of solids, late, child-led introduction of solids, lots of close physical contact between mother and baby, including at night. Parents don't let children "cry it out"; the cry is seen as a means of communication. According to proponents of it, if a child is attachment parented from birth, he or she will be easier to discipline, because she will know what feels right, and doing wrong doesn't feel right.   ~Anne
    • To me, attachment parenting means building a relationship with my children that promotes a deep bonding. It means doing all I can to let them know that
      they can depend on me to meet their needs, even when that calls for sacrifice on my part, as the parent and the adult. Developing this incredible closeness and familiarity with my child means that I can listen to and understand her cues and gently encourage her to explore and grow at her own unique pace. It calls for me to be 'childlike' and see the world from her view, without being 'childish' and
      self- centered.  ~Shawna
    • Attachment parenting is a style of parenting that is gentle and respectful of children and their needs. It promotes bonding between parents and children so that the family is better able to read each other's cues and respond more easily to their needs. There are several components of attachment parenting that generally are done to promote this bonding. These include sharing sleep (or having a family bed), breastfeeding, little separation between infant or young child from parent, non-punitive forms of discipline, etc.  ~Donya
    • I think attachment parenting is not only a philosophy and parenting style, but that it essentially translates to a way of life. I think that AP is instinctive parenting and conscious   parenting; it's listening to your child's cues and listening to your heart. I think it has to do with putting the needs of the child first, of seeing things from a child's perspective, of treating children with respect and unconditional love...A lot of people say that they "try" to do "what's best" for their children, but I've found a lot of times the "try" part means that they are "not doing" and that "what's best" is a lot of times a rationalization of what is "convenient" for the parent. I think AP is the opposite: It is doing and it is for the child--That is not to say that AP is not convenient; I think that attached parents reap MANY more rewards from their parenting than detached parents.  ~Laura B.
    • Gentle, loving parenting. Focusing on the child and not on the "advice" and "schedules" of mainstream parenting. Gentle discipline, breastfeeding, family bed and informed decisions about procedures.  ~Maria G.

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  • How did you find out about AP?
    • My daughter was about 2 months old, and we were having a lot of problems with what everyone else considered was colic. While searching to find a solution to her pain, we ran across Sears' Fussy Baby Book. It was an introduction to parenting that I had never heard of before and knew instantly that it was what parenting should be.  ~Debi
    • I only found out there was a name for what I was doing a couple of years ago. It all came naturally to me, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, etc. I did question vaccines with my first, but ended up doing what I was told, (vaccinating). I *think* I first heard the term AP online. I can't be positive, it could have been a magazine, but I really learned what it meant from my online friends.  ~Nikki
    • Some from a friend of mine, some from books, mostly from this list.  ~Sharon
    • Through the Internet. We were already practicing it without knowing it had a name.   ~Tami
    • I watched an episode of Dateline that focused on Dr. Sears' book Parenting the Fussy Baby and High-need Child. It gave a name to my parenting and I found the support (although limited)I needed to continue parenting my son instinctively.  ~Terri
    • My parents instinctively practiced something very much like AP - extended breastfeeding, child-led weaning, lots of holding, etc. They didn't know about slings, though they did use a backpack to carry me in. So a lot of AP thinking just seemed natural to me. I only found out it had a name when a friend sent me an article based on an excerpt from Robert Karen's book Becoming Attached, which is a history of attachment theory. Reading that book confirmed me in my beliefs that this is the right and natural way to parent.  ~Laura M.
    • When I was first pregnant with Robert (my second) a friend sent me a sample issue of Compleat Mother. It was amazing to see validation in print of many of the practices I'd already stumbled on blindly with my first ... extended BF, no circ, FB, delayed solids, cloth diapers ... I felt like an oddity among other parents I knew.   ~Sue
    • the term? In a Sears book. However I knew even as a grade schooler I wanted to raise my kids gently with no violence and with respect.  ~Wendey
    • First time I heard the word, I may have been reading Sears' Baby Book.   ~Nancy
    • I honestly don't remember. I know I bought  The Baby Book when I was pregnant, but knew long before that that I would bfeed, would never spank, would FB, etc. I'm an instinctual kind of person, and it all seemed very natural to me. Since having a child, I have read soooooo much more on various aspects of parenting, all of which has supported my decision to choose this life style. One of my favorites is Magical Child by Joseph Chilton Pierce. ~Kelly
    • I was an editor at a mainstream parenting publication and came across books and articles about it in the course of my job. It sounded like the "right" way to parent.   ~Anne
    • From my children :) They pretty much expected and asked for it and I decided to follow what seemed to be natural, reasonable, and right.  ~Shawna
    • I found out about the term "AP" on the net, but was already practicing it by instinct  and by listening to my child's needs.  ~Donya
    • I learned about it through my studies in college and graduate school while I was training for degrees in early childhood education and child psychology.  ~Laura B.
