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Attachment Parenting Examined

A breast-feeding three-year-old – and mom – on the cover of Time Magazine. We’ll talk with the guru of “attachment parenting.”

Time magazine May 21, 2012

Time magazine May 21, 2012

The cover of this week’s Time magazine got everybody in a tizzy. A yoga-fit, svelte young mom, hand on hip, breast out, breast-feeding a nearly four-year-old child – her son – standing on a chair. Both staring right at the camera.

And the headline: “Are You Mom Enough?” The image was a grabber. The story was about “attachment parenting.” The school of parenting that says never let ‘em cry, hold them close, co-sleep, and breast feed ‘til… whenever. We’ve got the Time reporter, and the big guru of attachment parenting, Dr. Bill Sears.

This hour, On Point: attachment parenting.

-Tom Ashbrook


Kate Pickert, a staff writer for Time magazine. Her cover story “Are You Mom Enough” is here.

Dr. William Sears, is the father of eight children as well as the author of over 30 books on childcare, including The Baby Book. An Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, he is also known as the “guru” of the attachment parenting movement.

Dr. Kelly Ross, a practicing pediatrician at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, she is also an assistant professor of pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine.

From Tom’s Reading List

Time “Sears’ most well-known parenting manual, a purple 767-page tome called The Baby Book, is ubiquitous, but his own story is not. In reporting this article for TIME, I was intrigued to find out how little had been written about Sears’ upbringing or how he came up with his parenting theories in the first place.”

The Wall Street Journal “Today’s bible of child-rearing is “The Baby Book” by William and Martha Sears, which trumpets “attachment parenting.” You wear your baby, sleep with her and attune yourself totally to her needs. How you do this and also earn the money to keep her is rarely discussed. You are just assumed to be rich enough.”

Christian Science Monitor ““The Baby Book” has become a bible of sorts for moms like the ones in her story; moms who breastfeed their children through toddlerhood, who eschew date nights with husbands in favor of nursing, who never leave their children (ever), and who happily give the marital bed over to the baby.”

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1215630905 Nancylee Bouscher

    looking forward to hearing some intelligent conversation around attachment parenting rather than the reactionary-hype.  i have two sons- one almost 4, still nursing- and his older brother who self-weaned at 5.  we wore babies, we co-sleep.  thx to dr.sears and mrs. sears for their books of support!

    my question/comment is in regards to how nursing impacts brain development.  perhaps the human brain needs breast milk until 3,4,5 years- and when children are deprived of this there are developmental/social consequences?  further, i’m curious about the correlation, if there is any, with violent behavior and the length a child is breastfed- not just for an individual, but for a larger community as well.  for example, do communities that tend to have “extended” breastfed children tend to be more peaceful?  if so, what do your guests attribute that to?

    • jefe68

      My daughter stopped breast feeding when she was almost 2 or about 18 months. She made deans list when she graduated college.  You know what helped her brain develop, reading too her from a very young age.
      Engaging in activities that stimulated her brain.
      She still devours books and writes well.
      Violent behavior and breast feeding?
      Behavior is a trait that is learned if I’m not mistaken.

      • Brett

        Yes, I agree, what Nancylee is wondering about has to do with learned behaviors. 

    • Sam

      Why don’t you tell us.

      Which community do you live in? How much crime is in your community? Are you a stay at home mom, who is able to do “attachment parenting”? Do you think a mom who is living in a ghetto, working in McD’s able to do “attachment parenting”?

      I am sure they will discuss social aspect of this (amongst many) parenting styles.

      • jefe68

        I’m sure she does not live in West Baltimore.

  • Yar

    It is just a breast, doing what it is designed to do.  We put women on pedestals, only to criticize them for not fitting some unrealistic perception of what is normal and why they don’t fit our perception.  Time is in the business of selling magazines, breasts have been used to sell them for ages and much more.  I saw this statue (see link below) in the Carlsberg Glypotek over 30 years ago, it puts a different perspective on the perception of normal.  I am thankful my 3 children came one at a time, each about 3 years apart, 9 years of diapers was nothing compared to 12 plus years of college.

  • Mordendraithe

    What is the relevant advantage to breast feeding through toddlerhood? Is the body/mind development of the toddler still getting advantages from breast milk over other forms of formula or other healthy dietary choices? Is it more about physical connectives with the developing toddler? Any research on the difference of benefits of breast fed vs bottle/cup fed breast milk?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mohammed-N-Razavi/704529743 Mohammed N. Razavi

    I habe rhree kids, all were neeast fed for bit ober a year, we both work and don’t have time (or so much money) to be with them all the time or even makority of the time, two are college now , one in ninth grade, none is aelf absorbed retro grade, all have manners are sociable. People have raised kids for millions of years ( ok six thousand if are a belivee) without any books still we got here, thanks for the warning, I will not waste my time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mohammed-N-Razavi/704529743 Mohammed N. Razavi

    The world is already full of self absorbed little pricks, from Bush and Romney to gangsters and welfare queens, fro cops that beat up homeless to people that beatup cashiers for not getting their fries, we have generations of those with extra ordinary sense of self importance and rprivilage. Will these people have room in their lives for any one else? Will they be able to have a normal relationship, even with a sibling?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Just what we need, more children who aren’t allowed to grow up.  And more calls for turning the world back to a pre-industrial existence.  If I had less sense, I’d be astonished that any of us survived life before the arrival of the latest guru with some new fad.

    • Kestral

      Greg, I nursed my son until he was 3 1/2.  He is currently a very happy grown man with a beautiful and loving wife and an excellent job which he got after attending an excellent college.  He is psychologically very well adjusted, does not have any drug/alcohol/cigarette addictions.  So, where is the evidence that nursing a child until he weans himself a barrier to his growing up?  Oh, and I forgot to mention that I nursed my daughter till she was 2, and after getting her Master’s from an Ivy League school and marrying a wonderful man, she now has a baby who she nurses and sleeps with.  No fad, just good parenting.

      • Gtime


        • Terry Tree Tree

          Don’t look!

      • manganbr

        Personally, I’m glad not to have any permanent residual memories of having my mouth on my mother’s nipples. No question that breast-feeding is healthy and natural, but at what point does this kind of extended breast feeding affect sexual development? 

      • Sam

        Kestral, my advice is to ignore what THIS Greg Camp has to say. Over the months of reading his posts on this forum, I have come to learn that he is an absolute brute and cannot see another person’s view, even if it was presented eloquently and plainly. Not agreeing, but respecting that other’s have a different view that might also be correct/right.

        Save yourself some frustration. Some people are just better ignored.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

           Have I done something to offend you personally?  You disagree with me?  Fine.  Beyond that, what’s your problem?

        • J__o__h__n

          I’ve often disagreed with him without finding him to be disrespectful.

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp


    • Kestral

      Greg, I thought I replied to this, but it did not show up, so forgive me if this appears twice. What I wanted to share with you is that both my children were nursed until they weaned themselves, one was 3 1/2, one was 2. Both are very well adjusted college-educated adults. My daughter has her Master’s from an Ivy League school.  Both my kids are married to wonderful people, have no addictions to drugs/cigarettes/alcohol, and are mentally very well adjusted.  Where is the evidence that nursing them until they weaned themselves was a barrier to their growing up?

  • TFRX

    Aside from the idea of breastfeeding, this seems to me an absolutely creepy photo*, from the actress’ facial expression, to the toddler whose casting agent really earned their cut passing him off as a three-year-old.

    Every other gushy cooing-mom-with-infant bit, which I’ve seen plenty enough of in the last month, looks positively benign by comparison.

    *I’m not blaming these two. They’re real people, but someone (else) had to shoot and choose this.

    (As always, the disclaimer applies to shows about child-rearing: I’m not a parent.)

  • Terry Tree Tree

    There are health benefits to breast-feeding.  Other options were negligible, until maybe 200 years ago!
       Children are very important, for many reasons.  More of them need to better treatment.   If you don’t like children, please don’t start, or have them.  They didn’t ask to be born.  Babies are innocent, and extremely vulnerable!  Please don’t abuse them?
       That said, anything can be over-done.  Children, at some time, will have to deal with the world, and people in it.  Part of protecting them, is teaching them how to get along in the world.
       Building ALL your life around, and subservient to, your child, is actually harmful to the child, and its normal development.  The lack of other interests, especially romantic, is bad for the mother, and therefore for the child!

  • AC

    while this is a common practice in Europe & Africa and is also said to act as a natural ‘birth’ control (can’t remember where I read that), the photo itself is a little too sensational – why is she standing? It’s odd & doesn’t feel motherly. I bet the magazine is happy at this attention & chose this picture specifically for the fall-out….

    • Quadraticus

      Feels like the death throes of a dinosaur industry, the weekly newspaper. Since magazines can’t command the same advertising revenue they once did, the covers have to become more sensationalist to act as advertisement for the sales price itself.

    • Yar

      AC, you hit the nail on the head.  I am amused at her child’s expression, it says “this cow ain’t got no milk.”  A more realistic picture would have milk dripping from an engorged covered breast with a shrunken one in the suckled child’s mouth.  Oh, and where is the bra?  Three years of nursing with no sag and no bra?     Time would not want to let down its readers with a realistic picture of nursing.  
      I am all for mothers nursing as long as they want, where they want, and how they want.  I still will laugh when the nursing child in church speaks out saying “Mom, have you been eating onions again?”  A true story, although I didn’t hear it first hand, it is one of those family stories that has been passed down.  

    • Reggie

      Not a common practice in France.  They have rates almost as low as the US.

      • AC

        most of my cousins breast fed their babies until almost 2-2.5 years (S France). I guess i assumed it was the norm…

  • Hidan

    I always found it disturbing for mothers to breast feed in public babies, a three year old just seems sick. There was a women on the BBC that did such until the kid was 7years old if I heard right and others until the child was 5.  

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Sorry you were disturbed, as many men  are, with a natural act, in public. 
         Just imagine, if YOU weren’t fed during those years, YOU wouldn’t BE!
         Breast-feeding is ALL that was available, until maybe 200 years ago, to keep babies alive!
         If seeing breast-feeding bothers you, please look somewhere else?  Unless you are locked in a cell with a breast-feeding woman and her child, you CAN look elsewhere!

  • jefe68

    The Baby Book sounds like a load of nonsense.
    Who wants to sleep with your baby all the time? Sure, put a crib in the bedroom for the first 6 months, but the sooner a couple can put the child into room of it’s own the better. People do have sex lives and I can’t think of anyway to ruin that than with sleeping with ones baby all the time.
    That photo is just wrong on so many levels.
    I thought the rule of thumb with breast feeding is when they start to getting teeth you should ween them off of breast feeding and on to solid food. 

    • Gregg

      The caption “Are you mom enough” is the creepy part to me. It’s just weird.

      • Kestral

        Yes, I agree that is a ridiculous remark, and simply typical of the media trying to create a firestorm.

      • Sam

         OMG, you are really surprising me today. I share the same sentiment.

        • Sam

           Wrong Gregg, sorry.

      • Brett

        Dr. Bill had a kind of creepy air to him, as well. Speaking of creepy, who is this “Sam” character? 

  • Gregg

    Kids compete in sports where they don’t keep score and everybody gets a participation trophy. They play recitals where the audience feels too guilty not to clap. Self-esteem cannot be bestowed. I don’t think a parents job is to be a best friend.

    • J__o__h__n

      I’m sure that the child nursing on the cover of Time will have self-esteem issues later as a result. 

      • Gregg

        I have my suspicions about how the kid processes all of this but I guess I should keep them to myself.

        • Sam

          Well said Gregg. It is by far the best thing I have heard you say for as long as I’ve known you. :)

          • Sam

             Sorry, wrong Gregg. :) The other one is still a … disliked character.

      • Kestral

        If he does, it will not be because he was nursed until he weans himself, it will be because his mother has so little judgment about how to share with the world what is best about it.

  • Reggie

    I think Time has been going down the drain over the last few years and needed something sensational to grab attention and sell more copy.  This whole “mommy wars” thing is a farce and the ones who benefit the most from it are the people who write the books and/or sell people on “parenting philosophies”.  I mean, look at that cover.  It has NOTHING to do with what breast-feeding is all about– a loving, nuturing, special relationship between mother and child.  This cover is “hey, look at me!  I’m being provocative and sexy!”  What mother breast feeds their child on a stool or a chair?  If the picture was just a mom holding her child on a couch, it wouldn’t have sold as much–even with the purposefully belligerent by-line.  My wife nursed our daughter until about a year.  Being a working mom, her supply just couldn’t keep up and a pump is much less efficient than a baby.  We would’ve stopped between years 1 and 2 anyway b/c those are the recommended times by the AAP and WHO, respectively.  For any mother that wants to go past 2 years, that is not what we would do, but that doesn’t make you “more mom” than my wife or someone who breat-fed for 6 months.  As long as you love your child, treat them well and let them grow and be independent–while always being there as a support when they need it– I think you’re “mom enough” (and “dad enough”!).

    Also, there is no single book that is the “bible” for raising a child.  The Baby Book and others act as if every single child is the same and that if you just plod along and do the exact same thing with each of them, you’ll have a happy baby, child, adult, etc.  Nonsense!  Your child is not an automoton, so don’t treat him or her like one.

    • Kestral

      Very well said, Reggie.  Thank you for a thoughtful and articulate comment.  Couldn’t agree more.

      • Sam

        I completely agree with Reggie, but also have one thing to add.

        And god-bless those who choose to breast-feed until X age,
        and god-bless those who choose NOT to breast feed at all,
        and god-bless those who have 20+ children
        or choose not to have any children at all.

        It is a personal choice and I personally respect anyone’s life choice, in how they bring up their kids or lead their lives.

        Having opinions about things that do not concern us and then acting on those “opinions” is what causes intolerance and bigotry and something that our society needs less of. My humble opinion.

        Oh, and I am agnostic, but the “god-bless” phrase fit the best to summarize my sentiment.

    • Rolling my eyes

      A friend I hadn’t seen since her children were born came to visit a few years back. I was dismayed with the extended bedtime routine for their 6-year-old son, which was a highly orchestrated series of calming activities, ending with his favourite music on a tape player (all this while visiting out of the country). Imagine my greater dismay when their highly articulate 3-year-old daughter came into the kitchen where her mother and I were standing, tugged at her mom’s shirt and said, “Please, Mommy, I want to suck.” To which my lawyer friend with the high-paid job responded by leaning over and offering her breast to her daughter. As a veterinarian, all I could think was that humans are the only mammal able to engage in such absolute folly. Dairy cows have more dignity.

