Saturday, 12 May 2012
Attachment Parenting: A Noob's Opinion
So this thing is blowing up right now. A pretty blonde woman in jeans and a tank top is breastfeeding her almost four year old son on the cover of Time Magazine. The headline reads: Are You Mom Enough? (which, to me, is irrelevant) with smaller words that describe how attatchment parenting drives women to extremes.
Now, this is a very interesting topic and could potentially lead to some big fallouts due to varying opinions clashing. I, however, will be honest in my opinion but will do so with a bit of rapport. Okay, here goes:
This. Is. Weird.
And has everything to do with the act itself. I have not been sensitized to this "movement" so I, of course, will find it immoral; however, just because I or the majority don't understand "the movement" need not mean you stop doing YOU.
My mother stopped breastfeeding me and my sisters when we were two but my aunt stopped breastfeeding her middle child, Bradley, when he was six. I distinctly remember playing firetrucks with my cousin at the feet of our parents and hearing my aunt say on the matter: "Sometimes when I'm lying down taking a five he'll come beside me and nurse." I don't remember what my mom said or what my reation was at the time, but looking back at that moment I am utterly shocked. A six year old boy still breastfeeding? Well, if word had spread to the playgroud he would've been made fun of to no end. But perhaps the bigger question is this: Can a woman still lactate five years after giving birth? And why would you breastfeed your child at that age?
To answer both questions: yes, a woman can lactate for long periods of time, and these women often feed their child well over the "normal" age because of nutritional values and a thing called attatchment theory. I won't go into great detail but this basically means that a mother purposefully allows her child to become emotionally and physically attached to her in order to foster good socio-emotional development later in life. So even more simply, the mom does this so the kid can have healthy relationships in their adult life. Not healthier, just healthy. Of course, this whole thing can backfire and the kid can basically become a pshycopath (learn about that here) but that is rare. Also, depriving your child of maternal love and care can cause a slew of problems in children, including hostility, depression and conflict issues. After learning all this, it makes you wonder what's the point? Moms have been raising their children normally for centuries and they turned out all right (save for a few bad parents) so why go to this extreme? Why feed your baby well into their toddler years? Why smother them every hour of everyday? One word, people: Love. It's as simple as that.
So back to the debate over the Time cover. Some folks claim this is sexualizing something that isn't sexual, but I don't look at this image and think, she's hot let me get her naked. My first reaction was: What the fuck? But has since evolved into: Meh. It doesn't bother me anymore. And it shouldn't bother me because this woman loves her kid and she is not afraid to show it. This whole attachment parenting thing is mothers loving their children too much. And that's absolutely okay. I live in a community where mothers leave their children at home with their teen daughter in order to go clubbing; I know mothers who have not, and do not, breastfeed their babies at all! Sure, it's shocking to see a woman breastfeed a toddler (on the cover of Time, no less) but it's not the end of the world and it certainly isn't going to impact your life negatively.