May 11th, 2012
02:37 PM ET

How brainy women think about attachment parenting

Mayim Bialik is an actress, a neuroscientist and an outspoken member of the attachment parenting community. Her take on mothering entered the forefront of the public consciousness with this week’s controversial Time magazine cover featuring a woman breastfeeding her 3-year-old.

Citing her education and admittedly nerdy nature, Bialik said she found attachment parenting and natural childbirth methods preferable to the conventional medical advice she was given as an expectant mother.

"I think the mainstream has been revealed to be a lie to those of us who are nerds," Bialik told Geek Out in March during the tour for her book "Beyond the Sling."

"I think, depending on what kind of nerd or geek you are, there's an analytic and statistic aspect to (your) brain," she said. "When you're used to being prepared to reject conventional wisdom, it leaves you open to learn more."

Science seems to be the rudder that steers the nerdy women in the attachment parenting community to make the decisions they do, starting with prenatal care and resulting in less conventional parenting methods.

Bialik's studies in developmental neuroscience and the endocrinology of attachment behavior in humans made it especially obvious to her that biology and science were not meeting the needs of psychology. It was intuition that led her to natural childbirth and attachment parenting.

More on Bialik’s book and attachment parenting

"If you tell my body when to give birth, as somebody who thinks outside the box, it's intuitively wrong. It sounds wrong," Bialik said.

Caryn Rogers, a science writer for the Preeclampsia Foundation and a self-described bookish musician nerd, was likewise ready to question medical professionals when it came to becoming a mother.

Although she respects the education and experience medical doctors have that she doesn't, Rogers believes there are limits to what doctors can recommend to their patients with confidence.

Like Bialik, Rogers was led to alternative childbirth options and attachment parenting practices through research.

"I didn't really choose to eschew conventional care so much as chose to get what I believed was the most evidence-based care," Rogers said.

"I ended up developing a medical complication of pregnancy and needing every tool in the toolkit for us both to survive," she said. "Some conventional care doesn't seem to have good evidence supporting it, but more importantly, I think the culture tells very sketchy stories about pregnancy and childbirth and doesn't include argument or debate when we get this information."

Heather Curtis with her sons Storm, center, and Chance.

The search for both sides of the story led Heather Curtis, nerdy wife of FARK founder Drew Curtis, to practice many of the parenting methods Bialik supports.

"I started out very much cowed by 'the doctor said it; it must be true,' " Curtis said.

Feeling intimidated by the medical establishment, she began asking why. Why not extend breastfeeding? Is co-sleeping safe, despite the warnings?

"Especially when it comes to attachment parenting, I think it's a reaction to quite a few years of the other extreme," Curtis said, citing drugged childbirth and some doctors' preference of high-tech formula over breast milk.

Research of parenting issues often leads nerdy moms to question the alternative as well.

"I hate to see anyone pick one study and hold it up as evidence that the whole edifice of care is wrong," Rogers said. "Also, I love to see one study shift the whole paradigm."

And although mass media are holding Bialik up as the poster child of attachment parenting, she's the first to admit that the attachment parenting community is not monolithic.

"There are parts of the attachment parenting world where I'm considered very strict, and there's people who make me look like a tiger mom," Bialik said. "The fact that we don't use paper towels but I still use tinfoil, in some circles, is 'Ooh, she's not all the way holistic.' "

Both Rogers and Curtis chose to breastfeed their children for an extended time, co-sleep and wear their babies in slings, like Bialik did.

"It would be weird to impose those practices on a child who didn't benefit from them, I suppose," Rogers said. "But if my child is clearly benefiting, why would I harm him just to conform to what other people think I ought to be doing? I'm a nerd, after all. I don't care much about conforming."

That includes conforming to Bialik's standards. For example, Bialik's preference for not requiring her children to say "please" or "thank you" is something Curtis feels quite the opposite about.

"I'm big on my kids being conventionally polite, and it works really well for them," she said. "Have a 2-year-old say 'excuse me' and 'thank you,' and watch just about any adult melt."

Bialik's opinions of vaccinations also give Curtis pause. Curtis' younger sister died in the 1970s from a vaccine-preventable disease, which cemented her view that vaccinations are necessary and life-saving. (Curtis' friend "Bad Astronomer" Phil Plait also has strong opinions on the matter.)

One aspect of alternative parenting that nerdy moms can not ignore is their fairly unconventional children. Often, these nerdy children help connect mothers within the attachment parenting community.

Bialik, whose sons attend Jedi (yes, as in "Star Wars") classes within her circle of homeschooling mothers, said, "We wear our nerddom on our children. Absolutely."

"My child beat me at chess when he was 4 and memorized the 'Axis and Allies' rulebook shortly thereafter," said Rogers. "Plus he quotes Monty Python and George Carlin and goes to as many parties with academics as he does with kids from his school."

Curtis said she tries not to express her own nerdiness on her children. "They're going to be odd enough, being my kids!"

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  11. Just sayin'

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    June 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
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    May 31, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  13. vexorian

    On the bright side. I think Mayim Bialik can get a refund on her phd on the basis of her acquired anti-vax views. Clear evidence her faculty didn't really do an acceptable job in that "teaching" area.

    May 25, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  14. Needs Coffee

    Bialik claims to be a nerd but opposes vaccines and utilizes pointless anti-science terms like “holistic?”

    That article was purely disheartening. It’s bad propaganda, IMO. (BTW, I say that while acknowledging that we utilized many attachment parenting techniques with our kids. Not because there’s all that much science to support it, but because it fit our family, and there isn’t science to show that it’s harmful. A lack of vaccines, on the other hand, can be extremely harmful. Further, failing to set boundaries does appear to be harmful to kids, which makes me wonder about Bialik’s derision of basic politeness rules for her kids. She also seems to confuse environmental issues with attachment parenting. Counting the logical fallacies in her viewpoints is quite a task.)

    May 25, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Kabra

      There's a huge body of literature that supports Attachment Theory and a lot that demonstrates many of the conventionally accepted parenting choices are damaging. For a good survey of the research, can read "Becoming Attached" by Robert Karen.

      May 30, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
  15. wendy

    I can see why you could put off some vaccines. But those "rare" infant deaths from pertussis can really hit home when your friend's baby dies from it on mothers day If you must, delay chicken pox or measles. But whooping cough kills little ones. At least help with that.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:07 am |
    • Heather B.

      Whooping cough does kill the littlest ones, those less than 6 months old. The thing is, the 4-shot vaccination series for Pertussis isn't complete until after that window has passed. With pertussis, it is more important to vaccinate people around the babies than the babies themselves. You can't protect them any other way right now.

      May 24, 2012 at 7:59 am |
      • Donna

        Exactly why we are arguing with your choice to not vaccinate your children until later – the PEOPLE AROUND THE BABY includes YOUR children who are interacting with the babies in a public setting.

        Pertussis is described as follows on Wikipedia (not the best source but good enough for simple facts like these) "The incubation period is typically seven to ten days in infants or young children, after which there are usually mild respiratory symptoms, mild coughing, sneezing, or runny nose. This is known as the catarrhal stage. After one to two weeks, the coughing classically develops into uncontrollable fits ..." A kid is contagious for up to 3.5 weeks BEFORE you would have any clue that he has pertussis. During that time, he could be interacting with countless babies under 6 months who cannot be vaccinated and have a high likelihood of catching the disease and suffering serious complications.

        It is very clear, Heather B., from all your posts that you care exclusively about your own children. The rest of the children in society can die as long as far as your concerned. You've consistently framed every comment solely as to risks of illness and death to YOUR children from these diseases. You admit that your unvaccinated children can pose a risk to others in society but you simply don't care. You're perfectly fine with the notion that your 2 year old get the disease because he won't die. You could care less about the fact that said 2 year old, before you even know he is sick, could pass the disease onto several 4 month olds who then die. Those babies aren't yours so their life is not your responsibility or even on your radar.

        May 24, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  16. sonas76

    I was born before there was a chicken pox vaccine. I contracted it at age six and wound up with some deep scars.

    But I wasn't 'done' with chicken pox by far. No one knew then that I had a genetic auto-immune disorder. Because of that, my old chicken pox re-activate as Shingles whenever my blood counts reach a certain level or I am under great stress. To those who have never experienced Shingles, I don't recommend the experience. I have had Shingles four times in the past three years. Wherever the rash is, it feels like you are being burned alive. You are so sick you can't get out of bed, and if you can somehow get out the door, sunlight in your eyes feels like you are trying to look into a blast furnace. I also have permanent nerve damage in my right arm from it. I live in fear of another outbreak.

    When given the choice to vaccinate my children against chicken pox, I jumped at the chance. Not only did they not end up with any scars, but they won't be getting Shingles as adults.

    May 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • AJD13

      I saw a shingles vaccine being advertised at Walgreens. You may want to look into that and see if it's an option for you. I know how bad it is. My grandmother had it and also a coworker and they really suffered. Thanks for mentioning shingles, I was aware that chicken pox opens people up for the possibility of it later but had forgotten to mention that as well as the scarring that can occur and that though it's rare, there are children that do die from it every year just like there are people that die from the "run of the mill" flu too but you don't hear much about it and no one thinks of someone dying from the "standard issue" flu and not the more exotic types.

      May 23, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
      • sonas76

        I have actually been in a huge fight with my insurance company to get the Shingles vaccine. While I do have an existing illness that qualifies me for the vaccine, I do not fit the age parameter to get it. If this last round of pleas fails, I will pay out of pocket for it.

        May 23, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  17. Donna

    Let's looking at basic medical information (nit that produced by anti-vaccine organizations) the most common side effect of the vaccine is fever. It occurs in a mere 5% of those vaccinated. Of that 5% 1 in 3000 will suffer febrile seizure. Encephalitis occurs in a mere 1 per million vaccines in North America. However, encephalitis occurs in 1 in 1000 cases of the measles. So a child has a one in a million chance of having a serious reaction to a shot and a one in a thousand chance of having a serious reaction to the measles. It is perfectly clear which is more dangerous.

    And a basic 5 second google search will show that several clinical trials have been conducted and there has not been a single case of serious allergic reaction to the measles vaccine from those allergic to eggs and it is highly recommended that egg allergy no longer be considered at contraindication. In fact, every kid I know with an egg allergy (several) has received their full immunizations, including measles, on the regular schedule despite being allergic to eggs.

    May 21, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Edwin

      Vaccines do help prevent devastating illness, but they have risks - and more than the established medical profession knows. Recent discoveries about the human ecosystem (human cells make up a mere 10% or so of the cells in our bodies) show how little we really know about the ramifications of tinkering with immune reactions. Vaccines, like antibiotics, may well trigger unintended reactions in our immune systems.

      Those who worry about the dangers of vaccines might actually be correct to be concerned, though the dangers posed by actual diseases are almost always much worse.

      May 23, 2012 at 12:49 am |
      • CynycismAbound

        (human cells make up a mere 10% or so of the cells in our bodies)

        After a statement like that, I believe nothing you say. They ARE human cells because they are in our body, and we are human. Basic logistical semantics.

        May 23, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
      • vexorian

        "We don't know everything about the human body. Ergo let's become anti.vaxers"


        May 25, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  18. msp

    How in the world do you come to the conclusion that these people represent nerds?! As a nerd, I am really offended by being associated with them.

    May 16, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Me

      Hear Hear!!!

      May 23, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  19. Ellen

    Also just wanted to add Heather B. you don't know what you are talking about when it comes to pertussis and other diseases being eradicated. It is make a huge comeback in the US and there are major outbreaks especially in the Western states. I was vaccinated against it as a child, only to contract pertussis at age 38 when I lived in AZ. Its rare, but it does happen that a person who had pertussis can contract it twice– and that happened to me as I got it again about a year later since for some reason my body did not gain immunity from having the infection. I went to a different doctor who gave me a new vaccination as he said the shot is really only good for 15 years and all adults should get a booster in their 20's to be safe. I haven't gotten the illness again since getting the booster shot despite another outbreak of the illness in my town.

    Pertussis or whooping cough is otherwise known as the "100 day cough" and let me tell you folks it is living Hell to go through it not once but twice. It involves severe coughing which you cannot even imagine to where it feels like you are coughing your guts up. It was hard to sleep, eat or even work during this time. Many times it would cause me to projectile vomit if I coughed when I had food in my stomach. People you do not want to put your child through this...imagine 100 days straight of coughing your guts out and there is really not much treatment once you get it as the antibiotic that is suppose to stop it doesn't work too well and the strongest prescription cough suppressants did not even work. Folks do not refuse your child a pertussis vaccine. I've also heard that Polio is making a comeback in the US, so people don't fool yourselves. My aunt and uncle both had polio as a child and are still crippled and have pain as older adults. There are websites that let you hear audio files of what whooping cough sounds like; I'd suggest you take a listen and see if you'd like your child to bark like that for 100 days of misery!

    May 15, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • AJD13

      I have scars on my body from chickenpox. Most people don't think of chickenpox as that dangerous and really it is rarely life threatening, but if I can protect my children from even going through that discomfort and the life long scars it can cause, I will and I have. Some people who choose not to vaccinate merely by their own choice and not because of a previous reaction or other health issue that means their children can't be vaccinated make it sound like you're putting nuclear waste or something into your children's bodies. You're not. It's pretty much the same thing as if they had a very small exposure to the actual disease (and vaccinations are actually safer in that way because the virus is inactive, only meant to teach the body to recognize it so that if it is later exposed to the live version it will know how to fight it off, kind of like training soldiers to recognize the enemy and combat them) and learned to fight it off that way. Yes there are some other additives to vaccines but if people really knew what they were exposed to just in their own homes our out walking around everyday if they get this freaked out over vaccines, they'd put themselves in a bubble and never come out.

      May 15, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  20. erin

    You lose the priviledge of calling yourself "brainy" the second you don't get your child vaccinated. DUMB!

    May 14, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • AJD13

      I don't understand that either. She's a neurosurgeon, went to medical school. You would think she would have learned a lot about it there and that she'd be above the pseudo-science fear mongering of the non-vaccination people that still cling to the unfounded and debunked fear that they cause autism.

      May 14, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  21. xmissvikkix

    I'm really wondering what is more damaging to a child; growing up without total comfort or growing up without a father. I haven't seen a male in ANY of these newscasts, articles, or youtube videos. Attachment parenting is a little misleading; this is attachment *mothering*.

    My mothers sister kept her son in their bed until he was 12. He didn't have a single friend growing up even in to high school. His mother dressed him (sigh) until he was 16. My cousin is a genius through and through. However, he is completely socially inept! He left the house to go off to UCSB, where he achieved a Bachelors Degree in Molecular Biology. He was offered a six figure salary out of UC with some company in NoCal. What did he do? Moved back in with mom and dad of course! He now works as a janitor at a bowling alley. It breaks MY heart to see my cousin, who I know is an awesome, kickass person get NO push at all from his mom or dad. They very much believe that he should do exactly what he wants if it feels good, and mommy will always take him right back in if he feels anxious or scared at all.

    In the end, only the child suffers from the parent(s) (mom OR dad) destructive behaviors and neurosis. Please stop to REALLY think about whether you're adequately preparing them for life, or whether you're speculating on how they might feel. Has anyone asked their children how they feel about this? I've seen a lot of these mothers talking THROUGH their children, not TO them. Sigh, poor kids really don't have any voice at all but their mothers.

