The Superior Choice

by Vanessa Reimer,
author of Pure Ness: What I Actually Think
posted with permission

Today I came across a comment about attachment parenting mothers having an attitude of superiority. This is not the first time I've heard this. It seems to be a common label given to those who practice this style of parenting. My response - Yep.

It's not that we think we are better than you, but simply that the methods we've chosen are better than the alternatives. That is why we chose them. Isn't that they way it's supposed to work? You research and compile and listen, and then you decide to do what sounds and feels like the best - the superior - thing for your baby.

So, yes, we think that what we do is better than what you do. Don't you think the same way? What mother says, "Yeah, this is definitely the poorer choice for my kid, but I'm going to do it anyway?"

Honestly, there are times when we simply cannot understand why you choose some things -- like cry-it-out or formula feeding. It just seems so clearly to be the lesser, or more harmful choice. It boggles my mind that some parents make the decisions they do, even when they are presented with evidence contrary to what they believe. It's like watching someone standing in front of a bin marked "Garbage" on one side, and "Recycling" on the other, and then proceed to throw their glass bottle into the garbage. Huh? I'm so confused. How did you decide that was the better or right choice?

I know that making the decision to attachment parent is a bit more challenging than moving your arm to the other slot on the bin, but often it's easier to do than not.

Bringing your baby into bed with you instead of listening to them cry for hours? Easier.

Whipping out a boob instead of getting up to prepare formula? Easier.

Throwing your baby in a carrier instead of lugging around a car seat? Easier.

Keeping your tiny newborn close to you instead of letting them be strapped to a board while a doctor cuts up his penis? Easier. Follow that with "wipe like a finger," instead of "protect with antibiotic ointment and watch for infection." Easier.

Letting your child wean themselves when the time is right instead of denying them the mother milk they want so much? Easier. (Okay, I know that some people will face quite a bit of flack and criticism on this one which can make it very hard to continue. But even the AAFP and WHO both recommend breastfeeding until a minimum of 2 years.)

I do know that there are exceptions to the rule - the baby that demands his own space to sleep, the mother who needs medication that keeps her from breastfeeding, but the good reasons to chose otherwise are the exceptions, not the norm.

I could go on and on about why the choices I make are the better choices, but that really would go on and on...and on. So suffice to say, "Yes, I believe my choices are better. Why else would I choose them?"


  1. I really enjoy reading this blog. It's a great source of information and for me, personally, very thought-provoking.

    I have two daughters, one is almost four, the other 18 months. I breast-fed my almost-four year old for her first year of life. As a first-time mom, I knew that I wanted to do only what was best for her, whatever that took. I don't think I was informed at all on extended breastfeeding because I never considered it. I don't remember anyone but one particular family member giving me any negative feedback about breastfeeding. I felt a pretty negative attitude for any breastfeeding after the first year. I have since heard negative feedback from this family member about other women in our family breastfeeding. I've learned to tune it out, thankfully!

    My youngest daughter was born with a heart defect. She had to have two open-heart surgeries before 6 months of age. She had to be fed via NG (naso-gastric) tube for the first two months of her life. After she re-learned to suck, I tried nursing her, but she was too weak physically. I was told by doctors that she was in a very fragile position and that pumping milk and feeding her via bottle would be best for her. I found pumping to be much more difficult than nursing.

    It was such a stressful time for us, and I pretty much dried up by the time she was three months old. To this day I feel guilty, because I know that she could still benefit from breast milk.

    Currently, I am pregnant with my third child, a boy. I think I've matured a lot in the last four years as a mom. I've learned not to let others dictate what is best thing for my children. I want to nurse this baby as long as I possibly can, and as long as he wants to.

    I guess my question is this: what would it be like to nurse two children. One who is a newborn and one who is two? Would you recommend it? Is it even possible, especially for a child who is long-weaned from a bottle?

    I'm determined to do the right thing for my children, no matter what feedback I might get.

  2. I just kind of squint and shake my head when I read about the superiority complex that AP moms get accused of having. Any parent can feel that *they*, not their actions, are superior and that's not really a good thing, in my opinion. But it is entirely different to feel that you are making better choices than another parent. Are we supposed to intentionally make worse decisions so that we don't look like we're trying to be better than everyone else? So should I not breastfeed because I don't want moms to think I'm trying to prove how much of a better mother I am..? Should I not even talk about it as to avoid upsetting another mom who chose not to?

    I am struggling quite deeply with the issues surrounding becoming an educated parent. Although I consider myself to be pretty AP-minded, I only got there because I happened to stumble across some blogs and random books on the shelf at the book store. Yes, the information is there, but so many families don't know it is. OB/GYNs, family doctors, and pediatricians don't have AP-style flyers in their offices, AP isn't discussed in mainstream parenting books at all, and so many mothers of the last generation did not use AP so when their daughters and sons ask them questions about their own babies, what are they told? And when the infant product world funds research to say that things like co-sleeping is unsafe, buy our formula-it's more like breastmilk than ever!, and you *need* these 15 plastic carriers for your baby or they won't be happy... no wonder so many moms make what we might judge as bad decisions.

    Have you (general) every googled "the dangers of co-sleeping"? I think one big problem is that we search for affirmation about what society says we should do. If you google "the safety of co-sleeping" you will get completely different results. Which do you think parents type into their search bars more often?