    • I bought The Baby Book because our baby wouldn’t sleep in her crib (big surprise) and his nighttime parenting chapter just made so much sense to us. After that I started learning more about it from La Leche League and the Internet.  ~Maria G.

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  • How does AP affect your relationship with your partner?
    • I've found that I'm closer to my husband then ever before. While learning to be a better parent to my daughter, I have learned to be a better wife and friend as well. At the root of AP is an acceptance of the individual, not for reasons of control or to change, but an acceptance because you love them.  ~Debi
    • In the very beginning, my partner questioned the family bed, but not for long. We now both thoroughly enjoy practicing AP together.  ~Nikki
    • makes it better because we agree that the kid/s should be the priority  ~Sharon
    • It provides an opportunity for my husband to actually spend time with my son. He isn't around much, but he gets a little cuddle time every day.  ~Tami
    • My husband and I have grown together. Our relationship is more tender.  ~Terri
    • It has brought us much closer together by giving us a chance to show each other our best! I've been amazed at the depths of my husband's patience, and the nurturing side he hadn't had a chance to really show me before. Especially considering that his own childhood was not AP at all, I am so proud of him and how well he has done as a father. ~Laura M.
    • I find I have to work harder to make sure his needs are met. Sometimes doing the cleaning and paying him the attention he needs are the last things I feel like doing after a day steeped in kids. Luckily, he defers to me on child rearing issues for the most part. I think if he were actively opposed to any of my ideas, we'd do a lot of arguing!  ~Sue
    • well. =) I am never in a grumpy mood because I don't have to make power struggles out of trivial stuff. Since we recognize our son's needs are most important I am not relegated to a housekeeper just because I am home with him.  ~Wendey
    • We're both in complete agreement on our parenting. He thinks I am a better mother because of the choices we've made. It brings us closer, I think.  ~Nancy
    • It gives us many opportunities to ponder our relationship with each other as a family unit. It has taught us to be more respectful of each other since we are constantly striving to be respectful toward our child. It has caused us to examine our spirituality, our lifestyle, our finances, our beliefs about politics, the world, etc. I am constantly amazed at how becoming a parent has opened our eyes and our minds to a much wider view of the world and caused us to discuss how we want to interact with that world.  ~Kelly
    • We are close as parents, but I think it may have made us less close as lovers. For the first year, we did the family bed, and that made it difficult for us to have sex. Our child is a poor sleeper, even at two and a half, and we're always sleep deprived, which isn't a state conducive to lovemaking.   ~Anne
    • It can be stressful, as it sometimes requires us to put our own wants on the 'back burner' for now. I feel like it has caused us to grow, though, and we share the one ultimate joy of life -- passing on life together to our children.  ~Shawna
    • I think it brings the family together as a whole - mainly because our priorities are the same. It can put pressure on us though too if our views on specific topics are different.   ~Donya
    • It strengthens it, actually. My partner also believes in AP so it makes it much easier than if he did not. I also find myself able to use the respect and gentleness I practice with my child in my relationship with my spouse.  ~Laura B.
    • We are closer and much more patient with each other because we have to be patient for her. We don’t argue as much.  ~Maria G.

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  • How do you deal with negative comments from friends/relatives regarding your parenting practices?
    • My friends & family don't give negative comments regarding our parenting choices. I do however, talk about the positive affects of extended nursing, or the family bed. I don't use it to soapbox, but generally talk about it enthusiastically as in 'Wow, this is so cool to think that doing what *should* come naturally is proven to be so beneficial to the child & the mom.'   ~Debi
    • A common misconception seems to be that what I'm doing is just lazy, or the easy way out. I just convey that I have carefully chosen my parenting decisions, and leave it at that.  ~Nikki
    • mostly ignore them, sometimes try to educate them  ~Sharon
    • I tell them that things are different now. I haven't had too much controversy - more so in the beginning. If they ask me how he sleeps, I say just fine, not a problem.  ~Tami
    • I expect them. I say this is working for me (or words to that effect, depending on the conversation). I try to be as mild as possible. This is not a subject open to debate, and I will not be swayed.  ~Terri
    • So far we've been very lucky and have not had to deal with many negative comments. We get some curious questions, but my usual response is to talk the person's ear off :) Once they hear that we have well thought-out reasons for our actions, they generally don't question us anymore! I figure it's their business if they want to disagree, even after becoming educated about the topic, but at least I want them to know that we aren't acting on a whim. Delaying solids is probably the one thing we got the most questions about, but after telling people about the risk of allergies, importance of child-led weaning, etc. they often came around and expressed shock that others would give solids to small babies.   ~Laura M.