    May 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • AJD13

      I know what you're saying. My mother had a lot of fears herself that she tried to pass on to me and my siblings. She was deathly afraid of water due to having been pushed into a pool when she was a child and couldn't she refused to get us swimming lessons. I didn't learn to swim until I was in 8th grade and that was because I was totally sick of not knowing how, seeing my peers going to the pool and knowing how to swim and the fun they when we were on vacation that summer, I defied my mother to stay in the shallow two foot end of the pool, walked over to the deep end and just jumped in. It was sink or swim and I learned to swim and have enjoyed it ever since. Had I not been so strong willed, I to this day probably would not know how to swim and I'm 35. I got my kids into swim lessons when they were toddlers and they swim like fish now. I will never understand why my mom believed that me not knowing how to swim was would think logically due to her incident she would know it would be far safer for me to KNOW how to swim if something similar were to happen to me. I have known parents like what you're talking about that make every choice for their child, coddle and baby them into their teens (and sometimes even into adulthood.) I dated a guy who was the biggest "mama's boy" ever. He wouldn't so much as burp without her permission and was afraid to do ANYTHING without getting her approval even though he was a legal adult. It was ridiculous and super annoying. I'm all for men respecting their mothers but there's a line that can be crossed.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  22. lynne

    Now, I would like to say before anything else that I am NOT a mother and therefore, perhaps, not fully qualified to make judgements or other statements. BUT –
    Co-sleeping is not just some baseless thing doctors warn about, and no, it is not safe, and doctors know that. This is especially true with parents who are deep sleepers. Just recently in the news was a mother who suffocated not one, but two children. I acknowledge that this is rare, but why is any aded risk at all acceptable?
    As for the breastfeeding, as a psychologist I feel that outside of the physical benefits (which I am sure there are) there might be psychological ramifications later in life as the child is able to make lasting long term memories of what is happening. I PERSONALLY feel there is a definite "too old" age, but I am sure there are other psychologists who probably feel differently. For lack of a more articulate way to state this, it seems a little "icky."
    I feel pretty strongly that children should be vaccinated – for the simple fact that children do not grow up in a bubble and will interact with other children. I feel this is as much for other people's safety as much as your child.
    Then again, like I said, these are not my children – I would not like another mother telling me how to raise my own offspring and therefore it is not my place to hold judgement.

    May 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • AJD13

      I agree with everything you say.....I think the line is crossed about not judging someone's parenting though when they do something that could be a danger to their child or to my children or other children and the two components of that in AP (at least the ones that follow these and the "extremists") are co-sleeping and not vaccinating or delaying vaccinations until school age. I understand the concerns of some about how many vaccines children get at one time (though my children never have had a problem nor has any child I've ever known in my life) but you CAN request that the vaccinations be given separately and spread out but the child still gets them all during the recommended time frame. If something you're doing as a parent does not put your child in danger or puts my child or other children at risk, then that's fine, but if it does, then I think people have a right (and maybe even a responsibility) to say something about it.

      May 14, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Xaka

      When talking about the safety of co-sleeping, perhaps it's important to also look at how many babies die from SIDS (which used to be called "cribdeath" until recent years). Just from googling around the internet, I see that about 2500 babies per year die from SIDS (which may include co-sleeping infants) and about 64 babies per year die from "adult bed accidents" (which may not include co-sleeping). Sciences has "proven" that co-sleeping has many biological benefits for babies and countries that have the highest rates of co-sleeping also tend to have the lowest SIDS rates. This is not accidental. I hope people do more research before posting from a purely emotional or media-induced state of mind.

      May 14, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
      • AJD13

        Many suffocating deaths from co-sleeping are reported as SIDS deaths so it's hard to untangle the whole thing. Babies that die of SIDS can die of that in cribs or co-sleeping. There are safer ways to keep the baby close like beds for the baby that attach to the adults bed. I had my kids in a bassinet right next to the bed until they outgrew it. The statistics I have read say that SIDS deaths (those that happen in cribs) are falling due to more people putting their babies to sleep on their backs while co-sleeping deaths are rising due to more people doing it.

        May 14, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Edwin

      lynne: you say co-sleeping is dangerous, using anecdotal cases of smothering as evidence. What about the fact that virtually all SIDS deaths occur when the parents choose to sleep in another room? As you say, why take the risk?

      Basically, what I am saying is that your argument is completely baseless. Good medical studies have shown that co-sleeping does not lead to a higher risk of death, health problems, psychological trauma, or behavioral problems. As a psychologist, you should know that.

      May 23, 2012 at 12:56 am |
  23. oh how lovely

    Guess you could say I am an attachment parent. But my child is not needy and insecure. Quite the opposite. I believe I gave her enough security that now she feels ok having distance from me. I personally feel it's all about balance. My husband generally wore the sling though my back had enough. Each child is an individual I think anything to an extreme is not so good. Must say the time picture gives me the willies. My husband saw it last night and was speechless. Finally he said um, uh, that's so gross. In our culture it's not necessary to extend bf that long. Some of the Eskimo culture bf until twelve years old! I thought that was just so weird. But apparently they don't have a lot of essential nutrients. It was an article I read many years ago. I was more than creeped out by that! I don't much care how people choose to raise their own kids if it isn't similar to my style we usually don't have a lasting friendship. Personally I wouldn't want anyone telling me how to raise my child. But I would never put it in someone's face if I even thought my way was better. Are you mom enough? Please let me get the throw up out of my mouth.

    May 14, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Edwin

      We use attachment parenting, more or less. Our daughter is very well adjusted and highly intelligent. She falls asleep easily most nights and has no need for a stuffed animal or doll to hold (she is 5, btw). Our doctor did not approve of some of our choices - but when we asked, she(the doctor) could give no medical reasons for disapproving - the choices just didn't agree 100% with what she told us we had to do...

      The people who claim it is dangerous or abnormal simple do not know what they are talking about. Every parent should become informed about options and choose a parenting style that works effectively for them and their child; attachment parenting is just one option - a good one for some families, but probably not all.

      May 23, 2012 at 1:04 am |
  24. Barney

    Raise your children anyway you want but constantly telling people about it makes you seem like you're telling other mothers they're doing it wrong.

    May 14, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Tuned Mayim Out Long Ago

      I completely agree.
      Some time ago, I read a different article which (if I recall correctly) was written by Mayim herself. It began with a statement along the lines of "I'm not trying to judge or offend other mothers, BUT......" and then proceeded to outline the motivations for AP parenting in a very condescending way. (My apologies….it has been a long time and I am unable to locate the same article for your reference.) I embrace many aspects of AP parenting and still found her approch unpleasant. I have not read anything parenting related from her again, including this article. I recommend others take the same approach.....unless you like to be lectured about what she views as your inferiority.

      May 15, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
      • AJD13

        I was taught long ago that anytime you use the word but in that context, you totally negate anything you said before it. My kids are just fine the way I am raising them and have raised them. They are happy, healthy, do very well in school and socially, are very empathetic and loving and I didn't breastfeed (wanted to but couldn't) or not teach them to be polite by saying please and thank you, or keep them from getting vaccinations, or wear them in a sling, or put them in my bed to sleep, thank you very much, Mayim.

        May 15, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  25. rosetta stone russian

    I do not even know how I ended up here, but I assumed this post used to be great. I do not realize who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you happen to aren't already. Cheers!

    May 14, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  26. Ugh

    First off... Get your kids vaccinated. Children are germ factories the way they are, give them a fighting chance. Second off, take the kid of your teat before the age of two. Save yourself and the unfortunate kid the embarassment. Any of these new wave parents who believe in 'attachment parenting" or what ever the new parenting buzz is this week, remember, you arent sheltering them from anything. They will still end up doing blow off the toilet seat in a public restroom. Get over yourselves and your children, neither are worth the arguing.

    May 14, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • J

      First off, not all kids can be vaccinated.

      May 14, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
      • Ugh

        Survival of the fittest. Darwin wins.

        May 14, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  27. tooquiet4me2005

    Her 'education?'

    No hubris here.....

    May 14, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  28. Heather B.

    I understand the science behind vaccines and herd immunity. It is rude and ignorant to assume that someone is ignorant for disagreeing with you. As I said already, I don't refuse vaccines for my kids; I delay them until they are school-age.

    No, measles, mumps, and polio don't care about a child's age; however, polio is eradicated in the US (so is diptheria), and measles and mumps are rarely serious in the US in healthy children as medical advances have made them easier to treat. As Pertussis deaths are only RARELY in people over the age of 6 months, I'm not too worried about it either, except for my youngest. He was diagnosed with asthma on the day he received the second dose of DTaP.

    Vaccines are more likely to cause harm in smaller children; I don't agree with how aggressive the current schedule is, with multiple doses given at one time with no way of knowing which vaccine caused a negative reaction. The risk that my children will contract these illnesses is low; the risk that they will be harmed seriously by any of these illnesses is even lower with today's medical advances. I don't trust the vaccines enough to give them to my children when they are so little, to give so many at one time, etc. Most vaccines were designed for older target age groups, then later "approved" for use in children younger. Also, we wouldn't need a National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to compensate those who are injured by vaccines if the vaccines were so safe as to not cause injury. They DO injure people, and our government pays those people through the NVICP. Maybe YOU should do some research.

    So your point is this: unvaccinated children put other unvaccinated children at risk. Okay, well, I made that point already. Your other point: unvaccinated people put those who can't be vaccinated at risk... again, I made that point already. Adult caregivers of newborns also need to be vaccinated to protect babies from Pertussis. But people fail to remember the importance of that and lash out instead at someone whose unvaccinated 4 year-old will never encounter your newborn. (I sure hope you've all gotten your adult Pertussis boosters; there is no way to overstate the importance of adult caregivers having them!)

    My problem is people who claim that their vaccinated child is at risk because of unvaccinated children. If vaccines work, an unvaccinated child doesn't put vaccinated children at risk.

    Also, vaccination isn't the only right decision, as there are health factors at play in parental vaccination decisions that you an outsider to their family may be unaware of. Try to remember that just because I make a different choice than you doesn't mean I haven't done the same research as you. It means that I analyze the risks of each choice and come to a different decision than you–nothing more.

    May 14, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • J

      I agree with you. I have a vaccine injured child. He got very sick at 12 months old with his 1 year shots. Then got very sick again at 5 years old on the DTAP shot. We delay and separate when we can. Even facing this, I still get a LOT of flack for "deciding" not to vaccinate him. Seeing your child in an pediatric ICU changes your mind quickly.

      May 14, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • EJewett

      My issue is with the fact that you said you take issue with people who say your unvaccinated child puts no other children at risk. They do. My infant son, who cannot be vaccinated for certain things until he's older, is put at risk by unvaccinated children who may carry illnesses. Your right to not vaccinate your child only exists as long as it doesn't harm my child, who hasn't yet received certain vaccinations because of his age. So before you go and say things, maybe you should, in all of your time researching, consider that consequence as well. Vaccines have cured illnesses that killed thousands upon thousands of children, or crippled them for life. But polio's not a big deal, right? Ridiculous.

      May 14, 2012 at 9:10 am |
      • Heather B.

        Actually, Ejewett, if you'd read my posts again more carefully, you'd see I stated over and over that my unvaccinated children put other unvaccinated children at risk only. I never said they don't put ANYONE at risk. They don't put vaccinated kids at risk, if the vaccines work. That is the point I was making.

        May 14, 2012 at 10:55 am |
      • Heather B.

        And again, I do vaccinate; I just delay until school age, and I don't see how my unvaccinated toddlers who don't go to preschool or daycare put your kids at risk in the slightest. (At present, I don't have any unvaccinated toddlers, for the record. My youngest is getting his shots caught up right now to prepare for preschool, and my oldest had all his before starting kindergarten.)

        May 14, 2012 at 10:57 am |
      • Heather B.

        Fyi, polio is eradicated in the US. You have to go to another country, catch it, and bring it back to get it. We don't travel out of the country, and it's unlikely my son will meet that one person who came home from foreign travel with polio. Delaying vaccines, as I do, is not going to be responsible for the reintroduction of polio to the US.

        May 14, 2012 at 11:31 am |
      • Xaka

        It doesn't seem like you understand how vaccines and/or the human body work. Vaccines do not keep a person from getting and/or carrying around a disease. A vaccinated person is likely carrying some version of the disease s/he has been vaccinated against in order for his/her body to make antibodies for the disease. It doesn't matter how mild the version is, it must be enough to actually initiate a biological response in order to get the body producing effective antibodies. This would make vaccinated people carriers of disease, which would make *them* the ones who threaten the health of unvaccinated people. Of course, the same could be said for unvaccinated people (being carriers), but if a person is vaccinated, we *know* that person is carrying the disease around in some form. Unvaccinated is an unknown unless and until the person is tested for antibodies.

        But, vaccines do not always work in people. They do not always trigger the biological response necessary to produce antibodies. This is simply a fact.

        So, vaccinated or unvaccinated, life is a crapshoot. You take your chances. The best hope any of us has is to have a healthy enough immune system to fight off any diseases our bodies come into contact with. A healthy immune system is something we have much more influence over than whether or not our bodies react appropriately to a vaccine shot. Why do you think kids get shots of the same disease over and over, again? Because the doctors are not going to test them to see if their bodies "took" to the vaccines and it's easier to just keep loading them up with viruses. Makes more money for the pharmaceutical companies, as well. It's highly unethical, though, in my opinion.

        People have the right to vaccinate or not vaccinate. But, let's not keep saying that vaccinating inherently protects unvaccinated people (it doesn't) and let's not keep saying that not vaccinating inherently puts vaccinated people at risk (it doesn't). Do your own research (and look beyond the CDC's website) and make your own decisions. Ultimately, every vaccine shot carries with it the risk of death. And, disease., think, and decide. And, then, extend the same courtesy to others.

        May 14, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
      • shelle

        Xaka, your assessment does not paint an entirely accurate picture. In administering the MMR vaccine, we are not giving these children the actual virus. We are giving them a form of the virus that is largely unsuitable for life in the human body (it is cultivated in chick embryos) but it carries with it antigens that stimulate an immune response from the body. In teaching the body to recognize the antigens attached to the harmless version of the virus, they will then recognize the virulent form and launch an attack against it. So, ultimately, vaccinated children are not putting unvaccinated children at risk. And people keep saying, “Well, if vaccines work then you have nothing to complain about as I am not putting your vaccinated child at risk.” This, too is inaccurate and it’s crazy to think that anything is 100% effective. In order to convey herd immunity, 94% of the population would need to be immunized (and you would still have the statistically insignificant – though very significant to the parents and loved ones! – cases where even with 94% vaccination rate, some would still get some of these diseases). This is because the MMR vaccine is only 95% effective – the other 5% of children are kept safe through herd immunity. So, YES YOU ARE PUTTING OTHER VACCINATED CHILDREN AT RISK. I don’t really care if you want to “attach parent;” that doesn’t affect me or any child other than your own. I really really really care that you choose not to vaccinate your child or that you allow a five-year window of opportunity for these diseases to take hold. Frankly, I shouldn’t have to convince you of the danger your children are to other people; the safety of your own children is reason enough.

        May 14, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
      • Heather B.

        I think you're a little too afraid of illnesses that were once considered normal childhood illnesses–illnesses that caused so much death because their transmission was not curbed, because patients had poor access to healthcare, because our medical technology could not treat them. These illnesses are now less common, due to vaccination; however, they are also more treatable. An American child is not likely to die from mumps, measles, rubella, chickenpox, etc. in today's day and age. Even Pertussis is now only known for killing babies under 6 months old. Tetanus can be cured with a shot; diptheria and polio are eradicated, and no, an unvaccinated child isn't going to reintroduce Polio as he'd have to contract it from abroad to do so! It's fear-mongering to believe that not vaccinating is some death sentence for the child or for children the child is exposed to. I have elderly family members who remember having their doctor treat mumps and chickenpox over the phone, because believe it or not, those illnesses are not medical emergencies. It's when complications arise, usually in otherwise unhealthy children or those with poor access to healthcare, that things get dangerous, and we have learned how to treat most of these illnesses to lower risk of complications significantly. Chickenpox, measles, mumps, several of these are more dangerous when caught as a teenager and pose little risk to smaller children; a five year-old who gets Chickenpox has less risk of complication than a ten year-old. (Furthermore, immunity from getting chickenpox is stronger than immunity from the vax). We are seeing this happen more often now that children are vaccinated in infancy, that people are catching these illnesses older. It is wrong to assume that if you don't vax, your unvaccinated child (or the small % of this country's unvaccinated kids) is going to be responsible for reintroducing an eradicated illness. It is also wrong to assume that, with the modern medical advances of today, mumps or chickenpox is a death sentence. Consider what we vaccinate against, the first four of which were once considered normal childhood illnesses:
        Polio – eradicated in the US
        Diptheria – very close to eradication, with only a few cases a year, mostly spread by not washing hands
        Tetanus – can be cured by a shot given after infection, IIRC.
        Pertussis – very deadly to small infants; very rare in the US to cause death in anyone above 6 months of age

        I think you are overestimating your risk. These "normal childhood illnesses" are much easier to treat free of complication now; two of these illnesses are eradicated, one of which would need to be brought here from another country; one of these can't even be transmitted person to person and can be cured post-exposure with a different version of the shot. Of these Pertussis is the most important vax, because we best protect infants by vaccinating those around them.

        A lot of people who chose not to vaccinate homeschool; a lot of people who chose to delay vaccines keep their children out of daycare until they are vaccinated. There are waivers for those who don't vaccinate, and how dare you act as though everyone who doesn't vaccinate does so out of misplaced fear? (Aren't you vaccinating out of fear? Fear of death by chickenpox?)