  • Brett

    Breast feeding? Yes. Breast feeding at 3, 4, 5 and on? Absolutely not! What nonsense. I can’t see any value after?…I think a one year-old is too old to be engaging in such. I can’t see any value beyond 9 months; I would want to begin weaning the child off of mother’s milk at 6 months at the latest. Perhaps gradually, but nevertheless. 

    I’m sorry, I know each child-parent relationship is unique in many respects, but when the child begins to really develop a sense of his/her own separate self, that he/she is not a natural extension of mom but a separate being, then things like breast feeding undermine such natural and necessary notions. 

    I believe what I describe is a true paradox of parenting. I think of the word “cleave.” At once it means almost two diametric opposites. To sever, separate or split apart, but it also means to hold close, adhere to, to be attached. The job of a parent is to do both, often simultaneously. It is an interesting word; as it applies to parenting, conceptually a veritable ongoing quagmire of false starts and miscues. Luckily, the parent has the tool of follow-through and follow-up on which he/she can depend. This tool is perhaps the most valuable of all parenting tools because one will make mistakes.

    I hate to use the word “codependent,” but it fits for the situation where the parent follows this so-called “attachment  parenting” approach. Interdependence is more something to strive for in the parent-child relationship than codependence. 

    As far as the photo…it looks so completely contrived and sensationalized; what crap. The kid looks very smug; it is almost laughable. Freud would have had a lot to say about this, and he was a Victorian hack (I’m joking, although he WAS a Victorian hack).  

    There, I’ve said my peace

    P.S.-I’ll listen in to hear what the pediatrician and Clinical Professor of Pediatrics have to say.

    • 123

      Actually, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding until the age of one. Prior to age one, a child must submit his intestines to the detrimental chemicals of synthetic formula. In the past year, there have been myriad cases of formula tainted with arsenic, worms or other poisons. Breast milk, though often tainted with the pesticides that infiltrate every human cell, from umbilical cords to hair follicles, thanks to our decimation of the environment, will not kill a child. Furthermore, children who are breastfed for one year have better immune systems and a better supply of DHA, which augments brain function.

      As a breastfeeding mother, of a ten-month old, I plan to wean my son at the age of one, when breastfeeding will have completed its intended purposes: nutritionally protecting my son in the best way possible, avoiding the prohibitive financial and environmental costs of formula, and helping my body recover from pregnancy and childbirth.

      Nonetheless, I am disturbed by this article and photo. Breastfeeding is best for a child until the age of one, and this article and cover will just alienate mothers and their families from choosing what is best for the baby (note the word baby here, not pre-schooler).

      • Brett

        Thanks 123, I was wondering about this (and hoping for some straight-forward information from the show). You’ve provided me with what today’s guests did not. 

  • Kestral

    As someone who nursed my son until he was 3 and a half, and my daughter until she was two,  I can say I fully support nursing any child until that child weans him or herself.  That said, this photograph made me very unhappy. First, it was done solely for shock value. NO ONE nurses a child in that position.  It was a typical media sensationalist shot, and it surely will do attachment parenting no favors. It simply made nursing an older child look weird, when it is perfectly normal and very good for the child.  I am sorry this woman was willing to exploit herself and her child – and for the sake of what? I fear it will do more harm than good.

    Also, when I was raising my kids 30-some years ago, we did not have a name for this kind of parenting, it was just called loving your child, being attached to your child, being sensitive to your child’s needs.  No special moniker needed.

  • http://www.theotherbabybook.com/ Miriam Katz

    Attachment parenting is a beautiful practice that is backed by science and happy families everywhere. It’s changed our lives for the better! Can’t wait to hear Dr. Sears today. He’s done a world of good.

    • Gtim


    • Hunter

       Wholeheartedly agree!  I couldn’t have said it better.

    • Wl_fu

      Agree.  I practiced attachment parenting with my two girls and they both grow up to be well-adjusted, independent, sociable 5- and 3-year-old.  The beauty of it is that I have a strong emotional base with my girls so that I can more effectively discipline them because they know that I am always there for them. 

  • Dame

    Dr. Sears, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! The Baby Book is by far the best parenting book. Any new moms or dads out there, or anyone going to a baby shower, this is the book to have.  It will not collect dust on the bookshelf!


  • melania

    Are we so far removed from instinct that we need a book to tell us to keep a baby close to us?  The cover is disgusting..it is not a candid photo of a mom feeding her child in a moment where the child is in need of nourishment, it is staged for sure.  The child must have been told to suckle and look toward the camera.  This image does not even look like a mom/child…it looks like a fame seeking woman servicing a pathetic little man.

  • henry

    All together now “can we say titillate”

  • Gtime

    This type of parenting is just plain WRONG!! Grow some fucking balls and teach your kid the difference between right and wrong, winning and losing and stop feeding your own personal psychosis with false praise for your kids!
    If you want to feed your four year old breast milk, pump it and give it to him in a glass, but these Mom’s won’t do that because the breast feeding is 99% to feed the Mom’s needs NOT the kids!!!

    I am sick of putting my four kids out on the sports fields only to hear some other moron parent telling the kids, it doesn’t matter I’d you win or lose! Bull shit, it’s called a GAME which produces a winner and a loser. Teach your damn kid how to be a respectful winner or loser! When these kids become adults they are going to kill business with that type of attitude!! “It doesn’t matter that we won that account, all that matters is we had fun putting the power point together!!”. Yeah, right, that will keep you employed!!!!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Respectful?   Would you say that your comment is respectful?  To the children, and others of a religious, or more polite manner?
         Sports are supposed to teach, Team Participation, Physical Ability, Cooperation for a shared Goal, Enjoyment, and  Sportsmanship.
         You one of those ‘parents’ that teach their children to ‘WIN, at ALL cost’, even CHEAT, or permanently disable your opponent, to win a GAME?   They’re ALL going to play for the Saints?

      • GTime

        Get a F’ing clue!! Sports produce a winner and a loser sweetheart! Is that respectful enough for you! It’s people like you that are putting idiot kids into society and this is the pool of people we then end up having to employee!!
        Your a moron for thinking I teach my kids to win at all costs…I don’t need to explain my parenting to you! My kids results speak for themselves. I have 4 kids in the gifted/honors program at school, teachers tell me daily how amazing and behaved my kids are and all of my kids play competitive sports where they are the REsPECtED stars of their teams. They say yes ma’am or sir to all adults and usually are the ones gathering the other kids to say good game to their opponents! So take that and shove it up your tight ass! PS.. I’m a from Europe, you are the typical American! PATHETiC!!!

    • Beez

      You sound a bit pyscho!

      • jefe68

        Maybe his/her mother did not breast feed them enough…

      • Gtime

        You sound like a moron!!

  • Bryan

    I once did some odd jobs for a couple on their farm.  When the day’s labor was over, I was drinking a glass of water as I spoke to the wife.  During our conversation, their 5 y.o. son nuzzled up to his mother, lifted her t-shirt, and began suckling.  I think I was successful in remaining stoic.  This event left an indelible impression on me but I don’t matter in the equation.  What matters is the effect breastfeeding at this age left on the boy.  % y.o. is well beyond the age where he is getting essential nutrients that he cannot get from a balance diet.  Psychological issues?  I am not qualified to say, but I did feel that it was, shall I say, unusual.

    • jefe68

      No kidding. A 5 year old breast feeding?

  • Guest

    That four year old is FAT and she using breastfeeding as her diet plan. She is a sicko and is raising another one. This is one sad and sick country.
    Get ready.

  • Julia

    It seems  to me that the practice of breastfeeding a 2, 3, 4 or 5+ year old would seriously interfere with the relationship between the parents. At some point, you have to let your child grow up. You need to regroup as a couple.
    Is this really about what’s best for a child or is this really about fear inside the couple about how to find themselves again after baby’s first year?

  • IsaacWalton

    From my point of view (married, no kids, not planning on having any, college educated)…I find this practice disturbing. I’m looking forward to hearing the guru support the practice. Frankly, I think it will create more and more children over dependent on parents for everything.

  • EF Sweetman

    I really think we are reacting to a parenting fad…that I wish would go away. There are few things more pathetic than preying on the doubts of loving, nurturing parents by implying they are doing wrong by their children if they can’t manage Attachment Parenting therefore, my rant: http://lizybee.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/over-attached-and-monsterous/

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Children generally are able to take solid food at six months.  This extending of infantile behavior is unnecessary.

    • Laurie

      A 6-month old is entitled to be infantile. Because, y’know, it’s still an INFANT.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         Once the kid can move about on his own steam, it’s time for solid food.  This is an effort to keep children dependent and ornamental.

        • Laurie

           My child can move about on his own steam and eat solid food (despite not having any teeth yet at 10 months), and he still benefits greatly from nursing, as do I. He’s dependent because he’s a baby. And though he is seriously adorable, he’s not ornamental. There are definitely parents out there who have trouble letting go of their children and letting them grow up, but extended breastfeeding and cosleeping aren’t necessarily indicators of such.

  • Sam

    Live and let live.

    Let parents parent their children whichever way works best.
    Obviously, “attachment parents” – care about their children – the question is – do they care TOO much? And I think the only person who is able to answer that question are parents themselves. Not we, not society, not WHO or AAP, or doctors, or book writers, or psychologists, nor journalists… 

    I believe that caring too much is better than not caring at all.

    And there are many more parents out there who don’t care about their children, than do. Look at the single mother’s statistics.

    The cover of TIME and the story by-line is over-sensationalized and over-hyped and MEANT TO BE SO!

    It is up to us to bite the hook or not.


  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    In the professional opinion of a number of psychological professionals… these folks are whacked. These ‘moms’ have ‘issues’ that they are inflicting upon their children, many of whom will spend much of their lives wrestling with to overcome.

  • IsaacWalton

    I think Attachment Parenting is more for the PARENT and not the child.

  • Sam

    There, good response:


    I for one, HATED insessintly talking, describing things and actions to my child when he was little. I HATED DOING THAT. So I didn’t. He will be fine.

    Many many mothers and many many parenting books and articles/studies discuss the benefits of talking. Even Tom (or NPR) did a story, I think, about how beneficial it is for kids to hear lots and lots of words while they are very little. That it just spurs their brain development and makes them smarter.

    I hated doing that. I had to fight myself, to do that, because I am a quiet person and I think it is absolutely stupid to say things like “look, mommy is putting milk in the bottle, yammy yammy milk, bottle, yes…” … ARGH! It would turn into idiotic blabber and then I would hate myself for doing that.

    I’ve read and we listened to music and audiobooks.
    I’ve breast-fed until it was humanely possible, but when it took half an hour to pump 2 oz of milk I called it quits, because to me, that was inhumane – to me. To give up an hour of my life for 4 oz of milk that MAY or MAY NOT be beneficial. It drove me nuts. If it was easier than that, I probably would have breast fed until whenever, as it is a common practice in Russia (where mothers GET 3 year – PAID by the govt – maternity leave). I hope Tom touches on that.

    Humans are rational beings.
    (For the most part).

    We do things that make sense to us. When something becomes “too expensive” (and not always in a monetary sense) – we stop doing it.

  • Maureen

    It is revolting to see this issue visualized like some sort of mother/child porn, with all the same aesthetic conventions.  

    TIME may have done it, but have some respect, On Point.

    • ana

      I agree.  The picture and conotations cheapen the most  natural human experience.

      • Justhoping2a

        It’s not about breast feeding!  Does the Dr. Spock routine ring a bell?!!!!  First, taking advice from a man who a) doesn’t have breast and b) doesn’t have a baby hanging off him and c) doesn’t stay at home to give “attachment” parenting to his child.  Think about the pill you’re swallowing!   (Just listen to him – the babies that he liked!)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    You can tell it’s an election year – time to stir up the masses.

    I expect that the number of people who read the article and/or have some idea of the issue vs. who’s seen the cover and formed opinions on no information whatsoever is a tiny fraction of single per cent.

  • Theresa

    When they obtain teeth, it is time to eat solid foods and drink
    from a cup.
    Let go Mommie and let the boy grow up.

    • Lara Cameron7

      I agree 100%.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Up to the parents, especially the mother.
         The health-benefits to the child are MANIFOLD, and real!

    • Wl_fu

      Disagree.  Breastfeeding is more than simply meeting the nutritional needs but also emotional.  Every child is different and it is something that works out between mother and child, rather than some arbitrary milestone, like child having teeth.  With this said, I have to say that Time’s cover oversensationalizes the topic of attachment parent and unfortunately draws attention too much one thing, ie breastfeeding over others.

      • Julia

        what about the emotional needs of  the couple and the family as a whole?

      • Justhoping2a

        Just the term attachment parenting ought to point out what a problem it is….you want your child attached?  Personally, I want my child, confident, independent, happy, and secure with him/her self. 

      • BHA in Vermont

         Disagree :) You can meet the emotional needs of a child by cuddling and other tactile means.  Breast feeding is for the purpose of nutrition. 

  • ana

    The newborn infant needs at least 3 months of mother’s milk which will protect them as their own immune system develops outside the womb and is complete around that time according to leading immunologists.  Longer time is obviously beneficial nutritionally and emotionally.  It would be interesting to know when the best time, via studies, to wean is.

    • Brett

      That is what I was wondering, and I was disappointed that no one on the show offered up any data on the matter. It would make sense that Dr. Bill wouldn’t want to emphasize such information, but I wanted Dr. Ross to give more of that kind of information.

  • Hermanation

    As a working mom, I try to follow attachment parenting as best as I can, but my biggest problem is not that I work, it’s dealing with other mothers. It’s like high school all over again and I’m left wondering how im supposed to get my son to sleep when I ask for help and get derision for wanting him in the crib for a few hours. Forget dealing with the moms that gloat about never leaving their babies long enough that they need a bottle. I’m curious to know Dr Sears’ reaction to those militant AP moms. I’m stuck in the middle.

    • BHA in Vermont

       Tell them to look in a mirror and ask why THEY are so lacking in self esteem that they need to have their kid attached 24×7.

      • Brett

        I think that is an interesting point about at least some proponents of this parenting style. I know some women who almost completely define themselves as mothers and mothers only.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

     This is the Oedipus complex turned into an advice column.

    • Bluestriper22

      That kid has to kill his father first.  Dunce.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         Apparently, he’s shoved dad out of the bed already.

        • BHA in Vermont

           More likely than not. There is only so much space in a bed and as the kid grows, Dad will be spending more nights on the couch.

