261 Comments

  1. Dee Ann Sagor

    Aprille, my heart aches for all you’ve gone through. I’m not talking so much about your mothering, but the criticism! Even after reading your story, I am still not sure what “attachment parenting” is. You have to be the Mom that you feel God wants you to be, and nothing less. What Mrs. Tightgirdle, or Mrs. Broadmouth thinks doesn’t matter. At least it shouldn’t. I guess when you have difficulties as you have, you try to reach out for other’s opinions or suggestions, but it’s up to YOU what you do with them. I’m sorry that others have caused you grief, rather than trying to encourage you in the decision that you made. We are all going to parent our children in a different way, and sometimes, even differently with each child! You hang in there, okay? Do take care of your health. I’m sorry for your exhaustion. I do know what that’s like, but I’m not raising a little one! I’m praying for you Aprille. I know the LORD will show you what you need in time. HUUUUGS!

    • Thank you Dee Ann for your sweet words. Attachment parenting focuses on creating a strong bond between mother and child by always putting the child’s needs first and trying to meet them immediately as possible. Some of it’s basics are natural unmedicated childbirth, on-demand breastfeeding (not putting baby on a sleep or feeding schedule), bedding close to the baby (emphasis on co-sleeping or room-sharing), baby wearing (keeping the baby in a wrap or a sling, instead of in a stroller), and other things like that. Most attachment parent advocates also practice healthy/clean/organic eating, “gentle” parenting (no spanking), cloth diapering, and some are even adamantly against circumcision. Attachment parenting shies away from anything that causes baby any sort of pain or distress in hopes of creating a strong bond between mother and baby.

  2. Marisa

    I started rearing my first son AP style in 2002. I had a homebirth, breastfed, wore him in a sling, cloth diapered etc etc. He became an unruly 3 yr old due to my permissive parenting techniques. When I realized this, and started putting more structure and consequences to disobedience, I too was disowned by people who were more purist, and had to leave an AP playgroup I started. I took a long break from attachment parenting. My confidence in my own style of parenting was emerging. I no longer felt I needed to do anything by their book. I had more children. I let my older babies/toddlers cry because I left a room for a minute. I did nurse my 3 boys until age 3, but I stopped nursing to sleep, and made them lay down without falling asleep at the breast. They watch TV. They eat junk food sometimes. I too have chronic health issues, and that just makes life harder. My youngest is 5 now, and I don’t regret the influences attachment parenting had for me. It was a lovely, dreamy time of having babies and toddlers. But they grow, and new issues emerge and the stakes are higher. Little things like how long I breastfed or what diapers they wore seem so silly! I no longer read parenting books, but learn from my children what they need. And I think at it’s core, that is what AP is supposed to be about, but it’s been highjacked by people with an agenda. Thanks for sharing your story!

    • Thank you so much for sharing YOURS! It’s so great to hear from BTDT moms who are further down the road. Honestly most of the AP advocates I’ve met are YOUNG moms with children under five, which I didn’t realize until after the fact that it should have told me something!

      • Marisa

        You are so right about that. I even sold breastfeeding advocacy shirts kind of like what you’re wearing in the photo. I alienated and offended people too, LOL. Motherhood is such a humbling process for sure! 🙂

        • I threw mine in the trash this week. I would have taken it to goodwill but it was horribly stained. It was really freeing for me, even though I’m still breastfeeding. I just didn’t feel comfortable wearing it out now that I’m nursing a toddler because while I’m not ashamed of it, I feel like promoting the fact is just unnecessary.

  3. People change their minds about what is best for children all the time. When in doubt, I always look to the Bible or a grandmother for advice, NEVER a first-time mom, because they are the most judgmental and set in their ways!
    I worked at a preschool for several years before becoming a mother, and I saw the results of every kind of parenting under the sun. I can’t stand spoiled children, and attachment parenting can come dangerously close. When kids have an authority, they thrive. No, babies don’t always know best. Yes, we need to listen to our children and let them teach us how to be good parents to them (the idea behind attachment parenting), but we still need to be the parents. I am a very patient mother most of the time, but I do not put up with my son trying to rule over me. Two phrases you’ll hear in my house are “I’m the boss” and “I don’t negotiate with terrorists.” (I don’t budge during tantrums.)
    I think attachment parenting rose out of neglect some people felt from their own childhood. Maybe they had parents so strict, they never asked their children for forgiveness. I’m the boss, but I’m not perfect. I’m apologizing to my toddler weekly, if not daily. If my kids are going to learn how to be humble, I hope they can learn it from my husband and me. There’s a balance to everything. If I didn’t have the bible on parenting–The Bible–I’d easily go to one extreme or the other. I’m thankful I am not doing it without faith and guidance from scripture, because otherwise I don’t think I’d ever leave my room!

    • I LOVED this comment. I had older, more experienced moms try to share their tried and true ideas with me but I rejected their advice and got ticked off that they thought I was “just a first time mom.” In so doing I worked myself into a frenzy about all of these things and experienced a lot of exhaustion that I think was unnecessary. Ezra’s a horrible sleeper and I don’t think that was going to change. Even in my mistakes there’s not much I think would have gone differently even if I had acted differently. But I would have been much happier being less judgmental over it all.

      I apologize to Ezra multiple times a day so I’m hoping that, yes, he’ll get a good dose of humility from his mom at least!!!

    • Ashley Pytlarz

      Aprille I hope that you never felt judged by me. We all can only do the best for our own children as only you know what that is for Ezra. He’s such a sweet little boy. I miss seeing you guys around Knox. We moved to Ga and I can understand how alone you must’ve felt. Frank deploys very very soon again and I know no one here. I can’t imagine having a tiny baby and going through all those struggles. You’re an amazing mommy please never second guess yourself. Every child is different. 🙂

      • No never Ashley! You were always great and I loved the balance that you had with your kids!! I hope you can make friends before Frank deploys! Maybe check out local MOPS groups or meetups. Support is a huge necessity.

      • I think your being to hard on yourself on the “attachment parenting” rights and wrongs. Like any group anything in excess will cause harm to both parties. I don’t see any reason why you can’t say you practice Attachment Parenting. You do. With every intent in your body you tried to uphold the “tennets” of AP parenting and in my opinion just like the AP guidelines teach is to redirect, positive re enforcements, ect. You tried certain concepts of AP parenting that didn’t meet you or your babies needs so you had to re direct your focus and energy onto something that was more healthy both mentally and physically. I was unable to breastfeed do to medical issues but I co-sleep, STHM, no spanking, child led and may home school. Actually when I brought my daughter home I didn’t know what AP parenting was intill I looked at the bassinet and didn’t feel right about having my baby away from me. From that night we have done skin to skin and co-slept and she is almost 3. It wasn’t till I read something online and I was like oh there’s a name for this. I think the big thing with having the AP name is we as parents want to belong to something other than just parenting. We as parents instead of supporting one another break off into small sub cliques of all these different names for the same thing its called parenting, or being a mom. Bottom line, end of story that’s what we are, moms, trying to get through the day, all trying to achieve the same goal and instead of nit picking at each other lets just come together and support each other through this journey called parenting.

        • I see what you are saying. While I agree that we all long to belong to something, I know longer even want to be associated with the title “attachment parenting” even if I follow a lot of its tenants. Because I’m not the only mom who has felt hurt and judged by “AP moms,” and I’d rather not even have that association.

          Honestly, I wish we could drop all of the labels and just be moms. I used to say things like “I’m a proud cloth diapering mom” or “I’m a breastfeeding mom” or whatever.

          I may breastfeed, but next baby I may not have that option.
          I may only cloth diaper part-time. So then, I’m a “part-time cloth diapering mom” which honestly – I feel like it is a little ridiculous to treat what your kid wears on their bottom as your defining job description, ya know?

          Now, I’m just a mom. I do certain things as a mom, but my motherhood is the only thing I let define me, because it’s the only thing that doesn’t change.

  4. I’m so sad to hear of all the criticism you’ve received! If there is one key thing I’ve learned about parenting it’s that all kids (and parents) are different, and what style of parenting you use depends on your kids! I can honestly say I used a different style with all 3 kids. I was all about a natural birth, Breastfeeding, AP, etc., but then I had B via emergency c-section. You know how much longer it takes to heal when you have Fibro! I was EXHAUSTED, my body would NOT produce milk, I was extremely depressed. I didn’t even try cloth. It was everything I didn’t want! He slept in his car seat most nights and would sleep for 10 hours! It wasn’t my ideal co-sleeping, but with the state I was in it was best for us! Then, like you said I just accepted it. BUT then Aurora NEEDED Attachment Parenting, so I used a mix with her – same with Chaz. Those 2 were totally different babies than B. So although I did feel discouraged about AP I’m glad I didn’t write it off completely but learned that I could take some from it and leave some of it. It’s not all or nothing!

    • Thanks for the balance that you bring to the table. I do recognize that my next baby might be more receptive to AP things and maybe (hopefully? prayerfully? GOD I’M ON MY KNEES BEGGIN YA!) a better sleeper. I am definitely willing to try things like BLW again and haven’t written off some of the aspects completely. But I just hope that even if it “works” for our next baby, that I keep things in balance and don’t fall into the trap of being judgmental all over again. It’s nice to hear that it’s not an all-or-nothing approach.

  5. This is a very honest post, and I agree that it is one that needs to be written and shared. First time moms are under so much pressure to do things right – perfect – that they are missing out on the joy of just being with their child! I had a lot – a ton – of trouble breastfeeding and I swear I was shunned by others in the AP community as not trying hard enough. One of my daughters loved being “worn” and my youngest despised it. One of my daughters still struggles with sleep to this day (she’s 13) no matter what we do and another sleeps till 10 if I let her.
    Take the “best” of this approach – take what works for you and leave the rest. For me, i came away respecting and listening to my children more and that has continued through their childhood and into the teen years. Taking them seriously as they grow up is just as important – I know perfect AP moms who pretty much toss all the ideas / concepts when their kids turn 5. I don’t like to call myself “ap” or anything really, because then I am always striving to be something different.
    I hope your post will save another mom the pain of what you went through, and what many of us have gone through in trying to be the best mom we can be. 🙂

    • Emilee Roberts

      I know that feeling! We can’t have anymore babies now, but after having Chaz I can’t imagine having another baby that slept (er, I should say sleeps) as badly as him! haha It’s EXHAUSTING! I pray you don’t have to experience that again either!

      No matter what we choose, we do, definitely have to stay open-minded knowing everyone’s experiences are different! I just share mine as I have them and pray people know our experiences are ours, and I don’t expect everyone else’s to be the same! I think it can be hard to convey that sometimes!

      • I know it IS hard to convey sometimes. I think a lot of people have felt judged by me in the past too, but I honestly haven’t meant for that to happen. Each mom, each child, each family has to make its own way. There are soooo many factors that weigh into parenting decisions and the truth is that most of us really are doing the very best that we can with the cards we have been dealt. Sometimes we just have a rough hand or two!!!

  6. Kristin Kraabel

    I just told my sweet friend in California that you have to do what is best for the three of you. That everyone will have an opinion. You did what was best for you three. People thought I was crazy when I let my 3 year old sleep (physically) on top of me after my divorce and she slept with me for 2 more years. That is what worked for us. The oldest is not a snuggler, she needs her own space. Bravo for doing what is best for the three of you and for sharing your story. Others need to hear it. Moms are so critical of each other and so often I feel that it is because we are so afraid of doing it “right”. If we just gave each other a hug, prayed, and kept our eyes up imagine the encouraged mamas we would have. God gave us each skills and we each parent they way we need to and our babies need with a huge dash of God’s grace. Here’s praying for lots of sleep for y’all 🙂

  7. We never did AP mostly because my health was destroyed when Caleb was born. I couldn’t even sit up to nurse for weeks because of the spinal headache. I shouldn’t have nursed at all. He didn’t gain weight (only weighed 17 pounds at one year old) but felt the pressure to, so I did. Pumped out a sample when he was 8 months old and my milk looked like water. I stopped cold. No wonder he hadn’t been gaining. My body was so exhausted from the HG that it couldn’t make milk. I did a lot of things differently with Charity! I learned that CIO doesn’t hurt them at all- it promotes early self-discipline, even though the child doesn’t know it yet. I did Babywise (loosely) with both of mine, and received horrible criticism. Eventually I was like “Um, I have the babies who sleep through the night, and yours are up every hour. What’s to criticize?” Goodness, moms need to sleep through the night too! I fall apart without sleep, so I needed a non-AP schedule very early on. It was flexible and more for me than them, alhtough it did us both a world of good. My kids still sleep through the night and sleep better even when they are sick because of the early sleep habits. But even with two children, the schedule worked differently because THEY are different! And it wouldn’t work for every child. I agree with the above comment about some children needing more AP- Charity is like that. She really NEEDS the physical closeness, and has since the moment of birth. Caleb was totally different. You might have a girl (or even a boy) who does need the closeness, but you can still establish that without going AP.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your experience. My heart breaks for everything you went through with your children and I can’t wait to read your book. I’m so glad you came to a balance with it all and were able to make decisions that gave you rest and made you feel more comfortable.

      I imagine that I will be much more scheduled with our next baby, if not for the simple reason that Russ will be home, on a schedule, and Ezra is much more into a routine now that we will need to stick to! I’m really hoping that things are “easier” next time around!

    • Leah,
      I did babywise too and it really worked so well for us! I now have an Autistic son who has amazing sleep habits and people are always shocked when they hear how well he sleeps!

      • I’ve had a lot of people tell me how “lucky” I am that my kids sleep, and I”m thinking ‘not luck- I worked for it!’ But I don’t swear by it that it would work for every child- I’m just glad it worked for me. 🙂 It’s nice to hear from someone else who had success….I know there are plenty of success stories out there, but they are afraid to voice it.

        • I know that I have uttered comments like that to friends whose babies are sleep trained, and I guess (from my perspective)–as someone who has tried methods like “Baby Wise” and “No-Cry Sleep Solution” and come away in tears because there was no way it would ever work for my child and still come away from it all with a sleepless baby–yes I understand that sleep training is hard on the mom and does involve a lot of work, but it does seem like there IS an amount of luck involved, in that God creates each individual baby with different needs and “problems” and, like you said, it won’t work for every child.

          I know that’s all I mean by saying to friends “oh you are so lucky to have a baby that sleeps.” But perhaps a better thing to say is “oh you are so lucky that sleep-training methods actually WORKED for you and your child!” lol

          But, in it all, there’s other things that have come so easy to Ezra, like talking, learning his letters and numbers, being helpful around the house, etc. Other kids might struggle with those things but be a good sleeper. So, there’s a balance to the “luck of it all” too for sure!

  8. Wanda

    You have learned wisdom and maturity the hard way ( usually the only way to learn those two things!) Congratulations! You are way ahead of most 🙂
    Blessing to your family

  9. Stacey Jordan

    I am sorry you had to deal with such negative and judgmental people but so glad you figured out what works for YOU! There is never anything wrong with taking care of yourself first so you can be a better parent for your child.

  10. Honestly, more than denouncing attachment parenting, it seems like you really just needed balance. There has to be balance regardless of what you do. The closest thing to my parenting would be “attachment parenting,” but I never got on that bandwagon. I want to make every single decision based on what my mommy-gut tells me is best, not what some rule maker says, whether that rule maker is from the attachment parenting camp or the other side. We do what works for us, period. And that gives me judgment from BOTH sides! lol.

    But, at the end of the day, I’m the one who has to live with my parenting choices. Cry-it-out never worked for us. Honestly, I wish it had. If my child would have cried himself to sleep in 10 minutes, I probably would have done it as well. My parents one day wanted to “prove me wrong” and let him CIO…they finally gave up at almost an hour. My kids just didn’t cry themselves to sleep on their own…ever. The point is, one way isn’t better or worse than the other necessarily, you just have to make sure you don’t go overboard and get legalistic about it either way…if you’re a firm believer in CIO, you still need to have grace sometimes…just as there are certain attachment parenting aspects that just might not work sometimes. We all just have to do what works best for us…hopefully without judging others who do it differently.

    Thanks for sharing your story

    • Thank you so much for sharing your input. I agree with you about balance.

      I tried CIO much earlier than it actually worked. Once or twice a month on desperate days I would try and try and he just would never stop crying. I’d always give in around the 30-40 minute mark…which is why I was so shocked that it actually worked when he was 11 months old.

      Even then…there was still a lot of hit and miss with it. It didn’t work every night. And even now there are still nights we have to go in multiple times and give him extra rocking or patting before he will finally give it up and go to sleep. I don’t believe that CIO is a perfect or better method than AP methods. I honestly hate doing it. But, once I found something that worked more than it didn’t and let me feel much more sane as a mom, I tended to do it more and more often.

      I want other moms to know that I’m not necessarily “promoting” CIO and “bashing” AP, because that’s not really the point of this post. It’s more…I just want people to feel supported, know they are not alone, and know that sometimes we have to sacrifice one area of “good parenting” to be a better parent overall.

  11. I so wish that you had had more support in the beginning. There are only very few things in parenting that are black and white – but our culture has given so much power to the children rather than the parents. I’m glad that you were able to overcome the plans that you had, not everyone is willing to do that, even in the worst of times. You valued your child’s well being and your own health over an ideal, and that makes you a great mother.

