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Would someone like to have an objective debate on attachment parenting vs. Ford?!

(195 Posts)
ljhooray Mon 18-Jun-07 12:27:05

Hi everyone,
I know there are lots of passionate supporters of attachment parenting just as there are passionate supporters of very routine based parenting (i.e. Gina Ford). As Mumsnet knows well, its easy to find debate on Ford, but what I've been totally unable to find is a proper debate on Attachment Parenting. Having read Dr. Sears and others, I would find it difficult to follow what in a way is also a very strict approach. Although its the exact opposite of Ford, I feel it also puts lots of pressure on the family.

Please please please, can we find a middle ground somewhere? I think that's what I'm trying with my lovely daughter Sophie. We occassionally dip into Rachel Waddilove's Baby Book and Penelope Leach You and Your Child and although things feel right for us< i would love to get some thoughts from others.

IdrisTheDragon Mon 18-Jun-07 12:29:16

I think an objective debate on the subject is fairly unlikely on this website, tbh.

pooka Mon 18-Jun-07 12:29:57

I'm similar in that I don't subscribe to either way - seek a middle ground. I love love love Penelope Leach. My mother was a devotee in the late 60's/early 70's and I think that her approach seems to have stood the test of time, probably because she is so unproscriptive.

Generally though, I think it's best to do what you feel is right and works without getting too tied up in following anyone else's methods.

suzywong Mon 18-Jun-07 12:31:18

<cracks open popcorn>

Marmite Mon 18-Jun-07 12:31:19

Sorry being a bit dense and out of touch here - what does Penelope Leach advocate? I am familiar with Ford.

lulumama Mon 18-Jun-07 12:32:59

interesting first post

Cammelia Mon 18-Jun-07 12:33:02

I wouldn't like to have this debate because I don't believe in extremes

dinosaur Mon 18-Jun-07 12:39:05

Um, why not just take from each, whatever bits suit you/your dd/your family circumstances?

For example, I always found that Gina's schedules for naptimes were bang on the money.

But I co-slept with DS2 and DS3 when it suited us to do so.

I don't really quite understand the need to have a debate on the subject - I don't mean to hurt your feelings though.

Enid Mon 18-Jun-07 12:40:46

yes I think her bedtime advice is good and her naptimes advice is good - but I also coslept and carried my babies everywhere and didn't pass up the opportunity to go anywhere or do anythign because it clashed with said nap times!

both ap and ford are extremes and not relevant to real life with more than one child IMO

Blu Mon 18-Jun-07 12:42:00

Welcome to MN!

My 'objective' position is that depending on your personality and prferences, and the disposition of your baby, the 'gist' of one or the other might suit you better.

I can see the benefit of discussing the intracacies of each and either approach, drawbacks and strengths, but not a debate which includes 'vs'!

ConnorTraceptive Mon 18-Jun-07 12:43:38

never understood the need to religiously folloe an "approach" on raising a child. Just do what feels right to you and then come on mumsnet for advice from real parents when you find yourself in a pickle.

sorry think all these types of parenting labels are bull*

themildmanneredjanitor Mon 18-Jun-07 12:43:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

frances5 Mon 18-Jun-07 12:44:36

Dr Sears has a website called "Ask Dr Sears"
You can read all about baby carrying, cosleeping, extended breastfeeding, never letting your baby cry, letting the child wake every single hour for a breastfeed, not going back to work and no smacking

However I don't think that attachment parenting is about rules. Generally it focusses on the needs of the children and Dr Sears encourages mums to parent from the heart rather than a textbook. It is extremely hard work and maternal burn out is extremely common. Ironically Gina Ford only mother was into attachment parenting and suffered severe clinical depression because of it. I think it might be why Gina Ford advocates the complete opposite.

I think that your children will be happy however you choose to parent. There are no hard and fast rules and parenting is not an exact science.

WigWamBam Mon 18-Jun-07 12:46:13

Why not just do what you want, rather than what some book tells you to do? Not much need for a debate over that one, really.

No "system" is ever right for every baby; one size does not and cannot fit all. My philosophy was, and is, to do what felt right to me - I'm the one who knows and loves my baby, not Penelope Leach or Miriam Stoppard or any one of a thousand other "gurus".

I think that the fact that these so-called experts are everywhere, playing on our insecurities and telling us what to do, has meant a lot of parents think that they must follow a book rather than following their own instincts. They lose track of what feels right in the quest for the perfect little baby that the child-care experts promise in return for slavish devotion to their books.