        May 15, 2012 at 8:07 am |
      • AJD13

        Heather B.....there HAVE been confirmed deaths from chicken pox. It's very rare, but it has happened....unlike confirmed cases of autism from vaccines, which has been totally debunked and the guy who did that farce of a study has since lost his medical license. I know a woman with an autistic child. She was scared of vaccines too and didn't get her child vaccinated. He has been diagnosed as autistic. Of course people vaccinate out of fear of these very REAL diseases because there's REALLY something to be afraid of unlike the unfounded and debunked fear of autism from vaccinations. Yes, some children may have a reaction to them, but a very small number....some kids could have a reaction to children's tylenol too. Some kids are allergic to eggs, or peanuts or whatever.

        May 15, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
      • Heather B.

        The thing is that there are also confirmed reports of babies dying or being severely injured by vaccines. VAERS shows you the reports; the National Vaccine Injury Compensation program keeps records of the claims they pay out each year for damages because of vaccine injury. It does happen, and I think my child is more likely to die of a severe reaction to a shot than to contract and subsequently die from chickenpox. That's why I delay.

        Please understand that while vaccine injury is rare, it does happen, and people who choose not to vaccinate aren't doing it just for selfish reasons or out of misplaced fear. We have an entire court run by the US government dedicated to vaccine injury cases. If vaccines did not injure, we wouldn't need it.

        All I'm saying is: try not to judge people too hastily who delay or selectively vaccinate. I'm not a big fan of choosing not to vaccinate altogether, but even people who choose that, maybe their children had a bad reaction, or a family member, to a vaccine. You don't know what goes behind people's choices. And the fearmongering on both sides has just got to stop for there to be any reasonable dialogue.

        May 16, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • Donna

      So your okay with selfishly risking the life and health of other non-vaccinated people? YOUR children are more important than the many others who cannot be vaccinated due to age or medical reasons? Who cares if they get sick and die as long as YOUR children don't face the absolutely miniscule risk that they will have a negative reaction to the vaccine? My opinion is if that if you want to delay vaccines, great. Keep your kids home 24/7 so that there is absolutely no possibility that they can infect those who CAN'T take vaccines. The people who can't take the vaccine are innocents and far more important to be protected than those of you who make CHOICES that could put other people at risk. You make the decision; live it.

      As for polio (and other diseases), you may not travel out of the country but people come and go from this one all the time. There is every possibility that the guy next to you at grocery store HAS just come from a country that has no eradicated polio and he, in fact, has polio.

      May 14, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
      • AJD13

        Agreed. We no longer vaccinate against smallpox here because it's supposedly "eradicated" but the fact is, it's not eradicated everywhere. It still exists in other countries and as people travel more and more, the chances of it making a reappearance here grows. The fact is, we are a much "smaller" world than we've ever been. The person in the grocery store may not even have been to that country but HE may have had contact with someone who was. You never know. Honestly aside from the children that for a known medical reason cannot get vaccinated, the main reason most people are against vaccination is because they've been scared by a totally debunked "study" that's been championed by a celebrity even though it's been proven false over and over and the guy who did it has even lost his medical license, that vaccinations cause autism. That's their real fear.

        May 14, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
      • AJD13

        People also don't think about the possibility of certain disease pathogens changing or "mutating" for lack of a better word. This is why the antibiotic crazy (both pill form and in things like hand soap) are actually doing more harm than good now. Pathogens can become resistant or change to adapt so that they are not affected by them. It is possible for a pathogen if the vaccination rate goes down enough for these diseases to change in a way that makes the vaccinations against the original form not as effective or totally ineffective putting us back to square one. People who choose not to vaccinate now are depending on everyone else that does for their child's safety. They don't seem to think about that. If everyone jumped on that bandwagon and stopped immunizing, their child would have a much greater chance of getting sick. They're seeing that now in Washington State with a pertussis outbreak and also recently in the midwest with measles.

        May 14, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
      • Alicia

        Please do more research. Polio is NOT eradicated in the US. It has just been renamed the world over. Look at incidences of paralysis vs. the decline of polio. The truth is Polio was renamed Acute Flaccid Paralysis. Same diagnostic criteria, same outcome. These diseases are being renamed and masked. Vaccination does not prevent disease. Vaccination is not safe or effective. The CDC and FDA have come out and stated that vaccination is necessarily unsafe because they can't guarantee that your child will not be injured while trying to obtain immunity. The ingredients break down the blood brain barrier, hyperstimulate the immune system and do damage to myelin throughout the body. This is considered necessary in order to provoke an immune response. Now when children get sick or develop issues they have lost the natural protective barriers put in place to recover from these illnesses. I will never vaccinate my children, just as I would never put these ingredients into a sippy cup and ask my child to drink them. Just because it is out of sight out of mind because it is wrapped up in a nice little syringe and goes directly into their arm or leg doesn't mean it is any different than feeding it to them sprinkled over their cereal in the morning. In fact, it's worse because now it is bypassing all the health barriers which would have helped filter out these components in the first place. Hair, skin, nails, mucosa, etc. are our NATURAL barriers to disease. Good hygiene, proper nutrition and access to medical care are much more important than mass vaccination with chemicals and artificially created virus' and bacteria.

        May 15, 2012 at 11:37 am |
      • AJD13

        Yep Alicia....that's why we're now seeing outbreaks of pertussis and measles due to more people not vaccinating...because those "natural barriers" and our improved sanitary conditions and access to health care prevent them. I'm 36 years old, my parents are in their mid 50's. None of us have EVER known of a child injured by a vaccine. Doesn't mean there aren't some, but you make it sound like we're putting nuclear waste into our child's bodies which is not the case. I would rather vaccinate my children than have them suffer through the effects of these diseases even if with modern health care they may not be as deadly as the past. Whooping cough is a HORRIBLE disease to suffer through. Even chicken pox is very uncomfortable. I know, I had it as a child and I'm glad that my kids have been vaccinated against it. I have several scars on my body just from chicken pox. If I could prevent my kids from even suffering through a bout of the common cold I would.

        May 15, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
      • Kiwismommy

        Really Donna,
        So children killed or maimed by severe vaccine reactions are not innocents! Oh ya, just bad publicity for the holy grail of modern medicine, toxic vaccines. Sacrificial soldiers in the war on disease, collateral damage. I am not sacrificing my child to protect yours or any other. You believe what you want, but you do not have a right to demand that anyone take risks with their own children, no matter what. Pertussis in infants is a man made problem. Before the vaccine, pertussis in infants was nearly unheard of because mothers passed their immunity to their children and breast feeding helped maintain it. Vaccine immunity cannot be passed to your baby, hence now they are vulnerable. The choice to vaccinate or not is a personal one. I will never dictate to you what you must do to your babies, don't dare to tell me what to do with mine. Keep you infant at home for the first few months as they did when I was a baby. If you want to rush back to work and must vaccinate to put your child in daycare, good on you. But I am not vaccinating my child and I really don't care what you think or what risks you think are involved. I have evaluated the risks myself and I am perfectly comfortable with my decision. I am however concerned about your vaccinated kids sluffing off those viruses to my childen. But, hey they are healthy and have amazing immune systems because I didn't allow it to be destroyed by fake immunity and toxins. When will YOU draw the line. If they wanted to give your kid 30 vaccines in one day or 100, when do you get educated and make your own decisions? You think I'm an idiot, I think you are a braiwashed twit! But I am not vaccinating my child, and thank God that a bunch of self-righteous do-gooders aren't making the decision for us.

        July 16, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Donna

      Heather B you continue to justify your own selfishness by widdling down the group you're risking in your own mind – while still agreeing that lives are being risked. Even if yoy are correct that only jnhealthy children riak death (you're not but we'll go with it), there are millions of unhealthy kids and kids who lack healthcare in the US. I guarantee tgat some live near you regadless of where you live. A leukemia patient in the neighborhood. A kid with HIV talking to your kid in line at the grocery store. The kid at theplayground whose dad has been laid off and won't get to the hospital until on death's door because she no longer has insurance. All those kids, and many more, are put at risk by your choice. You still haven't been able to explain why your child's miniscule risk of illness is more important than their lives.

      And mumps may be reelatively minor but it still can cause sterility in teenage males. But it's okay if your kid passes an infection to an unvaccinated young man. There are too many kids on this planet and he doesn't need to have any. I can't say I disagree with you about chicken pox though.

      And your child doesn't need to travel abroad to get polio! He needs to be NEAR someone who has traveled abroad. How many international flights arrive this country every single day?

      May 16, 2012 at 4:21 am |
      • Heather B.

        Several of these illnesses ARE indeed more dangerous for teenagers, yes. But it's not my responsibility to eject vaccines until my baby to prevent that. It is those teenagers' responsibilities and those teenagers' parents responsibilities to have them vaccinated. I have my children vaccinated before they even start school, and I certainly wouldn't let them reach puberty without immunity to those illnesses. As I mentioned before now that we vaccinate in childhood, more older children in their teens are coming down with these illnesses, and it's more of a fight at that age. However, the dangers for teenagers are hardly a reason to innoculate babies; it doesn't have to be in infancy or nothing. You CAN vaccinate at age 5, age 10–whenever. I choose age 5, and no amount of fear mongering is going to convince me that this delay would or could be responsible for some large scale re-infection of the population. The very suggestion makes me want to roll my eyes. You know most of these vaccines were designed for older children then later "approved" for younger kids, right? Doesn't make me want to give them to my infants...

        May 16, 2012 at 8:24 am |
      • Heather B.

        It is a parent's responsibility to protect their children, and healthcare decisions fall to parents. It is my choice whether to vaccinate; I base my choice on my son, because I'm HIS mother. I don't base it on the kids at the playground, whose own parents have a responsibility to them. Please explain to me why those kids should be more important to me than my own son? Please explain why the EXTREMELY low risk of my son contracting and spreading one of these illnesses in his first five years is worth the, per VAERS and the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, seemingly high risk of adverse reaction to vaccines. Why do we pay out so many thousands of dollars for vaccine injury claims if vaccines are so safe, I wonder? Hmm. Odd. :/

        My son, my responsibility. Your son, your responsibility. Our kids, our choice.

        Get off your high horse. It's not my job to save or protect the world. My children come first, and I feel it's safer to delay vaccines–so I do, and you're not in a position to change that.

        May 16, 2012 at 8:33 am |
      • AJD13

        Just as you say there are young children that have reactions, these young children grow up to be teenagers and may not be vaccinated due to that or another valid medical reason. Yes, they have this "vaccine injury" thing but if you look at the number of kids who suffer any injury from a vaccine the number is extremely minuscule compared to the number of children that are vaccinated every single year. People are injured from lots of medications, that's just the way it is. If you believed the ads from lawyers on TV you'd think there was someone injured from a drug on every street corner. Yes, it is your choice not to vaccinate your children, no argument there, but that doesn't change the fact that you DO put others at risk by not having your children vaccinated on schedule. It's not "fear mongering" it's just a fact. I'm 35. I don't ever remember in my whole life hearing about the outbreaks of diseases like pertussis and measles that I've been hearing about the last few years since this whole anti-vaccine crusade took hold. That says something right there. Also in those 35 years of my life I have never ever once known of a child that was injured by a vaccine. Not one. My parents are in their mid 50's...same with them. Your assertion that it's more likely that your child will be injured by a vaccine than that they could endanger other children or get one of these diseases themselves is in error. And there ARE ways that over time as the number of unvaccinated children increases due to these unfounded fears that it's more dangerous for their child to vaccinate them than to not vaccinate them, that it could eventually put children who ARE vaccinated at risk. I've touched on that point before too. So while yes, you have the choice as a parent to vaccinate or not, I don't think anyone's arguing that you have the CHOICE, that doesn't mean that choice is the right one or that your interpretation of the research you have done is the correct one. I know I'm not going to change your mind and you're right, nothing may ever happen....but it certainly could happen just as easily. So while you ask those of us that are pro-vaccine not to judge you for not vaccinating your children on schedule, we ask that you please not judge us who are concerned about not just the health of our own children but of others too because our children and these other children are just as important to us as yours is to you. You make it sound like "well that's their kids so who cares, I only care about mine, that's their responsibility." Yes they have responsibilities to their children too, but would you feel any less bad if not vaccinating your child did cause another to become sick and even possibly die? No one's child is more important than someone else's, other people love their children just as much as you do yours and that's why people get upset when someone chooses not to vaccinate their children on schedule when there is no valid medical condition that precludes that. You say it's their responsibility to vaccinate their kids to protect them from your unvaccinated ones....but what if they made the same argument to you that THEY have the choice not to vaccinate and one of your unvaccinated kids got sick? Why should it be everyone else's responsibility to vaccinate their children and not have that choice but you do and it's not your responsibility? It goes both ways.

        May 16, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
      • Heather B.

        AJD13–Looking at the VAERS reports and the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program's data (which I wonder if you've even seen?) the number seems far less miniscule to me.You have no proof that a child is more likely to catch and be injured/killed by a vaccine-preventable disease than a vaccine in the first 4-5 years of life; until then, you have no right to tell me whether my choice is correct. I don't even know if I have made the "correct" choice. I used the resources at my disposal to try to make the best choice for us. And again... I do vaccinate; I delay until my children are older and thus stronger.

        I didn't mean to make it sound like I only care about my own children. My point is that my responsibility is first and foremost to my own children. If I didn't care about other people's children, I wouldn't vaccinate for anything except Polio. For me, vaccination IS about protecting other people's children. I'm not afraid for my children to get sick with an illness that is, with today's medical technology, easier to treat and unlikely now to cause serious harm. I'm not afraid for my child to catch Pertussis, but to pass it on to a baby; I'm not afraid for my child to catch measles or chickenpox, but to pass it to someone with a vulnerable immune system. I vaccinate because some children can't be vaccinated, because vaccine's aren't fully effective, etc. But I choose not to do it when my children are themselves vulnerable infants, but when they are older, stronger.

        May 20, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • The Ponderer

      You seem to be using circular reasoning to justify your extreme fear of vaccines! You say that you don't need to vaccinate because most childhood diseases have been eradicated, but ignore that fact that they have been nearly eradicated ONLY because of vaccines! If EVERYONE were to adopt YOUR selfish point of view, these rare diseases could become quite common again! Think about the BIG picture for once...

      May 18, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
      • Heather B.

        Vaccines played a large role in eradicating vaccines, but vaccines are not the only reason for eradication of illnesses. Socioeconomic factors and even sanitation play a role in the spread of disease. The eradication of diptheria was largely in part due to increased sanitation habits. Please consider how different the American lifestyle is now from fifty years ago, from the decades when these diseases were rampant. Vaccines are not the only new thing and are not the only way to prevent the spread of disease in a civilized country.

        May 20, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Donna

      I agree with you to the extent your are talking about the kids of parents who CHOOSE not to vaccinate. I'll be honest. I couldn't care less if every child of every parent who choose not to vaccinate dies of a preventable disease. Darwin at it's best. (Really I feel very bad for the kids who didn't ask to be born to irresponsible parents but the parents get no sympathy).

      I was clearly talking about kids who CAN'T be vaccinated due to age or illness. Kids who rely on herd immunity to stay healthy. Most of whom are at high risk of death if exposed to these diseases. It is those kids I care about. It is them that you are selfishly willing to risk because of your own irrational fears. Your little snowflake has almost no chance of a reaction but he is too delicate to risk it. Which is fine. Keep snowflake home where he poses no risk to anyone innocent.

      May 19, 2012 at 12:56 am |
      • Heather B.

        I'd sure love to see some statistics showing how likely my child is to have a vaccine injury, rather than people saying the risk is "miniscule" or unlikely. Do you have some data backing that up? Also, do you have any data proving that my child is more likely to contract, spread, and be injured by a VPD than to have a vaccine injury? I have seen the VAERs reports; I see what the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program pays out each year, how much money and how many claims. It really doesn't support the argument that the risk is "miniscule."

        We could talk about autism until we're blue in the face. Autism is becoming more and more common. I haven't seen anything proving a link between vaccines and autism. I haven't seen anything proving anything whatsoever causes autism. Until then, anything could cause it, and I'd much rather inject my child LATER rather than SOONER. Some doctors suggest that some kids may be predisposed for autism and that the vaccines may aggravate it; the first case like this that actually paid was a few years ago, so it is very uncommon. In any case, delaying gives me time to observe my children for the early signs of autism.