  12. Abbie Overlease

    Hi Aprille,

    I saw you post this on Kim’s page, and curiousity got me. I will be honest, a lot of my issues over time once you had Ezra came from ME feeling as if YOU thought I wasn’t a good enough mother because I wasn’t doing things your way. Who knew on your side you were feeling that way from others. This is a brave post, and I give you a lot of props for the raw honesty it took to write it. I am in the same boat as you, AP just didn’t work for us. For either of our kids. They are free spirited and just can’t be confined to any certain way of parenting. 🙂

    God Bless You, Aprille.

    Love from another mother,

    Abbie Overlease

    • This made me smile so much. I apologize for all the times you felt judged by me. I know I had a lot of ugliness in my heart at times!!!! God bless you and thank you for being brave enough to leave a comment in spite of everything that has gone on between us!

  13. Abbie Overlease

    I have been reading through some of your posts and my oh my! I can relate to so many, and your post in the gym, on the floor, hearing the song “somewhere” by Josh Groban & Charlotte Church… well, I cried. I needed that, we’re going through the same thing. Except we have NO IDEA what is to come, whether he will get out- stay in- stay here or move. And we have 1 year. I literally get sick thinking about it, so I can totally understand your POV.

    • Oh Abbie I know how hard that can be. This past year has been fraught with so much anxiety about our journey out of the Army. We have been exhausted and beat down from the military life, but moving away from it is so scary too! Please check out my posts “Home: One Word for 2013” and if you would like to hear more about some of the HUGE life changing emotional decisions I’ve gone through and my journey away from legalism, you should check out the posts here in How I’ve Changed in 2012

  14. Great post. I didn’t know there was such a thing as attachment parenting.

    I agree with one of the comments regarding “spoiled children” (no offense to anyone). After interning at a child care center, I came face to face with different parenting techniques that caused alot of stress on me as one of the caretakers. We are taught to follow a certain way, not how the parent wants us to take care of their children. Some of those parents disagree and cause us more issues than what is necessary. As long as the child is loved and taken care of, how a parent chooses to parent even though it may not seem “right”, it doesn’t matter. The same applies for those who are caretakers of the children; different techniques don’t harm the child but help them thrive.

  15. kathrynann24

    You know where I stand on all this. I went the opposite way you did as I did scheduling and babywise (and loved it by the way). I received the same criticism by other parents as well as comments on my blog that I was abusing my son etc. It really upset me in the beginning, but as he’s gotten older I know I’ve done the right thing. I have a lot I could say on the attachment parenting thing as I disagree with pretty much all of it, but I won’t go into all that here. I will say that there were so many times during that deployment that my heart ached so bad for you. I prayed for you a lot. Not as a mom judging you for what you were doing or hoping you would come “my way,” but from one mom heart to another. Praying and wishing you would have peace and the sleep you needed. I never felt I could say something because I knew we both had strong opposite feelings as far as parenting styles, but I prayed for you so much for sleep and rest. Love you girl.

    • I learned a lot from reading your blog posts about babywise and scheduling and all of that. But it just didn’t work for us. As much as I maybe should have tried harder, Ezra honestly is just a poor sleeper and I tried literally every method of sleep training under the sun and it just DIDN’T work for him…neither did the AP methods. Honestly nothing worked and he is still a poor sleeper. I don’t believe that every child can be trained to sleep and I believe that Ezra is proof of it. I just hope that sometime over the next few years he stops crying himself to sleep because I hate it, but I don’t see that in the cards any time soon, regardless of what methods I do or don’t use. Thanks for your input and comments.

      • kathrynann24

        He just loves life so much that he doesn’t want to miss anything! 🙂 He just seems to have that kind of awesome personality.

        • That’s so true!!! He has so many other great qualities that I try to remember that when we are up late, or early, or in the middle of the night! It’s just this ONE THING where it affects me so much that I have a hard time dealing with sometimes!

  16. pictimilitude

    I am not a mom. But my “teaching” instincts tell me that you have to go with your own instincts and what you think is best for your child. I applaud what you have done here because I know you’re a normal person. My mom runs a nursing home and in a way, believe it or not, the elderly become like children again: pureed food, changing diapers, hugging and loving them so they don’t feel unwanted. I grew up in that and my mom – who only has a high school education – has put SO MANY DOCTORS AND LAWYERS in their place by saying that people need love on their own terms, they need good food and a loving home – and she runs a successful assisted living center out of the house. It’s obvious that you have provided abounding love. Never, EVER let anyone tell you how to parent your own child: you alone are the one who truly knows his needs. I promise to do the same when I become a mother. We women are genetically programmed to feel guilty for everything, I swear. But always remember: there are as many ways to raise a child as there are mothers. No one is perfect and its unrealistic to strive to be perfect. We can only strive to do our best. Sure, we’ll make mistakes. It’s part of the human condition. But it is totally obvious that you have LOTS OF LOVE to give and Ezra is one lucky boy. BTW…I would ALWAYS cry for a bottle at night (so my mom tells me, haha) and I drank them until I was five years old, right up until the day before kindergarten started. Yeah, my mom believed in giving me some comfort and I’m okay for it. 🙂 PS – if AP people are that judgemental, I think I might just do my own thing and not join any groups, haha.

  17. This must have been a difficult post to write. Being a parent is so hard. Period. Being a good parent–well–There are no manuals that fit every child. I am glad that you and Ezra are finding your way. I am sorry that the way has been difficult. (It sounds like Ezra is much like my second daughter–who came into the world screaming and continuing on for a good long time–she is 23 now and finishing college–but so many nights were a battleground) Best to you!

  18. Oh, I’m sooo proud of you! You have no idea how much I wanted this for you!!! Sometimes, I stay away from the parenting status’ on your Facebook and don’t comment because I’m not a mother and have no idea what you’re going through, but you figured out what I wanted to say! Way to go!!!!!

  19. Glad you found the balance that works for you. Always follow your gut instinct and not what others say is the “right” way. There is no “right” way!

  20. phew! what a journey traveled single handily. First of all I applaud you to discover your strengths while nursing and taking care of the infant.

    Good post!

  21. If only we could all get infused with some magical serum that would make the judgments about parenting fall by the wayside. You are a brave strong good mother. Kudos to you for writing this post.

  22. Great post. Shared on my Facebook page. I’m a maternity RN so I’m familiar with women who are literally racked with guilt when they get an epidural, the baby has trouble latching on, etc. It’s so sad that we can be such a judgmental group when I’m sure we all have a common goal – to raise happy, healthy children who will become productive members of society.
    Second babies are great because you know to tune out most of the noise and do what is best for you and your family. 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your comments and for sharing some of your experiences! And yes I am so looking forward to having a do-over baby! Which of course means that I will have a totally different child and nothing that worked with Ezra will work again! LOL

  23. Michelle Wentz

    Aw, my hearts feels for you Aprille. Corey was not an easy baby or toddler either. ( I don’t mean that in a bad way, just full of energy and never needed any kind of down time and I was not full of energy, having Lupus and always tired.) I am thankful that back when he was a baby 10 yrs ago that I didn’t have Facebook or blogs or other online ways to have input on what others thought should be the way to parent. If it was there, I didn’t know it. LOL It sounds like you are doing the best for you and your family. That is all we can do. I apologize to Corey quite a bit too for all the mistakes I make. Even just last year, we had a sleeping issue with Corey at 9 yrs old. I was exhausted because of it. My husband had to “fix” it. I really know we just want the best for our kids and we try so hard as moms to provide that. Corey wouldn’t sleep through the night and it often times took hours to get him to sleep, it started happening out of the blue. Looking back, I can see that he had control over the sleep situation in our circumstances and had me wrapped around his finger. I couldn’t see it back then. My husband stepped in and told me that there would be no laying down with Corey to help him fall asleep, that I could only sit up on his bed to read him a story before bed, say prayers and give hugs, walk away, and turn the light out. And of course he was 9 yrs old at the time, not a toddler, so just sharing a bit of our challenges. I never knew about AP, but I didn’t know how we got in this sleep issue we had or how to get out of it. Once we had boundaries set, it was fixed. It is different for everyone. I have also been the parent who locked the child’s door so they would go back to sleep or take the nap. If I didn’t I was exhausting myself by spending hours trying to help him get to sleep. Corey has gone through stages of being a poor sleeper and we have gone through years of it being much better and then spurts of it getting much worse. Even to the point of us letting him sleep on the couch for about 6 months when he was 8 yrs old, just so he would sleep and we could get sleep. I do believe some babies/kids are poor sleepers. Just look at our situation as some hope for yours, Corey hasn’t been a good sleeper at times, especially as a baby and a toddler and at scattered times in between and he is now 10 yrs old. Who knows, maybe Ezra will become a better sleeper like Corey has with getting older. I sure will be praying that he will sleep better. Kudos to you for finding a way that helps you get the rest you need so you can be able to function and enjoy him.

    • You actually had two comments come through, but they were both great! I honestly think that Ezra may end up being one of those kids who is still having trouble sleeping when he’s 8-10 years old…it wouldn’t surprise me at all! THanks so much for your input and sweet words!!

  24. I had no idea you went through such a rough time Aprille. You little boy Ezra is precious and you’re doing a great job! Corey was full of energy as it sounds like Ezra is. We went through poor sleeping on and off through the years and he is 10 yrs old now. I can look back now and be thankful for challenges and how much stronger it has made me, I am sure you will do the same. I apologize so very often to Corey also. We make mistakes, but our kids know we love them. God gives us grace, thankfully. I guess I can be thankful for not having facebook, blogs and such back then.

  25. Jane

    As a mother of two and a grandmother of four, I’ve learned above all tht we have to do the best we can. Just as I cannot, nor do I want to, live my life identically to anyone else, neither can I parent exactly the same as someone else. Every parent and each child is unique, you have to use all that great “mother’s instinct” you have, and it’s obvious from your post that you have a healthy share of it!!! Congratulations on finding your and your child’s way that works best!

  26. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I could have written this post myself! AP can become like a religion, including psychologically devastating consequences from being “cast out” of the community and treated like a heretic. My heart breaks for all that you endured. I wish I could go back in time to my younger self, give her a big hug, and tell her that even with bottles (because of “issues”), even with a hospital birth (because of 60 hours of labor), even with strollers and cribs (because of severe back pain and chronic fatigue), her kids will grow up to be incredible, secure, confident, and LOVED little people. And yours will, too.

  27. Well it’s been a long time since I was mom to babies…my youngest is 18. I agree that balance is the key. Finding the way that works for you is key. Stepping away from criticism, both ours and others, key. I was a Bradley birth teacher, but never a birth preacher. I tried to equip couples as best I could without making anyone feel guilty for what did and didn’t happen during labor and delivery. And since I had a terrible time getting my firstborn to nurse, I totally understood that struggle too. She was six weeks old and thriving when I decided to go several hours without offering a bottle. She nursed voraciously and went from breast to cup, refusing a bottle ever again. When I walked into my pediatricians after five months of no sleep, he took one look and said, “You look exhausted!” and suggested the Ferber method. Oh and then my last child. Well she was 10 lbs. 15 oz. and dedicated as I was, I had to have a C-section. All my struggles added up to being able to help those who were in need of encouragement and not judgement.
    I am so proud of you for writing this post. You did it with a great deal of care and no judgement. I’m sorry you were wracked with guilt, exhaustion, and depression. And say from here on out…You go, girl! You’re doing great!

    • Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and encouragement! Especially coming from a Bradley instructor, it’s really nice to hear that balance in your own life!

    • Thank you also for your input that this post was written without judgment…I was really trying hard not to bash AP or say that it’s horrible…and judge AP moms. That definitely was not my intention by this post and I’m glad that, from your perspective as a reader, that I accomplished those goals.

  28. I love your honesty here. I think that every family, mom and baby needs to do what works best for them. There is no clear right or wrong. My experience was very similar to yours, so I can relate–down to loving on my Moby at first! Thanks for sharing–and this is the perfect post to link-up with Honest Voices!

  29. What a fantastic post.
    I feel that every parent needs to find what works best for them. And anyone who tells another parent what they’re doing is wrong or isn’t anything but supportive is not helping.
    Sure, I breastfeed my daughter but I also supplement with formula just because. Because it works for us.
    No one is an expert on your child except you. Congrats for standing up and figuring it out.

  30. sjm

    Thank you for sharing your story. I didn’t learn about AP until my son was over a year. At first I was in awe at the ideals of AP, felt good about the AP things I did (exclusive breastfeeding), then I started feeling bad about myself for the non-AP things I did (epidural at birth, didn’t use a sling, didn’t co-sleep, didn’t cloth diaper), and then I started getting mad – at myself and the name Attachment Parenting. It implies that if you don’t do everything in its description, you’re not attached to your child or you form a less strong attachment to your child. Couldn’t be further from the truth! I was angry at myself for using someone else’s definition of a good parent to judge my parenting skills. I’m still a good parent, even if my child did use a pacifier and I used a bit of CIO. I’m sorry you met such harsh judgment with your post. I respect and admire your honesty – very few of us are willing to share our not-so-stellar moments as mothers, but the ones who can make the rest of us feel very normal!

    I’m so glad I found your blog! Looking forward to reading future entries.

    • I meant to say too that the part about your comment that I liked the most is where you said that, even though “they” say that there are no rules to AP, it is greatly implied that If you don’t do certain things (or do certain things) that your child is less “attached” or even purposely put in danger by your parenting practice. I think that anyone who truly looks at the heart of most moms and the relationship that they have with their children will see moms that love their children and truly want what’s best for them, and children who are safely secure in their mothers love…the true definition of “attachment.”

  31. This is really beautiful. I I appreciate your honesty. I have never been an attachment parent and my kids are all healthy and confident. I also (still) lock my 3-year-old boys in their room at night. Im afraid they’ll sneak out and wreak all kinds of dangerous havoc while i sleep. When they wake up early they just play quietly (or sometimes not so quietly) until I go get them. They know that I will come get them when it’s time to get up. I am also a much better parent when I’m well rested.

    • ha that’s another reason I lock him in the room! I feel like he’s safer and it really doesn’t seem like some horrible thing, any worse than using a door cover or keeping him in a crib or playyard!

  32. Thank you so much for this post! I am not even sure how I found it but it was timely for me. My fourth child is 9 months old and he has been the one to teach me that the best laid plans do not always work…or ever really. I planned for an all natural labor in a birth tub..ended up being induced at 41 1/2 weeks, wouldn’t progress in tub so had him in the hospital bed, his heart rate dropped so i ended up pushing on my back (the position I swore I wouldn’t do) and so on and so on…He also cries himself to sleep even though I longed to rock him to sleep he is not interested. So anyway, I can relate and thanks for sharing! Keep up the awesome work Mama!

  33. jennsomethingclever

    Hi, I’m here from Honest Voices. I never tried any of the attachment stuff, but I COMPLETELY relate to your sleep woes. My son is four, and just this morning, he woke up at 5:20. He’ll stay in his room if he’s told to, and my plan was to have him play quietly until he saw the sun. My husband ended up getting up because he “doesn’t like the idea of him being awake while we’re sleeping.” He’ll be in a huff all day, but at least I got an extra couple hours of sleep so I can cook and do workbooks instead of yelling and snoozing on the couch. Worth it. When mom doesn’t sleep, the whole family suffers. Put on your own oxygen mask first, right?

    • So true! this morning my husband happened to be up when he woke up at 5…and he went in and brought him back to my bed! I was perturbed…we laid in bed for about 15 minutes and then I sent him back to bed. It only took about 5 minutes of crying and he slept til 8. No joke. But yes, you HAVE to take care of yourself first!!!!!

  34. Aprille, my heart ached for you as I read this post…I have shared so many of your struggles. My 2 yo Molly sounds a lot like your Ezra. We mommies waste so much time and energy judging each others’ choices when we could be spending that time and energy lifting each other up and remembering that the right choice for me is not necessarily the right one for you. I honestly wish that “Attachment Parenting” had a different name – attachment theory in psychology is a belief that in order to be emotionally healthy, children must form at least one strong (“secure”) attachment in infancy/early childhood so that that person (the “attachment object”) is their safe “home base” from which they can explore their surroundings and experience life. There is nothing in attachment theory that says that babies can only form this attachment if they are cloth-diapered, nursed, co-slept, etc. and labeling those practices “attachment parenting” creates a no-win situation for mommies like you who discover that this parenting style is not right for them or their babies. PS – We turned the doorknob on my son’s door around so that it locks from the outside and put a baby gate on Molly’s room because that’s what worked for us!

    • I know there is nothing in attachment theory that says that certain “rules” must be followed, but it is certainly applied that way, unfortunately, especially by AP moms and advocates.

      Turning the doorknob around? that’s something I never thought about! Right now it’s pretty easy to unlock with a key or flat object like a knife so not a huge deal, but I’ll keep that in mind!!!!

      • Just realized that my comment could be read as me saying “You are wrong in saying those things are attachment parenting” and that’s totally not what I meant so I apologize if that is what came across! What I meant was “I wish advocates of those particular parenting practices didn’t call it AP because anything that helps you and your baby form a loving bond is attachment parenting” – and it sounds like you are making the right choices for you and Ezra and I’m so happy that you have been able to trust yourself and do that!

