One woman's path through doula training, childrearing, and a computer science Ph. D. program

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Book report: Attachment Parenting

Ganju and Kennedy, Attachment Parenting, 1999

My score


Amazon link

My review

Just read Sears' book, The Baby Book, or The Attachment Parenting Book instead. Sears is quoted liberally in this little large-fonted paperback. Shock value is used throughout to push the attachment parenting agenda. The book is missing a conclusion, and just abruptly ends after a half-hearted discussion of tandem nursing. The main topics covered by Attachment Parenting are as follows.
  • Baby-wearing, or otherwise touching and carrying the infant and toddler
  • Co-sleeping, sleeping near the child(ren), or sharing a family bed
  • Nursing rather than breastfeeding - that is, "mindful parenting" (a term not mentioned here)
  • Allowing the child to lead in - or, at least being respectful of - independence milestones such as sleeping alone and weaning
  • Listening to the baby's cues and being respectful of the child

However, I was left with several questions and concerns.
  • For child-led (or "child-respected") weaning, which occurs over a period of months, what happens to the milk supply?
  • If a child eventually nurses only once every several weeks, does the mother pump in the interim, or allow the milk to dry and let the child nurse for comfort only?
  • The book does not address how to properly feed an infant while an older child is nursing - in particular, the infant must be fed first, every time, before an older sibling is allowed to eat at the breast.
  • How one balances parental need for space with a child's need for attachment.

The book uses guilt and shock to persuade the reader (who is already sold on the idea of attachment parenting, or else would not be reading a book called Attachment Parenting) that modern inventions, including but not limited to bouncers, swings, the "baby bucket" (removable, carry-able carseat), and strollers, are detrimental to a baby's development and only carrying or wearing the baby and co-sleeping are good for him or her.

A few interesting statistics were cited here.
  • When looking at other primates to project a natural weaning age for humans, it seems like humans' natural weaning age is between 2.5 and 4 years of age. Some human cultures breastfeed their children to four years, but the mean American weaning age is four months. And that's with just over half of women even attempting breastfeeding in the first place.
  • Korean children are held or touched 95% of the day. American children are held around 20%.

All in all - an incomplete book which I would not call a reference.

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