    • Either provide factual information (studies, books, etc.), dodge the question or say nothing, depending on who it is or how it's put to me! Unfortunately, I let my mom talk me into weaning the boys earlier than I wanted to (12 mos. and 30 mos. respectively). The disappointment and guilt I felt over that have made me even more determined NOT to allow any interference in my nursing relationship with Madeleine (24 mos. and still going strong).
      I don't have the guts to be "in-your-face" about my parenting practices, or confront anyone I don't know who is doing something I see as inappropriate with their children ... I just try to gently model what works for me. Most people do compliment me on how the kids behave, so maybe they'll make the connection between how they're treated and how they act.  ~Sue
    • um, honestly, I never had any bad reactions! when someone asks a question I answer it honestly, I show a smile and appear happy with our choices. I have found demonstrating how well it works for us is better than talking about it.  ~Wendey
    • I defend my parenting practices. I explain why I know I am right.  ~Nancy
    • If they question my practices, I try to instigate a conversation comparing my way vs. the mainstream way. If they are willing or interested, I will provide them with written information that discusses the reasons why I have chosen to practice AP. For others, if they continue to be disrespectful of my choices and refuse to educate themselves on *my* view of things, then I simply refuse to engage. This is *my* child. *I* am responsible for making these decisions. *Obviously we are not getting anywhere. I think we need to end this discussion and agree to disagree*.  ~Kelly
    • I just *know* I'm doing the right thing. It's a little tough to deal with, though, because they think I'm doing things according to some mythical books they think I'm reading, but most of what I do is intuitive. I have used books for guidance with problems, but it's not the main source of my parenting.  ~Anne
    • We pretty much ignore them. We talk them over between the two of us (dh and I) and always come back to what is right and natural. We gave up on trying to please others long ago. When someone makes a negative comment to one of us, we state simply that they do not know our children and their development and needs as well as we do as their parents, and we feel satisfied with the way we are doing things. We know that in the long run, things will all come together, and we are patient.  ~Shawna
    • Well, I'm not shy about telling them why I do and do not do certain things.  I'm very proud of the way I parent but I don't want others to think I look down on them if they do things differently. I try to look at those instances as opportunities to teach and learn from one another. Basically, I am willing to discuss why I parent like I do but I'm not willing to compromise my beliefs or argue with someone over it - I would much rather end the conversation if it goes in that direction.  ~Donya
    • Well, it's not always easy, but I try to be fully educated on all the aspects of AP and their benefits over more "mainstream" methods. That way I can have something to say to the critical person. A lot of the time, though, people just don't want to hear it. So, then I say, "That is what works for us".  ~Laura B.
    • Pretty much tell them why we do it and that it works for us.  ~Maria G.

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  • How do you feel AP has affected your relationship between you and your child?
    • I think it's made us a very close family. My daughter and I do have our moments, but she is allowed to voice her opinion, and we usually come to an agreement. I think our relationship is usually very respectful.  ~Nikki
    • There truly is no way to measure or gauge how different my daughter would be, if we were different parents. I do think, however, that by practicing a style of parenting which promotes respect between the individuals, our relationship is stronger than what it would be if we deserted her in a crib and left her abandoned to cry. She feels secure with us and shows no shyness around others. This is just the way she is, but I think we could have hampered that spirit had we chose a different parenting route.   ~Debi
    • made it much better. I am a much more patient parent due to following the   practices and philosophy of AP.  ~Sharon
    • Yes, he is secure and comfortable with other people.  However, he is very attached to me, and would rather be with me than be left. It's healthy IMO at this stage in his life ( 11 mo.).  ~Tami
    • We are connected. With a high-need child like my son, the potential for a combative relationship is ever-present. But because of AP, we are partners in communication. I understand my child better than I might because I make it a point to. It's not always easy, but it ALWAYS worth it.  ~Terri
    • I think it has made our relationship the best it can possibly be. I cannot even begin to imagine how damaged her personality and health would have been if I had left her in daycare, bottle-fed her, put her in a crib, let her cry it out, etc. She is a very sensitive and expressive child, and I know it would have killed her spirit.   ~Laura M.