        ~ karyn

  35. I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through and so glad you’ve found what works for YOU and your little family. By the sounds of the people you unfriended on facebook, they probably wouldn’t consider me an attachment parent either, although I still consider myself one…even though I use disposable diapers when I need too, I go to the bathroom when I need to go (even if my baby is upset about it), and I gave birth to my second daughter via an emergency cesarean (my first was an unmedicated water birth). We co-slept until it didn’t work and I breastfeed both my girls even though I sometimes want to hide under the bed and have some space. Life happens, people and kids are all different and there is no one size fits all solution : ) Anyhow, for what it’s worth and even though I know the words have bad connotations for you now, it still sounds to me like you’re doing the attachment parenting thing to me…you’re putting the needs of your child and yourself first.

    • Thanks so much for saying so! I feel like my son and I have a very very strong attachment and I do attribute a lot of that to being “just us” for a whole year while nursing so frequently. There’s a lot about it all that I don’t regret and plan to do again in the future, but I’m hopeful that I can keep a more open mind to other options without judging others, or worse, myself, if things don’t work out “the right way.” I still struggle with a lot of unnecessary guilt, but once you have it in your mind that you are a bad mom (whether because of your own negative self-talk or because of the judgment of others), it’s hard to believe otherwise. I feel like attachment parenting focuses on putting the needs of the child first, rather than the needs of yourself AND the child first. Sometimes you have to put your own needs first in order to take care of your child’s needs, and I guess that’s what I sometimes feel isn’t “allowed” by a lot of attachment parenting advocates.

  36. You are wonderfully brave to write all of that. Good for you. I, too, made the mistake of judging other moms and their decisions when we first started out. I think it’s an easy mistake. We do a little reading up, find something that looks like it’s the best for us, and wonder why someone else wouldn’t want the best for their kids, too. I think most of us learn pretty quickly that every parent just does what she has to to get by.

    The thing is, our boys cried it out at four months and we were a textbook case. Awful the first day, a fair bit of crying the second, and then nothing but a whimper from the third day on. I would never want to go through those first two days again, they weren’t fun. But my boys are 4 and 2-1/2 now, and they have gone to sleep beautifully almost every single night since then. Years and years and years of sleep without struggle. How can AP parents see that as so vile, I just don’t get it? Spending hours soothing your crying baby every night in the most attached way possible still has them crying night after night, waking up needing help, feeling sad and scared. When they learn to sleep, they are freed from that. I know that AP parents will say their kids aren’t sad or scared since they are always there, but I guess I like the idea of my kids being ok on their own when they need to be.

    I guess, judging by my long reply here, I still feel the need to justify our choices to AP parents. I don’t have anything against anyone else doing it that way, and I sure don’t think the method is bad or wrong. I just don’t like when AP parents imply that we don’t care about our kids as much because we don’t do everything the way they do. I don’t know, but it works for us.

    • First of all, thank you for saying that I am brave. I honestly was terrified to publish this one, but it all needed to be said.

      I agree that judging other moms IS an easy mistake…for just the reasons you said! “We do a little reading up, find something that looks like it’s the best for us, and wonder why someone else wouldn’t want the best for their kids, too.” Well said!

      I’m slightly jealous of textbook CIO children, where it’s “easy” to sleep train. I did try CIO several times (probably once or twice a month at least) before it finally worked when he was 11 months. And he still cries, sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night, and wakes up early mornings, and I just don’t get it! I’m convinced that some kids just AREN’T good sleepers…and that thought alone frees me from guilt than I’m doing something wrong.

      I also feel the need to justify my choices to AP parents (which is what spurred me to write this post, if I’m honest). So you aren’t alone in that.

      Thanks so much for sharing your input!

  37. Katie

    I am a fan of attachment parenting but I think it is very unrealistic and unhelpful for mums to be dogmatic about it. Not every aspect works for every family. I personally found the idea of a drug free birth tortuous. But there are some mums who will insist they can see a difference in children whose mums succumbed to epidurals. And don’t get me started on Elimination Communication. I don’t understand why people don’t want to put a nappy on their newborn. Take the parts of AP that work for you, like the extended breastfeeding, and leave the others. As long as you love your baby, you are doing the right thing. Praise God, there is more than one way to parent ”correctly”.

  38. Sue Diamond-Phillips

    I am totally crying reading this! I can relate to what you wrote sooo much. Oh my word. Thank you for sharing it! Seeing that (though i know it wasn’t the main idea) there are other Mommies out there who have kids who don’t want to sleep…ohmyword. My 23m old is still nursing every few hours – gets up every 90min-2hrs through the night to nurse, and i’m exhausted. I realize it will end or i’ll find some way to get her to stop, but it’s really frustrating, tiring and an emotional mess for me! Thank you again!!!

    • Thank you so much for coming by and I’m glad my experience was helpful. I’ve said it multiple times in my comments, but I’ll say it again: I truly believe that some children are not good sleepers and cannot be easily trained to sleep. I think your 23 month old is probably one of those some. I know exactly how you feel and it’s only in desperation that I started letting him cry to give myself a break, but it’s what has worked (and more like kinda-worked) for us. I hope that you have help nearby to give you breaks during the day and that eventually you can find some rest!

  39. Cindy

    Great post and well written. I found this post through another and I would like to offer you encouragement. I am the mother of four. They are now 25/y/o; 22 y/o; 19 y/o and 17 y/o. Each my children were completely different in every way. Bottle fed one, nursed three. Two slept in our bed off and on for two years; two had to be begged to let me take their crib down at age three. Two needed lots of discipline, two needed almost none. My point is no two children are alike. No book can give you rules to live by. Try the things that sound good and discontinue them if they are not working. I’ve suffered through depression, anxiety, fibro, etc. What I have learned about parenting is do what works for you. A happy, rested mommy is better than a tired, depressed mommy. I know that I would not want to be strapped onto a cranky person’s chest all day every day. 🙂 Part of being a good parent is teaching your kids that everybody needs to be allowed to rest, self soothe, and have relationships with others including moms. I homeschooled my kids for 6 years. We had mandatory quiet time from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. They didn’t have to go to sleep. They could read, play, watch tv, etc. The only rule was stay in your room (their doors were open) and don’t talk to me unless you are sick or in danger. My kids are awesome young adults. They all love me and I truly enjoyed my time with them once I did what was right for us. Trust your gut. My very best wishes to you. You’ve only just begun. Pace yourself. Oh, definitely remove yourself from judgemental people.

    • Thank you so much! I always love hearing from older moms who have been there, and with each child have found different things to work! Thanks for sharing your experience and coming here to offer encouragement to us younger moms!

  40. THANK YOU. You’re amazing. What’s right for one mom is not necessarily what’s right for another. NO MOM makes decisions they think are wrong for their family. Hearts, hugs, and understanding. I find the AP forums unfortunately produce a lot of judgment. I too quit many of them. It is unfortunate because I think essentially their decisions for their children are much like ours, made from a place of love. We mamas need to build each other up with support and kindness, and stop tearing each other down.

    I wrote a post about it – feel free not to read – and instead sleep. But this post really reminded me of it: http://oneorganicmama.blogspot.com/2013/01/mean-girls-and-mean-moms-mommy-wars.html

    • Thank you so much for such a sweet comment…for understanding…for sharing this post on your site, and for linking to your post. I loved your post and shared it as well. This is what true community is all about!!!

      • I think the picture looks weird bcsuaee of the fact that they were posed unnaturally for shock value, and the fact that the kid is big for his age. I know MY 3 year old is like half that big. She nursed until just after her third birthday… But never standing on a chair, with both of us staring provocatively at the a camera. Lol. TIME was obviously going for something that would stir people up and make them as much money as possible.

    • I wasn’t able to breastfeed for long but I do think that if a baby is hrnguy then it’s sad for people to expect the mum to take a child to a bathroom or somewhere else to feed when the people who are complaining wouldn’t do that. I don’t think there is a right age. I think the natural wearing age of humans is around 7, when we lose our milk teeth. I think it’s sad that within our culture there are so many people who are offended at something that is so natural. Because breasts are constantly portrayed as sex objects’, it’s understandable. I just hope my son grows up to realise the difference and what it means to a mum to breastfeed her child. We all need to do our best to be supportive of other parent’s choices. I can think of far worse things a parent could be doing to their child! Time magazine have definitely chosen photos to cause controversy!

  41. IThoughtIKnewMama (@IThoughtIKnewMa)

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! I’m sure your honesty will allow many mamas out there to feel some comfort. Although I identify as a natural parenting mama, I firmly believe that every mama is an expert on her own child and what works best for her child and her family. It sounds like you bent over backwards to do the best for your little one, and that is amazing and all anyone could hope to do. I doubt any parent’s actions could fit all into one box of parenting. We just love our kids and do our best! Thanks for linking up at The Tuesday Baby Link Up!

    • Thank you so much. I did try so hard to make these things work for him…and felt so much guilt when they didn’t, but now I have found much more peace that that’s okay. Everything must be in balance and what’s most important is the love with have for them and that we do the best we can with our resources. Thanks for stopping by!

  42. Jess

    Hi Aprille,
    One of my friends led me to your blog and God bless you both. I didn’t expect to experience postpartum depression or sleep-deprivation either, but I really didn’t expect the guilt that can overwhelm me when I look at my house or how I want to cry when my baby girl has been awake for 18 hours with a gassy tummy. God has more grace for us than we give ourselves. I love how God uses our children to show us just how insufficient we are, and how much He loves us. Again, bless you for your honesty. God is good.

    • What friend may I ask? I’m so glad that God led you here, especially to this post. I’m glad that it was a blessing. May God give you grace during these hard days. If you would like to read some more of my story, of sleep deprivation and post partum depression, please check out my section on motherhood! There’s a lot there to digest, but you might find some more encouragement: http://beautifulinhistime.com/category/motherhood-2/

      • Jess

        My friend is Mandy- I’m not sure if she’s a blogger, but she reads a lot of blogs. We both had babies recently and it’s been hard. Let me say that before I had children I was an excellent critic of mothers and I was “perfect” in my mothering. Now, having had children, I can say that God is the excellent critic and humorist. I am so grateful that I do not get what I deserve, but God has given mercy to me. I hope to apologize to those mums I hurt with my poor judgement and critical tongue. Thank you for your encouragement. You have a lot on your plate and may there be overwhelming grace!

  43. Jamie Davis

    Attachment parenting can be really hard when there is no one around to pick up slack but car seat safety isn’t an AP concept. It’s a life and death concept. Physics doesn’t discriminate. Danger is danger regardless of one’s ignorance of it. I’m sorry that sone ppl have been so rude in their approach to inform you of the danger they see but it still rings true.

    • The problem I have is that eventually, we have to stop being afraid of every possible way our kids could die and simply trust God. I try to follow car-seat safety, but I also recognize that if God wants my child to die, it’s going to happen no matter how much I protect them. I think child safety in general is based in FEAR – trying to keep them from every possible scenario, every situation of danger. I just refuse to live like that.

      I always found it amazing that these same women getting on my case about car seat safety were proponents of unassisted home birth. That just never made sense to me.

      • Aprille, I agree with everything you said, and never really worked hard toward AP… but in response to something you said here, I must push back… you said “I also recognize that if God wants my child to die, it’s going to happen no matter how much I protect them.” I want to push back and say that there is no Biblical premise that God EVER wants a child to die. He ALLOWS children to die, but he doesn’t WANT a child to die. I agree with the idea that we shouldn’t live in constant fear, paranoid that we are going to get in a car accident or some great catastrophe is going to befall us… but God is not wandering around “taking babies”… he created us to live forever… death is not what he wants…

        • AJ thank you so much. That was definitely a poor choice of words on my part. “Allow” is a much better word and far more what my intended meaning was.

      • Joy Ward

        How about we just get a coat that fits them properly? I don’t think the problem is the coat it’s the POOFY ones that are the problem. The cat seat straps are supposed to fit snug, and if the coat is too big and poofy it can pose a problem.

    • Adrienne

      Hi, I just discovered your blog through a friend’s FB post on what to say to a special needs mom. I found my way to this post, and your honesty and reflection are great. Moms, and families, have to find what works. If you don’t have a happy and healthy mom, you’re not going to have a good mother-child relationship. You have found something that works–so go you! And when it stops working, you’ll discover another way. The one parenting truism I have found is “put on your own oxygen mask first before you help others.”

      • YES! I truly believe that there is always a time to put your needs secondary to others – but there are also times when meeting your own needs first so you can, in the future, meet the needs of others is also imperative!

      • Kyleigh

        I know now that I am on child number 2 (didn’t realize that with number 1) that you are not supposed to have your kid in the car seat with a jacket on. And our normal routine is to preheat the car and take jackets off before buckling in, but even when preheating the car, when it is negative 5 degrees and I need to strap him in and the wind is blowing in on us both I am not going to take his coat off. I am not a bad mom, I am not a lazy mom I am not an uncaring or uneducated mom.

  44. Amanda

    Sorry you went through such a rough time, and that those online groups weren’t there for you when you needed them – sounds like some of those people you were talking to got caught up in the ‘ideal’ and forgot about the philosophy, gentle parenting also helps me be more gentle with other adults. It doesnt matter if your following all the tenets of AP or whatever your ideal is, or if you are the best mother in the world – what really matters is that you are doing your best for your child and family, and that they know they are cared for and loved unconditionally. You’re allowed to be human mama 🙂

  45. Kate

    Don’t feel bad about locking the door; we had to do the same thing when my son graduated to the toddler bed. He could get through door covers in a snap, so locking the door until he fell asleep was the only way to do it. I had a similar experience to you, regarding the disillusionment with AP. You’re not alone, and I’m glad you posted this blog. I just wish I had read it when my son was 6 months old, not 4.5 years old.

  46. I feel I should preface this by saying I do not have biological children. I have 2 stepchildren, one of whom lives with my husband and I but is a teenager. I have never gone through the sleepless nights, diaper changes, and all that jazz. However, I feel that who am I to judge the choices you (or anyone) make for your child. Just as I wouldn’t tell my doctor or hair dresser how to do their job, I have no business telling a parent. I appreciate your honesty and openness about the subject.

  47. Colleen G.

    Wow! Sleep is not an optional thing for some of us. My health history is similar to yours. Sleep is a vital part of not hurting all over and staying sane and not constantly irritated by normal baby-toddler-child stuff. Even now “normal” kid stuff(noise, exuberance, etc.) is overwhelming if I am having a flare up.

  48. Wow! I feel like is just what I need to hear, I can relate to so much of it. My baby is almost 9 months old and during my pregnancy I anticipated following the principles of AP pretty closely. The last couple of months I’ve realize that if I’m physically and emotionally exhausted from waking up all night, babywearing all the time, responding to every cry immediately, etc., that I’m not a good mom. A huge part of being a good mom is taking care of yourself and your needs, having alone time, and knowing your limits. Kudos for being so honest about this!

  49. Janna

    I also feel the need to preface this with the fact that I am not yet a mom, but I was the kid who kept their parents up all night. Both my parents needed to work – both were teachers. And they had me, a kid who could never fall asleep, or stay asleep. I’d watch Johnny Carson with my dad and be bright eyed and ready to go at 6 am the next morning. I didnt ever sleep through a night unless I had a fever. I still dont, even with my sleep apnea being properly treated. I must have been about 4 or 5 when my parents told me I couldnt wake them up anymore unless I was sick or in danger. I was told to get up if I felt I needed it and go lay on the couch and watch tv. I usually fell back to sleep, but I was taking care of myself within reason and everyone was much happier for it. And, we all turned out just fine. Dont feel bad at all…I think your son will grow up to be a very self sufficient adult because he is being given responsibility now for his own happiness.

    • What an interesting perspective. “be a very self-sufficient adult because he is being given responsibility for his own happiness” – definitely a skill that a lot of adults are lacking but I never thought of how I parent him helping to train him in that. So thanks for sharing!

  50. I came to this post via Pinterest, and I wanted to thank you for posting a beautiful piece! I was “lucky” to have had my two oldest children before the internet was the resource it is now (they are 15 and 12 years old) so I didn’t sucked into the “it must be done this way” trap. With my third and youngest baby (who is 3 now), I began to get sucked into the “right way” of doing things. It was frustrating. Then I remember all the things that had worked for the big girls, and I decided going with equal parts information and gut-feeling was the “method” for me! I wish more people would put this type of article to assure others that there is more than one right way!

  51. Mindy

    Wow, you had me in tears. Almost everything you said matched my experience.

    I realized only recently (my son is 22 months) that attachment parenting is just that: an attachment. It’s an attachment to an ideal…of perfect parenthood, of the perfect child. In that vein, it doesn’t seem loving at all. What if you jump through every hoop, and your child turns out a monster? Attachment parenting is about an identity. It’s ego driven. You succeed at breastfeeding and get the pat on the back. You fail, and not only are you a terrible mother, but your child will have trauma or brain damage. But it’s not true. At a certain point I had to let go and allow God or the universe or whatever take over. I actually had to trust. It was a transformative experience. Without that trust (my drive to control every outcome) how would my child learn to trust? Living in fear and control teaches our sons and daughters the same. There is no love in fear.