    I am not saying ignorance is an excuse.. I'm saying it's a HUGE obstacle for parents who are trying to do what they feel is best for their child. I believe that once you have the knowledge, you *are* accountable for your actions from that point forward. Gosh I think I'll go and write my own blog post about this - it really has my blood boiling in a healthy way!

  3. Amen! I often have this argument. Someone asked me why breastfeeding moms have to "brag" and I said because it is hard and worthwhile and we are really proud of our accomplishment. If ffeeding doesn't feel that way don't take it out on me!

  4. Love this post! I am one of those people who, when they learn something can't just say "oh, okay", I have act on it. I don't understand how someone can learn the truth about circumcision or formula or what is in a vaccine and then still pick that choice for their child, it boggles my mind.

  5. Thank you. Thank you for this. I am the mother of a breastfeeding, intact, co-sleeping two-year-old boy. I fell into attachment parenting simply because it was intellectually, emotionally, empirically, best.... but mostly because it felt right. I only learned attachment parenting was a "thing" about a year ago!

    To "anonymous" above.... YES! You can absolutely breastfeed a toddler and an infant at the same time - tandem feeding. Your milk will adjust for baby first, but your body is designed to make milk for as many babies that suckle. Both babies, and you, will benefit from the increased closeness, nutrition, and immunity. La Leche League is a wonderful resource for support and info.

  6. everyone always comments on our babies being so happy & content.

  7. Nothing but the best for my attachment!! And I will keep them attached.

  8. People rave to me all the time how kind my 3 year old is and how content and alert my baby is. I reply with "When you meet their needs, they are happy and secure!" :)

  9. LOL I just arrived and love it already!

  10. totally agree ~ everyone tells me how lucky l am to have both kids not crying and seeming so happy ~ my response, they have nothing to cry about!!

  11. it...and then they wonder why he is always in a good mood and loves life!

  12. attachment parenting should really just be called "BEING A REAL PARENT AND DOING WHAT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO DO!" but it's too long LOL!

  13. Yes, Bronwyn - it really is just parenting 'naturally' - normally - the way babies were designed to be parented from the get-go. Nothing fancy about it... just tuning into our mothering/fathering instincts and cues from our little ones.

  14. I don't condemn, but I definitely do not respect bad, careless, or ignorant choices

  15. It's funny my husband and I were just talking about this, different peoples perspectives. I don't agree with putting a young baby in childcare (they take them from six weeks in many centres here) but after thinking about the different economic circumstance / government in the US I realised that for some mums it may be a necessity! I am lucky to live in a country where I am able to make a choice but for many there is no choice. So I try to quell my sense of superiority and understand that we can't all indulge every aspect of our beliefs and some people have harder choices to make (be homeless or work etc.) HOWEVER to those who do choose differently while free to be an AP then I say poo to you my way is better :D

  16. I was actually thrown out of a meetup group because of it....They felt that an AP mom was not what they were looking for....;o) but then again my boy was always calm and happy while the others had trantrums because they had unmet needs..;o)

  17. "Primal Mothering in a Modern World" is one woman's true story about how she gently and naturally parented her 3 children despite being (at times) homeless and without support. No matter, what she put the 'primal' needs of her babies first, and worked around those. This means she never was apart from them in the early years of their life (even as a single mother) and she turned down jobs and found creative ways to make money so that she could do her primary job of mothering. It is an interesting read and the author (Hygeia Halfmoon) is an amazing, outstanding woman who now runs a baby-wrap/sling business with all proceeds going to provide wraps for poor, teen, or homeless mothers.

  18. @Laurent - ""When you meet their needs, they are happy and secure!" :)" Well said! We get the same comments about our daughter...and I posted about how I guess our AP style is working!

    I should certainly hope that people think their choices are the best for their's just that AP parents tend to talk more about theirs.

    For some reason a lot of people out there still just go with the status quo/mainstream, rather than researching parenting ideas for themselves. I find that AP parents are usually far better versed in both kinds of parenting...and our opposites, not so much.

  19. I loved this. Its so true. Why should AP parents be made to feel guilty just because we refuse to go along with what society deem to be the right way to raise children? Horaay for AP (and just going with your motherly instinct)!

  20. I think we need to take one giant step back and reconsider all of this to be simply "parenting".

    Cry-it-out is mean. Circumcision is mutilation. Parent-led weaning is convenient. Those are the deviations, not the simple, loving, -natural- parenting we've added a qualifying prefrix to.

  21. I struggle with this quite a bit. My son is 2 1/2 and I am very much the nurturing parent. I am for positive discipline and I have so much more patience than my partner. He loves our son, but he is quick to scold him. He raises his voice often and seems to get angry at our son very easily. It bothers me and although we've talked about it and he's felt guilty for getting so upset, I haven't seen much change. All I can do is be the soft spot for my son to come to whenver he needs to. *sigh* I love my partner very much, I just don't agree with the way he disciplines. He doesn't hit, but he's spanked a time or two and I've yelled at him for it. He doesn't see that it is wrong when he is in the moment. I won't vent more, but I'm just saying we're all out here! I love, love, love this site and I read it often. Thank you.

  22. Great post. I think that Maternity Leave and Parental Leave is essential in AP parenting. People in the US should fight for it.

  23. Coming back to this and skimming the comments, I just want to say thank you to everyone for your encouragement and support. I wish I could find more mothers like you in real life.



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