        I don't encourage people NOT to vaccinate. I vaccinate. I just don't want my infant on a "3-5 shots every 2 months for a year" schedule. There are things in vaccines that I hesitate to inject into a 4 year-old, much less a 4 month-old. (The vaccine ingredient lists can be found at the websites of most companies that make them. Don't rely on an anti-vax site to tell you what's in the vax; the manufacturer will out itself about its use of formaldehyde, human diploid cells from aborted fetal tissue, etc.) Delaying can give you time to recognize if your child has, say, an egg allergy that could make vaccines dangerous. (Egg byproduct is used in some vaccines, which can trigger an allergy.)

        The injury or death of a child is just as devastating when it's caused by a vaccine as when it's caused by a vaccine-preventable illness. Vaccine-preventable illnesses have low morbidity rates due to vaccination and other factors; they have low mortality rates due to other advances in medical technology. The rate of vaccine injury/death is low, but so is that risk with a vaccine-preventable illness. I see a lot of speculating, but I don't see any data showing that that one is greater than the other. So I make my own choice.

        My little snowflake is very well protected and will be fully vaccinated by the time he starts pre-K this fall. No one is harmed by this decision to delay, and it lets me take time to make more fully informed choices about the vaccines I give my son. Time to research, time to observe him for health contraindications, time for new research to come to light, etc.

        May 20, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  29. Heather B.

    As I said already, my kid is vaccinated. I delay vaccines until my kids are school-age; I don't refuse them. Adult caregivers also need to be vaccinated against pertussis to protect babies who are too young for the DTaP to start providing them protection of their own.

    I just don't like the argument that unvaccinated children put vaccinated children at risk. If the vaccine works, then that's not true. Unvaccinated people put other unvaccinated people at risk. A risk analysis with my children led me to wait to vaccinate. I just don't like scare tactics from *either side* about this issue.

    May 14, 2012 at 7:51 am |
  30. BF Helper

    Cultures in which ebf is the norm are mostly cultures in which malnutrition is the norm and they experience famine on a regular basis. I have raised two children. The first stopped at one year on his own and the second stopped at 11 months. Both had a strong wholesome diet rich with saturated fats, meats, vegetables and fruits. They did not WANT to bf any longer because they did not need it and so they were self-weaning. In working closely with other mothers, I find that children who are fed a diet that excludes or restricts fats and animal products tend to want to bf much longer.

    May 14, 2012 at 7:30 am |
    • rose

      The bulk of a baby's diet until age 1 is supposed to come from breastmilk or formula for brain development. The new recommendations are that toddlers should have breatmilk or formula until age 2 for brain development. Food can't replace the combo of fat/protein, etc needed that are in formula and breastmilk. when kids are fed too much too soon and given other liquids before a year they wean early.

      May 14, 2012 at 8:44 am |
      • BF Helper

        I am well-versed in the "recommendations" from the WHO and other groups. They are based on a very shallow understanding of infant nutrition and its im pact on brain development. It is entirely normal and natural to allow a child to explore solid foods and wean when THEY find it appropriate. In a household which does not shy away from a variety of healthful foods (including good saturated fats), this will almost always happen before that 2 year mark. The suggestion that ALL children should be breastfed until 2 is overbearing. At no time is it appropriate to FORCE a child over 1 year old to continue nursing if they do not feel a need for it. Yes, the fats and proteins in breast milk are good (provided the mother has good nutritional standards for herself), but there comes a time when the child's biology WILL kick in and override the need for that source over others...unless other sources of food are inherently inferior (e.g. processed food...vegan raw food food...) in which case the child will tend to nurse longer.

        May 14, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • WorkingMomof3

      That's a pretty huge assumption on your part. My first son didn't latch til he was 6 weeks old (I pumped milk for him). He self-weaned at 10 months and I continued to pump/bottle/cup feed him until he was a year. My second and third children nursed for well over a year and have a very healthy diet. Both children eat avocados (plain right out of the skin) and lots of other healthy fat foods (flaxseeds, hemp seeds, olive oil, wild caught salmon). My youngest is 18 months and even though I work full-time, he's still nursing before I go to work, before he goes to sleep and loves to be carried in a sling when he's tired of running around. We follow a lot of AP practices but it's not for everyone. I think the reason people get so defensive about it is that they feel they are being judged. I'm happy with how I parent but if you parent differently that's fine too. I never let my children cry themselves to sleep and while it's harder initially they are all great sleepers now but that doesn't mean if my friends or neighbors let their children Cry It Out – I think they are bad parents. It's what works for their family. If someone wants to push their infant in a stroller instead of carrying them in a sling – that's what works for them. Just as they look at me like I'm crazy for lugging a 25lb toddler in a sling – I look at them like they are crazy because I can't imagine lugging a stroller around when my sling fits in my purse.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
      • Wouldn't it be nice

        If women could make their choices about how to raise their children and live with all the benefits and consequences on their own without the insecure need to prop their own egos by looking down on others. Unfortunately, the attachment parenting crowd has been branded as crazy due to the vocal and noisy minority–the narcissists (look at me, facebook pals, this photo of meeee feeding my baybay with my boobay), the smug superior types ("look at that peasant woman feeding her child with a BOTTLE...she probably uses formula...and she probably smokes and beats him too, imagine!"). Just as churches and religions are often branded by the most outspoken and zealous and embarrassing congregants, so is this "movement" (for lack of a better word) of women.

        Behaving rationally and minding your own business goes a long way–make your choices (no matter what side of the spectrum they come from) and live with the consequences.

        May 14, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Xaka

      I find what you say about the correlation between wanting to nurse as an older infant and fat consumption interesting. I am going to look into that. However, I don't think anyone can force a child who doesn't want to nurse to do so. I know I have tried to make a one-year-old nurse in the past (to get naptime underway) and it didn't work. I've tried to force a three-month-old to nurse in the past and it didn't work, either. If a child doesn't want to nurse, it's my experience that that child is not going to nurse.

      May 14, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  31. J

    Attachment parenting does not automatically make your children polite. My SIL practiced attachment parenting strictly- extended breastfeeding, child wearing, and co-sleeping. My nephews are rude, they wouldn't know the word thank-you, if you wrote it on your forehead. I did not practice attachment parenting, I have a barely verbal child with autism, who says please, thank-you, and excuse me. An associate of mine also practice attachment parenting, her child is morbidly obese, because after she was finished nursing him, she weaned him to Chocolate milk... So while attachment parents seem to think they "know better" and have the upper hand in parenting, they really don't have the corner on being the perfect parents.

    May 14, 2012 at 7:21 am |
  32. BC

    I had a baby five months ago and my friend was going to visit us at the hospital but her husband was sick so she didn't want to risk it. Found out he had Pertussis when his cough got so bad she forced him to go the ER. He obviously hadn't gotten his tdap shot and so was not vaccinated. We came that close. Makes my stomache drop everytime I think about how if my friend wasn't smart enough to make the right decision....

    May 14, 2012 at 12:35 am |
  33. drinker75

    A truly intelligent person knows that extremes are usually bad and moderation is usually the answer. Breastfeeding is awesome, but maybe not in preschool. Vaccines are very important but maybe we are staring to over vaccinate. Etc. The anti-vaccine people are pretty terrifying and often uneducated.

    May 13, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • rose

      How much have you read about the topic of extended nursing and child led weaning? I would guess very little. Ditto your reading on vaccination. I personally believe in vaccinating but what I find is that those who choose to not vaccinate or selectively vaccinate have done quite a bit of reading on the topic in general. I think most of the books that are opposed to vaccinating are poorly written and give the reader the illusion that they are doing 'research'. HOWEVER, I find that the typical parent who vaccinates their child has done about ZERO reading on the subject.

      May 14, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • J

      A truly educated person would realize that not all parenting decisions are one size fits all. I vaccinated my son for the first year. At 12 months old, he spiked a very high fever, had seizures, and projectile vomited. He spent 11 days in Pediatric ICU in Germany (German hospital where very few spoke English). I stopped any and all vaccines after that. At the urging of my doctor and my husband, I gave him a DTAP shot at 5 years old– he broke out into a 1 inch long welts that were 1/4 inch high, and swelled. So I now have a doctor's note for vaccines. That being said, people STILL give me crap for not vaccinating him, they imply that he is the incubus plague because he doesn't have vaccines. My daughter is fully vaccinated. I'm more judicious about her vaccines– she only gets one at a time and only ones that I have researched and decided the risks of the disease outweigh the risks of reactions.

      The people I find most unintelligent when it comes to these debates are the ones who seem to think that every parenting method and decision works the same for every one. Co-sleeping, breastfeeding, and childwearing do not always work for everyone. My husband is a pilot, we didn't co-sleep, because in order to not crash an airplane and kill thousands of people my husband needed to sleep. My daughter was nursed, my son had a ineffective suck, so he was bottle fed. I have a back problem that made child wearing extremely painful.

      May 14, 2012 at 9:06 am |
      • WorkingMomof3

        Yes – I know exactly what you mean. My oldest son reacted badly to his 2, 4, and 6 month shots. As a first time Mom I was so overwhelmed and exhausted that I just took my doctors reassurance and kept going with the shots. Our doctor retired so we had a new one when my daughter was born and when I told him about my son's reaction his immediate concern was SIDS (my son slept like he was dead for 2 days after each round of shots – I had to work really hard to wake him up long enough to eat then he was out cold again). I felt like such an idiot for going forward with all of the 4, and 6 month shots looking back. Our second pediatrician recommended based on my son's reaction spreading out the vaccinations and not giving more than one combo shot/visit and no more than two single shots. This was a very mainstream doctor in a very conservative practice so for him to recommend that approach was surprising.

        We moved cross country and I was treated like an irresponsible kook by the pediatrician in our new state because the kids vaccines were spaced out even though they were still on track with the CDC schedule and would have everything they needed for school. One of pediatricians accused my husband of reading "Junk Science" when he mentioned that the recommended time for the MMR booster was between 4 and 6 years and we'd like to wait til 6 (my husband was referencing the CDC immunization schedule not "junk science"). We promptly left that practice and found a pediatrician who does not have a temper tantrum if we ask questions about his recommendations.

        May 14, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  34. A

    I'm not sure I like the label "nerdy" as it's used here. "Independent thinker" is more to the point, as is "analytical".

    I took all the pieces, mulled them over, and did what worked. My kid HATED the sling and refused to breastfeed after 6 months. But there was no way he'd sleep without direct human contact, much less in a separate room. He's grown to be a healthy and well-adjusted middle-schooler. (And polite,too–he nearly always says "please" and "thank you".)

    May 13, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
  35. AJD13

    My grandmother was born in 1917 before vaccinations. She told me about a lot of kids she knew that became deathly ill from things we don't even think about today because of vaccinations and children she knew that died. She said it was rare for a child of her generation to not know at least one friend and usually more than one that died. I never knew a child that contracted or died from these diseases when I was growing up and my children have never experienced that either. I am so thankful for vaccines. They've never done any harm to anyone I've ever known. The worst I ever got from one was a sore arm for a few hours. I'm sick of these know-nothing celebrities acting like they're some kind of expert and going public against them after reading pseudo-science crap that has been proven to be crap over and over. It says something about our society that people will listen to a celebrity over people who have spent years in medical school and practicing medicine and doing the studies. The one downside to vaccinations is that it has left us for a few generations now not having to deal with or witness the horrible consequences of these diseases so we're distanced and out of touch with that. We have no experience of what it was like to live with those things being a constant danger. If I could put all these anti-vaccine people in a time machine and send them back to the pre-vaccine days so they could experience that, I would. They'd probably come back singing a different tune.

    May 13, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Donna

      My father had polio as a toddler. He spent 2 years in an iron lung. He survived (obviously) but had foot pain for the rest of his life and required surgery that essentially involved breaking both his feet and resetting them when I was in high school. And he was a lucky one.

      I also had a neighbor whose oldest child had a severe allergic reaction to her measles vaccine and ended up spending most of her life in a nursing home. Vaccines are not without risks for a small number of people. However, the number of people who died from the diseases they stop is faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar higher than the miniscule number who react so severely. My neighbor DID get vaccines for her second child. He never got the measles vaccine (and contributed to a measles outbreak in my hometown when I was in college), but he got every other vaccine because his parents realized they were important. They grew up during a time when these diseases were rampant. I think that is the problem today. This generation of parents has no idea how awful these diseases are. They know that the vaccine can, in very rare cases, be deadly but the diseases themselves are just words in a medical journal. With nothing to counteract the minute risk of the vaccine – no way to relate to the disease – they are unwilling to take the risk no matter how small. Unfortunately, I think we are going to see a large regrowth of these diseases before this corrects itself.

      May 13, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
      • AJD13

        Yep...just read today there's officially been declared an epidemic of whooping cough (pertussis) in Washington State. There was a fairly large outbreak of measles in the midwest recently as well.

        May 13, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Brooke

      The part about vaccinations actually made up a very small part of the article, but it seems to be the only thing you focused on. From what I gathered from the article, all the mothers seem to have advanced education, at least Miyam had developmental neuroscience and the endocrinology studies. And none of these women said their way is the best and other people should follow them. Even between the attachment parents you saw differences in upbringings like the vaccination thing. Stop getting excited and realize its their opinion. I'm sure there are people in this world who feel you are a "know-nothing" who "spouts off nonsense". It's people's opinion after all.....

      May 14, 2012 at 7:17 am |
      • AJD13

        I live in a town with a university.....believe me I know from living here that not everyone with an "advanced degree" is really all that their chosen field perhaps....

        I was mentioning the vaccination thing because that is one aspect that the extreme AP followers go with and while there are a very small percentage of children that can have a reaction to a vaccine, the dangers of more and more people forgoing them is very real and dangerous. What the non-vaccine people (not all AP parents but the ones that do follow this) don't understand is that right now, it's really all the people that DO get vaccines that lowers the risk for their child and makes it seem like "oh they're ok without vaccines." The more people who don't vaccinate their kids, the higher the chance of these diseases coming back and affecting not only their kids but the kids of people who for whatever reason can't be vaccinated or are not old enough. There's also the risk of these diseases if they get enough of a foothold in an unvaccinated population "mutating" into another form that perhaps the vaccinations would not work as well or at all for, then everyone, even the vaccinated would be at risk. There's lots of negative possibilities if people choose not to vaccinate. If you don't feel comfortable with the combined shots, you CAN get them separate and spread out. I know doctors that do this.

        May 14, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • sonas76

      I work with the elderly, and have gotten many first hand accounts of what 'normal' childhood illnesses can do. Among my patients, I have had a woman who lost both siblings to pertussis, a man who never had children because mumps made him sterile as a teenager, a man who is profoundly deaf because his mother had ruebella when she was pregnant, etc.

      But I don't even have to look that far to see what these 'normal' diseases do. I don't even have to leave the nurses station at work. One of my older co-workers had polio as a 4-year-old and still wears a leg brace. Unfortunately, she is now experiencing 'post polio syndrome' and will probably not be able to continue working much longer. Ask someone like her if they would have liked to have recieved a vaccine.

      May 23, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • bexetc

      agreed – this "debate" about whether or not to vaccinate is a pretty first world problem. And the argument to not vaccinate seems to be propped up by the assumption that we can medically treat anything that comes up in this day and age. not true. furthermore it seems ridiculous to distrust a system that advocates vaccines then turn around and put your trust in the SAME system to fix your baby if it gets sick because you didn't vaccinate. which one is it?!

      July 8, 2012 at 4:58 am |
  36. Kat

    Parent the way you want, breast feed as long as you want, where you want but PLEASE don't sleep with your baby in the same bed. That is the one thing in this whole attachment parenting that is dangerous. The AAP has worked so hard to reduce SIDSs and not sleeping with your newborn and young infant is a big part of that. Get a co sleeper crib to put by the bed. Anyone who thinks that they will not role over onto their baby is wrong. It happens everyday.