      • Rebecca

        Wow, that is an amazing insight – ego-driven attachment to control. I definitely went through that sense of wanting to do everything perfectly and to be in control when my twins were born (and believe me, attachment parenting with twins is RIDICULOUS…demand nursing on two different schedules, etc). Of course I failed. Of course! The vitriolic language used by AP advocates is total fear-mongering. 15 months into parenthood, I’m finding my own way now…but as i find things that work for me, it’s a challenge to remember to be gentle with myself, my children, and others. This is life – big, messy, changing, diverse life. Rather than a “perfect parent,” my kids deserve a healthy mom who can model how to move gracefully through all life’s imperfections.

  52. I’m sorry there were some really sucky people pulling you down. It’s a shame you didn’t have more supportive people in your life.

    But you need to own your choices. Attachment is about responding to the needs of your child, not following some bizarre set of rules – especially if they become a problem! If babywearing hurt your back, why did you persist? If your baby (and you!) slept better with him in his own room rather than bedsharing, why didn’t you do that? If spoon feeding your baby was better than baby-led then that is what you should have done. Do get what where I’m going with this? Ultimately you are the one that persisted with doing things that not only didn’t work for you – but in actual fact went against the whole theory of attachment of responding to what your child needs. They were your decisions and no one else’s, so why are you blaming a style of parenting?

    Personally, I babywear because I find it practical and my little boy LOVES it. But somedays he wants to go in the pusher, other days he wants to walk. Whatever HE needs. I don’t force him into the baby carrier if he hates it. I also bedshare part of the night out of necessity. He is a terrible sleeper and the whole family sleeps better with him in our bed. But I’d LOVE for him to sleep in his own room, and that doesn’t make me any less of an ‘attached’ parent. I also use cloth nappies. Sometimes I use disposables, well chase me with a pitchfork! I hardly see how what nappies one uses has anything to do with attachment parenting, but you brought it up. Sometimes I feed my kid hot chips and formula. But my wonderful attachment parenting group couldn’t give a crap. Because at the end of the day I respond to my child’s needs – and if he’s starving and all I can find is McDonald’s chips then so be it. Maybe get yourself some better friends next time?

    • These were how these ideals were promoted to me. Every AP facebook page I followed constantly shared articles about the DANGERS of making those choices. Putting a baby in the crib could cause SIDS. Not babywearing, putting the baby into a swing or jumperoo (or baby wearing the wrong way) could cause hip and spinal damage. Letting my child cry could cause brain damage. Spoonfeeding a child pureed baby food was akin to “force feeding” and could cause obesity.

      I’m not making these things up. This is what I heard CONSTANTLY from the AP crowd.

      What new mom who hears this wouldn’t keep trying to do these things, thinking that to do anything else would be damaging her child?

      It wasn’t until I had a lot more maturity and experience as a new mom where I realized that a lot of that was pure hype. And that doing those things in moderation was not nearly as damaging as all of these articles based on so-called “studies” would lead me to believe.

      Maybe I was just naive, and yeah, I own that. But Ap promoters need to realize that there are a lot of young new moms out there hanging onto every word of these articles and studies absolutely terrified that they are damaging their child with these things. New moms trying so hard to do everything “right” are eaten up with guilt when the reality of what’s working for their child is slandered and they are told that they are purposely damaging their child.

      It happens. It happened to me.

      • Anonymous

        I’m not sure what fb groups your on but for me I didn’t know what AP parenting was till 2 months after giving birth to my daughter. It felt natural to have my daughter sleeping with us. To pick her up when she cried, to feed on demand which was formula by the way. It wasn’t until I read an article about AP parenting and was like oh there’s a name for this. For me its natural to have your baby with you. Society has changed the way Americans parent. This is how women cared for their young. There was no daycare, no seperate rooms and women came together to help each other out. Like the saying it takes a village to raise a child. How can someone be mad at Atachment parenting when that is how parenting began. You were upset because you didn’t have a village to help you. Understandable. Your husband was deployed and you had to do this alone. That sucks. If you don’t want to co sleep then don’t. It doesn’t make you non AP. AP is a term brought back to give structure and guidance for those who need it. Just like Baby Wise. Its a book to give structure for people who want to parent that way and need guidence. And that is ok.Were all moms just trying to get through the day the best we can.

  53. JaysMommy

    I believe you gotta do what you gotta do, you are a living human being as well and need to take care of yourself he has food, water, shelter, he will be fine. No he won’t grow up into an adult that has trust issues, kids who have parents with severe abuse, violence, and drug problems are the ones who grow up with trust issues. I see you meet all his needs and more, He will be fine!

    • Tyla

      I really appreciate the honesty of this post. You can be confident that a style of parenting doesn’t work for you and your child. It’s great that you assert it. The above commenter says attachment parenting is “natural” so it has to work and such, and that’s great that it does for her, and she should keep doing it, but the average cave man lived to the age of 24. I am so happy that we live in an age where baby swings and cribs can keep moms and babies who don’t flourish with attatchment parenting sane long past that age. “Natural” is not always better, and it doesn’t work for everyone. That’s why we have technology. If a community made you feel judged for knowing that, I understand why you are frustrated. I think it’s interesting that the above commenter notes how she fell naturally into AP, but still feels that instruction manuals and judgments, etc, are neccesary. If it’s natural, you don’t need a manual. If it doesn’t come naturally to you, you need one. Obviously AP didn’t come natural to you and Ezra, so you switched to something that did. How very natural. What a brave thing to do for your child. He is so lucky to have a mom like you.

  54. Jaime

    I personally practice some, but not all tenants of AP. I think you do need to know your child in order to know what works. However, carseat safety isn’t AP, it’s about safety. And no coats in the car means no puffy or too thick jackets, but there are jackets that do as well as ways to keep your child warm in the car.

  55. tess

    Funnily enough I came across this article because it had been linked in a ap facebook page. I kind of accidentally ap in some aspects of my sons upbringing and havn’t in others. Ive learnt that balance is key..I baby wore. ..but still have a stroller…I breastfed only until he was 6months as I didnt really enjoy it and he was a hungry baby (and im proud that I managed 6 months) I stopped feeding him at night at 7months. Tried a rigid routine and CIO…all to get him to sleep a bit better…he now sleeps part of the night in his bed part in ours. We did BLW by accident ( no research no book reading…it just happened and i found out about it after) and he wore disposable diapers…anyway…after a very fretful 1st year as a parent, I decided no books, and no labels. ..im a parent, I do what feels best for my son…end of.
    I will say this…I have found that some of those AP groups on facebook to be quite heated…im sure its because some are very passionate about AP..but it comes across as rude, vulger and very obnoxious to the point where I dont have much to do with them.. it seems to be quite close minded, its there way or no way…parenting is hard work…we need to all support that and respect parents decisions without the fear of being judged too harshly.

  56. Heather

    Hi

    You ARE APing in my books. You’re listening to your child’s needs and responding. End of. Just because it’s not what others have found work it doesn’t mean you’re not APing.

    Anyway…I just wanted to let you know I know many Mummies who have been in your position (the whole lot) but especially the physical symptoms for bubba (sleep issues, food texture “issues,” need to Babywear etc, frequent feeding early on, issued with bubba not latching, not bring able to take a pacifier.)
    For me, and many I know, it’s been posterior tongue ties and lip ties that have caused a lot of this. It might be for you. It might not be. But please have a look at the work of Dr Kotlow at http://www.kidsteeth.com. If you would like some professional opinions briar you think “oh yeah…” then there is a supportive fb group “tongue tie babies support group”.

    I know you saw lots of lactation consultants but alas, so did I. And breast specialists. But they all failed to spot our ties (and still don’t acknowledged them as an issue.) It was only seeing a massive gap between my DDs teeth that made me push for more information. It’s not all about boob vs bottle, it can have an impact later in life too (dental issues, jaw issues, migraines/headaches).

    It might be an issue. It might not. Just couldn’t not mention something as I’d a friend came to me with your story is what I’d be encouraging them to explore.

    Either way mumma. Keep up the good parenting.

    Xxx

    • Thanks so much. He was looked at by our pediatrician and they ruled out tongue tie. He nursed until about 29 months but his latch was never great. He still has some sensory food issues (he gags on oatmeal and only last week was able to eat rice without gagging.) He’s three now and we will probably be taking him to a dentist within the next few months once we find one on our insurance plan. I’ll have to ask them if they see anything like that!

  57. Amanda

    Hi there,

    I’d like to know why you had a child if you weren’t physically or mentally capable of taking care of him properly? I know many attachment parents with depression etc, but they haven’t sacrificed their child’s wellbeing for their own and have largely found a way to make it work both ways, so that both sides are happy, rather than just one side.

    2 years of exposure to cortisol is nothing to be proud of.

    • Tyla

      Is this for real? She’s doing what works best for her child and for her. What’s best for her is best for her child. Happy mommas make happy babies. Stop bullying. By the way “exposure to cortisol” doesn’t make sense. It’s a naturally occurring chemical in the brain, levels of which increase upon exposure to stress (such as the stress caused by this comment). Your brain constantly produces cortisol. Especially without enough sleep. Therefore, attempting attachment parenting without consistent sleep levels would increase cortisol levels. Letting your baby cry it out so you can have some sanity would decrease cortisol levels. Everyone is exposed to cortisol and according to neuroscience, individuals practicing attachment parenting should have higher levels. Your comment is mean and uninformed. Please go sit in the time out chair, since apparently coddling was not sufficient to teach you manners 🙂

      • I totally hadn’t thought about the cortisol thing that way. Stress does increase levels for sure, as I’m sure sleep deprivation does too! Thanks for the reality check on that one. My husband was deployed so I’m sure my levels were through the roof! Lol

    • So a parent that is depressed while doing AP is an attached parent? How is showing your child that you’re neglecting your mental health positive attachment?
      Sure you can get professional help, but what the parent really needs is a break to just breathe and to take a bit of time to take care of themselves.

      Now I love AP and I’m sad I’ve failed at it, that I wasn’t mentally strong enough. But you know I was getting sick. I was neglecting my own NEEDS and my body was physically showing me I was suffering.
      People get terminal illnesses from neglecting their well being. I for one do not want to show my DD that I am so concerned with raising her just ad nature intended that I will get myself sick. I don’t consider that an attached attitude nor a loving attitude.

      Its called finding a balance. Following your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right in your gut….. CHANGE IT. my daughter was so attached to my breast that when her father was rocking her to sleep one night she cried so hard she vomited. My poor partner and my poor daughter. Since that night I refused to let her fall asleep nursing. I also implemented a feeding routine because her comfort suckling made her uninterested in food. Because of her EBF and me being the only one to get her to sleep (she never slept on her own either) I was with her almost 24/7. This was after I read that nursing to sleep is biologically normal and I will form such a great bond. I’m not out to blame AP, as I said I think its great… But there are principals that are unrealistic for some parents and babies, especially in our Western society (which makes AP tough). Seriously, what I would give to practice AP in non Western culture.

      My point being… Its important to look after yourself so you can look after others. If you neglect your health you in turn neglect those who you’re trying to help. Its important to me that I show my daughter I can take cars of myself, otherwise I’m showing her I’m not important and I am.

    • Well, Amanda. I am not Aprille but let me try to reply to your comment. You have no right to keep your judgemental tone after reading the honest post above. She’s had a child and that is one of the best things a woman can do in her life. Appreciation for Aprille’s effort and her never giving up on trying to find the best balance for her and her baby are more in order here than spiteful questions by offended AP-ers. I feel like writing this because my daughter is 9 months old now and though I have found that some parts of AP work for us, the reality is that you cannot apply the same rules to everybody.

      Aprille, I am glad I found your post but even more so that in Japan where I live at present people are far more practical in parenting and never try to impose their views on others. Respect for other people’s decisions is what many in the western world have forgotten how to keep and show. Being healthy so that you can meet the needs of your child is the best you can do for him and yourself.
      Oh, and modern technology and modern life provide so many good things for parents (disposable diapers, excellent baby milk formulas, day care centers, etc.) that if anything, it is a shame to not benefit from them.

  58. Soph

    attachment parenting isn’t about practices. It’s not about wearing your baby or feeding finger foods instead of purees. It’s about having a warm and loving relationship with your child and having attachment at the center of your relationship. A child who cries himself to sleep every night and who is locked in his room does not have that. No matter how much you cuddle him after he’s been isolated and separated from you, he is only allowed by YOU to be around you when he is acceptable to you.

    Your own anxiety around perfection is the issue here, not attachment parenting. There are assholes in all groups in life, and those assholes will try to tear you down, but if your own anxiety prevents you from standing up to them, you will internalize what they say and you will fail. Basically, you probably would have failed no matter what approach you used.

    Please don’t make this about AP. There are a lot of hard working amazing attachment parents out there. We aren’t super heroes by any measure, we are just people who have a strong belief that children should be treated in a certain manner and we uphold those principles. We also use bouncy seats, strollers, cribs, disposable diapers and all that jazz. Because it’s not about any of that.

    You are certainly not an attachment parent. The extreme you have gone to in order to meet your needs at the expense of your child, without looking at any other alternatives, without finding someone to help, means that you never really valued attachment in the first place. You just went along with the trappings until you couldn’t do the real work, which is hard, exhausting and sometimes endless.

    The only reasonable point you make is that there indeed a need for balance in the AP community. Parents give their all to their kids and sometimes lose themselves, and we parent in a very isolated manner these days. We need to find balance, but to lock your child in his room, to think it’s okay to leave him to cry every single night – to make that your routine. Like someone else said, a lifetime of cortisol. A lifetime of trauma.

    • Julia

      Wow. Just wow. In a really horrified way. Last two commenters don’t know that kids cry and need to take it out on someone who got realistic about it? Shame on you for blaming the fact that babies and children cry on the mother. The door being locked is actually no different from having childproof doors. I am willing to wager that the author inverted the doorknobs so that the door opens for her automatically, and you already heard her say that she is awake and monitoring through listening. The fact that her little boy cries for 12 minutes (which is so utterly not a lifetime) each night shows that he is not fond of bedtime, another trait that children sometimes have. Gasp!

      • Tyla

        Being a stuck up jerk is bad for your kid. Making your kid feel like they need your affection 24/7 to be happy — probably bad for your kid. Making your kid think that the whole world — including your world — revolves around them — is pretty unhealthy and unrealistic. In the real world people need sleep, children cry, and then they fall asleep, and forget about it in the morning. Please google cortisol. It increases with lack of sleep. So a baby that is up all night because he didn’t cry himself to sleep would have higher levels than a baby that cried for 12 minutes and went to sleep. Stop bullying. Raise your kids however you want, but when someone is successful and is happy with a happy baby, there is zero need to bully. Seriously, we need to whip out the time out chair (which, btw, scientifically calms kids down and lowers cortisol levels, so you should be all over that.) Come out of the corner when you have something nice to say.

    • Katie

      Wow, Amanda, how is that helpful? Why did she have a child? Maybe she wasn’t struggling with those issues at the time. I’d have to re-read to see if that’s in there. Maybe the baby was a surprise. That happens OFTEN. And that’s none of our business.

      There are other things I might change first…I am more naturally and less medically minded…but bashing someone for having a child in the first place is not the way to start.

      And Soph, really? “The extreme you have gone to in order to meet your needs at the expense of your child, without looking at any other alternatives, without finding someone to help, means that you never really valued attachment in the first place. You just went along with the trappings until you couldn’t do the real work, which is hard, exhausting and sometimes endless…” Then you say, “we parent in a very isolated manner these days.” What’s more isolating than having someone say stuff like THIS to you?

      I hate it when everyone calls everyone else “judgmental.” I get it just for sharing truth and very very important information. But you’re determining the motives of someone whom (I assume) you don’t know.

      Since she moderates comments, I’m surprised that Soph’s, in particular, got approved. That already shows that she’s more open to criticism than you may give her credit for.

      I’m wondering if the last two commenters are one person. Maybe one with an axe to grind…

    • tracywilkinson

      My little boy was so much happier once we worked out the best way to get him to sleep was to put him in his cot (after a bedtime routine), and let him cry a few minutes until he dropped off to sleep. He got far more sleep and was far happier the next day. And now he quietly goes to sleep, snuggling one of his soft toys, sometimes singing to himself.

      The notion that this is harmful is just silly. (And a lifetime of cortisol is the normal human state: too little cortisol is Addison’s disease).

  59. Janna

    Aprille,

    I have been following the comments on this post since I posted my comment a few months back.

    We all try things that are the “hot” or the new “best” way to do it, and sometimes it doesn’t work for us. And that’s OK. I know you have realized that or you would not have posted this blog post in the first place. I find it heartbreaking that others are coming here and accusing you of things, even going so far as to ask you why you became a parent in the first place. That is a level of cruelty that is beyond my comprehension.

    If you’ve ever flown on an airplane or taken a cruise you might remember from the safety drill that you need to put your life jacket/ oxygen mask on first; then help your children. At first glance it seems selfish – but the principle is simple. You cant help them if you aren’t OK yourself.

    Someone said you shouldn’t be proud of yourself – I strongly disagree. You need to meet your own needs, or you won’t be able to meet those of your child. You are doing that, and you should be proud. You are obviously a smart, loving mom and person. If we lived near each other, I think we’d be friends. Keep your chin up – and keep doing what works for you!