  • Stillin

    I wore my kids, yup and no regrets…the last one, yea he was breastfed the longest, I don’t know why…I slept with my babies, wore my babies, loved my babies and I would not do it any other way. I breastfed the first two maybe the first year, and the last, he was getting too old, but basically I think at the end of it it was maybe 2 seconds and a laugh. I think our culture is completed messed up due to how this is perceived.

    • Julia

      A baby is not a fashion accessory.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Hear that interview with the mother?  The child is there inserting himself into the conversation.  Yup, that’s where this is headed.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

     It’s hard to find science to support this?  Indeed.

  • Julia

    Is this fad limited to high income families and stay at home moms? I find it hard to believe that working moms are breastfeeding at the office or on the assembly line.

    • Momof3teens

       No, it’s not limited to stay-at-home moms.  There are many mothers working outside the home who practice at least some elements of attachment parenting.  I was working full-time in a very demanding professional career throughout the years when my three children were babies.  One thing people don’t realize is that breastfeeding after the first six months naturally becomes only a supplement to food, and can easily continue in the mornings, evenings and weekends around full-time work schedules.

  • Donna, VT

    When my first child was born I found out from my doctor that a child’s immune system is only functioning at 40% by the time they reach age two.  It is only when they are 6 years old that their immune system is at 100%.  Breast milk may not add nutritional value to a toddlers diet, however they are still getting a mom’s antibodies.
    By the time my first child was 9 months I discovered Dr. Sears “Baby Book”.  I’m so glad I did!  It made my parenting so much easier especially when it came to my second child.  I would sleep with her at night, when she would squirm I would feed her and we would fall back to sleep together.  She never had to cry, I was less exhausted and better able to care for both children during the day. 

  • Swonderly

    I am a new mother to an amazing 3 1/2 month old boy.  I own both the Baby Book and Dr. Ferber’s book and early on realized I needed to shelf them and use my own common sense.  They made me stressed out and doubt my own parenting skills when my own baby didn’t respond to their recommendations the way the books said they should.  

  • Aboris


    • Justhoping2a

      She can’t, she needs validation!  That’s actually true – it’s a subconscious question and is often aswered by the listener in body language.  It’s done because the person presenting an idea is not sure of themselves. 

      • J__o__h__n

        Maybe she wasn’t breastfed long enough. 

      • J__o__h__n

        Maybe she wasn’t breastfed long enough. 

        • Justhoping2a

          perhaps not!

  • Justhoping2a

    This isn’t about breast feeding at all.  Let me make this simple.  Does Dr. Sears have a baby on his breast all day?  Does he stay at home and sleep with his “babies”? I think not!  This is just one more guise to get women to feel guilty if they don’t have a baby hangin on one hip and a tit all day.  Just the other day NPR did a report about what builds a child’s self esteem and those children who go on to be viable adults who are confident decisions makers – wait for it, wait for it - the children who come from parents who don’t dwadle over their childen! 

    Any woman who swallows this nonsense pill ought to think twice about why she feels a desire to be a mother! (I’d bet a dollar to a dime it’s about her own lack of self worth)

  • Ellen Dibble

    Is there any research about post-partum depression, with versus without breast-feeding?

    • Email

      Yes.  Look up oxytocin.

  • Infoman

    While I have no trouble visually with the Time cover,  the simple fact is that the child could not give informed consent and may suffer severe teasing and bullying when he gets older and has more interaction with his peers.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      And envious adult males?

  • Bea

    I’m interested in the phrase attachment “parenting” when it seems to be rather exclusively a mother/child practice.  Where does the father come in?  Does he just provide the cash?

  • kaybee63

    I breastfed all four of my children, with the last two until they were three and two years old respectively.  I was pretty attached to them while they were BABIES and TODDLERS!  Now they’re school age, and very well adjusted and quite independent; I definitely subscribe to the free-range kids philosophy.  That being said, I was able to stay home with my kids, and with two well-educated, well-off parents, my kids would have probably been just fine had I bottlefed them and not been so “attached.”  So many other issues have a much greater impact on how well adjusted kids turn out.

    • kaybee63

      And loving parents (forgot that adjective!).

  • djg58

    This “movement” is on the fringe of legitimate child development.  Attachment issues came into focus when children were adopted from orphanages overseas who had serious attachment disorders.  The attachment disorder was due to being left alone in cribs, having no ongoing human contact and relationship and a high level of neglect.  Attachment theory was developed to help these children who were often violent and unable to develop any relationships.
    I have seen the damage done to new moms who have read Dr. Sears book. It is tyrannical and creates additional anxiety for new moms who are already anxious.
    The issue of breastfeeding, and how long to breastfeed, can be separated out from Dr. Sears ideas.  

    • Bjkm

      Thank you!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    We had our kids in the 80′s – it may not have been called “attachment parenting” but it was definitely around. Slings and front baby carriers were common. Some late feeders. The family bed happened and is actually pretty common in many cultures. For the all OMG generated from the Time cover, it’s nothing new.

  • S andy First

    My husband is editor of the American Academy of Pediatrics journal “Pediatrics”.  He does not recommend co sleeping with infants.  It has been proven to increase the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. 

  • Hunter

    Please ask Dr. Sears what he thinks of “Bringing up Bebe?”, the controversial book about parenting the French way. 

    On Point’s  interview with the author of “Bebe”  revealed what seemed to me as the anti-attachment parenting style …. anything to get this annoying little creature to sit up and behave.  It was revealing that the French have the lowest percentage of breast-feeding that any other developed nation.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    This man is the father of eight children?  I feel sorry for his wife. . .

    • Bjkm

      She is with him, on the bandwagon, and co-wrote his judgey books.

      • http://lizybee.wordpress.com/ EF Sweetman

        I thought so until I heard his remark about leaving a note on the mirror to remind her that their children need a balanced mother…I think he called all the shots on this deal.

  • Elizabeth in RI

    I hadn’t expected to fall into the attachment parenting fad, but discovered that it worked for us. I went back to work full time when my child was 4 months old. None the less I breastfed until he was 13 months old (never had formula once). I was fortunate to have a supportive workplace that allowed me time and space to pump which is not common. Nursing was just so much easier than having to bring along bottles, find a place to warm them, etc, – especially in the middle of night. Our child slept with us until ready. Again not planned that way, just proved to be easier for exhausted parents – and  that’s what worked for us. For others, that wouldn’t work – and that’s fine. When people stop trying to force their views (whether it’s parenting or religion) on others, we’ll be a lot better off!

    • BHA in Vermont

       I would consider 13 months to be anything close to “attachment parenting”

    • Laurie

       Ayup. This is pretty much how it happened for us.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Historically, there would usually be another infant taking its place at the breast, and long before the older sibling was 3.  So nursing so long must be mostly a phenomenon secondary to birth control, and “spaced” babies.   So.  Mothers of multiple births surely find a way, but I’m supposing that baby number 2 usually displaces baby number 1.

    • BHA in Vermont

       Yeah, my mom said I got cheated!  My sister is only 15 months younger.  Probably the root of any and all problems I have now ;)

      • Ellen Dibble

        Hi.  I was born 10-1/2 months after my older sibling, and my mother tended to nurse her children to at least a year old.  I am trying to recall.  I think both my brother and I practiced bulimia, which is to say we did projectile vomiting, which psychologists will say is an attempt to restore connection with the mother.  We kept spitting up till we got fed again.  I don’t remember competing with him, but I think there’s something to it that nursing is a form of closeness that might not otherwise be available.  I recall closeness with my father, mother being out, who for some reason could only come up with a bottle of water.  Bleh!

        • Ellen Dibble

          By the way, I certainly forgave him right then, but it is vivid in my mind his helplessness in this regard.

  • BHA in Vermont

    If humans naturally weaned at the same age (relative to lifespan) as other mammals, it would be ~40 to 80 weeks.

    I’m ALL for breastfeeding babies but there is NOTHING natural about breast feeding a 2 year old let alone a 4 or 5 year old. The only time it is reasonable is in places where the poverty is so great there isn’t enough food and where women don’t have access to birth control. Though as my step-mother could have told you, breast feeding isn’t a fail safe method. 2 kids in 11 months!

    • Donna, VT

       Toddlers who are breastfed typically breastfeed 3 times a day or less.  Breastmilk may not provide much nutritionally but it does provide antibodies.  I’m glad I nursed my child beyond age two.  She had an incredibly awful gastric virus which caused her major fluid loss when she was 2-1/2.  I tried Pedialyte, popsicles, juice and water.  She would only take breastmilk and water.  By the fifth day, she refused water.  My pediatrician helped me to increase my milk supply and he told me I what I was giving her was better than anything on any shelf!  In his words, “the only way she is going to stay out of the hospital at this point is if you keep nursing”.  I did and she never had to go to the hospital to be rehydrated. 
      A child’s immune system is not fully functional until age six.

  • Carl Christian

    As the father of a wonderful young woman who was pretty much brought up in a way that is closely described by “attachment parenting”, I was completely offended by the idiotic but still very sexy picture that was supposed to symbolize its primary talking points. “Sex sells!” — great for the print media (I am a big supporter) but a really nasty & cynical use of the principle. It has set back a necessary & sane trend in parenting that Time (& the relevant participants) should feel a moral obligation to try and make right. The article may well have been balanced & thoughtful but since a picture is worth a thousand words, they’ve undone any of the public good that they may have supposedly intended.

  • Kestral

    I would like to suggest that Kate Pickert listen to herself being interviewed. Her habit of using many, many “you know” and “um” pauses makes listening to her kind of a trial. With work, we can eliminate these habits from our speech.

    • Justhoping2a

      Women who use “you know” and “um” and “know what I am saying” are not validated women.  Those are signals that they need validation for what it is they are presenting.  They are all questions which constitute an answer (either in word or boby language) from the person to whom they are speaking.  If the resonse from the listener is one which indicates an agreement the conversation generally goes on.  You do not hear women who are confident speak using those terms, and they very rarely use the word “like.”

      • Brett

        One could broaden your observation to include men. I agree that in terms of how people use language in conversation, it indicates a need for validation.

  • Salzburg

    Sounds more like an European book of nurturing.

    • jefe68

      How so? In France they instill the old school idea that children need to know their place and to respect boundaries and adults. The grabbing of ears is still practiced.

  • Laurie

    Our 10-month-old son has been sleeping with us in our bed since his 4th or 5th month. He would wake every 2 hours, hungry and crying, and I could not get enough sleep to function. Since he’s shared our bed, we all get more sleep because he can sleep-nurse when necessary. And yes, he does eat plenty of solid food, but I will nurse him until at least one year because it is best for him and because he clearly still needs it. *shrug* This is a short amount of time in the grand scheme of things. I’m not worried about it.

  • Tncanoeguy

    I think this points out that we do many things in modern society that are counter to human evolution and natural instincts – the foods we eat, sedentary lives, way we raise kids…  Society and the economy (this unnatural thing that drives everything) proceed at a pace beyond our biology.  

  • Morganmime

    I’m terrified that my children are going to have to grow up with children that were raised this way! These people are raising giant babies that will never be independent. I feel bad for these kids. ALSO, this sets unrealistic expectations for moms. This is something taken up by people with nothing to do all day and who lack close bonds with adults in their lives and are trying to create an unhealthy attachment in their poor kids.

  • IsaacWalton

    Is Sears a pediatrician and a child psychologist?

    • Bjkm

      No.  He is a judgmental blowhard who uses no scientific evidence to support his opinion.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

     So attachment parenting dulls a competitive spirit?  Yet another reason to refuse to follow the fad.

    • Tncanoeguy

       Does too much of a competitive spirit lead to Enron et al.? 

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         I’d rather have too much than too little.

    • J__o__h__n

      What if there are twins?

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         One for each?

  • Genrad

    And so what is the proposed upper limit of attachment parenting.  I know one couple who is sleeping with their 13 year old daughter.  Is this incest or extreme parenting?

    • jefe68

      It’s weird, period.

    • Morganmime

      Yeah it’s gross, the kids that are co-sleeping and breastfeeding up to age 4 and above are going to have serious problems developing normal sexual relationships as adults

  • Andrew

    As a stay-at-home father who’s been raising his two children for nearly four years, I’ve had the chance to meet and know many attachment parents.  Indeed, many of the tenets of the attachment parenting philosophy are practices we embrace.

    That said, it irks me when my parent friends tell me how important extended co-sleeping and extended breastfeeding are.  They frame the practice as being all about the long term emotional well being of their children, but in reality I think that it is very often an unwillingness to set boundaries for their babies and an extreme aversion to hearing their children cry or experience distress of any kind.  When considering whether to do some of these things, ask whether you want to do it for your child, or for yourself.

  • Kestral

    Dr. Sears, you are wonderful!!  I raised my children just as you describe, and while they live in other states with their families, we are still close.  I would love to hear from your own children how they felt about their upbringing. Thank you so much for all you have done for children.  Blessings on you!

  • Margi Swett from Vermont

    Madeleine L’Engle, the writer and a favorite human of mine, said,” The greatest gift parents can give their children is a happy marriage.” I have followed that advice with pretty good results – this appears to put the child in the centerpiece of the family replacing the couple and essentially pushing the father into a subordinate role.

  • John

    Dr. Sears: “I watched parents and children I liked.” 

    How very scientific!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Could that have been “I watched parents and children alike.”?

  • Justhoping2a

    This man is so full of ____ his eyes should be brown.  Attachment parenting creates empathy…this based on all the children he has seen.  Apparently I must question how many children he has seen.  I know many, many children who have never been raised in attachment parent who are some of the most empathetic children/adults I have met.  In fact, I now someone who consipires to this philosophy now, and I wouldn’t let that child in a room alone with any other child on my watch!  Talk about a spoiled rotten bully!

  • Glenn Koenig

    I am so glad that this is finally happening!  This brings tears to my eyes.  If only I had had the chance to grow up this way!  Too bad I can’t go back.  Of course there is ‘age play’ but it’s not the same.  Best I can do is get as many hugs as I can in today’s life.  And I’m over 60, still healing.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Brother, go to family reunions, weddings, baby showers, or other community events.  Some people have enough love to share.  Find them. 
         Here’s a brotherly hug, from a man that puts his life at risk for his fellow child, woman and man, until you get the physical ones you need.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

     Tom Ashbrook, couldn’t you find someone to disagree with Sears?  Dr. Ross is only here to talk about some practical aspects, not to offer a fundamentally different position.

  • Greyman

    Of course, no bullies emerge from the population of attachment-parented children: they’re all so into their mothers, they might as well be flailing tentacles. Did you not hear that child squirming in the background of the TV interview tape they played at the top of the hour? “Mommy mommy!” Another sad feminist ploy to assert nonsense ideology. Propaganda. Next.