    • Well, unlike many people I know who don't practice AP, I don't see my kids as a burden, a nuisance, something to tolerate until they're old enough to leave the house ...  ~Sue
    • he trusts me. He isn't whiny from not getting his needs met. I am so patient with him. he has made me more tolerant. we are soooo close.  ~Wendey
    • I don't know. I can't honestly say I think we are closer than if we didn't practice AP, because this is my first child. I know people who are very close to their kids and aren't particularly AP. But I see the benefits in other, more subtle ways. Like being an extended breastfeeder... I have more power to calm my toddler than a non-breastfeeder. He's still getting the health benefits.  ~Nancy
    • I work with homeless teens who are all very detached and have a difficult time trusting anyone in their lives., so I get to see the opposite happen with my daughter. I see that my child feels safe, she knows that her needs will be met. She is independent w/o being detached from me.
      I also have a 15 yo foster daughter. Her family was extremely physically and emotionally abusive to her. Since coming to live with my dh and I, the comments that I have received from her and her extended family are that they have seen a major change in her. She is much more confident, she feels safe and sleeps through the night which she has never been able to do before. She is becoming more respectful of others and learning how to manage her anger in appropriate ways.  ~Kelly
    • We're close, and although she's not naturally cuddly, I think it makes her as cuddly as she can possibly be. She's extremely happy (except when I'm cranky because of sleep deprivation) and very well behaved. I believe that our using AP allowed our daughter to bypass the so-called terrible twos.  ~Anne
    • Because my daughters have both been very 'needy' and expressive of those needs, I don't feel that I could have bonded and enjoyed their personalities without this parenting style. For the first 9 months of my elder daughter's life, I felt that breastfeeding and the family bed were the only good things about having a baby... My children and I are very close and they depend on me to meet their needs. They also are very in love with their daddy, and feel free to ask him for whatever they need, apart from breastfeeding :) Because my daughters have both been very 'needy' and expressive of those needs.  ~Shawna
    • I absolutely think it has made me more in tune with who they are and what they need at any given moment. I also believe it allows them to trust me as a parent and follow my guidance.  ~Donya
    • I think that I am more in tune with my child and his needs than people who don't practice AP. He is easily soothed and hardly ever cries. Everyone comments on how happy and friendly he is. I feel that we have a special bond; I am overwhelmed with love for him, and I know that he knows he can trust me to meet his needs. My son is a huge part of my life and I feel fulfilled by parenting him.  ~Laura B.
    • From the wrong advice that I received prior to having my child I thought that children were to be molded and shaped, my child’s personality would have clashed with this so much. I think we really communicate and while we have our days when life is not so good, when she flashes a smile at me I know we are doing the right thing.~Maria G.

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  • What do you enjoy most about AP?
    • I especially enjoy the closeness and trust we have with our daughter. Her bright smiling face in the morning, as she gives us kisses is the *best* way to wake up every day.   ~Debi
    • I enjoy the closeness, the cuddling, the nursing. I also enjoy the satisfied feeling I get when I know that I am meeting my children's needs, and we are all happy.  ~Nikki
    • Being able to hold my child and be close to him without feeling like I'm "spoiling " him.  ~Tami
    • Treating my child with the respect an adult commands just because he is.  ~Terri
    • Knowing that I am doing the very best I can with the new little person I have brought into the world. My goal is in my old age not to be able to look back with regrets. I hope I will honestly be able to say that I did the very best I could. Doing a good job is hard, but meeting challenges is also very rewarding! On a different level, I have to say that breastfeeding has been the most enjoyable aspect of parenting for me so far. I never imagined how much I would love it - and the older my baby gets, the more fun it becomes. It adds a whole new dimension to our relationship.  ~Laura M.
