Have you heard of permanent parenting?
It’s more commonly known as attachment parenting but whatever you call it, that label isn’t applicable to me or my parenting.
My son Toby is now five and I remember those full-on days of early parenting with a slight shudder. Initially I was so relieved when I discovered the baby sling would stop Toby crying and I got to have both arms free and constant snuggles that I used it almost constantly.
But unlike Mum-of-one Felicity Neal, who I saw on The Project last week, I didn’t last long. Felicity has not let six-month-old baby Charlotte out of her sight since she was born, and she even returned to work as a part time graphic designer wearing Charlotte in a sling.
Watch the video here:
A few months into baby-toting, Toby and I were both over it. It was a hot Aussie summer and that sweaty closeness was no longer cuddly. It was sticky, wriggly, heavy and I wanted my personal space back.
I knew from that point on that attachment parenting wasn’t really for me. My husband and I couldn’t tolerate Toby sleeping in our room, let alone our bed with all the snoring, snuffling and grunting.
Aside from the noise factor, the thought of putting our non-existent sex life any further on the skids by co-sleeping was not something we wanted. He cried a lot in those early weeks and months but we comforted him as best we could in his own room and he always settled eventually.
When the sexy times came back, we could make the most of our adult-only environ and not have to worry about keeping quiet, or having a squirmy infant booting us in the kidneys when we finally got some prized shut-eye.
Attachment parenting as coined by Dr William Sears in the 1970s is all about minimising separation as much as possible in baby’s first few years and responding to baby’s demands for food and sleep with sensitivity and intuition as opposed to establishing a routine.
The Australian Attachment Parenting Association (APA) website has much to say about the benefits of being so physically close to one’s baby and the strong bond it can create between parent and child, specifically the mother.