    • Bjkm

      There is nothing feminist about this subject as such.  I think Dr. Sears is wrong, by the way and I am a feminist.

      • Greyman

        Good for thee, I am all for independence of thought among feminists but always sad or bemused to see the ascendency of feminism’s “great ideas” (attachment parentlng looking no more likely than the suffregettes’ advocacy of Prohibition). Latitudinarianism I see somehow as essential to feminism, phallic ideological structures of narrowness and commanding height pose a structural impediment to feminist ideology, I have long since concluded. (Attachment parenting looks adequately feminist from a male heterosexual perspective, I’m here to tell you.)

        • fourthwaver

          Attachment parenting is not, per se, a feminist practice, especially given the degree to which the responsibilities here would likely fall more heavily on women, even in the most egalitarian of marriages and most family-friendly workplaces. 

          • Greyman

            “Here, son, keep your mouth full until age 5,” does not sound completely innocent of feminist intent, no, it does not. Would seem to engender a life of docile whimpering for the cuddled child, as that piece of tape we heard at the beginning of the show clearly demonstrated. (“No, I would not begin to suspect this ‘movement’ of feminist intent at all,” provokes spontaneous smiling, I dare repeat.)

        • Brett

          Yes, unfortunately, you ARE here to tell us…

        • Terry Tree Tree

          I’m a male, heterosexual, that raised 2 U.S. Marines, and did a lot of the attachment parenting, and male nurturing!  People like and respect my children.

    • Brett

      I was waiting for a some partisan spin. 

      Sure, first, women want to be viewed as individuals and not merely defined by the men in their lives, careers that include equal pay for equal work, then next thing you know they are trying to indoctrinate us all into some bizarre, ideological mindset to disrupt the natural order of things…It’s a slippery slope and we’ve slid down it into the dreaded feminist rabbit hole. Mmm-hmmm… 

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    The look on the child’s face on Time’s cover?  “I’ve got mine.”

    • Brett

      I thought so too. 


    • Terry Tree Tree

      Your interpretation. 

  • Camilla Kane

    I am sure this has been mentioned many times, but I will lend my voice.  If you are on drugs that make you sleep to heavily or know you are a heavy sleeper then don’t cosleep.  There is no way I would ever sleep through rolling over on to my children.  When my youngest caught a cold early on, she slept many nights on my chest – the only position I could get her into that would let her sleep.

  • Pamela McIntyre

    Here’s what I object to, hence the title of the Times article: this way of thinking puts a tremendous amount of pressure on mothers. If they don’t do all of these things then they are not enough and will be responsible for their child not being smart enough, empathetic enough, etc.  I see among my facebook friends younger women in their late 20s and 30s who are exhausted and angry but will not seek babysitters or daycare to take some time for themselves so they can replenish their own energy and be happier mothers.  Where’s the village in this theory that allows mothers to get a break?

  • Glenn Koenig

    The United States is so backwards in this whole area.  Look around the world, and not just in ‘backward’ regions of the world with poor sanitation, nutrition, etc.  How can parents in other countries do co-sleeping without the risks.  And our doctors just come out with ‘recommendations’ not to do it?  I don’t get it.  Why do we have to be so egotistical here in the USA?  Why don’t we show some humility and learn from everyone else around the world?

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       Compare our achievements to the countries that you’re considering.  I’ll take our way of doing things.

      • Glenn Koenig

        Our achievements?  Fine.  We have ‘achieved’ a higher rate of incarceration than any other developed country!  And that’s just for starters.  I cannot see a connection between achievements and a stressed out population because of isolation and lack of touch when we are very small children!

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

           Naturally, you’d look to that as the standard of comparison.  I’m thinking of science, the arts, technology, economy, and so forth.  I have no wish to live in a third-world country.

      • Glenn Koenig

        I say, think of how much more we could have achieved if we had more caring parenting methods!

      • Sam Walworth

         Achievements what you are naming is beneficial for mostly the wealthiest and richest of the society only. Most of the middle and lower middle class are spending way too much time just idling in the traffic jams.

        Well, LCD TVs, iPods etc are just a luxury which one can easily get by without having.

    • Bjkm

      They don’t “do it without the risks” sir.  Infant mortality rates are higher for many reasons in the countries to which you refer.  And, as a mother of 2 who wanted to breastfeed as long as possible, but was unable to because my body would not make enough milk, I resent people, especially non-mothers who make assumptions about how anyone else parents.  I still feel guilty and humble, if you will, because of something my BODY was not able to do sufficiently.  So, please take off your judgement hat.  

  • satkins

    I had my children in the ’90′s, and had little real support for breastfeeding or baby wearing. I breastfed my first for 7 months, the middle child 2 months and the last child, 1 month.  I wonder if I had had my babies in the 2010′s, if I would have been able to breastfeed longer.  My babies spent way too much time in the car seat, and many babies do. There is a difference between this and helicopter parenting. I imagine the helicopter parents did not attach and let go as is natural, but are making up for not attaching in this way by over compensating and never letting go.  

    Dr. Sears is so right.  I envy these parents who can choose what is appropriate for them and their babies.  I used to say if the kid can ask for it, it’s too old to be breastfeeding, but now I’m not so sure.  These moms are really paying attention to what they are doing.  Better that than unconsciously plopping your baby into the car seat.  

  • maimai

    Where scientific evidence that attachment parenting is superior to other forms of parenting? Is attachment parenting backed up by science?

  • http://www.facebook.com/shari.thurer Shari Lehrer Thurer

    I am the psychologist author of The Myths Of Motherhood: How Culture Reinvents the Good Mother (1994). The ideals of good parenting varies over time and place. It is culturally constructed There are many ways to raise a happy, healthy child. Attachment parenting is not better than Tiger Mom parenting

    • Bjkm

      Thank you.  And my son, who had horrible colic, even as I eliminated wheat, milk, soy, peanuts and more.  He is very attached to me, even though he slept in his own bed.  He is also one of the most empathic people I have ever met.  SOOOO tired of all the judgements from people like Sears.  I wish he would just stop his preaching.

  • Ellen Dibble

    What is the scientific data on the contamination of mother’s milk by all the toxins in our environment?  There is surely a trade-off between the uniquely important components of mother’s milk and the risks, which the child has been already exposed to in the womb…

    • Terry Tree Tree

      The contaminations in baby formulas?
         Mother’s breast milk would have some compounds that help baby to utilize or eliminate possible contaminates?

  • lessardfeeneyliesa@yahoo.com

    Even on the subject of parenting, it would be wise to practice, idea;s movements,theories etc in moderation.  During my reading of the “battle hymn of the tiger mom” I understood several truths in the authors argument for her specific approach to parenting, however, the entire philosophy did not resonate,with that, attachment parenting has some merit, but the overall effect, I believe, in fact is a dis service to children, in that their ability to deal with disappointment, failure, on any level, both imagined and realistic, is such a foreign concept/emotion, our children are unequipped to deal with such unavoidable life events, and resort to drastic solutions.  I refer to bullying as being in existence as far back as christ. One could argue christ himself was a victim of bullying, yet, in the last 10 years children/teen ability to deal with bullying in an effective way has resulted in an astounding rate of juvenile suicide.

  • maimai

    Where is the scientific evidence that attachment parenting is superior to other forms of parenting? Is attachment parenting backed up by science?

    • IsaacWalton

      I agree. I’m not certain that Dr. Sears has given much of scientific proof on the show…his comment was “that HAS to be good for the child”….proof please.

  • Vanessa

    I breastfed my son until age 2, we co-slept until 7 months (he now sleeps in a crib), he spent 2 days a week home with dad, came to work with me 2 days a week.  I do not label myself and my husband as “Attachment Parents”, rather I feel we educated ourselves enough to trust that we know what works best for our son and our family.  There is no label that fits every kid and every family.

  • IsaacWalton

    Dr Sears seems to offer only anecdotal information…possible that well behaved child is in shock because they are separate from their mother?! Thank you Kelly for your last comment.

  • Lochinvar

    Aside from succumbing to Capitalist commodification of EVERYTHING, ie: Children as “Investments”, I hope Sears & his “Movement(s)” will continuue to be as sensitive to the effects and affects of “The Capitalist System”. For instance, why the 8 hour, 5 day work week? Why aren’t parents paid to spend “quality time” raising their children; and why isn’t there universal health care? (See the recent Occupy Manifesto, for Examples!!)Peter Parsons

  • 2Gary2

    Your kid is too old to breast feed when he lights up a cigarette after he is done.  

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Humorous, but inappropriate.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Go watch the Today show interview with the model mom and the child.  That kid’s a brat.  He whines through the interview and tries to run the show.

  • Laurel

    My daughter was a very empathetic child and she was only breast fed for 4 weeks! Isn’t it just the personality of the child?

  • Bjkm

    Just one more Dr. Sears culture of Blame.  I only breastfed my daughter for 6 months.  She was not getting enough nutrition.  MY BODY WOULD NOT MAKE ENOUGH MILK!!  She was underweight, even though I fed her on demand and pumped when she wasn’t.  Dr. Sears’ message seems to be that if you don’t breastfeed for 2+ years, you are a doing your child a disservice, being a bad parent.  Well, bloody split nipples, and an uncooperative body were not my fault.  I tried everything.  Oh, and Dr. Sears?  I have two advanced degrees.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      I’m sorry that you took it that way.  I understood Dr. Sears, to say that Balance was an important part.  He said that parents should consider their individual circumstances, in making these decisions. 
         Your daughter got the best nursing that you could do?  If your body wasn’t made for 2 or more year breastfeeding, it wasn’t!
         It sounds like you took your body above and beyond the call of duty, since formulas exist that work.
         On behalf of your daughter, if she can’t tell you, THANKS!

  • Ellen Dibble

    A mom may need the physical attachment and bonding of breastfeeding, I’m thinking as a bar against post-partum depression, and I’m thinking especially for mothers who can’t maintain the same closeness WITHOUT that.  The child may not need it, psychologically, as much as the mother.  Once the child learns to say No, I am who I am, the mother has challenges to the relationship.

    • Bjkm

      I suffered from PPD (with some psychosis).  Fortunately, I was able to take care of my child, so I feel lucky.  BUT my body would not cooperate with the making of milk.  I breastfed her exclusively, until it became clear that she was underweight.  My body simply could not make the milk.  So no.  Breastfeeding does NOT help with PPD.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Interesting perspective!

  • Cayenne MacHarg

    I am a new mom trying to figure this whole parenting thing out.  I have a 13 year old brother who nursed until he was five and he is one of the most empathetic kids I’ve seen.  He is confident, balanced, and compassionate.  Nature?  Maybe.  But most certainly nurture too!

  • Sam Walworth

    Across suburban India, kids are breast fed till 2 years and beyond (may be upto 3 -4 years)  even Public breast feeding is normal in North Western states (Rajasthan) and most of the kids co sleep with the parents and I hardly did find any issue in the society associated with the childhood

    Similarly in Europe, breast feeding is pretty normal upto 2 years and above (thanks to generous Maternity Leave) and they all just do fine..

    I cannot understand why Americans consider it a taboo!

  • John

    Dr. Sears: “We have so many kids, I forget the names sometimes.”

  • J__o__h__n

    How long does Bay Buchanan recommend? 

    • Brett

      She would probably recommend the mother negotiate such matters with the wet nurse/servant.

  • OldSteve

    Yes, there is subtle sexuality in the mother’s pose.  That is why I stopped and paid attention.  I read.  I listened.  Now I know why my daughter-in-law is raising her children like she is. It works for her and them.  Good job Time (and Tom)!

  • Nvcasneeded

    The flip side of breastfeeding and the connection therein is the incredible appeal that the porn industry is serving.   It is serving a couple generations of non-breastfed men.  There is a disconnection here.  How long you continue to breastfeed is negotiated between mother and child.   I am encouraged that many women are learning to negotiate with their children and share their bodies (breasts) with them.  Both parties can learn from this experience.

  • spadte

    Question– when moms breastfeed past the child’s age of 1, do they also add whole cow milk to the child’s diet or is it exclusive breastfeeding until 2, 3 yrs old, etc?

    • J__o__h__n

      Is there an age when you have to start drinking cow’s milk so as not to end up lactose intollerant? 

      • Brett

        I don’t know, but I’d bet the dairy association would recommend soon after birth and throughout each day for the rest of one’s life.

    • Beth_D

      It’s my belief that nobody who doesn’t want to grow up to look like a heifer should drink cow’s milk.  Cow’s milk is for calves.  But I do admit that I love cheese!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Adding cow’s or goat’s milk, after 1, or as needed before, hasn’t hurt anyone that I know.  Unless they are lactose intolerant, or something.

  • jane

    Our kids are in their 20s, happy, independent, responsible, and fabulous people. They nursed until they were 3 and 4, and slept with us until they were 6 and 8. It was not a big deal. My husband and I both worked — part time each — and had satisfying careers. My husband had as close a relationship with them as I did as he was the one who carried them in baby slings and backpacks. We also homeschooled. It was a wonderful life. I don;t see why everyone is making such a big deal of this — it’s a great way to raise kids.

    • Bjkm

      I would never say your way is wrong.  I am happy for you.  But what Sears and his ilk keep saying is that if one doesn’t do what you did, for whatever reason, their kids will not turn out as well.  That’s the big deal.

  • Citizenjones

    I am surprised at the reference frame, even for the proponents of attachment parenting, for pediatric health is the Mad Men smoking drinking, isolating, consumption maximizing ’60s and the quick-get-away-from-mothering-and-on-to-career ’70s.  The US is less than 5% of the world population.

    It seems clear from few references to global data that attachment-style parenting is the norm.

  • John

    Co-sleeping:  Apparently, the child will be more empathetic, and “nicer” … if he survives.

  • Salzburg

    Totally disagree that this concept produces empathetic children. It’s the parents and environment. If you are in a culture where this is a conscious choice I think its is the educated empathetic parent them self and the environment they are creating where the child is being raised that creates this caring child. This is no scientific theory.

  • BHA in Vermont

    I just looked at the picture of the magazine cover. To me, that boys eyes say “Mom, why have you shoved my face on your chest?

  • Mikepiehl67

    I’m a stay at home dad: 2 kids 4 and 7 and we always slept with the kids: EMPATHY!!! Our kids are amazing!! They understand their friends, they share, they’re nice and we get complimented all the time. Having a parent home is key!!!

  • IsaacWalton

    Is there any information (sorry haven’t read the book) on how attachment parenting plays out in other cultures?

  • IsaacWalton

    Babies “love” that deep man’s voice…proof of this? Or again anecdotal?