My experience has been that if something feels right then it probably is right for that particular person, and at that particular time. Spending too much time worrying about what the book says leaves you with no time to listen to what your instinct says.

bookthief Mon 18-Jun-07 12:47:28

I really don't see why most people need to follow a set of instructions on how to raise their baby, although I can see why some people might find it comforting to be told what to do and more power to them.

Most of us though just muddle through taking a bit of advice here and a bit there when we have a specific problem. It's being a parent not a religion surely?

I think if you're a very strict follower of either "routine" or "attachment" parenting you would find it very difficult to debate the pros and cons as both seem to require absolute faith in a method that often requires a great deal of personal sacrifice.

<<ducks>>

puffling Mon 18-Jun-07 12:47:56

It's difficult to debate one versus the other as you're likely to have adopted one or bit's of one without being familiar with the other.

TheApprentice Mon 18-Jun-07 12:48:07

I'm a believer in moderation in all things, so middle ground works best for me.

Tbh, I am finding with my ds (5months) that if I try to copy what friends do/books say then it always go disastrously wrong. You have to do what works for you, but sometimes its hard to have the confidence to do your own thing, with so much "advice" out there.

Agree with Enid that I am not going to stop doing things just to fit in with nap times etc. Think we all need to do things just for us sometimes, otherwise we'll end up going mad, or very depressed.

puffling Mon 18-Jun-07 12:50:33

I don't entirely agree with you Wigwambam. Instinct isn't enough. And in a time when many people live apart from extended family who traditionally passed on advice, many of us draw on what these 'gurus' advise.

JodieG1 Mon 18-Jun-07 12:51:46

I don't think AP is extreme and I am a fan of Dr Sears, we have 3 children and we've always been AP. I like the way AP sees children and it fits in with the way I view life and children. I don't find it hard as it's the way I am and it's natural to me. I realise AP isn't for everyone and that's fine.

ConnorTraceptive Mon 18-Jun-07 12:52:56

having seen what little gems of advice people's extended family give out, including my own then distance could be seen as a positive thing

Flower3554 Mon 18-Jun-07 12:53:33

Having had three DC's and then caring for 80 others my view would be:

Babies can't read
Each and every one of them has had different needs and idiosyncranies(sp).
If it works keep doing it, if it doesn't (after giving it a good go) try something else.

lulumama Mon 18-Jun-07 12:54:09

i did 'baby led' parenting....looking at my babies for clues as to what they needed..and getting to know them and their needs

read Ford & Leach

binned them both

saw friend try to follow Ford,and struggling terribly that the baby was not doing what the book said they 'ought' to at a particular time


also book did not take into account having to do school run or playschool or anything like that

read some childcare 'guru' recently who advocates limiting cuddles & weaning at 17 weeks !!

and one who suggests topping up with formula if baby seems hungry

so gurus often need taking with a pinch of salt

all mums should be given the mumsnet URL instead of a Bounty pack

Scootergrrrl Mon 18-Jun-07 12:56:47

I found the Baby Whisperer very good - the premise being that you treat them like human beings with thoughts and feelings from the start, as opposed to creatures which don't understand what's going on.
She advocates routine where needed (bathtime, bedtime etc) but also that you have to respond to your baby as an individual and all babies are different.

WigWamBam Mon 18-Jun-07 12:57:51

Instinct may not be enough, of course not.

But most of us are able to decide what we feel is right with regard to feeding, sleeping, discipline and so on without someone telling us what we ought to feel is right, or without having our extended family telling us what we ought to feel is right.

What's right for me and my child isn't necessarily going to be right for someone else, and the rigid "one size fits all" aspect of these books which means that there is no room for individuality and plenty of room for making people feel they have failed because their child hasn't read the book and doesn't know that they're only meant to be feeding every three hours, or whatever.

If you have to draw on advice, isn't it better to take it from a variety of sources - and from people who have children of their own and the emotional attachment that goes with them - rather than from someone who doesn't recognise the need for flexibility?

frances5 Mon 18-Jun-07 12:59:53

If you go to a La Leche League meeting you stand a chance of meeting seeing some extreme attachment parenting in action. For example I have a friend who has decided to let her children self wean. The result is that she is tandem feeing a five year old, a three year old and is heavily pregnant.

However even if it might shock an on looker its not hurting anyone. All this lady's children are well behaved and happy. It is unusal to see a five year old breastfeeding in public, but then again - why not?

I am amazed by this lady's stamina she has seven children in total. I am truely and utterly in awe.

Attachment parenting is the norm in many countries. Cots and push chairs are a fairly recent invention and in the past no one could tell the time so would not have been able to follow a routine.

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