Monday, July 12, 2010


... is what I often hear from parents especially those who are committed to the attachment parenting method. And I agree. But...

... you can form a habit. I haven't been a parent for long but I have met some women who carry their child around with them since day one. And most of them realised problems by putting their baby down just for a second. And I do believe that this might be related to the fact that those children are USED to be carried around.

Recently I answered a question in a parents discussion forum. The mother said that she is carrying around her child most of the day, she can't do anything in the household or for herself and the baby would start crying as soon as she would put him down on the blanket or sofa. Her relatives said she would spoil the child and so she was worried (and a bit annoyed by the fact of not being able to do anything at all). So I wrote she cannot spoil the child - that's right, but she can "help" him get used to be carried around and that she should try to just put him down day after day a little longer while staying with him and showing him her presence, comforting him when he gets upset.
Most of the women who replied to this post started then "attacking" me of accusing the mother of having done wrong. So me saying that her child got used to be carried around suddenly was the biggest problem and the whole discussion was on me. I can understand that it is tough to hear that you have done wrong and I didn't want to say that (and in words I never did). I just read her question and obviously she had a problem. And only later I figured out that the mothers attacking me were supporters of the attachment parenting method.

I am not a big fan of this myself for several reasons but I do think that this method can be taken too serious. When I mentioned that I am educating my child to Emmi Pikler's ideas I was told that I should not focus on it too much and should not follow ALL her principles. This was said by the women who think that you MUST have your child close to your body from day one. I agree that newborns need much body contact. But I also believe that it might help to watch your child and his reactions. Our son fell asleep on my or my husbands chest for the first days. We let him do so and even now he sometimes falls asleep "on me" when he is really tired. But he also needs his space, he loves lying around on his back and he always did. He likes the pram, only sometimes for short distances I carry him in a sling and as soon as I take him out and put him down on the sofa he stretches himself and laughs at me. He does not need to be carried around in this sling all day, he is not spoilt but he is not unhappy either. I believe he is still attached to me. So what I am saying is - before you have your child in a carrying device every day all day long - watch him. How does he feel on his own on the back for some time? Do not form a habit either way, just let him decide what he feels most comfortable with.

And don't take your child to the toilet in the sling or any carrying device with you (yes I hear women do that). A child deserves privacy. So do you.

I was inspired to this post by a recent blog post by Janet Lansbury - "Problems with attachment parenting" where a mother has addressed the same problem as the mother in the forum I mentioned above. Obviously Janet's advice is much more professional than I could write it.


  1. Your advice is brilliant because you are "living" this situation right now!

    Reading this post reminds me of what I appreciate most about the Emmi Pikler and Magda Gerber approach...their advice to observe and tune in to your baby. Observation is only truly accurate when we can get a little bit of distance. If a baby is in our arms all day, we don't "see" them as clearly. I know AP parents would argue this, but I have found this to be true with my 3 children, and it has been corroborated by the hundreds of parents I've worked with over the years. So, I agree that there is perhaps not a "one-size-fits-all" approach to child care, but being tuned in, seeing the whole person, is the only way to know what our babies actually do need.

    Thanks for linking to my post!

  2. Hi Janet,
    thanks for your comment.
    What you are saying is exactly what has been bothering me most about this to me quite new trend of "babywearing". This constant body contact can in my eyes not be the answer to the baby's need for love and care. I know a lot of mothers would again argue (understandably since it's quite an assumption) but I believe that having your child in your arms all day sometimes is also the answer to the mothers needs...
    Anyway... when it comes to parenting there is no right or wrong to be found between mothers with different opinions so we can just choose our way and walk it with an open mind.

  3. Exactly! Hang in there and please stay true to your wonderful self!