How To Deal With People Judging Your Attachment Parenting?
Each parenting choice you make will not be everyone else’s cup of tea. Unfortunately being a parent is such a subjective thing and there really is no one “right” way according to society.
People tend to gravitate towards other people who do things the way they do. In fact, many mums find themselves actively seeking and making new friends when they become mothers simply because they crave friendships with people they can relate to. With people who have similar morals and parenting styles to them. It makes a relationship easier in many ways as there is no need to constantly explain and defend why you are doing things a certain way.
There will always be people who think that their way is better than your way. That is an unavoidable fact of life. However, when the resistance is coming from people you love it is a lot more difficult to accept. This is the reality for a lot of people. Close friends and family members may not agree with the principles of attachment parenting for a lot of reasons. Finding a way to cope with this is not always straightforward because on the one hand you firmly believe in your parenting choices and on the other hand you want your friends and family to believe in you. It can be a tricky balance.
When it comes to breastfeeding there may be a certain amount of resistance from close family members. This is especially true if breastfeeding is not the norm in their eyes. It is difficult to understand but people really do take it personally. I’ve heard of cases where breastfeeding mums have been referred to as “selfish” because breastfeeding deprives other people of the experience of feeding the baby.
I personally received a lot of comments regarding how often I held my baby in my arms or in the sling. It was often said with resentment and in an extremely judgemental way. People would say things like “that baby is never out of your arms” and “do you ever put the baby down?”. I will admit that I found those comments difficult to hear but never enough to make me question my instincts. It always felt natural for me to be close to the baby whenever they needed me. They settled, slept and fed better when there was a lot of skin to skin contact. It was comforting to both of us and it offered me great reassurance after a very traumatic birth where we had been separated when he was taken to special care.
Co-sleeping is something that divided people greatly also. I was regularly informed that I was “making a rod for my own back” and giving my baby “bad habits”. The tone was almost always a patronizing one and I struggled with this for many reasons. I was sleep deprived just like any mother. We were adjusting to life with a newborn and in our particular situation co-sleeping was the best way for the whole family to get good quality sleep. It made breastfeeding easier and the baby was so much more content when he was in the bed with us. We practised safe co-sleeping and did what felt right for our family. Comments flooded in about how badly this would affect the baby’s future sleep as well as my relationship with my husband. Thankfully I had his support and we stuck to our guns and did what felt right for us.
I would love to say that everyone will be delighted to see you practising a parenting style that makes you feel confident and content but that is sadly not the case. If your choices are different to what those around you have done then chances are they will take it personally. In their eyes, your decisions will somehow suggest that their way is the wrong way. It’s “their” stuff not yours.
Choosing to practice attachment parenting is a very personal decision. It is something that you were most likely drawn to for a number of moral and logistic reasons. At the end of the day, you are the person who makes these decisions for your child’s upbringing and care. You can respectfully respond to those around you who offer judgement on your choices but ultimately you have to find confidence in your decisions because it really is true what they say – you know what is best for your baby.
Written by Tracey Quinn staff writer at FFHQ who also blogs at www.loveofliving.ie.