    • Having gained the confidence in my own abilities to birth and raise babies without "needing" a bunch of docs and gadgets and scientific breakthroughs to do it for me.   ~Sue
    • Nursing and seeing the delight in my child's eyes as he is supported in exploring, learning, and growing.  ~Sharon
    • not having to worry about trivial stuff like schedules, weaning from pacifiers or nursing or in my case bottles. feeling free to enjoy my kid and just relax rather than getting all excited about a bunch of dumb rules.  ~Wendey
    • It's easy! I don't have to deal with the extra problems that mainstream parenting brings on--like how to get babies to sleep through the night (family bedding solves that so easily), having to premix formula, getting stains out of clothes from formula, dealing with the guilt of leaving my child for hours at a time, etc.    ~Nancy
    • I enjoy *being* with my daughter. People used to tell me that I needed time away from her. What some of them have come to understand is that I LOVE being with my baby. It is the most fulfilling thing that I have ever done. I look forward each day to finding out what she will say/do/learn next.  ~Kelly
    • It feels right.  ~Anne
    • AP has given me a window into my child's soul. Specifically, I enjoy Slowly falling asleep with a child on each breast, warm and cuddly, with their toes kneading my thighs.    ~Shawna
    • How loving my children are... I also like the physical closeness. And I love being able to trust my gut and follow my instincts in regards to my children - it feels great to be confident in what you are doing.   ~Donya
    • Well, everything, really. But if I had to choose, I'd say I really enjoy nursing and I love the feeling of warmth and security snuggling in the family bed.  ~Laura B.
    • I gotta say, breastfeeding and the family bed. Nothing like waking up to a chubby little face, smiling at you and asking to breastfeed in the morning.  ~Maria G.

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  • Does your partner &/or family support you? How does that affect you?
    • My partner does, and so does my family. My parents are very proud of me, as a matter of fact. I don't talk to his family much about it, but I think some of them don't approve of our lifestyle, and finally I don't care much!
      Well, I'm glad my parents like what I'm doing. As for my dh's family, I used to let it get to me a LOT, but I'm getting better and better at not caring.  ~Nikki
    • Yes, both my partner and family support me in the decision to raise our daughter gently. It is very reinforcing, when my husband is not quite sure of one aspect or another, and he comes to me to discuss these things. ~Debi
    • partner yes, parents, somewhat. No matter what, I do what I think is best. I spend time educating my partner because she interacts with our son every day. I talk to my parents about AP ideas, but as they don't see our child much, I don't put that much effort into it.  ~Sharon
    • My family does and dh does. My MIL has had some things to say. Once she said he'd be "ruined" for sleeping with us. I asked her what she meant. She replied, and I didn't get it, so I asked her again what she meant. Since then, she has not made any out of line comments. If she does I just smile and don't comment.  ~Tammi
    • My partner does support me. My family doesn't really. I am fortunate because the non-support is far away. I only have to deal with annoying comments on the phone. I try to not expose my son to the negativity. This spring, we're visiting family. We have been invited to stay at family's home. I have told my husband I don't feel comfortable with this because of the disapproval. We will stay in a hotel. I especially don't want my son to have to feel rejection because of his needs. He is getting older now, and can feel this. His needs are of paramount importance to me.  ~Terri
    • Yes, my partner and family are very, very supportive! It makes all the difference in the world! It frees me up to devote my energy to being the best mom I can, instead of having to fight battles with them or justify myself. I think it would be incredibly hard to be AP without support from others. ~Laura M.
    • Partner? Yeah, for the most part; as I said earlier, he mostly stays out of the kid realm. Family? Not really. My parents are okay with BF for six months, but they think the family bed is sick and cloth diapers are a hassle, and they believe in spanking. They do okay with older kids, but are very traditional and stiff with babies and toddlers. Dh's family follows many AP-type practices (BF, cloth diapers, sling, home schooling) but they all spank too ... they're very traditional people.
      As I said earlier, I mostly just keep my mouth shut. It helps that we live about 1500 miles away from both sets of parents. My mom has already influenced the boys' early weaning (see above) and I am determined not to let her get her hooks into Madeleine too ... at about 15 months she was telling her "You're a big girl, when are you going to stop that?" and "You have to let her learn to get herself to sleep sometime" ... ugh ...  ~Sue
    • yes. it makes life easier for us all. But if they didn't agree I would tell them to bug off. In the end I am the one who has to deal with my son most so it will be my decision how he is raised.   ~Wendey
    • My partner totally supports me, and that is wonderful. I can't imagine having constant conflicts over parenting. My family sometimes thinks I am a little weird, I suppose, but I don't mind. To each their own.  ~Nancy
    • My partner is very supportive. His family supports us, and mine doesn't. The way this has played out is very interesting. My daughter is much more attached to my dh's parents, who are much more respectful of her needs and much more in tune with how she communicates those needs. She is uncomfortable with my mother and frequently cries when she is around. I have seen my mom miss cues and communication from my daughter that are perfectly clear to me, and have had to step in and point it out to her. She is very jealous of the relationship that my dd has w/ dh's parents, but refuses to look at how her own attitude and actions have caused this difference.  ~Kelly
    • My partner supports me, because he thinks I'm an expert--mostly because of my background at the parenting magazine. As for my family, see my answer to question 2.  ~Anne
    • My partner is very supportive and mature about who's needs have to come first. I feel that I wouldn't be able to handle this style of parenting if he were not so helpful, especially when the girls and I are having rough times.