    Janna

  60. sammons4820

    Hey Aprille, I read your blog about AP. But I did NOT read any of the posts. My thoughts are that you are doing exactly what is right for you, Russ and Ezra. Rearing children is not an easy job, and, it is not the same for every family. You know your situation, your child, your circumstances and your tolerance level. Don’t be discouraged, parenting isn’t easy no matter what style you choose. Keep trusting the Lord, praying daily for your child and God will give you direction and peace. Far too soon you will look back on all of this and wonder where the years went. Enjoy every day, every stage, every experience. (Well, it might be a little hard to enjoy ALL of them, but you know what I mean!!)

  61. [from the husband] Oh boy, my turn!!
    (disclaimer: even though many will not believe me, my intention in commenting is to be reasonable and direct thoughts towards reason, and not at all out of a desire to defend my wife. She is a big girl and take care of herself. Hype and bad logic, however, should be pointed out regularly)

    “I’d like to know why you had a child if you weren’t physically or mentally capable of taking care of him properly?”
    Wow. You are a special kind of stupid aren’t you? Or maybe you are one of those socialists that demand that all parents meet some kind of regulated pre-approved criteria before having any children (which is worse than being stupid in my opinion).

    I’m so glad that Amanda knows exactly what kind of child she has before birthing them and the exact nature of the toll that individual child with a unique personality will take on her before getting pregnant and has the fortitude to make sure she never makes any mistakes. The rest of the human race, sadly does not have this kind of soothseeing ability. Instead we like to just take what we get and make the best of it because we love our spouses and determined to love our children and help them be the best they can be. We don’t ask if we will make mistakes. We KNOW we will screw up our kids, just like our parents screwed us up. We just determine to reasonably do the best we can and know that God can work out the rest (yes even depressive cancerous brain-damaging tumors caused from crying yourself to sleep, or whatever garbage AP says this causes)

    Which leads me to the next recent comment. I will be giving multiple quotes from this one.

    “A child who cries himself to sleep every night and who is locked in his room does not have that. No matter how much you cuddle him after he’s been isolated and separated from you, he is only allowed by YOU to be around you when he is acceptable to you.”

    Wow. Like soooo true!!! I should just let my child have access to me whenever they want regardless of how unreasonable or inconvenient that may be!

    But here is a better idea: why don’t we let parents try to get their child to sleep, even going to the end of pretty much falling asleep on the floor of the child’s room while staying with them just to try and help the child establish a regular sleeping schedule? (Both the blog writer and her husband have done just this and more to try to establish such a cycle)

    Mark this down because it is true: a parent who will, during infancy, give their baby unlimited access to them according to the child’s desires will also have great trouble NOT giving into the cries and demands of that child when they are older, which ultimately will cause a spoiled child. A parent who will work with a child to help them understand the schedule they should be on, whether they like it or not, is much more likely to continue parenting in such a way as to provide for a child in such a way as is good for their continued development and maturation to adulthood rather than as is good for the satiation of their urges.

    “Your own anxiety around perfection is the issue here, not attachment parenting.”

    While this seems to be true, it’s not (which makes me wonder whether you actually read the post, or just saw the title and an opportunity to flame, and then posted on). But I won’t hold it against you. You don’t actually know the blog-writer. You are just a commenter safely judging from afar. The blog writer WAS actually writing about AP because of her anxiety and perfectionistic tendencies BECAUSE of the EXTREME nature of pressure put on other mothers by parents who practice AP as though they are somehow horrible parents because they don’t follow some method which has not yet been proven the only single way to safely raise a healthy child (read not 100% right, therefore at least 1% wrong).

    “The extreme you have gone to in order to meet your needs at the expense of your child, without looking at any other alternatives, without finding someone to help, means that you never really valued attachment in the first place. ”

    While everything I said for the previous quote rings true here as well, I have to go further because your comments are so completely out of line.

    So answer me this: Did you have to raise a child by yourself while your husband was off on the other side of the planet at risk of getting blown up every day? Oh and let’s not forget that at the time there was little to no social support available, and the child in question had some particular developmental issues that made him a very trying baby for a mother all alone? No? Then kindly be quiet. Or here is one better: please send me your address so I can come monitor your home for a single week and then I will present an honest and scathing report of all the ways in which you fail every day as a parent. Because I promise that, under the magnifying glass of isolated criticism and broadly publicized criticism, I too can make you out to look like the worst parent that ever lived. But I’m not out to criticize you like you are the writer of this blog. I’m pursuing and advocating a reasonable and logical approach.

    Maybe you all should just understand this is one woman’s journey with her life as a wife and mother as she attempts to do the best she can for everyone. She doesn’t hide her mistakes. Instead she pretty much broadcasts them for the sake of giving hope that it is possible to not do everything perfectly right, please God, and still somehow manage to raise a healthy well-adjusted boy (ours, now 3 years old is constantly praised for being so happy and “normal”). She also doesn’t go on the attack against any person or group with the intention of merely destroying their confidence and hope for pretty much the same reason as before.

    Attachment Parenting, much like the subcultures other Extreme parenting fads, is to blame because it places a very specific standard on all parents which severe criticism, judgement, and threats of damaging your child’s life for not complying even though every parent everywhere who ever tried to follow AP is guilty of not doing it 100% exactly right 100% o the time. This kind of behavior is very reproachable and is rightly blamed for leading parents to feel like they are “not doing it right,” or are “failing as a parent” when in reality they are trying the best they can.

    There is another group of people that sounded much like the proponents of Attachment Parenting to me: the pharisees. They claimed that the only way to live was by strict adherence to the law, which they couldn’t even keep themselves, even in the face of one Jesus Christ, the son of God and God himself, who openly told them that a heart that sought after God and loved Him deeply was much more valuable than public obedience. The pharisees only real desire was to make themselves look better while making everyone else look worse. Conversely, Jesus made the truth abundantly clear: the only one who doesn’t suck is God, and He is so awesome that He will superintend over our mistakes if we just commit to following Him and trying with our whole heart to please Him.

    So the choice is yours: two-faced hypocritical destroyer of lives seeking their own praise, or miserably hopeless follower of Him that can literally make life out of dirt seeking to live in such a way as to be a living praise to God.

    We have decided.

    tl;dr – if you are not part of the solution…
    Administrative note – all inflammatory comments in response to this one will not be approved.

    • Yana

      Well said, people dive in to reading posts with an opinion that was formulated just by reading the title which leads to dumb comments.

  62. First off… Comparison is the thief of joy!!! There is no right way to parent every child. I hate to see women beat up on other women for anything… The sin of self righteousness gets a foothold nowhere better than a mother who is blinded into thinking she’s got it all together. Seriously… Satans playground…

    I never did anything by any book. My children, the 5 that God has entrusted me so far, are all from 4-20. One I gave birth to with drugs the old fashion way, two were c-sections that I hated but were vital to my children’s survival, one I got as a 17 year old foster and one I have now at 9. They are none two alike. One slept with me every night, one cried all the time bc he was sick, one never slept, one had constant nightmares and one is a pleaser who is the easiest kid ever. They are ALL resilient and amazing and loved by everyone they meet. They are smart, loving, kind, generous and they all have quirks. They are not perfect, nor were they expected to be.

    It infuriates me to hear that you are afraid to parent the way that is healthy for you bc of what someone will say.

    Two things from that. Who cares what they say number one and number two, this is what’s wrong with us as humans. We evaluate our goodness, wholeness, worth, success and failure in people not God.

    I say stop reading so many blogs or books or methods and start reading THE book, start reflecting on who your child and your self are in the sight if God. You are enough!!

    I am laid back and hate routine. My first baby and I did everything on the fly. Easiest baby ever. My second thrived on routine. We bent and we flexed and we made compromises and then came number three who never sleeps and hates to cuddle… Seriously. I.died. But putting her down & leaving her alone was what worked for her.

    We have one rule here, to give each other our best and to receive love and grace and to be authentic. They don’t write manuals for that. You are the method, do what feels right for your family. Do NOT rob yourself of the joys of the fleeting moments with your children because someone else is critical of your parenting…. That is crazy.

    I love the quote that says do not let people influence your decisions who don’t have to deal with their consequences. God gave your son to you… Not a group of moms who parent a certain way, not your parents or friends, or blog readers or even me for thAt sweet matter.

    Do you. Do what works for you and your child. It will likely look different now than it does in 3 weeks and 3 years and that’s normal… They are little human beings, evolving and discovering and growing.

    Rest. Your heart. Your Spirit. Your Ears. Your Eyes. And decide now to not let comparison steal your joy!!!

    Love & Blessings Sweet Girl!

    • What a sweet comment so full of love and encouragement!! I’m in a much better place now than I was when I wrote this…each day that passes I have made more and more peace with my parenting decisions, those past and those present! Shedding the mommy guilt has been so freeing and I still have such a sweet, happy healthy boy!

  63. I was the best parent before I had any children. lol. I have changed my “ways” many MANY times over the last 8 years. Im glad to read you write about the changes you made too. Its nice to see parents willing to be honest about life.

    • YES!!! My parenting is constantly in flux, and what works one day, one month- won’t work the next. I’ve changed a lot even in the 11 months since I’ve written this! Hopefully, for the better!!!

  64. Yana

    Loved reading your post. I went through some of the same issues and was constantly being told to do things the right way but in the end the right way is what works best for you and your child. As far as the car seat issue, I’ve never heard that they shouldn’t wear a coat. My daughter is almost 4 and I always strap her in with her jacket on. Keep seeking God in your parenting and you will be the best mama for your little man.

    • Thanks Yana!!! What bugs me to know end is that often, the same people railing about car seat safety (which is a concern, obviously) will go on and on in favor of UNASSISTED home births. Everyone is going to have their pet issues that they feel strongly about and I get that…but please don’t tell me I want my child dead just because I don’t follow what you think is the letter of the law on car-seat safety.

      • mrsabbott

        I’m typing this on my phone so bear with me here..
        I have never been so appalled as I am by these comments, although I am not surprised. I met Aprille for the first time right after she had found out she was pregnant with Ezra. As I got to know her, she reminded me of myself when I was pregnant with my first..
        I researched pregnancy and birth options and breast feeding and had a plan of exactly how it was going to be. And, like Aprille, it all went wrong. And again, with my first I researched exactly how I was going to raise her.. I even had a folder made out that gave very detailed specifics of what she could eat, what music/tv shows could be played around her, etc.. Looking back, I cringe a little for being that way HOWEVER, it stemmed from the desire to be the very best mom I could be. It came from the deep love I had for my child and the need to do the very best for her.
        I have seldom seen a mom who has desired to be the perfect mom more then Aprille. Yes, she is a perfectionist and I believe she has admitted that before. But her struggle and guilt and desire to do the very best for Ezra are proof that she loves him beyond description!
        I’ve seen “bad parents”. They are the ones who DON’T CARE. The ones who actually neglect their children. Letting a tantrum throwing child cry it out in the safety of their room or crib isn’t the same as leaving a child screaming and starving and covered in their own waste in a crib all day. I’ve worked with children who had bad parents. I’ve seen things that would make your skin crawl. Aprille is far from being a bad parent. I’d say she is an excellent parent, more so then most.
        I have 4 children. They are all unique. With the exception of crawling into bed with us after a bad dream, none of them ever slept in our bed. I didnt breastfeed them for 2 years. Shoot, I didn’t breastfeed any if them a full year. I dealt with PPD after my 2nd child. None of my children have ever eaten meat. And yes, they’ve all been vaccinated. I occasionally spank my children, I’ve even raised my voice to them.. They’ve “cried it out” in their room many times. I could go on and on with any number of “offenses” that would label me a bad parent in the eyes if some. You know what I say to that? Three words: I don’t care.
        My children are loved. They know they are loved. They are happy and well cared for to the best of my ability. I know I make mistakes, but there is no such thing as a perfect parent. Neither are there perfect children. That idea is a myth! Believe me when I tell you that a couple of my kids are a bit if a challenge. The same parenting methods don’t always work with different kids and you sometimes have to just roll with it.
        But I digress, the point is that we shouldn’t judge someone simply because they tried a particular parenting style and it didn’t work. Big deal. I personally think that there is no one right or wrong way to parent a child. Something it took me awhile to learn.
        I think it is brave of Aprille to out her story and experiences out there so that maybe another mom who us struggling and dealing with guilt won’t feel so alone. And I can honestly say that Ezra is a much loved and well cared for little boy. Shame on you, those of you who tried to make her feel like she is a failure as a mother.
        Aprille, you and Ezra are wonderful. God chose you as Ezra’s mother and you are doing a wonderful job! Never let anyone tell you different!

  65. The Clays

    I love this article…all the way to calling yourself “detached.” :/ As I read this article it makes me feel like you surrounded yourself with some Nazi-style-AP-tiger moms who were out for the gold medal in mothering. AP isn’t about being a martyr and hating parenthood…and there are so many things you do that totally promote that bond that I can’t seem to fit you into the detached sentiment at the end of the page. I’m in a crunchy (not AP) group and at least once a week there is a “what uncrunchy thing did you do today?” post. You gotta be some kind of special to 100% live up to all tenants of attachment parenting 100% of the time…and it sounds like this was the outside expectation you were receiving. We all have to make some accommodations to life, for me the accommodation WAS co-sleeping. I am an accidental AP mom…I need sleep and the only way I would get it is with the baby in my bed…but, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t try CIO, twice I tried and the second time ended in vomit…so we brought him to our bed. I’m really sad you don’t feel you are an AP mom…sure sounds like you put too much of your time and love into your child not to be. 😉 Kudos to you, mama…sounds like you are raising a happy and healthy son and he gets to enjoy a happy and healthy mama.

    • Yeah…I used that term because I’ve seen it in AP articles. I don’t actually believe that I’m detached from my son! We have an amazing bond and I believe a very healthy attachment. He’s a wonderful boy and tells me that I’m his best friend and the best mommy he ever had.

      I love that your group has a weekly confession time like that!! Keeping it real and normalizing “imperfection” is so helpful to mommies!

  66. alladertine

    Ummmmm…..really? AP probably failed for you because you seem to have psychiatric problems and a lot of “health” problems like “fibromyalgia” and “chronic fatigue syndrome.”. AP is certainly demanding at times , but there is little doubt that it is the most nurturing form of parenting. Even people that choose not to AP will tell you that parenting is demanding and exhausting. If you are going to make an effort why not just give them the best and choose AP. Locking a child in a room to sleep sounds completely retarded and kind of cruel. If on a bad day you can only lay on the couch, feed your kid cans of food, and plunk him in front of a TV , then choosing to have children may not have been your best decision. Also,putting a movie on repeat and going and getting in the bed is horrendous not to mention very dangerous. Shame on you for making yourself feel better about your flimsy parenting.

      • alladertine

        I’m curious as to out of my entire post, including some blatant slams on your parenting choices, you focus on some suspicious quotations. Self centered much? “You can diss my child rearing but nobody messes with my diagnoses!”. I’m an RN that works in an outpatient setting. It is not an exaggeration to say that when we have a patient with either of these labels on their chart there isn’t one of us that wants to preop or recover them. They are whiners, they are needy, they are TROUBLE. We all know it. It is agiven. I’m sure that some doctor has given you said diagnoses. But lets remember that 100 years ago doctors were doing a slew of things that we now know to be wrong. There is a reason that these “diseases” have such a stigma. Nobody rolls their eyes if you tell them you have Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. It’s because everybody knows somebody with “fibromyalgia”. It’s not a medical problem. It’s a personality one. EVERYBODY HAS BAD DAYS. Aches, tiredness, illness, fight with the spouse, limited income, dog is sick, randmas dying, etc. Luckily, not everyone feels like they need a diagnoses for that. Nor do they have to spend the day on the couch. You pick up, you move on. Grow up, the world doesn’t have to revolve around you. Back to the original point….in spite of all this, you knew what your “symptoms” were before having a child. If you are constantly exhausted, why choose to procreate? Surely you understood that small children require an abundance of energy sometimes. It’s like somebody with Parkinson’s trying to write a letter and then being upset that they can’t. You knew what to expect going into it. The reality is, you can lock your kid in his room, feed him junk, lay on the couch, and do whatever in the world you want to. The sorry part is passing it off as though its good parenting or what works for your family. Low output is what works for you, not your son.

      • Katie

        Aprille, I don’t know how skilled you are with tech/ blog stuff. I am not. But I know that those who are can get an idea of where these things are being posted from and if someone just keeps changing screen names. This sounds like Amanda or Soph from before. It seems like trolling, flaming, nothing new. Personally, I wouldn’t approve the comment. 🙂 But of course that’s up to you.

        Since it does seem like a troll at this point, I’m not going to respond, and neither should anyone else if I am correct. There are those who just want to stir things up, who don’t care about the issue at hand but just like to watch fireworks. I know; it surprises me too, but some people really have THAT little to do!

        • I don’t think they are necessarily trolling. I think they are just very opinionated commenters with strong negative thoughts about what I have posted here.

          As harsh as their comments are, I have approved them because I feel like they demonstrate exactly some of the problems with AP that I brought up in my post. These are not the first people who have made such comments to me, and it’s comments like these that actually drove me to walk away from the title completely.