  • Ifurtado

    You should not let the listeners assume that attachement parenting will guarentee an empathetic child.  I though I did everything right with my first son only to have him diagnosed with Exectutive Function disorder.  He has a hard time reading another persons emotions which make him seem unempathetic to other children.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

     Fathers can nurse?  Yup, keep talking, Dr. Sears.  Your stock is falling by the minute.

    • Nvcasneeded

       mr camp

      i hope you can understand the concept of “nursing” as having meaning beyond “breastfeeding”.  Have you ever been to a hospital and received nursing services?  Have you ever had the experience of that nurse pulling out her breast and sticking it in your mouth?  I doubt it.   “Nursing” does exist beyond mother’s breast.  Stock rising in my mind.

  • John

    Dr. Sears:  “Fathers can nurse.”

  • AnnMarie2

    I have a child who is extremely empathetic, very caring for and of his friends and family.  He is well attached, loves and is loved, knows how to effectively separate.  And he was never breast fed.  He was adopted at 1 from an Eastern European orphanage, where while he got good care, he was rarely carried about. 

    When he came home with us, we worked hard on developing our relationship, established routines, held and carried as much has was practical, but also recognized that while he will always have the safety and support of us and his extended family, he needs to also thrive in the larger world.

    Effective parenting shouldn’t be defined by any one metric, and parents shouldn’t be admonished for doing what works very well for their family.

  • Janice

    You should have a picture of a 4 year old drinking milk from the tits of a cow. That’s what we are doing now.  The world health organization suggests two years of breast milk.  After that the child is weaned from any kind of milk.  How many children are still drinking cow’s milk?  How ridiculous!  Dr. Sears never mentions breastfeeding past two years of age.  If you want independent children, attachment parenting results in exactly that.  Read the research.  When you are satiated, you are no longer hungry.  When you know you have the love and security of your parents, you are no longer clinging.  Dr. Sears is spot on with his knowlege and advice.  Mothers who listen to him will  not be sorry.  We have to do exceptional  things to have exceptional children.  It takes energy, effort and sacrifice. 

  • AnnMarie2

    deleted entry error

  • Julia

    WHAT? Couples leave their OWN beds to have sex?! What?! It’s their bed, for heaven’s sake. Move the child. Talk about teaching unhealthy boundaries!!!

    • Brett

      Yes, and close (and lock) the door to prevent any surprise intrusions during sex. Sex is not a very graceful act, despite our feelings of love, intimacy and poetic motion during sex. A small child’s observations might just mean a little unnecessary (and unfortunate) visual memories. 

  • Kathy Hart

    I breast fed for 25 months and coslept for the first 6 – 12 months and our son still climbs into bed with us at almost 6.  Am for the idea of “attachment” parenting (for our family)- though think it is laden with judgment.  If one doesn’t practice this, does it mean one practices “de-tachment parenting?”  Also – please, more on the implications on marriage of co-sleeping.  Don’t we need to prioritize our marriage to provide a healthy, happy family for our children?

  • Mjclark

    There are no longitudinal studies – over 20-30 years – that demonstrate that this form of parenting or long term – 4 years – breast-feeding produces better (and how better? what specifically?) adults? healthier? (and what does that mean exactly – healthy how). I know a woman who breast fed her son until he was at least four and this son who’s now a mature adult has her share of problems in life and relationships. It is not clear to me that the breast feeding had a major positive impact on him, or not. Who knows what had the impact?  There is no proof that one thing, sharing the bed, or long breast feeding produces more mature and empathic children. What’s being talked about on the radio is just anecdotal. 
    Do you think there were no “nice, well-behaved, empathic children” in history until now?  Good parenting has to do with many many different qualities in the parents and the family and in the inborn temperament of the chil dand there isn’t one variable that can be isolated and said to be THE significant one. 

  • Mattoidma

    I’m sorry, but Dr. Sears sounds like a lunatic.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      How So?

    • SomeGuyNamedMark

      I just hope they dried off the mic after he was gone.  He sounded like Sylvester the Cat.

  • Guest

    I breastfed my firstborn until I became pregnant with his sister, so about 2.5 years. I was following the advice of the time to let the baby decide when to wean and he never seemed ready. It was not considered a big deal (I felt) and he grew up to be a very happy, successful adult.  He has a baby of his own now and they do not plan to breastfeed past 3-6 months and have expressed amazement that anyone would breastfeed past one year.  My daughter was not as interested in nursing as her brother and so she weaned around 9 months, which was bittersweet.  

  • BHA in Vermont

    Sorry but changing diapers and washing the pump equipment doesn’t sound equivalent to what Mom gets (emotionally) from breast feeding.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Changing diapers, bottle-feeding, singing them calm, or to sleep, snuggling with them, playing with them, and so forth, is not equivalent to breast-feeding, but it is GREAT!

  • Marnie McGoldrick

    I am the mother of twin girls.  I was only able to breast feed for a few weeks for a number of reasons.  I am not a follower of attachment parenting but I say to each his own.  Find what works for you and your family.  What I do take issue with is Dr. Sears claiming that these kids are somehow more empathetic and loving than non-breastfed kids.  I have been told often that my non-breastfed daughters are very loving, caring and always worrying about the child being picked on or the child who is hurt.  You don’t need to breast feed for years, carry your kids in a sling or sleep with your children every night to raise a caring, loving and empathetic child. 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      On average, I think was the point.  Children that know they are loved, and valued, are more likely to have good qualities!

    • jefe68

      I think Dr.Sears is clearly out to sell his book and ideas.
      Empathy is learned from the parents. If a child grows up in a household with parents who fight and show very little empathy it stands to reason the child will be affected.
      He did not mention brain chemistry, as in autism and sociopathic behavior in relation to developing the empathetic attribute. 

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Yup, the kid’s the center of his own universe.  Just what we need.

  • BHA in Vermont

    That poor man. NO kid should be in the parents’ bed at 7! Not even at 2!

  • Greyman

    Ahhh, maternal fathers! How sweet, how tender, how endearing!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      This ‘maternal father’ produced 2 U.S. Marines, that the Marine Corps seemed proud of!
         BEFORE I was both parents (mother left us), I did maternal things, when I wasn’t out to sea.  I was involved in my children, and am ‘maternal’ with my grandchildren, when I think it appropriate.
         I ALSO got stern, and used discipline, when appropriate.  Parenting is parenting, and gender shouldn’t dictate strict roles. 

      • Chesty

        Didn’t you admit to going AWOL in an earlier blog?

        • Terry Tree Tree

          NEGATIVE!  I was never AWOL!

  • Mikepiehl67

    Does it seem that working mothers (when the father stays home) feel guilty for not being there?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    So Dr. Sears regards seven years as not a long time to wait for the husband to get his wife back.  How exactly does Sears have eight children?  Were they octuplets?

  • IsaacWalton

    They key take away for me having listened to callers, guests and reading comments…be involved with your child. Today there seems to be more distractions than ever to create distance in families. Unfortunately, I think some parents may over index on parenting and while doing so MAY create a lasting  relationship between child and parent…they are likely to do so to the detriment of other relationships that are important to the well being of the family unit. The best thing Dr. Sear said…”Balance”, in my opinion the MOST important of his 7 B’s.

  • John

    All I know is that young Master Grumet (the kid on the cover of Time) is going to make some therapist happy for a long time … if he survives middle school.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

     The reality here is that for many mothers, if they insist on attachment parenting, they’re going to be introduced to the joys of single parenting.

  • Upstate mom

    I am an educated mom (law degree) and breastfed both of my children (now 10 and 6) to age 1 and did not co-sleep with them at all–not one night.  My kids are warm, loving, empathetic, caring children who excel in school.   I receive compliments on them all the time from teachers and strangers. You do not have to breastfeed to age 3, wear them constantly, co-sleep or “helicopter-parent” them  in order to produce GREAT children!

  • DrMom

    I am a child therapist and mother of a nine-month old. My concern about attachment parenting is that I have seen many seven and eight-year olds with bad separation anxiety and the parent has practiced AP. There seems to be no focus on how to transition the child to increasing indepdence as it becomes age appropriate, hence handicapping the child with helicopter parenting.

    Second, there is mainly a focus on physical connection. My baby has never been exposed to TV. Holding or breastfeeding a baby or toddler while watching the TV ipad, etc. all day really misses what children need most: a parent who is a focused observer  while they play, explore, and take their own initiative to interct with their environment. The parent needs to be emotionally available, not just physically.

    • Brett

      You raise some great points. from a behavioral standpoint, “attachment parenting” seems to nurture separation anxiety and reinforce the conditions under which this variety of anxiety can flourish. 

  • Cara

    Attachment parenting is not about “rules”–it’s about common sense and doing what makes sense for parents and what simplifies their lives.  

    My husband and I have practiced attachment parenting, not slavishly but instinctively;  we figured out quickly that our babies and we were all happier when we held/wore them  lot, breastfed them when they were hungry, comforted them when they cried, and co-slept in a careful manner (my husband built a bedside co-sleeper).   We slept adequately, baby was able to nurse with minimal disruption to us all, and things went pretty smoothly.  My husband was fully bonded with  our babies, and neither of us ever felt our marriage had “suffered” due to our closeness to our babies.  

    I think  people in our culture have swallowed the idea that parenting is hard and complicated, and that if you don’t do  everything perfectly, you’ve ruined your baby.  Whatever else you do, you should make sure that you do what helps you ENJOY your baby, because they will grow up faster than you think.

    Today our children are 10 & 12–happy, smart, healthy, and age-appropriately independent. My husband and I have “made up” for any intimacy we missed out on during those years, and we still enjoy our children.

  • Betty

    Too bad the provocative Time cover doesn’t reflect the intent of the article inside. The cover epitomizes the gonzo marketing we  see so much of today and glorifies the destructive, over-achieving woman who ignites ugly battles among women.  The cover and the extremes it depicts has nothing to do with good parenting and everything to do with finger-pointing mothers who think they have the corner on what’s best.

  • MarkVII88

    I think the point that is being missed here during the whole show is that there are extremes to every style of parenting.  Not everyone who practices “attachment parenting” does so to the extremes depicted in the Time Magazine article.  Why not just acknowledge that there are positives and negatives to every style of parenting and that one philosophy may work better for one child or family than another.  We are raising three young daughters and we adopted a pick and choose philosophy when it came to our kids.  Our kids were breastfed, but all for different lengths of time (never longer than 15 months) when they basically weaned themselves.  We may have worn them in slings from time to time, but this was equally balanced with the use of a stroller.  We may have slept with the children in the bed, but only because nighttime feeding was easier, and transitioned into cribs at one year of age.  Neither one of us is a stay at home parent but we’re lucky enough that the kids could go to work with my wife until they began walking, at which point they transitioned to full-day daycare.  No one style is the “right” style and I don’t think it makes sense to take offense at this news article because they’re only highlighting one extreme of the spectrum.

    • Brett

      Great points, Mark. Common sense, choosing a variety of approaches, varying styles based on who the child is as an individual, and so on.

  • nandibee

    Every morning for the first 8 or 9 years of my two daughters’ lives, they would come wake up in the parental bed.  They were each done with the breast by around 2 but my husband would make coffee for him and me, and hot chocolate milk in a bottle for each of them, and all four of us (and maybe a cat or two) would wake up with our warm beverage and visit and greet the day together.   Nice times, and unselfconscious.  We weren’t trying to do the “right” thing and didn’t fret that maybe they were two old for bottles, and I am not bragging now but just remembering sweet sweet times.

    • jefe68

      You gave you kids bottles until 8 or 9 with hot chocolate no doubt. How much did you spend on dental work?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SZLS4K7PAXCX4SPTPWLFMY7V5A yahoo-SZLS4K7PAXCX4SPTPWLFMY7V5A

      I feel sorry for your husband, if he’s still around, which I doubt.

      • nandibee

        Thanks, both of you, for seeing fit to reply.  To clarify, they slept in their own beds and joined us just for a half hour in the morning.  Nope.  No orthodontia nor cavities, and it didn’t chase my husband away from the marriage.  In fact it was his idea and his pleasure, so no need to feel sorry for him.

  • ElfmanNW

    When I first saw that Time cover I
    immediately thought of the short story Bridge of Dreams by Junchiro
    Tanizaki, one of seven short stories by that author in the wonderful
    collection Seven Japanese Tales. I would consider it great reading
    for any mother considering such attachment parenting.

  • GMG

    Sounds like a formula for yet another crop of spoiled entitled brats. 

  • John

    @ MarkVII88: I “take offense” at Time using this sensationalized cover, which WILL come back to bite this little boy as he gets older, to promote an article with little real connection with the cover art.  Model and mother Jamie Lynne Grumet is an outlier, and clearly does not represent the majority of people practicing “attachment parenting.”

    I also take offense at OnPoint for taking a less than “fair and balanced” approach to this story.  Attachment parenting is very controversial.  You couldn’t find a single Developmental Psychologist or other expert to offer a coherent alternative view?

    • Brett

      I thought so, too, John. I wanted to hear some alternative viewpoints from a clinician who could make the case against attachment parenting or who could present the virtues, substantiated, of other, less controversial parenting styles. Dr. Ross’ views didn’t  distinctively diverge from Dr. Bill’s, although she did sort of make the case for not having an infant sleep in the same bed as mom and dad. 

  • Amos Parker


     I just listened to Dr. Sears on “On Point”. Very interesting.

     I was, however, disappointed “On” a few “Point”s. Ha ha. Anyway. I was surprised the book “The Continuum Concept wasn’t mentioned, which was my way into these ideas.

     The topic of that book relates to my other issue, that of evolution. Dr. Sears was all about evolution in the interview… but only up to a point. So much value could’ve been had bu taking evolution to its full extent, and giving the listeners more of a primer on its full force.

     So often I see people who believe in evolution act as though its a salad bar, and that they can just take what they want. Dr. Sears took a little more… but didn’t take still more when other questions came up. It’s the magnificent force that shaped every aspect of us (barring some case for God), from our bodies, to how he deal with society, to how are brains are wired. We don’t take what we feel like: we take what it gives us, and learn.

     For example. When thinking about when a child is to stop breastfeeding, or when to leave “the marriage bed”, ask how evolution has wired children for expectations of what they will be leaving for. Are they wired to sleep alone in a big house, maybe as an only child, with other kids their own age sequestered away too? Or are they wired to join the ranks of other children in a social experience that isn’t sequestered in modern housing?

    And the big issue? When I mention this… I wand a case made against it, not just emotions saying “it’s wrong” or dependence on the status quo saying “that’s not how we do things. I want evidence, facts, and a case. That’s why we’re discussing attachment parenting: we don’t let prejudices and the status quo overrule our thinking.