    May 13, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Beth

      SIDS and getting smothered are not the same thing. We do not know the cause of SIDS. I know someone who co-slept and had a feeling something was wrong with her child because when you sleep with your child you know when they so much as move. She woke, checked the child, he wasn't breathing and she jostled him. He started to breathing again. The doctor told her had he been in a crib he would certainly have died. Cosleeping is a risk if the bed has a headboard because the child may get stuck in it, if the parents are very overweight because they may not sense that they are on top of the child as well as someone not as large, if parents sleep especially deeply, if parents are drunk, on drugs, on medications that make very deep sleep but otherwise it is safe. Cribs also cause accidental deaths. I was always aware of my child when we slept in the same bed. Personally I would prefer having him in a side car crib or something next to the bed. I was not that thrilled with co-sleeping as far as how it impacted MY sleep but I felt it was quite good for my son and make night nursing much easier. I can't imagine night nursing with a child in another room. that would have been very brutal on the mother. Ditto bottle feeding at night. rolling over to nurse was a lot easier. I think cosleeping with precautions taken is perfectly safe. I think cribs also have a risk.

      May 13, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
      • AJD13

        I don't know about you, but if I'm REALLY asleep, I'm not aware of much of anything. I often wake up in a different position than what I remember being in right before falling asleep and don't remember at all how I got into that position. i put my children in a bassinet next to the bed until they outgrew it. Worked fine and no danger of them being suffocated by me or anything in the bed. Not worth that chance no matter how small. Yes, there are dangers with some cribs but nothing in this world will ever be 100% safe, just safer. The "it won't happen to me" mindset is a dangerous thing. Unfortunately SIDS deaths (which really just mean they don't know why the child died while they were sleeping) often gets lumped in with suffocation deaths. SIDS deaths have gone down in the last few years while cosleeping deaths have risen. If a child stops breathing there's no guarantee whether they're in a crib or co sleeping that the parent will realize it. Your friend was lucky she did, but that doesn't mean everyone would. A child could die of SIDS in a crib or cosleeping. Once a baby is older, like around a year old, I think co sleeping would be much safer, but as a newborn/infant, no, I would not take the chance.

        May 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  37. Gloria

    Mother's need 2 do that like in the bathroom or the baby's room.Some ppl r rude or they just wanna show there breasts off.

    May 13, 2012 at 6:32 am |
    • NyteShayde

      Would you appreciate being forced to eat in a bathroom? Get your head out of the sewer. Breasts are for feeding babies, not play things. If you don't like it, don't look.

      May 14, 2012 at 12:56 am |
      • AJD13

        I agree. I've seen women breastfeeding in public and I have yet to see one just flop out her breast and put the kid on in front of everyone. Every woman I've ever seen breastfeed in public is very discreet about it and there's really nothing to see.

        May 14, 2012 at 1:25 am |
    • Lucy

      Take an English class. Get your G.E.D. before you pass judgment on others. I hope you don't have children and pass your illiteracy onto them.

      May 14, 2012 at 3:55 am |
    • erin

      Sorry, Gloria, it's federal law that women have the right to feed their children in public. You can take your backwards views and go stick your head in a bathroom stall.

      May 14, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Me

      Gloria have you ever had to breastfeed a baby in a bathroom stall? Because i have. It is disgusting and uncomfortable. Luckily there are laws protecting my right to brestfeed in public and i gladly do so. Trust me when i say my use of a cover when nursing has very little to do with me being considerate of ignorant people like yourself.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  38. Goya

    I don't like when mom's breasted feed in public when we can see them.. The mom's need 2 do that like in the bathroom. DUH!

    May 13, 2012 at 6:25 am |
    • Whaaa?

      I have a better idea, genius–why don't you go eat YOUR lunch in the bathroom and see how enjoyable it is. That way you wouldn't have to look at anything at all.

      May 13, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  39. Donna

    I know children raised with attachment parenting who are insufferable brats. I know attachment parenting children who are perfectly pleasant. Same can be said for conventional parenting on both counts. There is no silver bullet to parenting that guarantees you happy, healthy, successful, pleasant children.

    I have a problem with this idea that you have to adhere to some doctrine put forth by an expert and decided upon after research to parent correctly. And you have to follow the rules. People have been parenting quite successfully for hundreds of thousands of years based on gut instinct and not on what Dr. Sears and Dr. Spock think.

    I breast fed because it was healthier and more convenient. If I hadn't been able to breast feed, it wouldn't have been a big deal. Children flourish without it. I co-slept because my child was collicky and that was the best way for us to both get sleep, not because Dr. Sears said it was best. I moved her into her own bed when the need to co-sleep ended but we still share a bed occasionally when the mood strikes us. I "wore" my baby when convenient and pushed her in a stroller when that was convenient. Mostly I put her down and let her explore her world on her own terms. I sometimes made her baby food from what I was eating and other times fed her store bought. Despite not adhering any parenting philosophy whatsover other than what made everyone happiest at that stage, I have a happy, independent, smart, charming, secure kindergartener.

    And what the heck does aluminum foil have to do with parenting? That is a perfect example of what I mean. Do we really believe that our use of aluminum foil or not in anyway controls our child's outcome? Or is this just part of the doctrine that we must follow?

    May 13, 2012 at 3:50 am |
    • sdr

      I superlike your comments. Every child is different and every parent is diferent. As there is no rulebook on how to get about one's life, there is no rulebook on how to raise your child. Whatever works best for both the child and the parent with reasonably safe methods is the right one.

      May 13, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Unreal

      If attachment parenting is tempered with an understanding that children need to grow to be independent, it can be fine. I have seen too many attached mothers turn into helicopter mothers who will fill out their adult child's college application and mollycoddle him until he is 30. It is absurd.

      May 13, 2012 at 11:58 am |
      • miriamspia

        Every adult is just someone who was raised and who grew up. That includes you. Whatever you say about other people's children could reflect what adults observed about you. Seriously, my natural reaction was to counter you by not being very nice....remarking that you're probably an adult brat or you wouldn't have felt compelled to criticize other peoples' children. I don't know whether or not that's true; its just a knee jerk retaliatory emotion.

        May 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Donna

      miriamspia – My knee jerk reaction is to say that the fact that you don't understand that some children's behavior makes them completely unpleasant to be around for others probably says a lot about your children. That may not be true either. Believe it or not most of the population does not find screaming, unruly, whiny, clingy and/or ill-mannered children just soooo cute.

      May 13, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
      • AJD13

        Exactly. Thank you. My own children who are all younger than teenagers don't like to be around kids like that. People need to face it, some kids act like brats and people are going to notice it and call it out. Just being a child doesn't make one perfect or above criticism (though in most cases it really is the parents' fault that they've allowed their child to behave that way.)

        May 13, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • deedee

      your comments are the only rational response i have seen to this issue

      May 13, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
      • jokiebird

        The reality is that most moms I know parent however it works for them and are raising bright, pleasant children. But most of them are too busy parenting their children to get get involved in inane discussions on CNN message boards. 🙂

        May 13, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • surlyjen

      This is exactly my philosophy. Thanks for the enlightened comment!

      May 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • bexetc

      i too was mystified about the foil comment. so whats the lowdown on aluminium foil? enlighten me!

      July 8, 2012 at 8:21 am |
  40. Craig

    These attachment parenting people are missing the whole point of what parenting is about! From the time a child is born, it is a parents job to begin to teach them to survive and thrive as an independent person. How are these kids who are so attached to their mothers and family units going to make reasonable mates for someone down the road. This whole thing is just baffling to me. Sure, go ahead and question the authorities and experts on a subject, but please come to a reasonable, educated end result...

    May 13, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • AJD13

      I think this form of parenting says more about the mother's needs than the child. I know from being a mother myself that when my kids reached a certain age I looked at them and thought with some sadness "they're not babies anymore." It is hard to let go of that stage of your child's life. The friction between parents and teenagers is often because that is when children REALLY start wanting to be independent and asserting independence. I agree with you, the point of being a parent is to care for your children and meet their needs, yes, but it is also to get them "out of the nest" eventually and by degrees. With each passing year of a child's life they gain more skills and become more independent in some ways and that should be encouraged by parents, not discouraged. Children also need to learn the realities of life...that they don't always get what they want, they don't always get ALL their needs met and that they have to learn to cope with this and find their own way and that there won't always be mommy and daddy standing behind them to pick up the pieces if they make a mistake or to take care of their problems for them or give them what they want/need. I fear that many of the children of these attachment parents are going to be in for a very hard time when they get older.

      May 13, 2012 at 1:25 am |
    • Scootch

      I agree with you 100%. What happened to moderation?

      May 13, 2012 at 2:32 am |
    • Beth

      In our case my son felt very secure and safe and was more independent than other kids his age from preschool onward. He was the only child who didn't cry on the first day of preschool, who didn't look back or care that I was leaving, who didn't want to leave at the end of the day. He continues to be independent. I think he had needs met as a child and for him that helped him separate from me and be his own person. I don't ever hold him back from the next stage. I celebrated. When he was done with each stage I was very happy–no more diapers, no more nursing, no more co-sleeping–all were met with me feeling YAH! i will be sad as he gets older and his friends are much more important than me and when he moves out but I won't stop him or hold him back. At his age now I don't think attachment parenting is much of an issue. I have friends who parented the opposite of me when their children were small and we are very similar now in how we parent our older children. theirs seem to have turned out fine, too. I wouldn't change what I did and it seems to have had positive effects on my child. People seem to assume a lot about attachment parenting that isn't true.

      May 13, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
      • AJD13

        I kind of have a hard time believe he was the ONLY child who didn't put up a fuss on the first day of preschool, but I wasn't there so whatever. None of my children have and I didn't raise them AP. I think some of that has to do with temperament. Every kid has their own temperament and personality. Now how they're raised can affect that, but sometimes it makes no difference either. I've known people with more than one child and one child is very calm, cool, and collected and the other one is all over the place and were both raised the same way. AP may work great with some kids and give a good outcome but not result in the same outcome with others. But that's just the same as any other style of parenting. I adjust what I do in raising my kids to a degree based on the child. One of my children may need to be handled in a way that's different than the way another of my children needs to be handled. I think that's the danger of saying THIS way is the BEST way to parent....all kids are different.

        May 13, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
      • NyteShayde

        Beth, it is natural to believe your child is a prodigy that the sun rises and sets on his or her head. My children were not raised in the attachment parenting community. They too did not cry when left at preschool or kindergarten. I didn't make a fuss about it and they didn't make a fuss about it. They always knew I would come back. I kept an absolute open line of communication with my children, I kept my promises, and I was consistent with their discipline. They always knew what they could expect from me and raised three well adjusted, productive, accountable, independent, confident, and successful children. Great, it works for you. It would not have worked for us.

        May 14, 2012 at 1:10 am |
      • Beth

        I didn't say that my son was a prodigy or that the sun rose and set on his head. I said that he didn't turn out clingy or messed up. Far from it. If you take that as a personal insult you are looking to be insulted. I'm sure your children turned out well and I'm glad for you. You might notice that I posted that attachment parenting isn't for everyone.

        May 14, 2012 at 8:55 am |
      • AJD13

        Beth....I think it was the way your post came across. When you said "my kid is the ONLY one that didn't...." it makes it sound like you're saying "because I raised them AP they're better than all the other kids." As I said I find that hard to believe as well as I've been a teacher and witnessed the younger kids being dropped off their first day (some cried, some didn't...actually it was a minority that put up a fuss every year) also been there for two of my three (the youngest isn't in preschool yet) when they were dropped off their first day of preschool and my kids weren't the "only" ones that didn't put up a fuss.

        May 14, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • Mkb

      Craig.....I am a mother of three teenagers and was a huge fan of Dr. Sears when my boys were babies. I think what people are missing is that attachment parenting and helicopter parenting are two very different things. I breasted and co-slept until it stopped being right for us as a family. They all slept in our bed for the first year until we were ready to move them out. Kids absolutely need to learn independence, but not when they are babies. They are not cognitively ready to separate from their parents. They need to attach, learn trust, then start branching out. I think you'll find that most studies and qualified experts are proponents of healthy attachment when children are young.
      Bottom line, attachment parenting is not about breast feeding toddlers or sleeping with your children (although that is part of it for some families), it is a common sense approach to parenting that encourages you to respond to your baby in a way that makes sense for your individual family. My 6 foot tall 17 year old son, who was so attached to me when he was young, has been working for three years, bought his own car, has a checking account that he's managed for 4 years, pays for his phone bill and insurance and is looking forward to leaving for college next year. Just because I kept him close for the first couple of years, doesn't mean that I didn't teach him to be independent when the time came. People used to caution me all the time when we were co-sleeping, "you'll never get him out of your bed" and I used to answer "I'm sure he won't be sleeping in our bed when he's 17". Now that he really is 17, those early years seem like a lifetime ago......but if I had to do it all over again, I'd make the same choice. People should give attachment parenting a break. If it doesn't appeal to you, don't do it; but don't look down on those that do. The best parenting is whatever works for you.

      May 13, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
      • WorkingMomof3

        Well said Mkb!!!

        I do think people get helicopter parents and AP completely mixed up as if one leads to the other.

        May 14, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • WorkingMomof3

      If you've ever been around rational attachment parents you would know this is not true. Attachment parenting is not about sheltering, protecting, and "coddling" your children. It's about loving them and being there for them. You will find that most "attached children" are better able to adapt to new situations. I've seen this so many times at parks, zoos, playgroups etc.... A truly attached child may linger with his/her Mom and watch until they feel confident they are ready for whatever the situation is but then they will be off and running. I've seen other children from non-AP parents being pushed into situations which often results in a child crying, resisting the activity, and begging Mom or Dad to come with them. In the end – the AP kids are usually off enjoying the activity while the non-AP child who is nervous ends up extremely upset and clinging to their Mom most of the time. I'm not saying that one approach or the other is right or that every AP/non-AP parent/child is this way but I've observed it so often I have to laugh when people try to tie AP with needy helpless children.

      I've watched parents at soccer push crying 5 year olds on the field who then run around in tears or just stand frozen because they were scared/nervous/anxious/unsure. I've let my own 5 year old stand by me and watch and take it all in while I encouraged him to try when he was ready and he did and was fine. To suggest that pushing him in and saying "tough luck – go do it" would make him stronger, better, more confident is ridiculous. I would have had a screaming/crying/ scared to death child who kept running over to the sidelines and begging to stop (like the children I saw that were pushed to go and given the tough love approach).

      There is a way to love and respect your children while you raise them to be self-sufficient and independent and AP is a good foundation for that. We need to look beyond the extremes of any parenting philosophy.

      May 14, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
      • AJD13

        A lot of that comes from the temperament of the child too. Some kids are like that, some aren't no matter in what "style" they're raised. There were probably kids in those places you mentioned and doing those activities you mentioned that weren't raised AP and did just fine too. I have three kids and they all have different personalities and temperaments even though they all have the same mother and father and are all raised in the same home. Sometimes it IS necessary to push a reticent child into doing something they would otherwise be afraid or nervous to try. My son is like that. He'll shy away from things until we push him to try it and 99% of the time he ends up loving it but would have missed out on it had we not pushed him to do it.

        As far as mixing up AP parenting with "helicopter" parenting, there are some parents that will inevitably go too far with the AP thing and will become helicopter parents. I think there's a real danger of that. There's always people that take things too far and I think it would be easy to go from an AP parent to a helicopter parent. That doesn't mean that AP IS helicopter parenting but there are aspects of it that are also seen in "helicopter" parents.

        May 14, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
  41. Beth

    Total attachment parent here and I'm not a nerd and my child is super popular and not at all nerdy. (shrug) Why would attachment parenting make a person a nerd? That's just odd. Most mothers who live where I do attachment parent ranging from ultra stylish and cool ones to those who I guess you could call nerdy but certainly they are just average women. I do think smarter people tend to think about and read about their choices more. Not all are going to choose attachment parenting but many who do choose attachment parenting did so because they did not want to parent the way they were parented and so read about various ideas on parenting and found the ideas behind attachment parenting make sense to them. It isn't for everyone but there is nothing wrong with it.

    May 12, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • demaja

      You know, I was kind of thinking the same thing. I am a nerd and mechanical engineer, and I'm not into attachment parenting. What does being a nerd have to do with anything?

      May 12, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • AJD13

      Not wanting to be parented the way you were though is no reason to just jump on the bandwagon of something either. There are many "styles" of parenting and that doesn't mean that one is the "right" one. I find many issues with "attachment parenting" that I don't agree with so I didn't choose that one even though I also did not want to parent my child the way I was parented.

      May 13, 2012 at 12:01 am |
      • Beth

        I did not jump on a band wagon. I found ideas that I liked and I grew into the type of parent I wanted to be. I don't know a single person who decided to 'jump on a band wagon' in their parenting, whatever the style. People do what they think is right and what makes sense to them. As I said, attachment parenting isn't for everyone. It was for our family and worked very well.