    • Tyla

      Bullying is horrendous and dangerous. And humans require sleep. Locking your child in their room (at night… when people sleep…) to help them establish a routine is helpful. Probably, when her child is 5, she will take them to kindergarten screaming (like kids do) and he will be fine and love school. And then she will take him to college one day, and he might cry a little after she leaves. You can’t be 100 percent attached all the time. It’s not healthy for you or your child. There’s a reason God let’s you give birth… you can’t carry a kid around forever. Life is sometimes about detaching.
      On another note, sleeping so that you can have energy to feed your child a healthy meal seems normal. And kids don’t die from baby einstein and play pens. Really, they’re fine. Bullying is horrendous. Teaching your kid a routine, and then taking a nap in the middle of the day is normal and healthy. I keep saying this, but do attatchment moms use naughty chairs? As in, put themselves in them ever? Cuz really, if you don’t have anything nice to say… stop talking. Go parent your perfect children that you are oh so qualified to have. Just don’t ask for help when you need them out of your basement when they’re 30 because they’re attached to you and used to having you at their beck and call.
      Wanna know the best way to parent? Don’t. Be. Mean. Model for your child the love and respect Christ shows us. “love covers a multitude of sins” and, i assume, parenting failures, whatever those might be. Just… love. Your child, the blog author, yourself. Chill out and love. Your kid (and your cortisol levels, since you AP folks are so into those) will thank you.
      Aprille, I think it’s so great that by allowing your kid to detach a little, and doing what’s best for him, you can teach him how real life relationships work. I also think it’ so important for kids to learn and be aware that sometimes moms make mistakes, and that the only true and perfect attachment they will ever have is to their heavenly Father. That’s the only perfect parent. The rest of us, AP, DP, OCD (obnoxious commenting disorder) are just doing the best we can. Ignore the haters. Keep raising your child in love. Thank you for raising a productive member of society.

      • Stephanie

        Who is to say that these opinionated people who are “trolling” are advocates of AP? Maybe they are other parents who are slightly concerned that another parent was locking her child in a room while they cried.

        A child….locked in a room…crying. I’m pretty sure some would call that neglect. Call it “sleep training” or “establishing sleep routines”, it sounds pretty cruel.

    • tracywilkinson

      I’m healthy and have no psychiatric problems. I tried co-sleeping and bfing to sleep, after about 6 months what I got was a baby climbing all over me and a baby bfing to recharge. My little boy sleeps much better alone in a cot without other people around who he wants to charm.

      And putting your baby in a playpen with a movie on repeat is an entirely sensible solution to exhaustion if you have no one else around to take the baby. Anyone can get a stomach bug or the flu.

  67. Ahh the glory of the internet. We can all act like we have courage, that we are all-knowing, that we are all important. All the internet does is make a bigger bully out of a pathetic person.

    It amazes me that people who do not know a blogger feel the freedom to make blatant accusations like “You are faking an illness”, “You are a horrible parent”, “you shouldn’t have had children”, etc. Granted, the wording may not have been exact, but the premise is the same.
    So, some people are RNs. So people have had some form of exposure to fibro and cfs. Whoopty-freaking-do.
    Some people don’t know Aprille. I do.
    I know that Aprille works hard. I know that she is not a whiner and that she pushes herself too far at times. To judge her and to say she’s faking is basically proving you have nothing to real to say and are just looking for things to attack.
    “You knew what to expect going into it.” Really? She did? She knew that she was going to have an incredibly high maintenance, non-sleeping boy? Ezra had an abundance of issues that made caring for him difficult. He still requires a lot of activities, a lot of stimulation, a lot of a lot. He’s a very loveable boy, but it can be tiring. My sister has the same time of child. She and Aprille have discussed their sons many times. My sister is beyond exhausted by a child that never sleeps. Much like Aprille was for the first 2 years of Ezra’s life. So, of course, EVERY MOTHER fully anticipates less than 4 hours of sleep EVERY NIGHT for the first 2 years.
    I’m sorry, but to say “you knew what to expect”…well, that is bull crap.
    You can have an idea of parenthood, but until you get that one unique bundle placed in your arms, there is no true realization to the demands. And, even then, the demands constantly change. So, no, she did not know what to expect going in.

    But seriously, how dare you act like you are the end-all of parenting and health? How dare you judge someone you have no earthly idea about? You judge her whole relationship with her son – which honestly, is quite healthy – on ONE bad day.
    Maybe karma will come around on you one day.

    • Jean

      Well said, Mary Rense. I have been reading these replies to the original post and I have to add my two cents for what it’s worth. I am 54 y/o, the mother of three boys, ages, 26,23,and 19 and a daughter, age 17. I have mothered them all in the same way and they could not be more different from each other. Why, because every child is different.Motherhood is not for sissies. It is hard. Having a child with an over-abundance of energy or in my case a child with Asperger’s is very challenging. No one is really prepared for the hard parts of being a mother. When we as women feel the need to belittle other women on the internet it is the lowest form of communication. My husband is a doctor and I have worked in the healthcare industry and I have never heard this type of criticism regarding a patient. So I can say that not all medical professionals share the views of the RN that posted above. When you have been a parent for 26 yrs. you will see that motherhood is not a sprint but a marathon. Pace yourself, do the best that you can, and get help if you need it in any form that you feel would be most helpful. I certainly have at different moments in life. Parenting is hard so try to surround yourself with people who encourage you. Anyone who does not enjoy the views of this blogger should discontinue reading this blog immediately and find something to read that would give you more pleasure. I would certainly take this blog off of my Favorites Bar if it caused me to behave so negatively. Best wishes to the blogger in her journey as a parent.

  68. Oh Aprille. As a fellow blogger and a sister in Christ, I am so sorry you had to endure such harsh critics. I pray the Lord provided much encouragement to you.

    Your writing is a blessing. Don’t stop. Let the good outway the bad and God outway the people. Blogging is such a stuggle. To be transparent or not to?

    Be encouraged my friend!
    Blessings
    Nykiah @ howtotrainasuperhero.com

    • Nykiah, thank you so much for your words. I’ve gotten to the point (with this post especially) where I have to just let it roll off my back and realize that the harshest commenters don’t really have a clue about me or my life.

  69. Karen

    Thank you and well said. I have a 2 year old daughter and 9 week old baby. I’m experiencing tremendous guilt over wanting to quit nursing & sleep training my baby when I go back to work at 12 weeks. I’m constantly exhausted from attempting attachment parenting. I find myself flying off the handle, battling bouts of depression and resenting my husband and kids for the demands it has placed on me. I too don’t function well without sleep. How does this promote good attachment? I work full time as a nurse and support the entire family by myself. I just can’t do it all. I’m human and I feel like I’m going to snap if I don’t take care of myself. My first daughter was bottle fed and ferberized at 4 months. We have an amazing attachment. I really think a lot of AP parents are judgmental and frankly it’s insulting. Yet I still find myself struggling with this decision. I feel like it’s almost like leaving a cult! The judgment and guilt is unreal! Help!

    • All I can say is to just do what works for you, your baby, and your work situation. Make the moments you have with your children count. And let go of the stress and guilt!

  70. Audrey

    I’m so glad that I came across this. I have a two year old and am 16 weeks pregnant with our second. With my son I didn’t even know much about this attachment parenting, but we had just moved to another state (my husband is in the Air Force) and I didn’t know many people that I would have even really been exposed to it. I tried to breast feed and only lasted six weeks because I never slept and was not enjoying being a new mom at all. But other than that my son slept in his bassinet by my bed til three months, then slept in his room in his crib. He was a good sleeper so he took a bottle and was out and has been that way since so luckily we didn’t ever have that battle. But when I started making friends and having okay dates around the time he was six months it’s like I was hit with this huge wall of judgement by people I barely even knew. “Oh so you don’t breast feed? You know breast is best right?” And “you give your baby jarred baby food? I make ours at home with my 300 dollar food processor” and “he sleeps in his own room? We’re not even considering that yet”. It seemed like every conversation I has with someone could somehow come back to how I wasn’t on their same tier as fad as parenting. No that my son is two, I have people chastise me if I tell him “no” or put him I’m time out (because it hurts their self esteem and confidence) or for the fact that he’s been forward facing in his car seat since he was 14 months old. My kid behaves 2xs better than a lot of their children and it probably has to do with the fact that he can 1. Socialize and not have to be within arms length of me all the time, and 2. Because he knows right from wrong because I tell him “no” every once in a while. I already have some of these friends asking me “you’re having a natural birth right?” No I can’t have a natural birth because of the incision I had during his emergency c-section. There’s too high of a risk of uterine rupture. But I try and explain that too them and they’re all like “you need to see a different doctor you can definitely try for a vbac.” I’m already dreading this because I’ve already decided I’m not going to bf or co sleep because I know that it personally stresses me out to the point where I can’t function as a mother and I start to resent the fact that I am one. But since I’m not doing those things it’s just a new round of judgement to flood in. I just don’t understand other people’s need to judge someone for parenting the way that works for them and their child. When I think about how much these people complain about their kid not walking yet or not sleeping through the night or how they haven’t had sex with their husband in six months because they bed share, I really feel like I’m a happier mom than they are. They spend too much time complaining and belittling and finding out the newest things to do or to avoid that they lose out on just having fun with their kid. I just really appreciate your post. It shows me there are good moms out there who are doing the same thing I am and are obviously good people who have well adjusted happy kids. I wish everyone understood its not a competition and its not a place to judge. What’s most important is that your kid is happy and loved. I’m not as anxious and nervous about baby #2 now.

    • Audrey, I’m so sorry that people at playdates keep trying to insert their advice and parenting thoughts onto you. Sheesh. I wish we could all just give each other a break.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience!

  71. Katherine

    You breastfed for 28 months??? You can officially place yourself in a very small group of women – and place your son in a small group of kids! Parenting is not a competition, but in this area – you really have run a marathon and passed most along the way. BRAVO!

    In all that you went through, if you were still able to breast feed your very high needs baby, you did a beautiful thing. Attachment parenting is about attachment. It’s not about a set of rules that certain militant mothers have added. Dr. Sears looked at the modern way of parenting that was promoted by Dr. Spock and offered an alternative. He opened the door to many of us to respond to our children – NOT to live by a set of rules (feed your baby at 6 weeks, don’t pick him up if he cries, bottle feed, etc.). If someone calls herself AP, yet denies you the ablity to responsd to YOUR baby they are in fact just as rigid and rule oriented as Dr. Spock’s book was.

    I personally see breastfeeding as the number one best thing you can do for your baby. It will affect their health now and in the future. There is no other ONE thing that you can do. Every mom shold at least try it, because in trying they have given their baby colostrum which has no equal outside of mom’s body. The NICU that my nephew was in recently uses donated breastmilk for all of their babies beause they have seen that those babies DIE LESS. Everything else – cloth diapers (this is an environmental issue not a baby one), co-sleeping (makes b-feeding easier for some, but some babies can’t sleep in bed with mom), wraps (my 2nd was 23 pounds at 5months – no way was I going to carry him in a wrap), jumpers (my boys LOVED jumping up and down – it helped get out some energy while I cooked) – it’s all just the stuff that we do or don’t do to get thrrough the day.

    I don’t know you. I know what you have written and it sounds like you are a mom who did the best she could with what she had at the time and have come through the other side stronger and more aware of herself. You will have compassion moving forward that you might not have had otherwise. You know how it feels to be exhausted and sad and at the end of your rope, to judge yourself and be judged. You and your son (and any future chidren you have) are gonna be OK.

    Oh and what a great husband you have. BRAVO to him for sticking up for you.
    Merry Christmas!

  72. Peggy Shecket

    I am a grandma-aged person and former parenting consultant. In my opinion, parenting evolves as parents get to know the baby that they have, and develop their OWN style of being a mother or a father. It’s not necessarily about following some expert’s advice, or doing things according to a book. We all fumble our way to a style that feels right for us and our child, and hopefully along the way we find like-minded people to be our friends/supports. Hooray to you for finding a style that works for you and Ezra.

    • I feel so much more relaxed now that I have found a style that works – it has no name and it’s still full of mistakes. Each stage has its struggles where I have absolutely no clue what I’m doing or how to proceed with parenting. But we keep making our way through them!

  73. I just discovered your blog and I COMPLETELY agree with everything you have written here! When my first child was born in 2010, I tried to do everything ‘perfectly’, and of course that means Attachment Parenting! Some of it worked well for us…I breastfed for a year, my son and I both enjoyed babywearing, but other things just didn’t work. At all. He was a terrible sleeper from the start, and I tried to do everything those stupid AP pages told me to do (seriously, we were probably on the same pages) but it just wasn’t working. I don’t have the same medical struggles as you do, but when he was a baby I felt very alone because we were living in America (and we are from Australia) so I had none of my family and friends around to help me. It was really hard. I wasn’t coping with the lack of sleep and the feeling that I was doing things all wrong, and he wasn’t happy with the lack of sleep either! In desperation I tried the Ferber method when he was around six months old. To my amazement, it worked in just a few days with a minimum of fuss. I was overjoyed, and my son was much happier because, shockingly, he was SLEEPING!

    I honestly think those AP pages are some of the most judgmental pages out there. They really do tell you there is one way to do things, and if you’re not doing them exactly as prescribed, you are irreversibly damaging your baby for life. It is simply madness. I looked beyond the AP pages, and discovered other methods that worked for us.

    In 2012 I had my second child, another little boy, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis shortly after birth. This changed EVERYTHING. He was on multiple medications from that day on, I had him on a feeding schedule because of his medications, he was eating small amounts of apple puree from four weeks old because it’s the only way to administer some medications. I bunkered down and we wrapped ourselves in our family and our home, and pretty much became hermits. But now every time I hear someone say this is the one right way to do things etc, I become absolutely livid, because there are SO many factors that influence a parent’s decision. These casual judges we meet on the internet and sometimes in real life just have absolutely no clue. There is no such thing as one right way to do anything and I am tempted to think that anyone who can sit by and judge another parent’s choice without knowing everything about them and their situation must be pretty insecure in their own decisions themselves.

    Anyway, sorry that was so long, I was just excited to find someone who articulated the same experience I had! I’m going to follow your blog. Hope you and your family are well. Sounds like you’re doing a great job and I’m glad you discovered what works for you!

    • Lauren, thank you so much for jumping into the discussion and sharing your experiences as a former tried-to-AP mom and a special -needs mom. I wish that parenting were easier (for all of us) but I love to see that other moms have gone through similar experiences in discovering what parenting styles work (or don’t work) for them, even if those discoveries come the hard way. Thanks for following and I pray that you find hope and encouragement here in the future!

  74. Grateful School Psychologist

    I am simply a professional who has worked with psychiatrically impaired children and teens for over 25 years. Please accept my congratulations on raising a child that almost certainly will NOT be joining us at the psych hospital. Children who suffer from true “attachment disorders” are spectacularly unparented as infants. Absolutely NOTHING, mark that, NOTHING you described here is even in the ballpark of what what causes true attachment disorders. Attachment is a real thing that happens naturally between a grown-up, non-psychotic, non-substance-addled parent and her child 99.99% of the time without any assistance at all from any “bearing” strap (God help us, is that a thing? Really?), inflexible feeding rituals or high-minded “group” with initials. Keep loving your child and caring for your own mental health and I look forward to NOT seeing Ezra in any professional capacity.

    • Lea

      Even if I join the discussio lately I’d love the opinion of a professional also because of something you said.

      I have always thought that there’s no need to promote attachment or a bond, quite the opposite.

      It seems to me that attachment exists on its own: attachment exists because mother and child coexist in the same body for 9 months, because she is the first person the child see at birth, because of breastfeeding, because a child depends on parents for food and shelter. And I can’t see for the life of me any reason to increase this attachment.

      But, I’m actually starting to realize success as a parent is not how good you’re at creating attachment but how good you’re at creating detachment.

      If attachment is abundant and a sign of total interdependence (the child doesn’t think of himself as a person but as an extensin of his parents) then the road to thriving into your own body and mind, accepting you as an individual separated from your parents and feeling safe in the world not just your parents arms is all about promoting detachment.

      I might be wrong and as a professional you can correct me but my opinion is that so much of kids, even adults, afraid of the world, afraid of risks, afraid of pain or unable to be responsible for themselves and always thinking someone else is (be it the government, a group they belong to, an ideology they follow) is actually a cause of excessive attachment and not enough detachment in childhood.

      What do you think?

  75. Great article. I thoroughly enjoyed it and agree with you! A happy rested mom, is the best mom. I have a quick thought to add. I am not a mother, but I am a daughter and I have a mother and a brother and my own personal experience and thoughts. This is just a tiny example of a situation between three people, so I am in NO way trying to say this is a hard and fast principle. I just want to share, that’s all.

    When my older brother was born (he is the first child) he was quite a “high-maintenance” child, crying constantly, had to be held all the time, would only sleep if he was in the car and it was actually MOVING, etc. etc. My mom did a very similar parenting style as the AP, and worked herself to the bone and probably through multiple breakdowns trying to keep him pacified. When I was born two years later, she said she was just flat out, too exhausted to sooth me if I was just crying for cryings sake. At night if I cried, she would check my diaper, think to herself if I had been fed in the last three hours, make sure I wasn’t physically hurt in someway, and then head back to bed. If I wasn’t messy, hungry, or hurt, she let me be. During the day she was an involved parent, and I was FAR from neglected, but she also let me hang out in my crib, wide awake, by myself if she needed a break, as opposed to my brother, who at my age my mom felt she was supposed to fill every waking hour with engaging activities and interaction.

    Like I said earlier, I just want to be clear that this is a tiny study, with only two children as a sample size, but this is what I have learned from my own family experience.