     Again, what are we evolved for? What’s natural?

     The question? Why must babies and children be insulated from intimacy? The euphemism. Isn’t attachment parenting about intimacy? Did we evolve as parents who left the room to have sex? What’s learned by children who experience it?

     Again, “The Continuum Concept”.

     All for now. Thanks.


  • MarkVII88

    One aspect of this story that did get my back up was the inference to the father as the buffoon.  I grew up in a household where my father, who was hard factory worker for decades, was also the primary manager of the home because he was supporting my mother who was working to get her own PR business off the ground.  Through his example I came to expect that husbands should be involved with the kids at all ages, fathers should cook dinner and do the laundry along with mowing the lawn and plowing the driveway.  Now, at 31 years old, I can’t fathom a husband who isn’t ready to wade into any situation with his kids to help out, from diaper duty and baths to bottle feeding and taking walks.  It seems absolutely foreign to me when guys don’t or won’t jump in and help their wives out with whatever needs to be done. 

  • Jack Marshak

    The Time magazine cover is a total non-story.

    I’m still waiting for On Point to devote an episode to the Obama/Holder illegal gun-running program, operation ‘Fast and Furious’.  The illegal operation in which thousands of guns were sold to Mexican drug cartels, which resulted in three U.S. Border Patrol agents being killed.

    • SomeGuyNamedMark

      Judging from the comments here I’d say it wasn’t a “total non-story”.

  • http://profiles.google.com/phyllis.craine Phyllis Craine

    Really who cares what people do in the privacy of their family as long as it’s not criminal? And anyone who took the bait on that inflamatory cover photo is a fool.

  • Brett

    I wonder if people call Dr. Sears “Dr. Bill”? I kept imagining Bill Ross, the artist, wearing a white smock with a stethoscope around his neck.

    My wariness started almost immediately, from Dr. Bill’s use of catch-phrase tenets (“the seven baby B’s,” “This is a tool not a rule,” and so on), the way he gave characteristics to “attachment” moms (they are all intelligent and educated), to the observation that attachment kids display better empathy skills, etc. When Tom noted that kids not raised in such a manner can and do develop empathy skills, Dr. Bill’s response was that children are resilient and can transcend less evolved parenting styles (the latter being my characterization and not Dr. Bill’s words, to be fair). This indicates he finds children able to overcome less than desirable lessons learned from bad parenting. If this is true, and I believe it is, than wouldn’t it stand to reason that attachment kids might also be developing empathy despite being raised in such a manner? 

    I found each of the guests annoying in his/her own way. The Time Magazine writer, with her incessant use of “you know,” Dr. Ross starting every sentence with, “So…” and of course Dr. Bill’s self-consciously soothing tone in his voice (also, the aforementioned jargonistic language). Dr. Bill was under-impressive in being able make his case based on any data as well as what appeared not so objective observations. Dr. Ross did touch on perhaps what might be a valid downside to having infants sleep in the same bed as mom, and she seemed prepared to bring forth a study or two about increases in injuries/deaths as a result of such practices.

    Overall, the show had a quality as insipid as Dr. Bill himself. He seemed a nice man, though.  

    • kokyjo

       Empathy grows thru the experience of “having one’s needs matter”.  Breast and mother relationship is among the first and most profound experiences of a child.  Empathy and the capacity for empathy expands when our needs “matter”.  “Mattering” is not always about getting what you want.  Smart mothers understand this and can communicate this to their child whether they deliver the milk or withhold the milk.   There are many opportunities in life to learn Empathy.  The nursing experience is one of the first.

      • Brett

        Well, I don’t disagree with your first sentence and overall sentiment. It is easier to develop empathy if one’s own needs are met (or matter). If empathy is modeled to a child, just in a general sense, that assists in developing the qualities and skill of empathy. 

        I was never breast fed (it was not uncommon in the 1950′s when I was born). My parents displayed empathy toward others and this was good modeling. 

        I went into the mental health field after getting a degree in psychology (switching from English Lit. as a sophomore), and in large part that was based on my experiences in having a troubled girl as a neighbor when I was age five through eight. I remember being very sad that other neighborhood kids made fun of her, and I remember noticing her parents would keep her cloistered away, sequestered from the outside world. Her bedroom window faced my bedroom window, and I can still see her face looking out at the neighborhood; it was a lonely face. I felt, even at that age that she just wanted to be like other kids and just wanted friendship…Lisa was her name and waving to her, and watching her smile, profoundly affected my sense of compassion and empathy. 

        I would say that there isn’t a causal relationship, or even necessarily a correlation, with breast feeding and empathy development. I do wish I was breast fed, though. I have suffered from  allergies and  and asthma all of my life. I am convinced I would not, or at least my asthma would be less severe If I had been breast fed. 

        • wondering

          I only breast fed one of my children and that was the child that developed asthma and allergies. My other kids were perfectly healthy.

  • Goldbug

    TIME showed great restraint with this cover.  After all it looks like this woman is an A-cup:(

    • Sara

      A cups are beautiful! 

      • Paco

        DD cups are a lot nicer.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Each has advantages!

  • Smiclops

    1: I hope that they homeschool that kid; he’s screwed.
    2: Just look at how happy that kid is…..the envy of many I’m sure.
    3: Just look at how happy that kid is….I hope she isn’t too frightened when he tries to get to third base…as he is already sort of at 2nd. But he will most likely simply never associate women with sexuality as his mind has already developed somewhat sexualy and will look at breasts like most men look at sammiches.
    4: Wow. People really will do anything for attention.
    5: Just because you are proud doesn’t mean your right.  

    • http://www.evelynkrieger.net/ Evelyn

      Homeschooled kids still lead full social lives…sorry to break the news.

  • Pingback: John Rosemond: Living with Children – Kansas City Star | Kids and Parents

  • Blake Gillespie

    Great story, the key interviewee comes across as a bit heavy on anecdotes and a bit light on evidence, though there’s great evidence for the importance of breast milk for 0-1yr infants (I don’t know about evidence for >1 yr). Hopefully it’s not hyperbole to compare modern parents’ focus on anecdotal evidence for parenting style decisions to modern parents’ reliance on anecdotal evidence for making immunization decisions.

    • SaneMomNo9

       Here’s the evidence: it’s a good idea to be nice to your kid. Not shouting, “Get the ‘h” over here!” Not screaming, “Because I said so, that’s why!”
      How about saying, “We need to go get Daddy now because he’s looking forward to seeing us” instead of, “If you don’t get off that swing set right now you’ll get a time-out.”
      It is so depressing that so many people are so mean to their kids. It ruins my day when I see parents treating their kids worse than their dogs (all day long I see this in the city).

  • OpenMinded

    This is just one way of parenting.  Every kid and every family is different and unique.  Instead of opening our minds to new methods and learning to accept and tolerate different ideas about this subject, we instead choose to fight and argue about who is better and by which method.  The bottom line is that kids growing up in happy, functioning homes will turn out well.  How we each achieve the “happy” and “functioning” is unique by family so why can’t we just accept that? 

    Having more ideas and options on the table to help us navigate the path certainly won’t hurt.  Like anything in life, if you don’t like it, don’t use it.  Judging others for whom it works, only sets us apart further and sets that example for our children who will also one day need to work together.

    I wanted to say that I am deeply grateful to Dr. Sears for standing out and proposing new methods of parenting.  For everyone else, if what you are doing is working for you, keep up the good work.  If not, it doesn’t hurt to have different options available.  Dr. Sears proposes just a few of them and, if you have read his books, it’s only to the degree that it works for you and your particular family. 

  • Mark_Butterfield_MD_MPH

    Breastfeeding is extremely important for the physical health of humans throughout their lives, and is also extremely beneficial for emotional health & development.  However, all other points & controversies aside, it can be dangerous for many parents to sleep WITH their infant children (<2 yrs.) for this reason (and each parent must decide for her- or himself):  

    Almost any parent co-sleeping with a child will be extremely sensitized to the child's safety & will wake up in any stage of sleep & will not get into a physical position which could result in the child's suffocation.  However, as we are being made increasingly aware this week through 'Weight of the Nation', 2/3 of U.S. adults are overweight or obese, and obesity increases the risk for inadvertent suffocation.  This is not just due to physical reasons, but also that below…

    An large number of Americans have chronic symptoms & diseases which are due to CHRONIC INFLAMMATION (all chronic disease is related to inflammation of some kind, which is directly related to lifestyle in most cases).  In some of these chronic inflammatory states, SLEEP is affected in such a way that the person has profoundly deep sleeps & cannot be relied upon to always wake up if s/he rolls upon the baby.  This is the cause of the vast majority of the inadvertent suffocations which occur in the nation each year.

    If you wish to resolve your chronic inflammation, weight issues & other resultant symptoms, consult a FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE practioner or a holistic HEALTH COACH.  

    You will be amazed how good you can feel again in what a short time — It's all done by addressing the CAUSES, not the SYMPTOMS of disease (as Medicine almost always does).

  • go on instinct

     All I can say is, why do we have to be so quick to judge? I don’t assume any one will want to do things the way I did. And I don’t think sensationalizing a small marginal portion of the populations choices is at all productive. Why not examine this trend and ask questions, rather than make anyone right or wrong. The first thing you learn when becoming a parent is that everyone has their own beliefs and they are all different. So the first and longest lesson is to figure out HOW YOU parent. For me that did not involve reading books cover to cover. Glancing at a lot of different things perhaps. But I mostly listen to my gut as a human being with my own lifestyle and beliefs to guide me. I
    had my daughter 5 years ago and have been living below the poverty line
    for the entirety of her life. I was young, unmarried, at her birth, and
    living for the first 3 years on the east side of Austin…which is
    pretty rough in parts. I was also a full time student (want to talk
    about full time…I was gone often as much as 14-16 hours and day,
    including weekends.) I elected to give birth at home and paid for it out of pocket. Not to be some martyr who loved to endure the pain. Because as a young educated woman, stumbling upon a home birth midwife was the turning point of feeling like pregnancy was my life was being taken from me to realizing giving birth could be one of the most empowering and independent acts a woman could have and that motherhood didn’t have to mean leaving my own life behind. I carried her in wraps and backpacks until this past year. I breastfed her until she was almost 2. I was in school after she was 4 months old, and her father had the joy/task of doing most of the feeding and attaching then. So it meant hand pumping in the shower stall
    of the dressing room at school. But I did it. Not because of any book.
    Not to be a martyr. To be a mother. And I cloth diapered until she was potty trained. Even though we had no
    dryer and had to hang dry. Even though it was a lot of work. We did it because it was CHEAPER. And the environmental benefit helped keep us going for sure. And she slept in our bed with us. Not because of any book. But because it meant I
    could get some sleep. I could latch her on and go back to sleep. And I could never imagine rolling on top of her I was so alert to her every move I would wake in an instant. Probably slept lighter than usual, but I
    never had to deal with the sleep deprivation so many parents struggle
    with. I didn’t vaccinate until after she was 1. Not because of one single spokesperson waving a fist at the medical world. But because it just didn’t feel right to me. It is not recommended to feed baby honey till after they are one, yet we are made to feel like irresponsible madwomen for feeling hesitent to inject a developing infant with heavy metals and chemical perservatives to prevent her from catching diseases she isn’t interacting with at home. I will wait til the body is a lot more developed and be called irresponsible and crazy for doing so. And when I took her to daycare for the first time at age 1.5 she walked away from me without a single tear: She just said “bye mommy” and ran to make new friends. Is that cause she was home-birthed, attached, breast fed, and co-slept? Who knows. But she is healthy and that is all I can ask for. Do what works for you. I
    wish we could look at these methods of parenting with curiosity and
    openness…rather than judgment and accusation. We talk about cribs like they were the “conventional” method. But put that into perspective of parenting human beings through history and across continents. In that context nursing past 1, being a working mother, carrying a baby in wrap or sleeping in bed with is pretty par for the course. People have done it all around the world for thousands of years…cause it makes happy babies…and it means actually being able to get something done and get some sleep…and not having to have so much BABY STUFF. Inciting comparison and guilt upon women who already have a daunting enough challenge balancing their own dreams with that of their children is the last thing we need to be doing. I
    wish a lot more credit could be given to father’s for their part in
    parenting, attached and otherwise. And to mothers for their part in letting go as much as they
    attach. And that we could just listen to each other a whole lot more.

    • kaybee63

      Good for you!  A good attitude and common sense can go a long way in raising a great kid.

    • ilove

      This was awesome and perfectly stated! There is enough pressure and guilt on parents from all directions, both inward and outward. There is no need to sensationalize others’ methods for being different or even “conventional”. All that should matter is that children are happy and adequately cared for by happy and healthy adults. 

    • SomeGuyNamedMark

      Please, paragraphs are your friend.

    • Ms Arwright

      I relate to your post. We co-sleep, because I wasn’t getting sleep when I attempted sleeping away from our son. I breastfeed , because it’s free and much easier. I carry my son with me, aide I like to get other stuff done around the house. I stay at home (ironically enough) because I wasn’t making enough money to justify paying for daycare. We home birthed because I hate hospitals.

      So, yeah, we’re “attachment parenting”… but really, I feel we’re just the best we can.

  • Sheila Nudd

    Do you interview the presenters?  I could not listen to the lady for more than 2 minutes.  She said, “um, you know,” more than 1 times in one minute.  It definitely took away for whatever she was saying.

    • SomeGuyNamedMark

      There is something to be said for public speaking training.

    • Original Cyn

      Glad I missed the first 1/2! I agree “ummm” should be left out of intelligent discussion!

    • Evie Salt

      I totally agree with your comment Shelia, Kate, the author of the article had/has many interesting things to say, but I had such a difficult time hearing anything but the um and you know. Thank goodness her articles are not written like that

  • Marcyb706

    The presenter of the article did not look very close, in the mid 70`s a woman/mom and worked outside the home, I nursed my son till he was a year old.  Please, instruct her to stop with glorification of another Dr. Spock.  And are you mom enough, give me a break, how much more guilt does a woman have to be faced with, give up perfection life, goes on.

  • Thaidee2

    WTH this is sexual abuse!!!

    • Terry Tree Tree


    • SaneMomNo9

       Read a book and go to therapy.

  • Beth_D

    I apologize in advance if someone else covered what I’m about to say – I didn’t have time to read all the comments.  First of all, I am disturbed by the fact that Dr. Spock and Dr. Sears are both, well . . . MEN.  More men telling woman what is best.  My second comment is that this “breastfeed until they say stop” option is, for the most part, open only to upper middle class or wealthy women. Most women I know work (and incidentally still have to do most of the cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping and child rearing).

