Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Is attachment parenting a prison?

According to writer Erica Jong, yes. Wall Street Journal published this controversial article wherein Jong equates attachment parenting to a prison for women (and men, in some respects but she notes that women do the majority of the self-sacrificing). It's the antithesis of feminism, ties down women to their own bodies and their own struggles for perfection.

I disagree wholeheartedly! For me, natural birth/breastfeeding/co-sleeping is my culmination of feminism! It's an ultimate expression of both femininity combined with choice. And also, at least to me, attachment parenting is easier in some respects. It fits into our lifestyle. Breastfeeding = wayyyyy easier than bottle-feeding. I personally hate washing bottles, worrying about if the milk has been sitting out too long, etc. during the few times Theodore gets a bottle during the day. Once you get the hang of it, breastfeeding lends itself to a much simpler approach to feeding baby. And making your own baby food? We didn't really, but we fed him from whatever we were eating. Again, simple. Easy. Even easier than opening a jar of baby food and carefully spooning it into his mouth. We handed him a chuck of cooked vegetables or pasta and let him go crazy. He's now an excellent eater (and no allergies), not due to our diligence of carefully introducing vegetables before fruit or testing each food for three days and watching for reactions (I'm not saying these things are bad, I'm just saying I'm lazy). And as far as co-sleeping, it has been the path of least resistance! Sure we get less sleep on some nights, but isn't that the way with most babies?

Is parenting a prison? A deep dungeon of servitude?

Nah. It's not so bad. Even for us hippie, granolie-type parents.

And I do not think most women breastfeed out of eco-guilt. To suggest this seems utterly ridiculous! Helping the environment is a nice perk, but it's the bonding and the healthiness and the naturalness that appeals to me.


  1. I breastfed because it was easy (after the initial misery/learning curve), cheap, convenient, and an excuse to sit and stare at my baby.

    I think most women avoid breastfeeding because it is too hard/painful, ties them down, or they work in an environment that is not breastfeeding friendly. I think education and legislation can fix most of that, without making women who just CAN'T do it feel like bad mothers. A fine line.

  2. Hahahaha I feel the same way - I was just parenting the lazy way and it wasn't until later I realized it has a name, and it's called attachment parenting. We changed things up with our second baby but yeah, there's nothing wrong with doing something because it's easy and if it ends up being better for the kid then that's great!

  3. It kind of reminds me of how getting an epidural/pain-relief during birth is supposed to be the ultimate form of feminism, freed from the chains of labor pain, when really you get tied to a bed held at the whim of the patriarchal system of western medicine. No pain? Maybe. Freedom? Definitely not. The "advancements" that are supposed to "free" women from parenting are no faster or cheaper or better than just plain old being a mother the way any other animal does. The only way that attachment parenting would be more difficult is because of the resistance of the rest of society to let a woman take care of her baby normally.