    As my brother and I grew up, I often wondered how two people, parented by the same parents, with fairly similar personalities, and very similar life experiences, could be SO different and react to the world so different. The conclusion that I have come to, is that it goes back to the first few years of our lives, when we were parented so different. This is my opinion: by my mom soothing and comforting, and ultimately not ALLOWING my brother to have a difficult feeling and have to overcome it himself, he was unable to develop a very crucial part of human existence, and that is to self sooth. Growing up, when my brother was angry, hurt or upset in anyway, he could be quite violent and volatile. It was like he couldn’t handle his own emotions, and didn’t know how to deal with them in an effective way. As he got older when we was upset, he did what he learned as a child, turn to an outside source for comfort. But now the outside source of comfort one finds as an adult is drugs and alcohol.

    Then there was me, and when my brother and I went through very similar situations (we were both sexually abused as young children) instead of exploding on the inside and outside the way he did, and not be able to handle my extreme feelings, I did what I always had done as a child–I turned inward for comfort and solace. By my mom letting me deal with what was a difficult feeling as a baby, she unknowingly helped me to learn that I can handle hard emotions, and work through them on my own successfully. As a tiny child my brother learned that if he was upset inside, all he had to do was scream about it, and someone would make it right. So now guess what he still does when he is upset? He screams. As a tiny child I learned that if you were upset inside, screaming about it got you no where. So now guess what I do when I’m upset? I become very quiet, I think, I write, I go run, I read. I do things to help regulate my feelings internally, before expressing them externally. This means when I am mad, I am still really good at talking rationally and not letting my emotions override my actions. This also means that when puberty hit, and all the horrible reality of being sexually abused came rushing up from within me, I handled it. I was able to self regulate, and I didn’t turn outward for someone else, or something else, to fix my problem, the way my brother did. Sure I turned to my family, friends, and therapists, but they were just supporting me in my own journey of healing, where my brother turned to something that would just take away the difficult feelings he had, because he didn’t know how to handle them. When he was upset, he punched walls, when I was upset, I grabbed my baby blanket, cried on my bed, and then went back to my mom to talk about it.

    This doesn’t mean that if you never let your child cry as a baby, they will be unable to handle their emotions and punch walls and turn to drugs…No. I just wanted to share my family’s experience, and what I personally learned.

    I think as a mother, maybe just changing the perspective from: if I let my child cry alone in their room I am neglecting and emotionally abandoning them, to: by allowing my child to feel a difficult emotion, work through it, and successfully overcome it, i.e. as a baby crying on their own, and then falling asleep, I am actually teaching and instilling CONFIDENCE in them that they can overcome a difficult feeling, and have the “training” to do it later in life when the problems and feelings are much greater.

    Obviously there are a million situations and a billion different types of people, and this is just one situation and two people. I just wanted to share my thoughts. I think by letting your child be alone in his room and work through his feelings, you EMPOWERED him, you didn’t neglect him. He will have the tools he needs to handle difficult situations later in life, because you taught him the power of self soothing. Because as he grows up, and as I have heard so many mothers lament, you can’t be there all the time.

  76. Laura

    Just stumbled on your blog from a FB friend who has a special needs child. Wanted to add my own kudos to you for recognizing what works and doesn’t work for you and your family and being brave enough to say it and own it in the face of criticism and misunderstanding. I happen to be an AP mom and it happens to work really well for our family, but that is because of who my kids and I are and not because we are super human or anything like that. Those things just came naturally to us and worked for us so we did them, I definitely don’t always meet the ideals but I also don’t stress about it, we do what works for us just like you said. My mom always talked about how hard mothering is because of all the pressure to do things perfectly and the fact that no one model really works for everyone but each model has statements that are judgmental about the others. Really we are all just trying to do the best we can with the information we are given and I think the reason so many moms can be so insensitive and critical of other moms is because we are all so insecure about our own parenting. I wish there were more mothering groups with the moto; “Parenting styles are like a buffet, take what works for you and leave the rest.”

    I have two boys and a baby girl on the way, and it always amazes me how different even my own two children are. My first would nurse for hours on end and didn’t wean until he turned 3, my second nursed for 10-15 minutes tops and was done, wanted a pacifier, and weaned on his own at 18 months without a backward glance. Both are sweet and sensitive and love to snuggle, but personality wise they are so different. My parenting style, while still AP, has had to undergo major revisions both with each child and as each child grows and has changing needs. Parenting is my greatest joy but also something that sometimes scares the crap out of me as I struggle to meet changing needs and wonder how my children will be effected in the long run by the choices I make. I comfort myself by reminding myself that being able to see my own parents as people who make mistakes and have to say sorry and then overcome those mistakes is one of the biggest blessings they have given me and I am definitely giving my kids that same blessing everyday as I muddle through. I also remind myself that even though there are tons of different parenting styles and parents all make mistakes regardless of which one they choose, kids for the most part turn out OK. I know tons of wonderful caring adults who grew up with completely different kinds of parents, some even overcoming damage from abusive parents. Things that parents did or that was recommended by Dr’s back when my grandparents and parents were parenting their little children has changed drastically in some ways and yet I really believe that they were and are amazing parents and raised some pretty great kids!

    So again, kudos to you for being brave enough to find out what works for you and your family and to own it. I think it is important for mothers with all kinds of parenting styles to know that they are good mothers regardless of what parenting style they use and that even mistakes can be good lessons for their children to see as they work through things. Thanks for posting this!

  77. Robin

    Hello Aprille, Good for you that you got everything sorted out…and Ezra survived!
    My bit of advice as a grandmother is to follow your instinct…which you did.

    When my 3rd baby was a newborn I attended a La Leché League meeting, which I had done in the past with my previous babies. A mother dragged herself into the meeting looking like death warmed over. When it came her turn to speak, she said that her 3 children (4, 2 and 9 months) were waking her up all night long wanting to be nursed. Consequently, she got very little sleep and got up exhausted every day. She wanted to know what to do. The LL leader advised her to go to bed at 6 pm as soon as her husband got in the door. He would take over feeding and bathing the children. Then at least she got a few hours sleep before the children’s bedtime. The mother looked defeated. Now she was barely going to see her husband. I was fit to be tied! I couldn’t hold myself back. I told everyone present that this poor woman was nothing but a feeding machine. Her health, her right to a relationship with her husband and even with her children in the evenings were disregarded. No one can function on sleep interrupted all night long. I told the mothers present that I never had problems with my children waking up in the night past 8 weeks. Yes, I let them cry it out. It lasted a few days. And I did it for my babies welfare more than for myself. I saved my babies weeks and months and possibly years of waking up in the night disoriented, frightened and desperate for comfort. They had a few nights of crying it out for 15 minutes…or even longer sometimes. But…after that they went to sleep (2 of them with the usual tension-release 5 minute cry) and had a restful, uninterrupted, peaceful night’s sleep for the rest of their childhoods. And so did we! And my children were well adjusted, smart, respectful and lively, healthy children…who are now wonderful, caring adults.
    I have a question about wearing one’s babies….how does a child explore his environment, learn to manipulate and play with toys, creep, crawl, sit up etc..? I must be missing something. Wouldn’t we have been made to have a longer pregnancy like elephants, if we were supposed to attach our babies to our bodies for an extra year (or more?…)? It seems to me that much of this attachment stuff is to make an insecure mother feel comforted.
    I say use common sense. Of course you want to speak nicely and be kind to your children, distract them, give them choices and enjoy their company. But there are times for no-nonsense parenting and that after a year of age or so, involves saying…God forbid…”no!”. We see children out in the stores who have never had to obey their parents. They run through stores and parking lots, disturbing others with frazzled parents in tow. They scream when they don’t get what they want. As Dr Phil says, you are not raising a child. You are raising an adult. Yes, be attached to your children but set limits. Watch the Dog Whisperer to learn that in every pack (family) there is a hierarchy…and you DON”T want a pitbull in child form as your pack leader.
    Keep up the natural and instinct driven parenting, Aprille.
    Granny Robin

    • Thanks Robin.

      A word on baby-wearing – I used my wraps when I was out, as opposed to using the carseat (daggone that thing is heavy). So until he was old enough to sit up, whenever I was out in the store, he was in the wrap. I rarely wore him around the house. Even if my hands were free I felt like I couldn’t get things done.

      As for the children out in the “stores and parking lots, disturbing others with frazzled parents in tow” and screaming when they don’t get what they want…if you saw me at the mall today, well, I would be lumped into that group. All children have rough days and that doesn’t mean they are not being disciplined or that the parents aren’t trying to teach obedience.

      I definitely see your point – just wanted to throw that out there that not every situation is what it seems and some parents are really working around the clock trying to teach their children proper behavior and the children are just difficult or having a rough day.

  78. I think it needs to be clarified that attachment parenting refers to The attachment between child and parent. It is not exactly Breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing. It is whatever works for you to increase the attachment between parent and child. Many times that is not co-sleeping. 🙂

  79. Annie

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. You sound just like me. I was starting to think I was the only one struggling with attachment parenting.

  80. Jen

    You are practicing attachment parenting if you are attached, present, gentle and engaging. It certainly sounds like you are! Parenting is just plain hard sometimes, especially during those times you were essentially a single mom. Just keep doing your best Mama! 🙂

  81. I wanted to be an Attachment Parent (well an attachment parent that also uses effective discipline), but since I have not been able to have children and am now a foster parent, neither of those plans has worked out for me. The corporeal punishment is out because that is against the rules, and the attachment parenting is out because I don’t have the time or patience for that with 3 kids (1,2, and 3 years old) that all “appeared” in about 8 months. The best laid plans right? (I don’t know the rest of that saying…)

    I do LOVE baby-wearing (my Ergo is the best $120 ever spent, I can wear the 30lb kid on my back for hours without discomfort, even when she is throwing a tantrum trying to get out). My cloth diapers are used most of the time, but I am not opposed to disposables. And sometimes the babies cried it out. If they are not calmed by being held, or don’t stay asleep when I put them down, I let them cry. Happily none of them continued that pattern for very long, and all of them can now be put down with no tears most nights.

    I use a playpen WAY more than AP would like, perhaps more than any modern parent would like, but with all the kids fighting, screaming, and throwing toys throughout the house, the mess was getting out of hand, so the youngest get to play in playpens for a couple hours a day while I do housework. The older ones play at a little table or on a blanket during this time so I can watch them while I work, but they can’t make more messes.. The time is broken up by reading stories, playing outside, snuggling, etc, but they are in there for awhile. Some people can handle it without playpens, I can’t. I felt guilty about it at first, but after talking to my grandmother, I have learned that that was a common thing “back in the day” and that generation turned out fine, so I am doing what works best for my family. The kids also wake up a good hour before me most mornings, so I make sure to give them toys or books to look at. The youngest two share a room and they are happy to be up there forever just giggling at each other and making faces LOL.

    I have wrote a LOOOONG blog post about it this week if you want to read it 🙂

    http://wifethenmama.blogspot.com/2014/04/mamas-priorities-or-how-i-will-probably.html

  82. I have found that a lot of moms who follow attachment parenting end up with a chronic illness. This says something about how hard it is to follow it when you’re going against everything that the majority of society does. You do need to take care of yourself, however that is. One thing I would ask it, have you looked into having your son evaluated for developmental disorders, and food sensitivities, as well as digestive issues? The not eating solids, the trouble with sleep, the way he exhausts you points to some definite issues that many special needs kids have (and yeah, I get that you don’t have any community around you, which is a huge issue, but still it sounds like he is at the very least high needs). My kids have some similar issues, and they have sensory processing disorder. A developmental pediatrician might be a good place to start, and if he’s still under three, the county Early Intervention program might be able to provide a free evaluation.
    Hope you get the support you need.

    • This post was written over a year ago…he’s now almost four. We are in a much more supportive place and have pursued testing in the areas of food allergies (he does have some), special needs education (he does not qualify and most definitely does not have autism or aspergers), and most recently I have insisted on him getting an OT/PT evaluation for sensory needs. The doctors insist that he is 100% neurotypical average BOY who just needs a lot of playtime, but I still think that there could be some underlying mild sensory processing issues, so I pushed for that evaluation even though it meant a big fight with the doctor we saw. They are also going to let us see a behavioralist at our next appointment. If after those two things, they still insist that he’s just a typical boy and there are no sensory needs, then I’ll let it go, embrace him as a typical but high-needs boy, and just do my best to offer him as much physical activity as possible – but I’m hopeful that he might be able to qualify for some play or occupational therapy. We’ll see. Thanks for commenting!

  83. The car seat jacket thing has always confused me. We get weather where I live the goes to -33 Celsius. If you get in an accident and your child has no jacket… if the parent cannot get to them they freeze. Jackets just make sense to me…. we are never told as adults to remove our jackets in the car….

    • I totally hadn’t thought about the fact that we don’t remove our jackets as adults. Seriously. I can understand if people want to share car seat safety tips – but I was literally accused of wanting to have a “dead baby” (specific quote “better to have a cold baby than a dead one”) because I passed over that one.

  84. I have always found AP friends of mine to be super super exhausted! Although the militant followers have criticized me for: letting my baby cry, not wearing baby all the time, and the lack of natural foods, I feel that I can be a better Mama when I’m balanced. Great article. I wish all new Moms could hear both sides before they commit themselves to something that may or may not work for them/their child.
    Rachael @ http://www.parentingandhomeschoolinginfaith.com

  85. It was really nice to read this. I haven’t had the same AP struggles, but we also started locking my 2 1/2 year old son in his room at naptime and bedtime. I really struggled with the decision to start doing it, but he won’t stay in his room otherwise. He usually tries the door knob only once before laying down and going to sleep. I unlock him before going to bed myself so he can walk into our room in the morning. It just works for us! I know one day we won’t have to, but for now, we keep the velociraptor locked in the cage for sleepytime!

    • Honestly sometimes it’s the best and safest thing for all involved. Mine is 4 now and I know he would understand so I choose not to, but it sure made our life much more sane for a long time!

  86. L

    I have two children. One I nursed and one I was not able to nurse. They are both attached to me just fine. There were huge benefits to not nursing….other people could take the baby! I see attachment parenting as a religion. This philosophy was not around in the seventies when I was born and somehow I became attached to my mother. Shouldn’t these attachment mom’s be tolerant? Isn’t that supposed to be a part of the entire AP hippie movement? Sounds like very little tolerance to me hence why I give it the religion label. I’m sorry you had to go through all of that and get so exhausted.
    Happy to hear you’ve found a way through it and got help for the depression.

  87. Leah

    Thank you for your posts! I’m 22 weeks pregnant with my first and I have a lot of anxieties about becoming a mother and being “good enough”. Especially in a very low budget family: cloth diapering is our plan because heck, then hopefully we can afford more food and emergency things! I tend to start feeling guilt over things like “oh you need 100% organic” when we can hardly afford fruits and vegetables to begin with when we’re trying to save for the future and I have the appetite of a quarterback.
    It’s just nice to see the message that I will be enough for my baby! Thank you for being so uplifting and honest!

    • Your fears and emotions are so normal! I still have days when i wonder if im “good enough.” This motherhood thing is tough, but kids need love, patience, acceptance, and quality time with their parents, even if that means they eat toast and a banana for dinner…ahem…not that that EVER happens in this house, or tonight, or anything like that. 🙂

  88. Bearfoot Mama

    I stumbled across this piece of writing while frantically googling gentle sleep solutions for my three year old, I feel I’ve tried it all and have practically resigned myself to simply dread bedtimes and say goodbye to time alone until he is a teenager. For the upteenth night in a row I’m in tears, asking myself why I can’t give more than I am capable of, why I am failing. I also battle depression & anxiety, I spend much energy connecting with my son, we spend each day all day together & we have a wonderful relationship. I love it, but it drains me, big time, and sometimes (a lot) I struggle. I bully myself for failing to live up to these ridiculous standards I have set out, because the research is there to support what I should be doing. I totally agree with the approach but I find myself wearing thin, yelling when I don’t mean to then wasting what little ‘me time’ I have drowning myself in mothers guilt. Thankyou for your honesty, because *gasp* your words validate the notion that I don’t have to be perfect according to a book or method (which is great, because I’m NOT!!) It’s ok to pick & choose what works for not only my son, but also me. Thankyou thankyou THANKYOU xxx

    • Barefoot Mama:

      Sometimes, you have to set the research aside and look at your son as a person – doing what works for him. Some kids need firmer boundaries and personal space (I’m learning this myself with my son, who is now 4) so that both you and he can function more reasonably. I can tell you that I was in that place – the pouring my life into him, then getting overwhelmed and lashing out or yelling, then drowning in the guilt. And now, giving him a physical boundary (like a lock on the door or telling him he can’t hug me sometimes) or letting him self soothe with crying for 5 minutes has been far LESS damaging then the yelling was. And I’m a much happier and healthier mama too. Can I also direct you to this post? Individual parenting styles, Individual Needs

  89. I think that what I get from Attachment Parenting is a bunch of “best practices”, but I don’t think that not doing it is bad. I think that it’s just a philosophy and doing a few things might be helpful in a family or might not. I think it just depends on the situation and the baby. And the mom/dad know best! And you do need sleep! I call it airplane rules…sometimes you gotta put on your gas mask first or you can’t help anyone including your child.