    • SomeGuyNamedMark

      So white people can only comment about white people?  Poor people only about poor people?  Seeing as ~50% of kids grow up to be men we have a right to have something to say about it. 

      And no, I don’t support “breastfeed until they say stop”.  I think it infantilizes kids.  The majority of kids I know who have been raised this way have turned out to be dependent and generally not self-motivated.

      • Lis

        How many do you exactly know?  Numbers, please.  And how do you know which ones were breastfed for 3 years and which ones were not; did you conduct a research?  The truth is that you don’t and didn’t.  I am a teacher with more than 40 students with whom I have been working for years ( in some cases for 11 years) and got to know them and their parents very well.  But the question about breastfeeding somehow never was asked.  Just didn’t come up.  So, I am curious how you know about the “majority of kids you know”

        • SomeGuyNamedMark

          Because they told me they did?  For some reason they always seemed eager to share this info.  As a teacher I doubt parents would be as quick to share those sorts of personal details with you.  Guess that clashes with your “truth”.

          If you took the time to read my comment I didn’t say the majority of kids I know, I said the majority of the ones raised this way.  Granted that isn’t many.

          And yes I admit it, I didn’t do a survey of thousands of parents and their kids.

    • Momof3teens

      Long-term breastfeeding is not an option only for stay-at-home mothers.  It’s actually much easier to combine full-time work with extended nursing than it is to manage it in the first few months, when your baby is completely dependent on breastfeeding for all of his/her nutrition.  After solid food is introduced, breastfeeding is a supplement, and can be offered only in the mornings, evenings and weekends – and it’s a very nice way for a working mother to bond with her baby!  I speak from experience.  I worked full-time while nursing each of my three children, from 1 – 3 years.

      The really tough time for breastfeeding mothers is in the first 3 – 4 months.  Unlike almost every other developed country, the United States does not provide paid maternity leave, and most women can only afford the minimum leave of absence from work.  That means we’re going back to work when our babies are still nursing every few hours, and count on breast milk for *all* nutrition.  It’s possible to manage this with pumping, but not easy.  If a working mother gets through this period, extended nursing can be a very rewarding experience for both mother and baby.

    • SaneMomNo9

      So what you’re saying is, cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping and work are more important than the child rearing part? That everything else has to be done “right” and we just have to allow men to continue not helping while the mom does all the work and the children take a back seat?
      How about sending less Tide into the oceans, finding ways to cut corners on laundry and cooking and demanding that Dad step up? You’re disturbed by Dr. Spock and Dr. Sears but not disturbed by men who don’t do at least half of the cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping?

  • OpenMinded

    During the program there was a discussion about the boy on the cover and his behavior at a particular interview.  Dr. Kelly Ross stated that she felt that the mom was not adequately preparing her child for Kindergarten after viewing his behavior during this interview.  Dr. Sears then commented how the child had been awoken 4 hours prior to his routine wake up time and was thus behaving in a way pretty normal for a child under those circumstances. 

    We put kids in bizarre and stressful situations (missing 4 hours of sleep and appearing before TV cameras and a large crowd of people) and then expect them to act with the maturity of an adult.  We all see that mom struggling for one reason or another and cast judgement without full knowledge of what is going on. 

    Dr. Sears approached it with empathy for the child.  Dr. Ross jumped to conclusions that his behavior was directly related to his extended breastfeeding.  How unfortunate it is that we so quickly jump to judge one another instead of trying to be empathetic and helpful.  What does judgement do but hurt people and create separation?  A little more empathy in the world certainly wouldn’t hurt.

    • Foreign Listener

      If the mom is so concerned for the welfare of the child that she’s still breastfeeding him, then why is she exposing the boy to the circumstances you describe? Why is she putting his picture out there without concern for his future and his feelings as he gets older? Why is she getting the kid up so early for an interview. This is clearly not about the welfare of the child, come on!

      • Open Minded

         That is exactly my point about having a tendency to judge without enough information.  You have all of these questions.  You make assumptions and you judge and for what constructive purpose does that serve?  Is it helping anyone?

        • kaltighanna

          It may help other mothers decide that exploiting their children for money or fame is not something society agrees with. Maybe the Octomom debacle wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t give people who are unbalanced so much media attention. And maybe if we severely disagree with people who expose their kids for personal gain they would find another way to make a living.

    • Jenny Sue

      Perhaps if the mom had more empathy for her child, she would not wake him 4 hrs early to trot him out on national tv like some kind of grumpy little show pony.

    • SaneMomNo9

       Dr. Kelly Ross is only a pediatrician, not a child development expert or a child psychologist or psychiatrist or even a teacher. So perhaps she doesn’t know that “preparing your child for kindergarten” is a fool’s game these days. Kindergarten is now full of activities that are more appropriate for 7-year-olds.
      To force a 4-year-old to behave like a 7-year-old because he’s going to have to behave like a 7 at age 5…well for crying out loud, at least wait until he’s 5 to ruing him and let him have his 4th year!!!
      Some idiots in our society have gotten control of the schools and think that teaching kids harder subjects for longer hours while sitting down at a desk is not only submitting to dunces, it’s harming your child’s future academic career. First things first. Once step at a time. Build a foundation — in attachment parenting as well as in school.

  • Franklyspeking

    Can someone please tell me where the cue is for when this kid is done?

    • Momof3teens

      The time comes, it really does.  Typically the child nurses less and less frequently, and then one day, you realize your child hasn’t nursed in a few days and has weaned.  I was out with my three children one day, and the oldest (then 9) asked if her little brother (then almost 3) still nursed.  I answered that it had been less and less frequent, but I wasn’t sure, let’s ask.  I asked my youngest if he still nursed, and he said “No, I’m done.”  And he was.

      Kids all over the world wean gradually and on their own, whenever the time is right for them and their mothers.  We only make a big deal about it here.

      • Ashbrooke is Phenom

        Really? Uh, do you think there are any evolutionary arguments for or against doing as you’ve done? I don’t want to argue with you. However it seems prolonging the breast feeding period would be dangerous as it is important to gain physical independence from your mother(or caregiver) as soon as possible. But there is a balance that had be struck as well because of the physcho social needs.

        • Live&letlive

          The problem with the language here is: what do you mean by prolonged breastfeeding? Who prolonged it? Compared to what? The child stopped when he was done. What really happened is that no one cut him short before he was ready.

        • SaneMomNo9

           Uuh, no, it’s not important to gain physical independence from your caregiver as soon as possible. Humans are not shrimp, or sharks. It’s important in human life to build strong, lasting relationships.

  • OpenMinded

    I also wanted to mention that, where I live, the American Academy of Pediatrics method of parenting is promoted by everyone from pediatricians to insurance companies who mail you the book free of charge. 

    As my baby approached 6 months I was advised to wean him.  It was heart wrenching for me.  Friends, neighbors, and family alike were all saying it.  At the time I had not heard of attachment parenting or Dr. Sears.  I was so afraid, as a young mother, to go against all of the forces that pressure women to follow the “mainstream”.  Thank God for Dr. Sears and his publications as it freed me to follow my instincts and what was best for me, my baby and my family.  It liberated me to follow my own instincts instead of those of others.  Every parent needs to take that journey to discover what is best for them so if the Time publication or the discussions that ensued from it helped other mom’s struggling with the same issues as I did, than I am so glad for it!

  • Foreign Listener

    This is just ridiculous. What’s next? In about a decade will the kids still be breastfeeding if they so wish? 

    My youngest brother was breastfed until he was nearly 4 years old. We all remember him attached to my mother’s breasts during holiday dinners and family outings. A long running family joke is that he was the only person we ever knew who could breastfeed while standing up. I am the oldest of the brood and was only breastfed until about 14 months, which seems more than long enough to me. I am a healthy, independent adult with no mommy issues and no problems in the empathy arena. I was never a bully or cruel to other kids in school either.

    In contrast, my baby brother was an extremely spoiled and disrespectful child, often crying and having tantrums in public, and he grew up to be an extremely irresponsible adult with lots of issues. He was the only one of us who had sleep problems, who wet the bed, who did poorly in school and who has incurred huge debts he can’t pay as an adult.From my view, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing and all the rest of this nonsense is for the benefit of the mother, not the child. Some women have an extremely unhealthy emotional attachment to their kids, wishing they’d stay little babies forever, my mom included. Indulging those leanings is only going to produce unhealthy, spoiled kids and later on, a Peter Pan generation.

    • Dcohen07

      That is great input. I can totally see that happening (about your brother) and that’s what I would expect to happen if someone is breast fed that long. I would assume you would grow up to be a more Dependant person rather than independent and you would never really feel secure without an attachment to something.

      • SaneMomNo9

         That’s called “normal, healthy human life,” having secure attachments to other people for a lifetime.

    • Lcf02139

      Unhealthy spoiled kids? My brother is like that and was never breastfed at all.

      Can’t blame THAT on breastfeeding.

  • Just my opinion

    A 7 year old sleeping in bed with the parents? The explanation is simple: the mom wants an excuse to not have sex with this man and to avoid intimacy while maintaining the the husband at home doing all the housework and childcare. My cousin has a really bad marriage and a 5 year old that sleeps in their bed. Most of the time one of the parents has to sleep somewhere else because the kid’s so big they can’t all fit in bed together. From what I can see, having children sleep in bed with the parents is a symptom of a bad marriage, period.

    • Kirstensmom

       My marriage is fine, thanks for asking.

      • Lis

        So is mine.  And we average about twice a week, just not in our bed.  That’s what makes it great.
        I highly reccommend it :-)))

        • guest

          Why do you have to “do it” in bed?
          Find another place!

          Those kinds of attitudes speak highly of insensitive and not supportive “other” partner’s opinion, inflexibility and not being creative.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SZLS4K7PAXCX4SPTPWLFMY7V5A yahoo-SZLS4K7PAXCX4SPTPWLFMY7V5A

        How about we ask your husband, when you’re not around, if he thinks the marriage is “fine”.  The response would be illuminating to your and clarify that it’s not likely “fine”.  Lol

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SZLS4K7PAXCX4SPTPWLFMY7V5A yahoo-SZLS4K7PAXCX4SPTPWLFMY7V5A

    Lets be VERY clear. Dr. William Sears has been entirely debunked and uses ACTUAL peer reviewed studies (of which he has nothing to do with and has NEVER done) completely out of context to justify his “beliefs” (they’re not legitimate scientific theories since they don’t follow accepted scientific protocols and don’t have any data or studies). He’s a disreputable shill. His son, Dr. Bob Sears, has authored books against immunizations (also UNSUPPORTED by any data, studies or actual science) to make money also. They are bad fpr children. NOTHING they promote is based on actual science. None of they write is peer reviewed or published in accreditted journals such as JAMA, The Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine or with a major University Medical Center. They are not good for medicine. Dr. Sears and his children have NEVER engaged in an actual scientific, peer reviewed study with test and control groups. Their entire premise is to sell books and promote “opinions” with no substance to support them and no actual data. The AAP, America Academy of Pediatrics, visibly distanced themselves from these circus clowns.  The AAP also states there is no justifiable benefit to breastfeeding after the age of 2.


    Obviously, Jamie Lynne Grumet, isn’t very bright or literate. It’s creepy to breastfeed a 4 year old. This is MUCH more about her, and money, than being a good mother. A good mother doesn’t breastfeed a 4-year old.  The irony is that so much of this seems to evolve from extremely religious groups.

    • SaneMomNo9

       There is plenty of data showing that the “cry-it-out” method is cruel and the Dr. Spock method of parenting is bad for children. Witness the drug-addled late baby boomer generation, who spent their babyhoods crying alone in dark rooms while their parents drank martinis and laughed about how their six-month-old was “just trying to get attention.” Duuuh.
      Yeah, your six-month-old wants and needs and should have attention, and if you don’t want to give it to them because you need to watch the Kardashians before getting up for work the next day and leaving your child with someone whose only interest in it is the paycheck you give them, well then, maybe you didn’t want children after all.

  • http://whilewestillhavetime.blogspot.com/ John Hamilton

    There is less to this topic than meets the eye. It’s pretty obvious that the Time cover is a “Hail Mary” pass to sell magazines.
    Breast feeding has been around since species evolved into mammals. Breasts evolved to provide nourishment to offspring. The human species is not likely to evolve away from breasts and feeding therefrom, so I wouldn’t be too concerned.
    As I am wont to say and write elsewhere, contrived issues like this should be looked at from a systems approach. We have an infinite growth economic system in a context of fossil fuel generated climate change. We have a culture that is rapidly deteriorating as a result of the contradictions of a mass, mega-electronic communications, drug-conditioned social milieu.
    These contradictions are converging, and the convergence is not a harmonic one. I suspect that corporate media entities like Time will go to greater extremes to sell magazines as the convergence intensifies. It likely won’t be too long before they have a cover about gay practices, similar to the breastfeeding picture.

  • Compassionatemoms

    Dr. Sears sounds like he’s trying to get back at his own parents for neglecting him by forcing every other parent to smother their children and making them the center of the universe.

    I’m a new mom and I’ve read Dr. Sear’s books. I wanted to have a drugless natural delivery, but the baby was stuck for 20 hours and I had a C-section. I thank God for the ob and the medicine to help me get my baby out safely.

    I wanted to breast feed, but I had breast cancer and a bilateral mastectomy in my 20s. I thank God for very nutritious formula so that my baby grows up healthily.

    I wanted to wear my baby all the time and cosleep, but I need to get work done so that I have enough money to feed my baby. Thank God that my baby sleeps well by himself and I get enough sleep to be alert for work and to have sex with my husband so that the child has parents who nurture their marriage.

    Having a child is incredibly humbling and different for everyone. We’d all do better if there is less judgement and more compassion, please. We’re all trying our best.

    • Kathy Hart

      Thank you so much for sharing. In full agreement! We were blessed with ease in many of the issues you mentioned, but many of my friends were not. Having a child is incredibly humbling and I am constantly shocked at the judgment others place on how we parent. Yes – may we all have more compassion and respect for each other that we are on the path, doing the best we can.

    • SaneMomNo9

       Attachment parenting isn’t actually about natural childbirth (though that can support it), breastfeeding (though that can support it when it works) or even baby wearing (although the more physical contact the better).
      It’s about the type of relationship you have with your child — empathy, modeling correct treatment of other humans by the way you treat the child, explaining what you’re doing (“Baby, I just grabbed your arm very hard and pulled you away from the curb because a truck was coming. Do you see how dangerous that is? We need to stay safe.)
      Having said that…Many parents think they “need to work” to feed their baby and thus must force their children to sleep alone. Yet what I see is people who choose to work at a certain level so they can have a bigger house in a more expensive neighborhood and a fancier, bigger, smellier car, and make their kids stay alone in dark rooms for more time than the child needs to every night so the parents can watch TV for a couple of hours.