        May 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
      • AJD13

        And that's exactly what I'm talking about find pieces of things from different methods and put together a way that works best with that individual child. There's no one size fits all in parenting. There ARE lots of people that jump on the bandwagon for this or that thing and don't think that you can deviate one iota from what this or that "expert" says. THOSE are the people I'm talking about.

        May 13, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Adrienne

      As someone who uses many attachment parenting practices raising my own four children, I have to admit this article was appealing in a "pat yourself on the back because you're so smart" kind of a way, but I feel that these broad generalizations are ultimately damaging to both "attachment parents" and "conventional parents" alike. I belong to a babywearing group full of wonderful parents, but I have found that my parenting beliefs and practices vary widely from many of those in the group. For example, I gave birth to all four children in hospitals with epidurals, strongly advocate vaccination, use disposable diapers, and think organic food is a waste of money. However, I cosleep, breastfed each child until I felt we were both ready to give it up, strive to feed my family whole foods, and still wear my 3-year-old on a regular basis. I have pretty strong opinions on the importance of vaccination to society as a whole, but otherwise I feel that parents should be supported as they make their own decisions. Labeling attachment parents as the "smart ones" seems to imply that those who choose more conventionally accepted methods are merely sheep. These kinds of articles can create an us vs. them mentality among a group of people that have the same ultimate goal: to raise happy, healthy children.

      Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to check xkcd and get back to my board game.

      May 13, 2012 at 1:42 am |
      • AJD13

        It sounds like you are integrating "common sense" with aspects of attachment parenting and I can see how that would work very well. The problem I have with these "movements" is that some people are very rigid with them and take them to extremes...they are the "purists."

        I have to admit though it makes me uncomfortable to hear someone say that they "wear" their children....I tend not to think of my children as articles of clothing lol. I know what you're saying when you say that...but it just sounds strange.

        May 13, 2012 at 1:50 am |
    • Jim

      If attachment parenting is so great...tell me, when should a mother stop breast feeding? If it depends on the child, then what is it about the child (who isn't the rational, intelligent adult...that's supposed to be the parent) that lets him/her make this decision? If we're to adopt "the family bed," again, when should kids transition to their own beds? Do attachment parenting moms simply feel guilty because they're barraged with "how to parent" assaults by the media? And, lastly, what of the LITERALLY TENS OF MILLIONS of us who were not attachment parented and are thriving in society today? If attachment parenting is THAT good, then what of our lives? Are we somehow damaged? Are we lesser adults?

      Bottom line: Breastfeeding is the best, but there are cues the child gives to show he's ready to wean. The goal of parenting is to raise a loved individual who is able to function independently and the purpose of childhood is to help the child transition into that independence. Attachment parenting is not going to overturn Erik Erikson.

      May 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  42. AJD13

    I have three children. I didn't breastfeed any of them because I wasn't physically able to (was not producing enough milk no matter what tactics were tried to rectify it). I love my children and I show them I love and care for them but I don't keep them attached to my hip. I want my children to be strong and independent, not dependent. I will assist them if they have a problem but I guide them to try to find ways to solve their problems on their own. If the ways they come up with include my help, then that's great, I'll help. I don't put up with misbehavior or inappropriate behavior in public or at home. It is possible to show your children you love them dearly but not have them attached to your hip or breast or whatever and to instill discipline while at the same time teaching them how to think for themselves and be independent. My children do well in school, have very few discipline problems at home or school or in public (in fact if there's a child throwing a tantrum in a store my kids find that as unpleasant to be around as most adults do and have even whispered to me "his/her mom should do something about that and shouldn't let them act that way!") and are able to have conversations with me at a level that most children don't until they reach at least junior high or even high school. They respect me and they know I respect them (which doesn't mean accepting inappropriate behavior.) I have people telling me all the time how pleasant my children are to be around and how well behaved they are and even some that say they don't in general "like" children but have no problems being around mine. I find it disturbing that any parent would not teach or require their children to learn to say things like please and thank you and excuse me. That's required to function in this world and for a civil society and even if you don't like that, that's just the way it is. If you don't teach these things to your children, you are putting them at a disadvantage. To sum up, I am probably on the opposite side of the scale from "attachment parenting" (and I HATE that phrase because it makes it sound like those that don't practice it aren't attached to their children or their children aren't attached to them in an emotional sense) but my kids have turned out just fine so far and don't seem to have any complaints. They seem very happy and well adjusted.

    May 12, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Katie

      All the ways you describe raising your children are the same as mine but I am an attachment parent. I don't keep my children attached to my hip but I won't push them away when they feel the need to be there. There is a difference between holding on to our children so tightly they suffocate and pushing them away before they are truly ready. Infants need their parents. They need them close and they need them often. Some toddlers need that but others don't. My toddlers have done best in their own rooms from 7 months on, but when they cry in the night we are there for them. I am meeting my children's needs and that is what it means to be an attached parent. It does not mean I won't let my children out of my sight or stop them from growing up. Kids grow up no matter what we do, we don't have to fight them to teach them how to sleep, or use the potty. These things will come naturally at an average age. We need to put more trust in our children that they will figure these things out when the time is right for them.

      May 13, 2012 at 1:26 am |
      • AJD13

        I don't know anyone that has ever not tended to their children's needs, especially infants, except for those that are neglectful or abusive. That's something that ALL good parents do. In fact, most of the things you talk about are things that good parents have been doing for a very long time even before this label of "attachment" parenting came along. So how is it any different than "conventional" parenting? I don't agree with breastfeeding past the time when the child no longer needs that type of nutrition. Once a child is over the age of one in most cases, they no longer need breast milk and they need a variety of foods to meet their nutritional fact, most babies will start to reject the breast at an age much younger than 2 or three once they've been introduced to solid foods. I think there is more of a psychological need of the mother being met by continuing it past that than there is the child needing it. I have to disagree on the potty training thing...yes there are some children that will basically do it when they're ready....but there is a point where it gets ridiculous. I had a relative who's child was over four and was still not using the toilet regularly. She had kept saying that "oh he'll do it when he's ready, I dont' want to force him and traumatize him" or something to that effect. But once that kid got over the age of four she changed her tune. He just refused to do it. He could go in his pull up and not have to stop whatever fun activity he was engaged in, it was easier, and as we know, things including people tend to go with the path of least resistance (or that's the least trouble.) I told her first to get him out of pull ups and put him in regular underwear, second set up a sticker chart for positive reinforcement, and also if he went in his pants to make him responsible for cleaning himself and his soiled clothing (of course the mom did have to help with this somewhat, but the child did enough to feel that HE was doing it) and to also have negative consequences such as losing a toy or something of that nature every time he made the choice to not use the toilet. He was potty trained in less than a week. He would have just continued the way he was otherwise. Yes, maybe he would eventually have been "ready" on his own...but when would that be? When he was six? Seven? No, there's a point where it's ridiculous and you have to step in and say "ready or not, this needs to happen."

        May 13, 2012 at 2:00 am |
    • Mkb seem to be equating "attachment parenting" with "never say no to your child parenting". The problem with labeling parenting either attachment or conventional is that it sets up camps of followers and divides parents. Cosleeping, breast feeding or wearing your baby doesn't make you a better parent,but it's a reasonable choice.
      There is the same sort of unhealthy debate around breast feeding and working vs. staying home. Those who do look down on those who don't and those who don't look down on those who do.

      Isn't it better to just be happy with whatever parenting method worked for you, but still appreciate that other parents can make different choices and still turn out good kids. There is no one size fits all approach to parenting.

      May 13, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
      • AJD13

        Yes, and that's exactly what I said in another post here. What I'm really talking about is the parents that go WAAAAYYY too far in whatever method they use...I think breastfeeding a 3, 4 or even 5 year old is going too far. "Wearing" your child nearly every second of the day (and I have known parents that did this) is way too far. Not teaching your children to say please and thank you as was noted in this article is ridiculous. There are "fringe" elements of anything that take things too far or just get plain goofy. The problem is with some of these movements, people think they have to do every single thing this or that doctor or expert tells them is involved in that "method" and follow it like the most fervent religious zealot. Every child is different and there's no one method that's "the best" for every child or for parenting in general. Some AP moms DO become helicopter mom's later. They get so carried away that they never do let the child detach. Most parents except the ones who are abusive in some way DO tend to the needs of their children whether they parent AP or not. They just may do it in a different way. But inevitably there are going to be AP moms who become "holier than thou" that think they're "better" parents because they do or see it as abusive if a mother doesn't race for the baby the second the baby opens its mouth to cry. There have been other "movements" in the parenting world in the past that people jumped into and the result was some of them thinking that they were better parents than others and more "enlightened." That's why I hate it when these movements come along and are labeled with a name instead of just saying "here's some alternate things you can do as a parent" they have to put a label on it and call it a "style" or a "method."

        May 13, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
      • Mkb

        I agree with what you say. Attachment parenting is a wonderful, common sense approach; but once it becomes a movement, you do get the people who get so wrapped up in it, that they become zealots.

        Although it worked for me, it's important to remember with any parenting style, that it might not be the best choice for everyone..and that's okay. There are many "right" ways to parent.

        May 14, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  43. jbird68

    I feel attachment parents may eventually become helicopter moms.

    May 12, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
  44. Rachael

    It's good to think for yourself and come to your own conclusions based on researched evidence instead of listening to "experts" too much. Different "experts" often have a wide variety of opinons and often mainstream opinions are not up to date with the cutting edge research. People promote all kinds of points of views for many reasons, often related to profits and simplicity, and it is very healthy to question them. Think for yourself!

    On the other hand "Attachment Parenting" is a phrase that can mean different things to different people. I followed my own version of "attachment parenting" and did have my daughter nurse and sleep with me until her 3rd birthday. However, I am 100% pro-vaccines (thank God they exist!) and felt that 3 y.o was definitely time to stop nursing. My problem with the Times cover and article is that it portrays an extreme version of "attachment parenting" in kind a mocking way and therefore seems to be misrepresenting and discrediting the whole approach. I think this is very inappropriate and does "attachment parenting" a disservice. I know a lot of moms that nursed until 2 1/2 – 3, but few past 3 1/2. While I could easily agree that 4+ is too old to nurse, that does not mean there is anything wrong with nursing up to 3, and recognizing that weaning can be slow if you out your child's feelings first. Although my daughter nursed until 3, by 2 it was before bed only and never in public. Nursing is incredibly good for babies and toddlers and leads to super healthy children. Just because nursing a 4 year is a extreme, doesn't mean people need to be encouraged to cut off their 2 year old! Plus all women should be encouraged to breast feed at least a full first year.

    May 12, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Donna

      I haven't seen a single reputable source say that breast milk provides any nutritional necessity beyond age 1. Toddlers don't NEED to breast feed. They may be comforted by breasted feeding. Mom may enjoy keeping her "baby" a baby by breast longer. But there is no NEED. If both still enjoy it, it is fine but it should be called what it is and nit termed as some NEED of a toddler.

      May 13, 2012 at 3:01 am |
      • ol cranky

        agreed. all the attachment parents I know/hear always explain extended breastfeeding based on comfort (both the child's and the mother's) not based on nutrition. What confuses is me is when I then hear them say it's "natural" and/or biologically correct to continue to do so but even lower primates stop nursing their young when the offspring is capable of finding its own food and feeding itself, they don't do it for comfort or to appease the offspring they do it strictly because there's a real and legitimate nutritional need to do so.

        May 13, 2012 at 7:09 am |
  45. Interesting

    Interesting topic, I am personnaly woman want to be mother's for one reason, and is to have total control. Find me a woman / mom that truely cares about her children in the sense of real mentoring, development- growing to be healthy moral strong adults- show me one. all it's about, how can she use the kids as soldiers against they're father, (which I will soon roll – for what he has), how can I hide behind my kids when it's time to take responsibility for anything, child support check where a fraction of the money actually goes to the child's wellbeing – guilt trip on the kids to take care of there mom- how can I use my kids as a sympathy mechanism for me to get what I want. Why do they get away with it- because our society has reached the sad point where a woman, is always right just for being a woman- regardless of her actions- and it's the children in the long run that suffers.

    May 12, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Rachael

      Your comments are scary and very hateful towards women. I hope you are not married and do not have children.

      May 12, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
      • Kris

        I hope he enrolls in an English class when he enrolls in those much-needed psych and parenting classes...whenever the parole kicks in.

        May 12, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
  46. ap mama

    The problem with all of the comments from negative people, naysayers, and general unsupportive people is that you're still here, Reading this. This is not the first you've heard of Bialik. Not the first you've heard of her views and opinions on parenting, mommyhood, breastfeeding, etc. etc. But you're still stalking articles and jumping down throats to say hateful and insulting things. I do not support Santorum, for instance. But I don't follow articles about him anymore and comment on him. I have done enough research, read enough articles, and heard enough from him to know. You're still here reading something that you so vocally disagree with and yet keep coming back for more in troll-like fashion. The only answer can be that you feel insecurities about your views or ways in which you think about babies and children. Obviously she is challenging you in some personal way and you feel twinges of regret, guilt, or uncomfortable feelings that perhaps you need to invest in some self-reflection and grow. Otherwise, stop reading about her in articles, stop going to blogs about her, stop commenting in such hateful ways, and disassociate yourself.

    May 12, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • WhatNow

      ap Mom...So we can assume your reason for being here is to support this article and criticize those who don't agree with you.

      May 12, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • demaja

      This is actually the first time that I heard of it. Though I might disagree with her, she has every right to raise her children as she sees fit; it's not for anyone to judge. I'm raising my children the way I see fit, so who am I to complain when another mother does the same?

      Btw, her parenting style doesn't make me feel uncomfortable or guilty. I'm quite pleased with how I have and still am raising my kids.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Donna

      This IS the firat time I've heard about Bailik's views on parenting.

      May 13, 2012 at 3:05 am |
    • AJD13

      Yep, I'd never heard about it either. I usually don't keep up on actresses that were in like one show fifteen or twenty years ago that I thought was hokey and didn't even watch past the point where it became clear it WAS hokey that never acted in anything else of any consequence on TV or even more importantly follow them in their personal lives to learn about their opinions on parenting. Had this article not been written, I would not have known a thing about how she parents.

      May 13, 2012 at 3:09 am |
    • AJD13

      I also love how when anyone dares to disagree with someone about something the first defense the person trots out is "oh you must be insecure" or jealous or whatever. Nope, not at all. Perfectly happy with the way I parent. The problem is when "celebrities" go out in public touting something like this that in an extreme form may very well be detrimental to the child's development in the future, people who don't want that to happen to other kids are going to speak up and say to other parents "wait a minute...before you jump on this bandwagon because this famous person over here did, here's some things to consider."

      May 13, 2012 at 3:13 am |
    • ol cranky

      ap mama: it sounds like you're projecting and that you may be the one who, like a religious zealot, is threatened that people don't bow down to what you believe is your superior decisions regarding parenting.

      May 13, 2012 at 7:11 am |
    • P.J.

      The "problem" with you, ap mama, is that you consider anyone who doesn't agree with you to be "negative people, naysayers, and general unsupportive people".
      Perhaps you need to examine why other people's opinions bother you so much.

      May 14, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  47. christianchildbeaters

    Another mom-and-child-insulting inane media slogan – are you mom enough. what goes thro the head of the person who produced this cover? Are they sane enough? we might ask, are they mother-friendly, are they respectful of children, are they respectful of people generally? No, they are the usual dreary, money-grubbing, sharp practice media professional rubbish, not fit to label a toilet roll, really, but we can be sure they are full of crap enough for that job.

    May 12, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • ol cranky

      people are unaware that Belinda Luscombe of Time magazine, and probably the "brain" behind this whole headline and promotion of this article, was a gossip columnist for quite a long time until she she got her job at Time. The entire idea of the in your face eff you cover photo and provocative headline were meant to be incendiary and get TIME press/sell copies, not to generate exposure to ap and raise some sort of rational discussion.

      May 13, 2012 at 7:16 am |
  48. shelle

    Attachment parenting will give rise to clingy and rude children. They don't have to say please and thank you? And as for this part in the article, "...Curtis said, citing drugged childbirth and some doctors' preference of high-tech formula over breast milk." Which doctors? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast-feeding babies for at least six months. This is an unsubstantiated claim designed to discredit doctors. I believe in breast-feeding babies but certainly not until age three. The kid "isn't ready" to stop breast-feeding? What if we accepted this with other milestones? The kid "isn't ready" to become potty-trained so he's just a seven-year-old unable to control his bowels. Would this be acceptable? I don't think so.