      His family does not understand why we can't do things like everybody else, and why we aren't 'training' the girls. Since they are our closest family, this is difficult at times, and certain things we 'hide' from them or avoid
      discussing, since they do not agree or are 'grossed out' by them (i.e. extended breastfeeding, family bed). My family is generally supportive, although they do not agree with all we choose to do... when they try to force issues on us, it just alienates us and we pull away. They do not get to spend as much time with their grand children because of certain issues (i.e. spanking and forced training in all
      areas...).  ~Shawna
    • Yes, my husband is supportive. There are a few things we don't completely agree on and it makes it difficult sometimes, but overall he is supportive. My family is
      supportive too - or at least they know better than to tell me I'm wrong to my face! ;-)   ~Donya
    • My partner totally supports me and that makes it so much easier to be the kind of parent I want to be. My family supports me for the most part; they ask a lot of questions but don't really criticize, so I feel like they are truly looking out for my son's best interest. Dh's family criticizes just about everything I do, and they don't listen to our explanations, so I pretty much try to keep my distance from them because of it (so obviously it does have an effect on me; I am getting better at not seeking their acceptance especially if the only way to do that is to parent "their way"...No thanks!).  ~Laura B.
    • Yes, my husband does, my family has learned to step back and give me room, they do make some snide comments here and there but know they cannot sway me. They are very pro-breastfeeding but don’t know what to do with the Family bed and non-vaccinations.   ~Maria G.

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  • Is there an aspect of AP that you don't practice? Why not?
    • I'm not sure on this one...I didn't know how to use the sling when my daughter was real young, but we used several different front carriers. Now that I know how to use it with an older child, it's a life saver! For me, AP is not a conglomeration of 'things' although some things lend themselves better then others to the principle...i.e., the difference between a sling and a stroller. However, I did use a swing, a stroller, her crib and other things that might not be considered AP. The difference, is that I used them judiciously, and with my daughter's needs in mind.  ~Debi
    • well, I wasn't as committed to natural childbirth the first time around as I will be the next. He had a few "routine" procedures in the hospital that my partner observed and comforted him for and he had a few ounces of formula from a dropper and a cup before my milk came in. He also slept intermittently with me, my partner, and a baby nurse for a few weeks at the same time as nursing on demand at night while I recovered from a c-section.
      A few times in a "Moses" basket too. He hated the sling until got him in a side carrier at 5 months. So it was either front pack, backpack or holding him. He used his bouncer and swing a bit each day when he was younger. And I'd let him stay asleep in his carseat if he fell asleep there. Still do.
      And we've been vaccinating more or less "on schedule" so far. I'm not sure how much education there is enough. We use fluoride toothpaste and gel treatment. And sometimes I bring a sitter to the house to play with my toddler while I get some stuff done. I can always see and/or hear him, and I'm always available to him if he wants me though.  ~Sharon
    • I don't think so!   ~Nikki
    • I haven't quite gotten the sling thing down. I try, but I don't do it much.  ~Tami
    • I never used a sling. I carried my son everywhere I could. The only time I ever saw a sling used, it was on TV. I thought the couple using it was pretentious and shallow, and did not want to identify myself with them. When I had a change of heart, I still didn't know anyone that used a sling, so I thought my son was too old.  ~Terri
    • Nothing I can think of...  ~Laura M.
    • Home schooling. We have an excellent public school here, and I honestly don't think I have the consistency, patience and creativity to do it. If my child were in a special situation (horrible public schools, needs not being met in class) I might consider it. I honestly believe that it would be doing them a disservice to teach them at home the way things are now.