  • Kirstensmom

    I nursed my daughter until she was three, and she shared our bed until she was six. She is now an amazing 13 year old, who is an honors student, athlete, musician, and animal rescue volunteer. Even more importantly, she is a great kid, who recently stepped between a bully boy and his much smaller male target, and took on the bully herself. She knows her father and I believe in her, and she believes in herself. She certainly has limits, and she certainly tries to test the boundaries (it isn’t as if she wears a halo, or anything), but she comes to me with her questions and those of her friends. There is not a thing that I would change about her.

    Six years ago, we adopted her brother from Korea. I could not nurse him, but we practiced the other tenets of attachment parenting, and it has served us just as well as his parents. He has some physical and learning disabilities, and all I have learned from Dr. Sears has enabled me to be the best mom I can be to him. I also teach special needs children. Through it all, I keep Dr. Sears’ words in mind — I try to respond to my children the way I would have wanted my mom to respond to me. It hasn’t failed me yet.

    Do you know what is in a Chicken McNugget? Chicken eyeballs and worse. Children eat them every day in McDonalds restaurants throughout the world, and nobody is offended. You could put a photo of a child eating them on the “Time” cover, and nobody would be offended. Yet, a child eating the best possible food for him/her is offensive to some people. How does that make any sense as all?

    • parent&nutritionist

      Well said!  I would really like TIME to take your suggestion and show a child eating the actual ingredients, deconstructed, of a hot dog or a fast food burger, or soda pop for that matter.  It’s all about what we normalize, but it should be about what’s best for the child.

    • Lcf02139

       Thank you for your valuable insight. Who do “they” think they are, offering an opinion on how long moms “should” breast-feed.

      It’s the guilt and shame we have as a society that makes so many uncomfortable.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SZLS4K7PAXCX4SPTPWLFMY7V5A yahoo-SZLS4K7PAXCX4SPTPWLFMY7V5A

      I feel sorry for your husband.  I hope he has the good sense to stash cash and file for divorce.  You’re the type of woman who men are better left without.

      • nandibee

        Haha I believe you also felt sorry for MY husband in this thread!   Makes me wonder and guess at what some of your issues might be.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SZLS4K7PAXCX4SPTPWLFMY7V5A yahoo-SZLS4K7PAXCX4SPTPWLFMY7V5A

          Your husband is obviously an impotent doormat who doesn’t make very much money.  Lol   Your family is exactly where it should be, winning the Darwin Awards.

  • Roy Mac

    Not only is this conversation uninteresting, it is uninformative.  At the very least, it ought to provide more than an opportunity for otherwise boring people to call in with their ho-hum opinions.

  • Shatzieshatz

    I am a registered nurse who advocates Attachment Parenting/natural childbirth/child-led weaning.  I am a proud mother of four children ages 16, 14, 11, 9.  

    I have read many books on parenting and Dr. Sears’ books fits my way of parenting my children.  I was “Dairy Queen” for 13 years  where I nursed continually a newborn and a toddler at the same time and continued this even when I was pregnant.  I have continued nursing them until all of them were around age 5.  I wore by babies in the baby sling and we all slept in the family bed….My three older children now sleep in their own beds.  We were all contented and happy with this Attachment parenting arrangement.

    We are a bottle feeding society and Time magazine shocked many people.  Long term breastfeeding is normal in high contact societies….We just don’t hear/see this picture as often as we should…We are a minority in a bottle feeding culture.  

    Attachment Parenting is a way of life…read about the medical benefits of breastfeeding and you will see why we follow this kind of parenting…Thank you Dr. Sears for the phrase of Attachment parenting that has changed many lives and hoping that it will change the consciousness of our bottle feeding societies…

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SZLS4K7PAXCX4SPTPWLFMY7V5A yahoo-SZLS4K7PAXCX4SPTPWLFMY7V5A

      I’m sorry, but most mother’s children, like yours, are destined to be burger flippers and ditch diggers.  Not many can receive a scholarship from a top 5 University like I did and earn the money I can.  Breastfeeding after the age of 2 is ludicrous and insures that your raising losers and children who will not be independent.

      • Mlis

        Ouch…I guess top 5 University doesn’t guarantee high class.  Enjoy your degree, your money and your…. loneliness.  You are obviously lonely and sinlge since you know nothing about the subject.  If you did you would not be writing that nonsense.  That University of yours should have bestowed its scholarship on a more deserving person.   Thre sentences and and insult in every single one of them.  And… do check that grammar in the first sentence, it just doesn’t make sense.

        • jefe68

          I would check your last two sentences before going on about this guys grammar. 
          However, I do agree with your sentiment that this person is an ass.

        • Brett

          Yes, that person seems a mean-spirited one, but you countered by also being mean. BTW, the only problem with his/her first sentence (from a grammatical standpoint) is the singular possessive form of mother; it should have been “most mothers’ children.” Your excessive and inappropriate uses of ellipses (your spelling mistakes notwithstanding), however…

  • TheDailyBuzzherd

    Best cover. Ever.

  • Clarance

    Since I can’t seem to get through TIME website to Ms. Pickert, It’s a good thing she’s a writer and not a public speaker.  I was so annoyed listening to her ‘ya know’, sometimes 4 – 5 times in one sentence, that the substance of what she had to say evaporated.  I hope you can share this with her as a constructive criticism.
    Clarance Dickinson

    • Tony

      Yeah, I found it very distracting as well. It became a counting game.

  • Sara

    Have the new dangers of breast milk been addressed? Breast milk is known to carry a lot of toxins – horrible, but it would cause me to think once or twice about breastfeeding.

    • Tony

      Please cite your sources.

      • SaneMomNo9

         Source: the ingredients label on formula.

    • C Stirling

      Yes, breastmilk may contain toxins because of lifestyle and/or environmental factors … but it is still WAY better than formula.  Have you read what is in formula?  

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      If the mother WORRIES TOO MUCH AND DRINKS A LOT ALCOHOL. The milk can be lethal if the mother is so stress out.

    • Ashmac143

      Have you read studies on the benefits of breast milk? Why do you think it says “breast milk recommended” on the back of formula? Have you read what’s in formula?

  • Jere

    4 children: breastfed 4 mos, 9 mos. 2 years and 3 years. It was always a natural progression, developed between myself and the child. Children slept in our room, in a bed next to ours, last one till 7 years.  All children are adults, well-adjusted, and we are all friends!  It was a privilege for both of us to work at home with our children. We didn’t get wealthy, but it was a rich life.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SZLS4K7PAXCX4SPTPWLFMY7V5A yahoo-SZLS4K7PAXCX4SPTPWLFMY7V5A

    There is NO science, data, peer reviewed studies or legitimate information from the AAP or other groups to support Dr. Sears.  PS:  “Anecdotal data/evidence” really isn’t.  He’s a quack. You will find the majority of accredited Pediatric Physicians and Surgeons realize Dr. Sears is a quack.

    • SaneMomNo9

       There is NO science, data, peer-reviewed study or legitimate information from the AAP or other groups to support harshly withdrawing nature in favor of feeding your child out of a chemical-laden tube, “Command-and-Control” parenting, locking your infant alone in a dark room to sleep, smacking them, paying other people to raise them, etc. People who do this are compassion-challenged. Adults like to sleep next to their partner for comfort, why not unformed children? There’s a reason why kids have sex so early these days…they’re starved of touch.

  • AGUY

    This is a silly non-topic.  Tom, and Time, should put there time to better use…and the Mom on the cover really should learn to speak or not be a spokeswoman (“uhm, ya know…ya, know…ya know…”)  Use commonsense to feed and sleep with (or without your child).  Just common sense, though here is a clue – when the kid starts wearing cammo pants, and is getting chunky (HE might look into yoga WITH Mom), then maybe wean off the mother’s milk AND the chicken McNuggets.  The non-Doctor seems just fluffy and sad that he didn’t have a good childhood, but really, is this topic worthy of such “scholarship.”  He actually specializes in this?

  • Attached Dad

    NEWSFLASH!!! Time magazine used a provocative cover to sell magazines! What’s next? Darkening a photo of O.J. to drum up some controversy… and sell magazines! 

    This is nothing new. But look how it has gotten people talking about the issue. Love it or hate it, I’d say it was a success… though I think it’s shallow and transparent — much. like political ads.My wife and I are semi-attachment parents and fans of most of Dr. Sears’ advice. We also like a lot of the French (“Bringing Up Bebe”) style. To each his own. Do what you think is right, and do it with confidence. Don’t let others make you feel guilty.Sure, we’ll talk about your horrible parenting choices behind your back. But we don’t mean anything by it. We’re just trying to make ourselves feel better about the way we parent. Because frankly, we have no idea. We’re just winging it. We do read, but we also do what feels right. Sometimes (a lot of times) we screw up. We know it. We talk about it. We support each other. We move on.Bottom line is we don’t know how our kids will turn out, but we’re doing the best we can. We’re enjoying them right now with an eye to the future. What else can you do?And ENOUGH of this criticizing each other and putting others down. Sure, the Time reporter said “you know” and “um” a lot. With everything else to talk about, did you really have to point that out? Not seeing a lot of empathy in those comments.

  • kaltighanna

    Some people here defend breastfeeding until the child decides she’s done because this is the natural way we evolved to be as a species. I find this view incredibly ridiculous for two reasons. 

    First: We evolved without birth control pills and condoms. The actual time any baby could be breastfed was limited by competition with his or her brothers and sisters who were being born perhaps annually until their mother died an early death (by our standards). 

    Second: doing things just because we evolved that way is not a good enough reason to do anything. Think about the instinct to eat as much food as you could possibly stuff in your stomach to guarantee the calories were stored away for the famine days. Should we do this just because it’s how we’ve been wired by evolution?

    I find Dr. Sears’ advice to be too riddled with catch phrases and marketing strategies to be medically relevant. He really does sound like a nice, charismatic man, but he does not sound like a credible scientist in my opinion. People shouldn’t judge or be mean to poor parents trying to do the best they can, cornering them and asking “are you mom/dad enough?” Come on, that’s just ridiculous.

    Having a baby sleep with the parents in bed is dangerous, and that’s a fact backed up by lots of data. Having a toddler sleep in bed with the parents jeopardizes more than their sex life. The couple’s bed is not just for sex (which arguably you could be having even in your car, while your kid is comfortably sleeping on your Egyptian cotton sheets). How about pillow talk? How about grown up conversation about other family members and other matters that couples usually mull over while in bed together away from the kids?

    • Providence, RI

      I thought Dr. Sears was using language similar to how motivational speakers talk.  Regardless of the content, it immediately makes me skeptical.  

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  • http://www.luckypennymake.com/ barbara

    I would hope that a pediatrician with Dr. Ross’ background would be better informed!  I’ve written a post in reply to her claims about healthy child development and extended breastfeeding.


  • June

    There was a time when I would have agreed with a lot of the comments that it is not good to practice”attachment parenting”. However, my view has changed over the years. I have many friend from Africa and an Asian sister-in-law. My friends and in-laws familes practice  so called “attachment parenting”. I’ve been told that some women in Africia breast feed for many years for various reasons usually as a natural form of birth-control. Also, many cultures not just African woman but Asian woman carry their babies with them by wrapping them and making their own baby carriers with long scarves. I believe it does not make the children dependent as long as the parent is balanced. Many of my friends along with their siblings have left their homeland and gone to school in various countries and now live outside of their homeland. Yet, the bond they have with their parents especially their mothers is so strong. I’ve seen them with their children. I am amazed everytime I see my friend wrap her baby and tie her around her back to carrry her. I’ve seen this with other cultures too the close bond that the child has with the mother from “attachement parenting”.

     I now have a child I practice what I have seen from my in-laws and friends. I did use a baby carrier. The kind you buy from the store. Not the scaves I was previously talking about I was afraid I would drop my baby. I did not breast feed for years but I did it as long as I could. I do not judge other parents for how they choose to raise their children. But, this is not a “new” way to parent. I must admit my daughter still sleeps with us from time to time. She is now two years old. But, it’s it is my husband who spoils her whenever she crys. We are both near 40 with our first child. So, we spent a lot of years childless. It’s actually comforting to see her appear so happy and secure to be close to us. The time will come when she will think we are lame and not want to be around us. So we are just enjoying her now.

    We should not judge others for how they raise their kids as long as they are not harming them. I don’t think a Mom is super woman or a better Mom if she breastfeeds for years. I do not judge those that use formula. Each Mom knows her circumstances and tolerance level. But, I would strongly recommend “attachment parenting” some of the suggestions for those new Moms with a newborn. I though having a newborn would be a nightmare for me but I was wrong. I really believe the carrier and breastfeeding helped me feel a stonger bond to my baby and made her more secure. The carrier was so wonderful. Breastfeeding can even be done once a day or with formula. A carrier doesn’t have to be used all-day. If you physically can why not try it on the weekend or once doing the week. My husband loved to carry her around. He viewed it also as part of his weight training. She got exposed to my daily routine and rarely cried while in the carrier. I think it was because she was with the most wonderful person in the world…her Mom. I least that’s how I like to see it.  

  • nicoise

    I trusted that I gave birth to a human child.  So I didn’t need attachment parenting to instill empathy.  

    • Laurie

      That’s sweet, but there are lots of humans in the world who lack empathy, so.

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  • Georgetown Forgiones

    Just got a chance to listen to the pod cast. Hmm. I nursed our daughter till 18 months or so (she is about to turn 2) – till she basically started losing interest. We started co-sleeping when she was about 8 weeks old because I had returned to a stressful work environment, my supply dropped dramatically, and our lactation consultant suggested this as the best way to increase my supply (it worked). She is the only child in her day care class who was nursed, and her teachers regularly tell us how helpful, sympathetic and friendly she is. One of her teachers said recently that she and her fiance wanted to find out “what you did when you were pregnant or how you are raising her at home, because she is just such a great kid.” It never occurred to me that the nursing and co-sleeping might have impacted this. We did not do the baby-wearing, etc., but we make a point of including her in everything we do as much as possible. Her dad takes Mondays off and spends the day with her doing all kinds of things. She has always been at the supper table with us, even as an infant. Maybe this qualifies as attachment parenting, but I never thought of it as a label for what we do. We are just trying to be parents and build a family from an intuitive standpoint.

  • Dsigs


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