    As a future doctor and avid researcher myself, I think "alternative medicine" frequently does more harm than good. If alternative medicine worked, it would be called "medicine." Conventional medicine is backed up by research and studies. Alternative medicine is backed up by anecdotal evidence and the "logical" conclusions of stay-at-home moms with too much time on their hands. For those who say the only opinion on these matters is that of the mother, I strongly disagree. We don't stand idly by if a mother wants to physically abuse her child. Why should we stand idly by if a mother decides on a parenting course that has negative psychological implications for her child?

    May 12, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • WhatNow

      Thank you! I can attest to the clingy, rude children. We have a nine year old in the family that comes to visit. He is self absorbed, throws temper tantrums when everyone doesn't do what he wants and hangs on his mother like he's three. He still doesn't want to ride a bike and doesn't have friends. The excuse for no friends is that he is too smart and doesn't enjoy their company, yet he lays in his mothers lap like a toddler in restaurants. It is so sad and clearly the child is insecure.

      May 12, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Rachael

      Actually research shows the exact opposite. Attachment parenting creates very secure children because their needs are full met when they need it developmentally as toddlers and so they grow out of the need and feel very secure. I often get compliments on how well behaved and independent my 6 year old is and I nursed her until 3 and she slept in the family bed until 4 1/2. When she was 4/12 we got her into her own bed very quickly because we let her decide (with strong encouragement) when she was ready and she literally made the change on her own one night and never went back. Whiny, clingy kids are actually created by parents that do not spend enough time parenting, parents with unrealistic expectations and harsh discipline and inconsistent parents with no rules or follow through – none of which has anything to do with attachment parenting.

      May 12, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
      • AJD13

        But how does this coincide with the real world? We don't always get a choice of doing things when "we're ready." People don't always get to do things "their way" or get what they want or always get their needs met. How can a child that has had every need met for them learn to be independent and not be clingy? What happens the first time they have to meet their own needs and don't have mom to fall back on? It just doesn't seem to make sense.

        May 13, 2012 at 12:07 am |
  49. JFJR

    As long as they are not causing serious harm to the child I don't have a problem with people raising their kids as they like. I draw the line at vaccinations, however. My generation did not grow up knowing the horrors of polio, smallpox, measles, etc, and many of us don't realize how just how terrible those diseases can be. In terms of things like not saying "please" and "thank you," which are basic good manners and etiquette, well, have fun when those kids become teenagers!

    May 12, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  50. Chuck

    Attachment parenting seems like it will instill into these kids when I whine, I get attention. WOW! I know a good number people who were raised in a similar way like this. They can’t make decisions for themselves and flat out can’t function as adults. Most of them i met working in a retail setting. Sitting there like a deer in the headlights expecting everyone to nurture them and respond to every whine. And totally shutting down in a high stress situation, or if someone gets angry with them for their inability to function. If these kids are at the capacity where they won’t be able to make decisions and can’t handle angry and stressful situations then they are doomed.

    May 12, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  51. Jackie

    I like this woman. I may not agree with ALL of her parenting methods, but I agree with most of them. She is incredibly talented and smart. Good for her!

    May 12, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  52. Kristen

    What a pompous, pretentious, obnoxious, condescending twit Blossom has turned out to be. Yuck.

    May 12, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • mike

      What a pompous, pretentious, obnoxious, condescending twit you turned out to be Kristen.

      May 12, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • cham101

      I agree with Kristen

      May 12, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
      • Nicole

        I agree with Mike

        May 12, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • shelle

      Team Kristen.

      May 12, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • bigdumbdinosaur

      I agree with Kristen as well.

      May 12, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  53. I

    Articles like this don't help the image/reputation of post-graduate educated women. It makes we want to drop flyers from a plane saying that not all women (educated or not) feel this way – and to imply that having a post-graduate education somehow makes you an expert on all things is ludicrous. Sure, you have more access to the latest studies and research, but your own research field should teach you that conflicting papers get published all the time and there are times you have to call BS, even on peer-reviewed work.

    I say that every parent-child relationship is different, and just live and let live.

    May 12, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  54. Diana

    Seems attachment parenting is more about the adults trying to prove something to each other than about what is best for the kids. Parenting should not be a popularity contest. I feel for these people who are so lost in their own self-importance that they cannot see how they are using their kids to promote their own self-worth. Having breastfed my own four children, babies will alert you when they are ready to stop...usually less than a year. If the mother is reading her child and thinking about what is best for that child, she will respect that the child is moving on. Some mothers are so overcome with the need to keep their child close for their own satisfaction that they miss those cues. Generations of mothers have breast-fed their children, held them close to comfort them, taught them manners and encouraged them to learn and grow. The difference is that those parents did so with the child's best interests at heart rather than attachment parenting...doing so (often publically) announcing to everyone who will listen that they are making good parenting choices. This latest parenting trend is more about impressing the neighbors than with making good choices for your own family.

    May 12, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  55. Kathryn

    I am proudly a brainy woman, I am also a doctor who in a (relatively) short career has performed CPR multiple times on infants and toddlers smothered by their own parents in bed. I have also seen several children die from pertussis (whooping cough), a disease we vaccinate against. It is also important to remember that by choosing to not vaccinate your children you are exposing other people, especially those with conditions like cancer and HIV, to tremendous risk as the morbidity and mortality of many of these dieases in those populations is as high as 50-60%. I would strongly encourage some of the women quoted in this article to spend time in countries and with communities who have been devastated by the diseases we vaccinate against.

    May 12, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Jackie

      I agree!

      May 12, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • An MA in MI

      I concur!

      May 12, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • shelle

      I agree with your statement completely. The vaccination isn't solely about the individual child (though that in itself should be reason enough) but about herd immunity as well.

      May 12, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
      • Rr

        I am pro attachment parenting in that it works for you and the child. Dads too! I am 100% vaccination, and believe that if your child does not have a medical condition and you deny vaccination it does not make you an attachment parent but an ignorant person. Not only doing disservice to the child but also society.

        The times article was nice good timing and it's great to hear different opinions. But the cover come on? That woman even admitted that her kids does not nurse like that! At the 3 it is less about immunological benefits but an attachment thing. The mom even admitted that when he feeds he gets cradled. My question is then why was the picture even taken? Sorry but I think that the pic does a lot of disservice to AP.

        May 12, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Heather B.

      You're lying, Kathryn.

      Pertussis, for many years, has only posed risk of death to infants under the age of 6 months old who are too young to be vaccinated. Children do not die from it. Babies do. Only.

      The CDC each year reports how many Pertussis deaths occur each year. In the last 10 years, every person who has died from whooping cough in the US has been less than 6 months old. The grand total of deaths per year is 5-30, usually between 6 and 15. Rarely, it is higher, and rarely someone besides an infant dies.

      However, with only 10-20 dying of Pertusssis each year, 99% of which are infants under than 6 months old who are too young to receive the vaccine, I highly doubt you have, especially in a "short" career, seen any children die of Pertussis. Unless by some improbably one the 5-30 people–all babies–who die of approximately 25,000 who get Pertussis each year, you are a liar.

      May 13, 2012 at 9:33 am |
      • Heather B.

        The last time I did a great deal of research into Pertussis was several years ago, but at that time these numbers were correct. I've been trying to find sources at the CDC. However, it is correct that is extremely rare for anyone but an infant too young to be vaccinated to die, and I challenge you to prove that you have seen "several children" die of Pertussis–when even in a bad year, only 30 people, all usually under 6 months of age, *at most* die from Pertussis, which infects over 25,000 people a year in this country. That being said, parents of these babies (less than 6 months old) should vaccinate THEMSELVES as a means of protecting their children.

        I just hate seeing scaretactics used. I just don't think these "several children" you've "seen" die of Pertussis exist. It kills maybe 30 people a year, all babies–not kids–and you SAW several of them die? In your "short" career? I just have to call BS.

        May 13, 2012 at 9:44 am |
      • Kathryn

        Your response (in calling me a liar, which is not polite and adds nothing to the discussion) is based upon a few assumptions. First, that all cases are reported to the CDC. It is mandated by the federal government but in reality it does not always happen, espcially in cases where cause of death is from a complication (sepsis, subsequent superinfection, renal failure) or a child dies before a definitive cause is reached. It absolutely should happen in all cases, but in reality it does not. This is especially true in the earliest cases of any outbreak or when there is less than ideal access to care. Second, you assume that the only patients I've ever cared for have been in the United States, they have not. Pertussis mortality worldwide is grossly underreported. Those countries with the highest incidence and highest mortality have the least structured reporting systems and the least ability to definitively diagnose the disease. Finally, to add a point which I did not bring up in my first post, it is also extremely difficult to characterize the long term morbidity to children that survive severe infections, which in most cases is significant.

        May 14, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  56. d.s.

    Throughly creepy and obnoxious!!! By the way, I 'd love to hear how her husband feels about this. I have a feeling it's wreaking havoc on their realationship and creating tremendous intimacy issues (even jealousy of his own son.) All around a totally STUPID IDEA! By the way, does she like in Burbank by any chance? We have an entire "ARMY OF" these women here! (I was on the elevator with one of "these gems" and she was with her toddler, when she looked at the other mother, then looked disdainfully at me, and said, 'I hate it when too many people get in the elevator and take up all the air!"

    May 12, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  57. ka

    I've rarely heard such pompous boasting. This woman believes she is the best mother that ever walked the earth. And her child is Einstein. We all think our children are wonderful when they are little. And then we get a dose of reality. They are not so perfect after all. It happens right around middle school. Re-interview this woman in 9 years.

    May 12, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • miriamspia

      I'm not sure why someone is so negative. Is it because the woman is happy – maybe you're not and so your hostile?

      May 12, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Nicole

      Please quite when she boasted? She didn't. She just stated what she does and what attachment parenting is and her opinion about the cover, just as any interviewee should.

      May 12, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  58. Dr Laura Markham

    There seems to be an underlying assumption that meeting the emotional needs of babies and toddlers makes them dependent throughout life. Actually, when little ones get their emotional needs met - and often those needs include a fair amount of closeness to parents - they complete their developmental tasks of establishing trust and secure attachment, and insist on being put down to get to all those breakables, and then to venture out into the world. Adults who are preoccupied with their attachments to their parents have insecure attachments and are looking for something they didn't get as babies or toddlers.

    May 12, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Abmarconi

      I know of many people who weren't raised with attachment style parenting who are great perfectly socialized people. Parenting style is a personal choice and any loving home will be best for a child-even if a parent opts to put their child in their own bed to sleep and isn't in constant contact with the child. Also I'm curious about this method of parenting and how effective it is with multiples or larger families. I would love to be able to come running during every cry but it's unrealistic

      May 12, 2012 at 10:30 am |
      • Katie

        I have twins and am perfectly able to raise them AP style. There is no one size fits all in the AP world, it is just about respect for the children so they in turn learn respect for others. I don't think a child is being shown respect when an adult yells at them, yanks on them, or locks them in their room. AP children still learn rules and respect but there are better ways to teach them than yelling or harsh punishments. You don't have to cosleep or breastfeed to be AP, you just have to meet your child's individual needs. I was unable to breastfeed and didn't feel comfortable cosleeping with my babies, but I didn't make innocent newborns cry it out in the other room either.

        May 13, 2012 at 1:42 am |
    • Anise

      I don't think anyone would disagree with what you said, but "closeness to parents" isn't exclusive to those who practice AP. My parents had very high expectations of us as children. I remember feeling pressure to take on more responsibility for myself (cleaning up my own messes etc.). I felt powerfully motivated to earn their pride and praise, because it WAS possible to disappoint them! But at the same time, there was boundless affection and intimacy. I remember feeling deeply loved and that they utterly believed in me. We were readily comforted over life's little disappointments, all of that. So I don't know why this has to be an "either or" proposition. What I see from AP is a lot of affection and intimacy, with one really important missing ingredient: parenting. Is it more important for your kid to think you're cool than to teach them how to live? By the time I got to college, I found I had all kinds of free time my friends didn't because I managed my time so well and knew how to focus and be productive. I went on to become an entrepreneur. If all my parents did was coddle me, I don't believe I'd have the skills to achieve my goals. Indulging children is the easy part. Guiding them and preparing them for life in a challenging world is not. Too many people are skipping the hard parts of parenting and then defending themselves by saying, "Well, you need to understand - I care about my kids, so I'm an attachment parent." As if ALL parents don't love and want the best for their children.

      May 13, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  59. Dr Laura Markham

    There seems to be an underlying assumption that meeting the emotional needs of babies and toddlers makes them dependent throughout life. Actually, when little ones get their emotional needs met - and often those needs include a fair amount of closeness to parents - they complete their developmental tasks of establishing trust and secure attachment, and insist on being put down to get to all those breakables, and then to venture out into the world. Adults who are preoccupied with their attachments to their parents have insecure attachments and are looking for something they didn't get as adults.

    May 12, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  60. Jennifer

    As a physician who has the unfortunate task of caring for children that die from both vaccine-preventable diseases and are accidentally smothered by their parents while co-sleeping, I cannot tolerate the rejection of data simply because it comes from the medical establishment. There is no question that one can raise a well adjusted happy nurtured child and keep them safe from completely avoidable life-threatening risks at the same time.

    May 12, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • shelle

      I support your statement completely. Medicine is a result of medical research. Alternative medicine is a result of anecdotal evidence, trends, and cultural influences.

      May 12, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  61. harviele

    Nerds are stupid.

    May 12, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  62. Chandra U Tiger

    A nation of 'dependents' are born...teaching kids to 'depend' on parents is a big they enter 'real world' and mommy is not there to help them...

    May 12, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • miriamspia

      What do you feel you would have needed to do differently for your spouse and offspring to be less dependent upon you? I hear you saying you made some mistakes and that you dislike dependency and that you believe that this is the direct consequence of how people are raised. Well, on that, it has been observed that not all children are alike....and that, what makes one child more independent in a good way, can cripple the development of another and vice versa. How do you think parents are to know the perfect method for handling their own children?

      May 12, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Kris

      I bet it was your screeching, detached personality that put him off.

      May 12, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
  63. miriamspia

    I'm glad this woman is doing what works for that child and for her. It is true that not every child is the same. One may need more or less cuddling or freedom to move around – more or less comfort &/or independence. Its nice that she has also very obviously been able to do other things as well as mother without that making it so that she doesn't mother. I just have one child of my own and now and then, I help some other peoples' kids.

    May 12, 2012 at 7:25 am |
  64. Kyle

    I love how they completely avoid specifics. They say they go by evidence based research, but never say the topic or the results of the research. This sound to me more like smart women who find reasons to parent the way they "feel" like, as one of them said "intuition".

    May 12, 2012 at 2:25 am |
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    May 12, 2012 at 2:04 am |
  66. UChicago Grad.( I'm nerdy, too!)

    One more thing. I fully hope that CNN and Time feature such a decisive, incendiary topic for Father's Day. Maybe you could feature dads who bring in $500 K and pit them against the stay-at home dads. Who's the better father? Make sure you interview some smug, insufferable fathers who think their way of fathering is the true path to a perfect child. I find this whole "Are YOU Mom Enough?" distasteful. It's 2012, I thought we had moved on from this malarkey.

    May 12, 2012 at 12:34 am |
  67. Bleakbetty

    This woman does indeed come off as very arrogant: it is all about "I am a nerd" (I am smarter than the rest of you so what I do must be right).
    The attachment style crap is going to lead to a bunch of ill adjusted adults who are over-attached to their mamas, similar to Elvis. Very unhealthy!
    And breastfeeding a three year old? Sick and wrong. It seems as if that is for the mother's own gratification rather than any benefit to the child.
    Sometimes it seems as if the self-proclaimed "smart nerds" have a very distinct lack of common sense.

    May 12, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • KC

      One of the smarter women I knew threw herself so much into mothering that she ended up divorced for ignoring her husband's needs. On the first day of preschool, Mommy cried, the kid didn't; there was no second day of preschool. She was still nursing a few months before the kid was supposed to start kindergarten, and admitted that because this gave her huge boobs she didn't want to stop because then they'd shrink and men liked them this way. When we told her she couldn't send him to kindergarten if he was still breastfeeding every hour or so, she shrugged it off, she was going to home school. Some of us envisioned her breastfeeding and homeschooling right up till the child enrolled in medical school. It really was more about what was best for mommy's neuroses and not about what was best for the child.

