May 11, 2012 1 Comment
Wow– when I first saw this photo of the new Time magazine, I figured that this had to be the European edition, as it would never fly for more prudish American tastes. Apparently I’m wrong. Now, this is one attention-getting cover:
Anyway, Slate’s Hannah Rosin has a really interesting take on attachment parenting to go with it:
I have rehearsed my objections to the breastfeeding cult at great length in the past, in my Atlantic story, “The Case Against Breast-Feeding,” and more broadly against attachment parenting in a recent Slate discussion of Elisabeth Badinter’s book, The Conflict. There is the very basic objection that it is virtually impossible to do what the advocates say is best for your baby and have a job, which the vast majority of American mothers have these days. In the Time magazine story, which is largely a profile of attachment guru William Sears, he answers this objection by arguing that attachment parenting is perfect for working mothers because as soon as they get home they can instantly rebond with their babies by strapping them up in a sling and then sleeping with them the whole night. Voila! Instant maternal bliss!
But this leads to my second and more profound problem with it. Attachment parenting demands not just certain actions you take with your baby but also certain emotional states to accompany those actions. So, it’s not just enough to breast-feed but one has to experience “breast-feeding induced maternal nirvana.” And it’s not enough to snuggle you have to snuggle enough to achieve a spiritual high. As Badinter has said, once women were just expected to tolerate their babies, Betty Draper style, but now they are expected to experience “jouissance,” loosely translated as “orgasm.” And this is what makes the movement truly oppressive.
I love my kids and certainly like to spend time with them and am all for breastfeeding, but I do think attachment parenting is a bit over the top. That said, if this is how you want to parent, more power to you.