      I feel moderately guilty about this, I guess -- especially considering that between Dh's family and mine, there are 19 cousins (plus our three) who are eight and under and *ALL* of the others are home schooled! Sheesh. ~Sue
    • breastfeeding. sadly it did not work for us. =( I have plans for next time though. =) and no guilt here, I tried my best it didn't work, no reason to be in denial that breast is best. besides, I need support for next time!  ~Wendey
    • I haven't switched to cloth yet, although I don't know if that is specifically an AP practice. This is due to practical considerations (not owning a washer/dryer), and I plan to switch soon, now that we're getting such appliances. Also, I vaccinate, but again, that isn't an AP rule, just the case that many AP'ers don't. My methods of discipline aren't always perfect. I have tried smacking hands, but I totally disagree with it and I am working really hard on disciplining gently. Oh, I use a stroller. I also use a sling sometimes, but I find shopping easier with a stroller so I can store my packages--sometimes I use both at once! I also find long walks more pleasant with a stroller. I used an infant swing sometimes to calm my colicky baby--this one I wish I had done much less of. I did it when I was new to the whole AP thing, and I was still finding the sling hard to get used to.   ~Nancy
    • Not that I know of ;)   ~Kelly
    • We no longer do the family bed. My daughter was unable to sleep restfully, and she woke up 10 times a night. No one got enough sleep, and it affected our lives in an extremely negative way. Also, in order to help her make the transition out of our room and into a crib, we did let her cry for previous agreed upon amounts of time (not the Ferber method, but similar). We weighed the two--allowing her to cry for some minutes versus not being able to parent effectively or even safely--and made the decision.  ~Anne
    • I can't think of anything specific. We tend to change as the children's needs change.   ~Donya
    • No.  ~Laura B.
    • Well, we use a stroller. Also we used a swing when she was younger but I hated the thing and still do, she was pretty inconsolable in the evenings and the only thing that would calm her was to swing her in the car seat but 3 hours of that was a little hard so we bought a swing. We used disposables for a while and have done some vaccines but now we are waiting and educating ourselves about the dangers.   ~Maria G.

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  • When did you find out about AP, before, after your baby was born? How did that affect you and your child?
    • I found out about AP after my first baby was born. I think it affected us adversely. Thankfully, I was following my instincts, for the most part, but it caused a lot of stress. I was getting a lot of flack, and questioning myself. Had I known there were so many others like me, I think it could have been a lot more pleasant!  ~Nikki
    • I found out after my daughter was born. We had so many problems early on, and I came across this philosophy. It fit so well with what I already knew to be true, but gave a name to my parenting beliefs. ~Debi
    • A bit before, a lot after. I'd say he's been pretty much AP'ed from the beginning. It's been a good, no, a great thing. ~Sharon
    • after - like 4 months I heard of "AP" but I was practicing it already. Actually my midwife gave me " permission" to sleep with him. She said it made BF easy - and it does!  ~Tami
    • I heard about AP after my son was born. It was wonderful for me, because it reaffirmed my parenting choices up till then. I wish I knew about it before, but I'm not sure it would have made a difference. ~Terri
    • I found out about AP several years before my daughter was born. I'm so glad I did! It meant that I had a lot of time in which to read about babies, how parenthood affects a marriage, attachment theory and research, budgeting for parenthood, childbirth, breastfeeding, and so on. By the time I became pregnant I already had a very clear vision of the type of mother I wanted to be. It also helped us time our family, in the sense that we didn't jump into parenthood before we could afford to have me be a SAHM, before we were emotionally ready to become parents, etc. ~Laura M.
    • After #1 but before #'s 2 and 3. I wish I had done more research before #1's arrival, but I was so in denial about my pregnancy (didn't even tell anyone outside of immediate family until I was about seven months) that I didn't want to deal with any of that stuff.   ~Sue
    • before. well, like I said I never planned on putting him on a schedule or making him cry anyway. I mean this was all decided when I was 6 and watched my kid brother get ferberized... talk about trauma.  ~Wendey
    • Before... but it's hard to say I "became" AP... I think many things I would have just done naturally. Maybe I was better able to formulate a parenting strategy, and articulate why I felt the way I did about certain practices, like co-sleeping and breastfeeding.  ~Nancy
    • I found out about it pre-birth, which influenced my decision to have a gentle, intervention free birth. Even so, the birth did not go exactly as we had wished, and if we have another child, we will have it at home w/ or w/o a midwife. I believe that we were able to minimize the usual traumas of birth and a hospital stay, but could have done a better job.  ~Kelly
    • I knew about it beforehand. I gave birth in a birth center, without medication, and did things during pregnancy to avoid medical intervention. She was with me from the moment of birth.  ~Anne
    • I learned AP from my child, after she was born. I had decided that I was going to breastfeed, after reading that it was the best thing for a baby. Being her sole source of comfort 24/7 was very exhausting, physically and emotionally, especially since I didn't expect it to be that way. I am glad that I listened to her and to my instincts from the time she was born, as I feel that she would have been a devastated, overstimulated, unhappy child if she had not been breastfed on demand, carried, slept with, etc.  ~Shawna
    • After both children were born. I was already doing so many of the things so often labeled as "AP" just by following my gut instincts on things. I will say that
      my son could have benefited more if I had known about this before he was born. I think your first born is much more of an experiment and by the time your second
      arrives, you are much more confident in your own style. ~Donya
    • Before. I think it helped me and my son because I was prepared to do all the AP things from the start.  ~Laura B.
