I’ve been a member of a local API Group – that’s Attachment Parenting International – for the last few years.Â We have fabulous leaders that are committed to supporting parents in their goal to be more attached to their children.Â API has always been guided by 8 “Principles” which were inspired by Dr. Williams Sear’s list of the “7 Baby B’s” which included breastfeeding and bedsharing.
Here are the original 8 Principles that API used when I joined a few years ago:
- Prepare for childbirth
- Breastfeed your baby
- Wear your baby
- Share sleep with your baby
- Use gentle discipline
- Minimize separations
- Be emotionally responsive
- Maintain family balance
I have just been notified that API has now changed their 8 Principles of Attachment Parenting to this:
- Prapare for pregnancy, birth and parenting
- Feed with love and respect
- Respond with sensitivity
- Use nurturing touch
- Engage in nighttime parenting
- Provide consistant and loving care
- Practice positive discipline
- Strive for balance in personal and family life
What a load of bullshit!Â The principle that upsets me the most is number 2 – they removed breastfeeding!Â What are they thinking?!Â I’ll tell you what they are probably thinking…they are trying not to offend the dominent culture of idiot parents that think breastfeeding is just not that important.Â Worse, they have taken out all references to practices that most Attachment Parents hold dear – babywearing, bedsharing, and limited separations.Â API has removed the ideals in favor of the wishy-washy feel-good bullshit that mainstream parents feel is “adequate” parenting.
Is this the worst thing that could happen to API?Â I do believe so.Â Without keeping a firmÂ focus on the ideals of attachment parenting, parents, especially new parents, will have nothing to strive for.Â It’s all good and well to “feed with love and respect”, but if you are not breastfeeding, you are seriously falling short of great parenting.Â Now, I understand there are special situations that rarely occur when breastfeeding can’t happen (perhaps adoption, or a very serious medical issue).Â Those circumstances don’t change the fact that breastfeeding is the ideal.Â Parents need to be brave enough to look those ideals in the face and then deal with the fact that we sometimes fall short.Â Most women end up not breastfeeding in the US because they have made a different “feeding choice” or because they did not get adequate breastfeeding support or information.Â Again, this does not change the ideal that all babies should be breastfed.Â It is the very first, and one of the most important, early attachment processes for mother and infant.Â API is seriously failing as an Attachment Parenting organization if they fail to make this clear to new parents.