  90. Alicia

    Amen. From a mom of 2 boys, soon to be 3 boys in a couple months, Amen. I think it’s sad that we even have to defend the way we chose to parent, and I also think its ridiculous to expect perfection of ourselves all the time, yet both are true. We also had to lock our youngest in his room for a while because he would get out of bed and was literally a danger to himself. We let both our sons cry at times, because quite honestly, it’s important for children to learn from a young age that life does not revolve around them 24/7. Does it mean we don’t love our boys? Of course not! Honestly, letting my boys cry as babies was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but I knew it was best for them. And you know what? My boys are 6 and 3 now, and are two of the sweetest, most loving boys who are perfectly well-adjusted. I’ve read some of those attachment parenting articles, and honestly some of it sounds just plain ridiculous to me! Sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do. Any mom who judges or criticizes that has not been in a position where sometimes you have to make these tough decisions for everyone’s sanity. Ok, stepping off soap box now. 🙂

  91. Luna

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience.I am so sorry you had to go through all that, not to mention be treated so unforgivably by people on social media.

    I’m approaching 6 months pregnant at the moment and I was really taken with the idea of AP at first but was also really scared too, as my mother suffered with terrible depression and anxiety after having me and I felt that the physical commitment and lack of sleep that AP requires would be likely to bring on the same thing in me. But AP is all you seem to hear about these days while other methods are seen as unfeeling, outdated and over bearing.

    Then I read Pamela Druckerman’s book ‘French Kids Don’t Throw Food’ and I started to understand that this whole AP thing isn’t embraced by everyone or every society and that not depriving myself of sleep or generally martyring myself in the name of motherhood isn’t going to damage my child’s long term health or sense of security! That rules and boundaries are not the enemy of a well adjusted child. That there’s a chance that I can have a happy healthy baby and sanity!

    I am really glad that AP works for some women and their children, if momma and baby are happy using AP then that just rocks! But I’ll definitely be following the ‘whatever works for you’ school of parenting myself!

    • I’ve heard amazing things about that French book! I’m glad you are doing a lot of research and going into motherhood knowing to look to do what works for you!

  92. Lea

    You said: “That I’m sending some sort of horrible message to him that I’m not “there to protect him,”

    Is this really an horrible message to send?
    Really, should a child grow believing that the only safe place in the world is with his parents or should the role of parents actually teaching them that the world can be a safe place?

    Last week a group of 18 years old adults college students vandalized a place at their school, throwing a party with 120 people and destroying everything. The only thing they did is “calling mum to sort things out”

    Am I wrong into believing, and facts I’m observing tells me I’m right, that all this attachment, lack of thought love and excessive protection is just promoting a generation of either fears ridden, fragile kids or narcisist and careless kids?

    I don’t think the role of a parent is to protect her children, the role of a parent is teaching the children how to protect themselves in the world. Protecting them is just a consequence of that role (just like a driving licence teacher next to you, making sure you don’t screw it up before having mastered car driving) not the main role.

    I’m meeting 4 years old children who refuse to go for a walk with their mothers because their legs hurt. 5 years old children who refuse to have their temperature taken because “it’s uncomfortable”.

    And of course their mothers are not teaching them to accept some discomfort, some pain, some hard work, the mother just say “oh sweety, mommy doesn’t want you to do something you don’t like, I love you the way you are”

    There’s no concept of pushing the child, of helping him to overcome his hears (rather than accepting the and cuddling him some more just to point out that he will always be afraid, unless mommy is there) of giving him the tools to fight his insicurities.

    This hoard of mothers who think childhood should never have anything to do with sufference, with pain, with discomfort, with ricks (without realizing how ridicolous this is: even learning to ride a bike is about pain and discomfort and fear) are growing a generation of emotional frail, sedentary, weak, insicure children who feel safe only with their parents, who are never taught how to push their comfort zone and who live in a la-la land of poor kids television and political correctness.

    A friend of mine is a 23 year old woman living with her parents. She went through a similar education: love and cuddling, love and cuddling, nothing-I-wouldn’t-do-for-my-child, mom-is-here, I-will-always-protect you and what she grew up having problems talking to other children in elementary school, slept in the same room with her parents will 11, had depressive thoughts about her parents dying and living her alone in a tough, cruel world at the age of 14 and is now suffering from panic attack anytime she must leaves home for a few days.

    In my opinion if a child asks a parent: “mom, why are you here?” the best answer is not “to protect and take care of you” but “to teach you how to thrive in this world without me”

    Extreme child-parent physical and emotional independence is not a positive thing, the umbilical cord is long gone and that child is an individual, no matter how little, he/she is already on his/her own, experiencing life through his/her body and mind. He/she is an a mission to discover the world, to discover what’s like to be a human being and day after day must learn something new to be abel eventually to survive on its own.

    In this journey the parent is a guide, a navigation system showing you the direction, not preventing you from reaching whatever direction by holding you tight and never letting go.

    In my opinion a baby, that learns that mum and dad are not always there for him/her, learns the best life lesson there is. This will break the excessive interdependence cycle which is always started by the parents, never the child, but to which the child becomes emotionally dependent to. I have no doubt such a child will have more self-esteem, more socializing skills, more drive to try new things, less emotional fragility, less or no fears and phobias.

    But for a child to think “yes, mum and dad will always be there for me” is the same as thinking “and there’s no other place in the world where I can feel safe because the world is dangerous and ugly” and this can go on, even subtly, even into one’s 40’s and 50’s. We don’t know how many of hour insicurities, fears, weakness depends on the excessive attachment, smoothering and dependence our parents have created in our childhood.

    And this facebook cult of mothers writing lists on how to “grow an happy child from 0 to 21 (good luck having a socially functional 20 years old with those premises) on facebook, tells more about the insicurities and fears of what their life will be once the children are gone than on the real need of their children. It’s a cult and all cults are dangerous and feed into someone paranoias.

    • These are very interesting thoughts. I think, as with most things, there is a balance. But, theoretically, and especially the older my son gets, I tend to agree with you. I think young people today are growing up with a lot of lack of identity. On the other hand, some kids are very resistant to independence (I have one of those) and so it’s a fight to try to foster and create that. I’m only one person who is chronically exhausted so I give into my son’s desires probably more than I ought, but he seems to legitimately need more human interaction and help soothing than others, and always has. *sigh* It’s hard to know!

      • Lea

        I think there’s nothing wrong, of course, with love and touch and affection. But they’re natural byproduct of the relationship between parents and children. In fact if one must “remind herself” to give love and give touch, is it even real love anymore, since the spontaneity is lost and it’s more about fulfilling an ideology?

        The same for attachment: there’s no need to promote attachment, to seek it relentlessly, attachment is natural byproduct of being a parent, there’s an abundance of attachment, an over-abundance. What actually is lacking and what is necessary to create the independence which is ultimate goal of a child is detachment, progressive detachment. That’s the secret ingredient.

        I don’t think there’s anything wrong with affection, love and touch but I think there’s a problem when it gets in the way of promoting independance, accepting discomfort and experiencing life lessons.

        Pragmatically speaking: how a stronger bond is going to benefit the child anyway? That same child which will be a 12 year old in middle school, a graduating high school student, a 22 year old man, what it will need to thrive “the memory of a mother excessive smoothering” or the ability to be disciplined, self-confident, motivated, responsible and social? The natural bond is there, and it’s there in 100% of all children, but what an even stronger one is good for?

        When I see all these facebook quotes “the secret to grow a good and happy child is love” I always think: oh yeah? Love is a given, love is there with no need to nurture it and is not enough, sometimes it’s even an hindrance, to grow a happy child. Happiness, for a human being in a social world, is the ability to enjoy the outside world, without fearing it.

        I speak from personal experience as a smoothered child who learned discipline, control, discomfort acceptance and will power through sport later, what I needed as a child to be happy was to overcome my fears, my doubts, my insicurities instead my parents never helped me to fight them, because that would have been “traumatic for me”, the idea of pushing me through some discomfort for a bigger reward in life was unacceptable to them. I was loved, deeply loved, I was kissed, I was hugged, I could sleep in my parents bed but i wasn’t happy, I was attracted to the world but I was scared of it, I felt safe only at home with my parents and they did nothing to show me otherwise.

        No, love is not enough and it’s not even that important. I mean there’s a parent, there’s a child, of course there’s love, no need to focus on it. So after this platitude is set, it’s time to move to concrete stuff, to what is needed to enjoy your ride through the mistery of life and the world.

        Focusing on “love” as the only thing a child need to be and grow happy and well adjusted in the world is like focusing on salt as the only ingredient needed to make a good lasagna; focusing on the obvious and ignoring the way more important aspects of a successfull lasagna.

  93. Valeria

    Thank you for writing this. Attachment parenting did not work for me either but it is so hard for me to accept that without feeling guilty. Breastfeeding was the greastest challenge of my life as i was never able to get my son to latch on and i still suffer with this. My son is 9 mo now and i still pump day and night plus supplement with formula. I have always had a hard time wearing my baby so i use the stroller very often. I am unable to sleep at night if my lo is in the bed so he sleeps in his crib. However i wish i could do all of that. I feel like i suck as a mom and i am constantly depressed. Hopefully i will have peace one day like you do and accept the fact that i am not the perfect “natural” mom that i wish i was.

    • Glad to hear I’m not the only one who can’t sleep with baby in bed! Sounds like you are a phenomenal mother, especially if you are still pumping!!! Go you! Really!!!!!

      Go hug your baby and pat yourself on the back for being an amazing mom.

  94. Antonia

    Wauw , you actualy seem like a real mom to me ! Great story , thsnk you for your honesty and great your taking care of yourself !!

  95. Mousumee

    I needed, desperately needed, to read this today. I found myself saying “exactly” or “so true” after every sentence. I am quite tired of trying to be this perfect mummy but more than that, I am tired to the bone of being judged when I am not-so-perfect. But enough is enough. Something has to give and in this case, it’s the “idea” that you can be the perfect mother by you either follow one rigid parenting philosophy or the other. I am a mixer and matcher and finally, I am happy with that.

  96. Anonymous

    Thank you for writing this article. Parenting is one of the toughest jobs we will ever encounter. I’m unsure about this generation tho. The judgement, criticism and confusion is all but too much. If we take a look back to the decades of parenting we will find each generation thought they were right. When in fact , studies show, none of them worked hence why we have moved to the attachment era. Or wait, maybe that was the 60s-70s too. The same parenting style that apparently leaves kids feeling entitled to everything. There is no clear cut way to raise a child. Nothing is more awful then feeling like a failure. What we need in 2016 is mom’s that encourage each other. Embrace each other. Protect eachother. I don’t know you hun, but from what I’ve read, you love your children. You are a good mom. To feel better, you must take care of you first, and that is OK.

  97. Anonymous

    Babies, toddlers and children alike are not given enough credit. These beautiful tiny souls are much smarter than what we give them credit for. They have a natural ability to control and manipulate. It’s not a learned behaviour. It’s in their nature.

    • Cindy

      Exactly! If little junior has always been that way in your mind, it’s because he/she trained you to do their bidding or suffer them crying their eyes out till they get their own way. Feed them, burp them, diaper them, acknowledge that they need to go to the bathroom, hold them, love on them… meet all their needs and you decide the schedule that works for you. Keeping in mind teething and increased feeding needs sometimes. Don’t feel guilty for taking care of yourself, you can’t be a good mom without enough sleep. A lot of good sense in the comments I’ve read too.

  98. Niki

    Your post is well written. Thank you for reaching out with your story. I understand the struggle. Just know you are a great mom. Someday the fruit of your labor will be revealed. Until then, from one mother to another, be patient, stay strong, take care of yourself and let your intuition guide you. You know what’s best for you and your children. Hugs

  99. Laura X-AP

    Can I just say a man can I just say how happy I am that I don’t see a slew of comments backhanded and nasty judgmental mommies did you delete them all because every time I read a blog
    On a mother’s journey away from attachment parenting the comment section is plagued with comments like questioning the credibility questioning if you actually know what AP is carefully dissecting every part of the article and turning it around.
    I expected someone to say something about your husband and blaming him I seen a lot of people blame husbands it’s like no one realizes how much AP puts the mother behind the wheel
    I’m actually to the point where I don’t even bring it up in public because you never know if someone is going to gently tear you to shreds because they’re such a gentle person and all so understanding except they blamed thier own spouse or my spouse for deploying or idk
    Just the babywearing all the time my daughter is huge!
    Starting dishes 20 times in a row because she wants costume or a toy or this and that.
    She’s fed has a healthy snack in front of her fully rested I spend a hour to myself and the. A hour with her.
    My hours are always spent on errand or cleaning or preparing meals for her.
    My husband helps plenty he keeps the electricity on goes to work commute at 4
    Drives an hour back home.
    I picked our house out I really get free reign.
    When he finally gets home I don’t expect him to do much but be in a good mood with me and my daughter he does a lot on the weekend. Yard work repairing things taking things to donation. Plays and answers every request during the week and weekend from our little girl.

    This is tough. We almost decided in a divorce mutually. He wanted his wife back but I was too nervous to leave our daughter with My inlaws.

    • It depends on what mood I’m in when the comments come in! I moderate all comments and some I don’t allow through – especially if they are totally nasty.

  100. Cindy

    I like your article. Balance is key to it all. Use what works when it works and do something different when it’s not working. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. One thing that I have learned after many children is that the sweet little babies are very demanding and self-centered in their way of being. If you have met all of their needs and they still want to cry, too bad for them sometimes. They will live even if they have to cry. The world doesn’t revolve around them. They want what they want and they want it now. One other thing, they are very smart, smarter than we give them credit for. They will know and understand what you are saying before you even realize they can. Enjoy your babies but you need to be the boss and not be bossed by them. Also, sometimes they cry when they have to go to the bathroom. Great article, thanks for speaking your mind.

  101. Jodi Hammond

    Just want to say thank you for your honesty. It takes real strength and courage to open up the way you have. I found myself in tears while reading this…as I have shared a similar journey through mothering – I want to do everything the best way for my child but lost the balance that I need in my own life. My daughter is 18 months and I have finally done a “sleep learning” routine with her this last month and it is helping throughout the night. I want to also thank you for saying that your child continues to cry while putting himself to sleep, as I feel my daughter will be the same for a while still.
    And most of all, I want to thank you for just being real. For being raw. There are so many times I have felt like I’ve totally failed at being an awesome mom in the past 18 months and it’s just absolutely broken my heart and made me obsess over everything, throwing myself into a deeply anxious depression.
    But like you, when adjustments were made and I let go of what I thought I should be doing and started doing what works for me and my baby, I became a better mom during the day and my baby smiles more too.
    If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that “There is no one-size-fits-all method for parenting”.

    Bright blessings to you and your family.

    • Jodi, you are so very welcome. Ezra will be almost 6 and still has trouble self-regulating and hates going to bed at night. My new baby sleeps well. So MUCH of it has to do with the temperament of your child. Hang in there. Sleep training can be a wonderful tool. The important thing is that you are rested and taking care of yourself and that your baby is getting as much sleep as possible! Don’t let anyone make you feel like you are a bad mother, because you sound like a great mom to me!

  102. Georgia Davies

    Hello there,

    On the 3rd December we celebrate International Day of People with Disability. This year’s theme is Achieving 17 goals for the future we want. This draws attention to how we can create a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities.
    With this in mind, we’ve created a “Deaf Friendly Games for a Children’s Party” piece which could be of interest to your readers and supporters of the day.

    As the title indicates, the infographic gives several tips and ideas for parents who are holding a children’s party where deaf children may be in attendance. The games suggested are inclusive, allowing all children to play together.

    You can find the infographic here: https://www.woodentoyshop.co.uk/blog/deaf-friendly-games-for-a-childrens-party/4673

    If you enjoy the piece and find it a useful resource for you site, beautifulinhistime.com, it would be amazing if you’d consider republishing it? If so, we’ve added some easy embed codes that can be simply copied and pasted onto a page/s of your choosing.

    Also any feedback or comments would be very much appreciated.

    Kindest regards,

    Georgia

    • The only thing I didn’t like about your post was how short it was! It was BEAUTIFUL!

      I loved this: “Still, you cannot put an equal sign between physical closeness and mental bond”

      YES!

      How many kids do you have? Have you done AP with all of them?

  103. I know you wrote this a long time ago, but I really appreciated it, as it’s been very hard to find articles that are totally fine with attachment parenting AND letting babies cry. I’ve gotten to a stage with both of my littles where they needed to cry without being in my arms in order for the family to get sufficient sleep – the entire family getting sleep being an important aspect of attachment parenting that too many people ignore.
    I wrote about this with my first baby (http://blunthousewife.blogspot.com/2015/12/parenting-methods-attachment-parenting.html) and my second (http://blunthousewife.blogspot.com/2017/07/my-baby-needs-to-cry.html). Two different situations, but both important to my family’s welfare. I have enjoyed studying various types of parenting styles, and prefer to call myself an Instinctive Parent :).

    I hope your little one is sleeping well, these days!

  104. ann

    just to say good for you! I don’t think you’re a “detached” mom at all. So called “Attachment parenting” doesn’t actually own or have much really to do with “attachment theory”. You have a bond with your child, i’m sure, and its an authentic bond. Thank you for your honesty. You’re helping a lot of other mom’s out there!

Leave a Reply