    • I found out after she was born. I do feel the seed was there before or else it wouldn’t have made sense when I saw it. ~Maria G.

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  • How do you apply AP to older children?
    • I don't have any older children, but I have found that when I am with older kids, I treat them with the respect and gentleness that they deserve. I guess I AP most people I come in contact with more now, then I ever did in the past.  ~Debi
    • Well, I practiced child-led weaning, I allow my daughter to be herself, letting her make as many decisions as I can. We homeschool, also.  ~Nikki
    • I'm not really sure. I have two older step-children. I try to treat them as respectfully as I can. I apply the golden rule whenever I'm with them. But I really don't see them that often, as we live in different states.  ~Terri
    • I think it gets harder as they get older, but the essential part of it, to me, is confronting one's own childhood. I think that until you confront and deal with all your own emotional baggage, it isn't possible to raise your own
      children in a clear-sighted way. Once you get your own problems out of the way, you can look at your child in a fresh, spontaneous way and deal with him or her only, without interference from your own ghosts.  ~Laura M.
    • I like the comparison I read somewhere ... think of kids as foreign exchange students, someone who wants and needs to learn the rules of your culture. You wouldn't scream at Ivan and Helga or hit them if they made a faux pas, right? Treat them with respect, consider their opinions and preferences when making decisions that affect the family, model appropriate behavior, be clear on what you stand for ... I dunno ... I haven't thought it much further through than this. And be prepared to be asked hard questions.  ~Sue
    • I don't have one yet, but I plan to respect him as a fellow human as he grows.   ~Wendey
    • not quite there yet except w/ my limited experience w/ foster children. We have found the best way to establish positive relationships w/ them is to be respectful of their needs and ages, to have family meetings where we discuss things that we see as positive or that need work, and to have clear expectations of each other.  ~Kelly
    • My oldest is only 2 1/2yo. I apply AP by letting her sleep with me, make many of her own choices, wean when she someday decides to, not pushing toilet use, and providing lots of opportunities for play, cuddling, reading, and learning.   ~Shawna
    • My oldest is still pretty young... so I'm not sure how I'll be applying AP to them as they get older. I suppose it will be very similar to now - listening to their needs and guiding them lovingly.   ~Donya

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  • If you have more than one child, how do you think AP might have affected sibling relationships?
    • I think practicing AP with my daughter has helped her to become the nurturing big sister that she is. We let her decide to be at her brother's birth, and I believe that had a lot to do with their bonding. She is more patient with him than I am at times!  ~Nikki
    • I know my step-children are watching my husband to see how he parents my son compared to them. He can't win, as no matter what he does, they will think he is being better to him than he was to them. But I am hopeful that with AP, he actually will do better by my son than he did with his girls. I hope that they use us as parenting models instead of becoming more mainstream and detached.  ~Terri
    • Well, I've virtually never heard my kids say "Mom loves me more than you" (or vice versa), which my sister and I *always* said to each other. I think they see they get all the nurturing and cuddling they ask for (and lots that they don't). I try to meet everyone's needs and keep them occupied positively so that they don't have to resort to picking on each other. At the same time, knowing the enormous amount of energy a new baby requires, I've felt dreadful for each of the boys when the next sibling was born ... we have such a close bond that I felt like I was driving a huge wedge into it.  ~Sue
    • It's not an issue for us yet, but I think it will be rewarding for my son to see his siblings treated well and to know he was treated this way. Also he will never have to suffer through hearing his siblings cry "for their own good".  ~Wendey
    • I'm a little worried about that. How can I give the elder child enough attention when I have a baby who needs attention and who needs to breastfeed on cue?  ~Anne
    • Definitely! My oldest was 18mo when her younger sister was born. There was virtually no jealousy shown, since she was not barred from my breast or bed. They hold hands and nurse, play together, and so far are the best of friends. They feel secure in our love, and pass that on to each other.   ~Shawna
    • I think in time I will see that their relationship is close. They are both very young now but I can already tell how they are in tune with each other.   ~Donya

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Thank you Maria Gorgas for collecting the information for this FAQ!

 

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