Like most stereotypes, this is no more accurate than any other - so let's look at how AP is actually defined.
From Attached Parenting International (API)
"The essence of Attachment Parenting is about forming and nurturing strong connections between parents and their children. Attachment Parenting challenges us as parents to treat our children with kindness, respect and dignity, and to model in our interactions with them the way we'd like them to interact with others.
Attachment Parenting isn't new. In many ways, it is a return to the instinctual behaviors of our ancestors. In the last sixty years, the behaviors of attachment have been studied extensively by psychology and child development researchers, and more recently, by researchers studying the brain. This body of knowledge offers strong support for areas that are key to the optimal development of children, summarized below in API's Eight Principles of Parenting."So - on to the 8 principles:
Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting - become emotionally and physically prepared for pregnancy and birth. Research available options for healthcare providers and birthing environments, and become informed about routine newborn care. Continuously educate yourself about developmental stages of childhood, setting realistic expectations and remaining flexible
Feed with Love and Respect - breastfeeding is the optimal way to satisfy an infant's nutritional and emotional needs. "Bottle Nursing" adapts breastfeeding behaviours to bottle-feeding to help initiate a secure attachment. Follow the feeding cues for both infants and children, encouraging them to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. Offer healthy food choices and model healthy eating behaviour.
Use Nurturing Touch - touch meets a baby's needs for physical contact, affection, security, stimulation, and movement. Skin-to-skin contact is especially effective, such as during breastfeeding, bathing, or massage. Carrying or babywearing also meets this need while on the go. Hugs, snuggling, back rubs, massage, and physical play help meet this need in older children.
Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally - babies and children have needs at night just as they do during the day; from hunger, loneliness, and fear, to feeling too hot or too cold. They rely on parents to soothe them and help them regulate their intense emotions. Sleep training techniques can have detrimental physiological and psychological effects.
I don't think the principles are really that out there? It doesn't mean you have no routine, never put your child to bed, carry them 24/7 and aren't "allowed" to put them down, nor do you have to breastfeed! It purely means you're up for taking a look at the evidence and responding sensitively to your infant.
Responding doesn't turn babies into spoilt brats who will control you ever more, on the contrary Penelope Leach, doctor of psychology has reviewed more than 150 scientific sources and believes the opposite is true. One study in particular examined outcome when three sets of parents looked after babies in different ways.
The first group fed their children on demand, carried them around with them, slept with them, and responded instantly to their crying. The second group was attentive but strove for the beginnings of some separation. And the third operated on the Fordesque “controlled crying” basis, only picking children up to be fed when the routine allowed.
“And at three months the distribution of crying was as you would predict,” says Leach. “The babies who were picked up most, cried less.”
So often the view of babies and children in our society seems so negative - they will attempt to control, manipulate, want to stay up all night if they possibly can (why the assumption they don't want to sleep rather than for some reason they can't?). Some propose ignoring the child's requests or cues enforcing a set routine - even though we know a one size approach doesn't fit all. To say we see ourselves amongst the smartest mammals - we seem to have almost Victorian view of babies that is so far set from a large body of scientific evidence it's baffling.
So back to the hippy earth mother that is apparently the "AP" - and a few images of some who practice AP: Angelina Jolie, Nell McAndrew & Miranda Kerr. Just a few who clearly have brains and beauty! And a thought - if the above 8 characteristics define an attached parent, is the opposite a detached parent?