      May 12, 2012 at 5:33 am |
      • Kris

        And that is NOT the norm for extended breastfeeding. See how you can't trust your biases?

        May 12, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
  68. mel

    Apparently these days, if your kid isn't in preschool full time by age 2, eating premade fully preserved food, injected with atleast 35 vaccines, completely weened from breast by 6 months and capable of sleeping all night without needing parental comfort, something is wrong with child and parent must have emotional issues.

    May 12, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • Bleakbetty

      You are over exageratting, Mel. No one objects to children being nursed as infants, or being well taken care of. The objection is to over coddling a child, and trying, probably for the mother's own needs, to keep the child a baby much longer than it should be. A child can be brought up to know it is loved without having to go such extremes.

      May 12, 2012 at 12:22 am |
  69. UChicago Grad.( I'm nerdy, too!)

    Is anyone *really* surprised that Blossom became such an obnoxious adult? I read her comments and listen to her and it's all "I", "I" , "I".

    Ms. Curtis, at age three (now 10), my son could rattle off every make and model of GM cars, categorized all of his Hot Wheels cars (too pedestrian for your wunderkind?) by country of origin, could read and keyboard and could repeat anything he ever heard regardless of the time that had elasped from when he first heard it. It turns out he had Asperger's Disorder/Syndrome. Your son sounds like mine did...just saying.

    May 12, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • ka


      May 12, 2012 at 9:58 am |
      • miriamspia

        I deeply appreciate the protection of vaccinations. I was protected from things my father suffered from – polio and the mumps. I think it is less drastic but nice that people came up with a vaccine against chicken pox. I think the oral vaccines are great, just due to the pain caused by most needles. – Did you know that there are people who can perform injections without causing pain? There are – my midwife was miraculous in that regard. I hadn't known it was possible until then!

        Whoever said that woman was obnoxious – sorry, but she didn't annoy me at all.

        "Me me me..." Well, we do need to think of others – this is very true. However, equally true is that Sesame Street song "The most important person in the world to you is you" – because without the self, there is no life.

        May 12, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • PC

      I was thinking exactly the same thing. This kid sounds like the poster boy for Asperger's!

      May 12, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
  70. Lila

    I'm very supportive of women doing what is right for them but much of this stuff is hogwash. They do not know more than the medical profession. Period. I don't have a problem with some people sleeping with babies, it seems natural as long as there are precautions to prevent hurting the baby. Love slings. However no vaccinations or basic manners like "thank you" and "please" shows no regard for other human beings. It has nothing to do with being nerdy, it's being obnoxious and rude. Other people could die because your children weren't vaccinated and being polite shows you care about others in your community. Parents who treat society like that look classless and less intelligent to others, not like cool new age parents like they are hoping.

    May 11, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Kristine

      Well said. My sentiments exactly!

      May 11, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • ella

      Please. If the conventional-medicine medical establishment really had our best interests at heart, among other things we wouldn't have one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the developed world. It is SHOCKING. Go look it up.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
      • SKT in Minnesota

        That statistic is true on some level, but misleading on others. First, the US counts infant mortality differently than most of the other countries in the study - here if you draw breath after emerging you are a live birth, while many of the comparator countries count you (well, obviously not *you*, but you know what I mean) as a stillbirth for statistical purposes if you die in the first 24 hours. Second, we do not have universal healthcare, so a for a lot of poor women there is no prenatal care and the first time they see our nice modern healthcare system is when they deliver. If you are a white woman with health insurance, your odds and your baby's odds of surviving are as good or better than anywhere else in the world.

        May 12, 2012 at 12:18 am |
      • Jessica

        You need to look harder at statistics like that and not just use them to prove your own agenda. Thinks about other factors, such as the murder of pregnant women (still adding to the infant mortality rate), as well as a health care system that is not readily accessible to all women, education also being unavailable to all women, pre-term related causes of death, etc.

        May 12, 2012 at 12:26 am |
  71. Nancy

    Funny, 32 years ago when I had my son and daughter, I did many of these described behaviors. I breastfed till approx 3 yrs old, we had a family bed, I used a snugglie and then dad had a backpack to carry the kids, no cribs, no store bought baby food ever, long hair, Dr bronners soap, pre chewing food, cloth diapers, 2nd hand baby clothes,crocheted blankets, homemade salves,basic hippie and flower child upbringing! We never called it anything, we were just living how we wanted. Toady we are all nice, cool , fairly happy people living conventional lives, but alwasys thinking outside the box.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Bleakbetty

      "Pre-chewing food"????? What, pray tell, is the benefit of that? You couldn't just grind whatever you cooked for the rest of the family in a baby food grinder, but had to chew it? What was the reasoning behind that action?

      May 12, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • CandGsMomOne

      I totally agree. My twins are 18 weeks old. They are cloth diapered at home but have to use disposables at day care. They will nurse until they self wean. I will make their food from the veggies that are growing in my garden and grains and meats I choose at the store. I wear them when they are colicky and inconsolible, or sometimes just because they want to hang out. They share a crib, they wear second hand clothes. None of this seems odd to me at all. It is simply how we are raising the boys.

      Even though they were 8 weeks early, they have surpassed where the neonatologist expected them to be and seem to be doing great!

      What we are doing works for us. Would it work for others, I have no idea, but for us, it makes life workable and as soon as we get over this colic life with twin boys will be amazing!

      May 12, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  72. Brett

    Scientists have a word for using intuition to guide your research – it's called bias and it should be avoided at all costs. Mayim Bialik has a degree in Neuroscience, but she is no scientist. She is free to raise her kids as she chooses, but saying that this bizarre approach to raising a family is based on objective observation and thorough vetting is a complete falsification and it is irresponsible. Just another celebrity with a strong opinion who no one should listen to.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  73. Sy2502

    I can only hope to be already dead when society is flooded with these bratty, self centered, emotionally stunted momma's boys.

    May 11, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • meg

      i think that if a parent does what is best for their child, both emotionally and physically, there will be fewer societal repercussions. You seem to have very inflexible feelings on this issue. Luckily for our society, your generation is dying out, and a more innovative, analytical-minded generation is coming into power.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
      • RG

        An analytical generation is coming to power? You mean the generation that is more aware of pop starlets than of scientists? the generation that feels cheating is a requirement to getting ahead? Oh, joy.

        May 11, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
  74. Markarkm

    Questioning conventional child birthing and advice from physicians..I understand. When physicians co opted the child rearing when their union, the AMA, monopolized medicine and skyrocketed the fees, they chased out the feminine aspects of midwives and this being a very female event. After which It beame a procedure...forceps births, etc.

    Some of this movement is to get the medical establishment out of the process. Vaccines...a very. Necessary intrusion. As we now see with all the pertussis cases over the years. It's endemic. It's stupid to prohibit vaccinations.

    May 11, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  75. terrieahr

    I don't understand not teaching children to say "Please." and "Thank you!"
    I don't understand children not being taught that their rights end where another person's rights begin.
    I do understand teaching children to treat others the way that they appreciate being treated.

    May 11, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  76. terrieahr

    Hmmmm. My children are incredibly independent, both in their lives and in their thinking.
    I don't think there is any way to tell another parent how to do this, and I would never recommend extended breast feeding or co-sleeping to any other parent.
    That said, some of your readers are obviously unaware of how privileged we are to live in an environment with mostly safe sleeping conditions and such things as refrigerators and readily available food. We are not dirty or disgusting animals; we are animals.
    The disgust and anger are pretty insupportable.
    It's just another way to separate mothers from mothers. Divide and conquer.

    May 11, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  77. Wondering-about-Justification

    I've seen some of the justification for this prractice. I can imagine, and belive I've seen, similar stalwart and self-serving justification for incest, including that since it was ok for their paents for them, it should be ok for them and their kids.

    May 11, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
  78. Bethany

    I'm disappointed that an actress I've always admired for holding a PhD in Neuroscience has an animosity for vaccines. She of all anti-vaccine celebs should understand the science behind the studies affirming vaccines and those that have been rescinded, yet still overhyped by the media.

    May 11, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  79. Donna

    There is a difference between being a nerd/geek and being unconventional just to be unconventional. Something tells me that these mothers actually fall in the later category. I'm a brainy mother and know many brainy mothers who don't practice attachment parenting, who breastfed our children but stopped before the kid started school, who read the research and realize that vaccines are a net positive and don't cause autism, who teach our children to say "please" and "thank you" and otherwise raise kids who flourish in society. I actually feel sorry for the kids. Their ability to function in general society and get by in conventional life is limited. Fine if you are an actress, writer or wife of an executive; not so positive if you are just an average joe.

    May 11, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • Joemama

      It's not fair for Mayim speak for all "nerds" or for all educated women. That's putting quite a lot of stock in your own opinion. There are plenty of parents out there who are 'nerdy' and yet do not believe that "the mainstream is a lie". Nerdiness and attachment parenting really have nothing to do with one another.To imply that the two go hand-in-hand is foolish.

      May 11, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Grace011

      I completely agree. By touting how unconventional they are, they are really just creating their own set of conventions. I hope that none of their children disappoint them by picking a conventional hobby or career path. I feel as a parent that we are to help our children find their own paths not the path we would choose. To me a nerdy parent (which I am) only exposing their child to nerdy activities is no different that other parents only exposing their kids to sports or cheerleading. Variety is what makes this a great life and children should get to find their own path, not their parent's path.

      May 11, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  80. cameron

    leave your house sometime and travel outside. Leave your ethnocentric minds at home as well. Its commoon to extend breastfeeding. Its a mothers choice and there is a good chance none of you will be out in pubic to see it anyway. This is just a distraction to keep us away from thinking how horrible Obama is leading the country.

    May 11, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • Pears

      Amen !

      May 11, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Kyle

      Breast feeding in the past and currently is typically based on the availability of food. Babies will breast feed because it is the best source of fat when you are in a nutrition deficient environment. Breast milk is great with some extra vitamins added, but as the nutritional needs of the child increase there is no benefit to it and quite the contrary the child can become deficient. I have serious doubts about this research evidence that lead these women to their parenting methods.

      May 12, 2012 at 2:37 am |
    • balancedviews

      Here I was thinking that this was one topic vicious, close-minded extremists couldn't somehow link to Obama. How silly of me. When you're that obsessed and need a scapegoat that badly, you will obviously find a way, even if that way is totally illogical.

      As for attachment parenting, I find it curious that we mothers keep finding bandwagons to jump on. It really seems to have more to do with our own self-image than what's truly best for the child. If I like to think of myself as a free-thinking genius, it helps if I portray the medical establishment–really just people who usually breastfeed their own kids and often feed them organic foods–as a bunch of rigid thinkers who buy every theory ever promoted by a drug company. Every child is different. My son breastfed until he was one; my daughter weaned herself at 6 months. If you focus on your child's needs and use common sense, there's no need to jump aboard any bandwagons.

      May 13, 2012 at 12:01 am |
  81. puckles

    Children SHOULD NOT have memories of sucking their mother's breast. This is unnatural and disgusting. This woman who is breastfeeding her boy at 3 years of age is absolutely ridiculous. This is child abuse, and is really leaning towards incest.

    May 11, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
  82. average jane

    No mother needs to be nerdy to question societal-based values to think outside the box! Really, what is so new to raising children this way? The Only reason it is mainstream now is because these women were'nt raised this way and just because they have a brood of their own think that their ideas are now original! Re-intoducing the ways of mothering speciafically tailored towards "nerds" means only that these women, as intelligent as they may be, didn't pay too good attention to the history of child birth and mothering in the first place. Not new, just common sense.

    May 11, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
  83. themommypsychologist

    As a child psychologist and a mom, one of the things that is so misleading about attachment parenting is the name. It is only called attachment parenting because of the theory it was based upon. It is not called this because it is the only form of parenting which allows parents to develop a secure attachment relationship with their children. There are numerous ways to develop a secure attachment relationship with our kids. I explore more of this myth here for anyone who is interested:

    May 11, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  84. ZZZ

    Parents who do not vaccinate their children should be imprisoned!!! They are basing their decision not to do so on some quack Eurotrash doctor's study which he later admitted was made up... Or better still, they are listening to the words of wisdom from Jenny McCarthy about how her son "caught" autism from common vaccinations. If this BS was true than my entire generation would have significantly higher rates of Autism. Maybe Ms Playboy shouldnt have waited until she was 40 to begin having children. Those eggs were to close to the expiration date and perhaps that is why her son is autistic!

    May 11, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • jeandawga

      Actually, Jenny Mccarthy was 29 when she had her son.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • d.s.

      Actually, supposely, it is not the vacciinations that cause autism, it is the fact that doctors give them all at once. When they are given over a period of months, this does not happen.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:46 am |
      • Rachael

        All creditable scientific evidence says Autism is not caused by vaccines at all or in any way. Autism is a description of symptons anyways and can have different causes – most are genetic mutations. The reason it is so common now is these kids are being identified. In earlier generations they were simply retarded or problem kids. It good more kids are getting the help they need, but lets be rational in understanding this disease. We should all be very thankful for vaccines! Even 75 years ago children and adults died all the time from diseases we forget existed because of vaccines!

        May 12, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Lemrie

      Please do not use this debate to judge moms who were blessed to have their children later in life. I had my first baby at 41, and he is perfectly healthy and beautiful. And besides, I do not believe that there is a correlation between maternal age and autism. Anyone, no matter what age, takes the risk when they have a child that disabilities or other illnesses may present themselves. It probably has much more to do with genetics than maternal age.

      May 12, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
      • KC

        Be a little cautious when you use your child's health to support your beliefs regarding maternal age and autism. It is great that your child is healthy but there is an increased risk of Down's syndrome when the mother is over a certain age. It is reasonable to expect that maternal (and even paternal) age would have an effect on the risk of other disorders. It almost sounded like you were using the example of your healthy child to disprove any possible link and support your belief that there is no link between maternal age and autism. I'm not saying there is but it is a possibility.

        May 13, 2012 at 1:31 am |
      • jokiebird

        KC, that's true, but also keep in mind that most kids with Down are born to mothers under 30–simply because the majority of babies are born to mothers under 30.

        May 13, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  85. Issaquah78

    All mammals wean their young. When the offspring are old enough to ask for the boob, they're way too old to suck on it. Attachment parenting moms do these crazy things for their own selfishness, not their children's' best interests.

    May 11, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Edwin

      Evidence suggests letting the child choose when to wean leads to better adjusted, smarter and healthier kids. THAT is good enough for me, regardless of what 'conventional wisdom' says about mammals...

      May 11, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
      • NyteShayde

        Well, Edwin, when YOU are breastfeeding a child, you let me know because obviously the Devil is wearing snowshoes somewhere and I want to see this.

        May 14, 2012 at 1:35 am |

      Sure because mom is getting what? Aroused by a child nursing! What an idiot! You really have not nursed a child to know!

      May 11, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Bleakbetty

      The "child-led" argument is absurd. A child should be the one to decide when to stop nursing? It reminds me of someone I know whose two young children ruled the entire house: nothing but cartoons was on the television twenty four seven, or they would have a tantrum. The oldest child wasn't potty trained at age five, because, according to his mother, he "didn't want to use the potty". Neither child slept in his bed, but on the couches, in front of the t.v. Gee, I wonder how secure and adjusted they will be when they get out into the real world, and learn that everything doesn't revolve around them? Making a tyrant out of your child sure isn't doing him or her any favors!

      May 12, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • Rachael

      In all mammal species except humans, babies always sleep with their mom until they are ready to head out on their own. They also nurse until a relatively old age. For example, kittens and puppies do not naturally wean until 10-14 weeks. That may seem like a long time, but remember cats and dogs are full grown and ready to have their own babies at 1 year. 10-14 weeks for a cat/dog is the same as 3 1/2 – 5 years for a child – exactly when moms that nurse a long time are weaning their kids.

      I am also especially disgusted by all the comments insulting women and claiming women have children for their own selfish reason! Children are a gift from God to fathers and mothers and they are the future of our people. A lot bigger problem then moms that nurse a long time is selfish adults that care only for themselves and nothing for their communities. I definitely notice that people with children contribute a lot more to their communities and society in general! Let moms nurse as long as they want to – ints really no ones business, and think about how YOU can contribute to your community.

      May 12, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
      • NyteShayde

        Your drivel is getting old. If you want to haul your kid around like a opossum, please, feel free. But it is clear you are spinning your wheels here. AP is another word for parenting, what has been done for ions. Guess what, you don't have a clue. You learn as you go. Parenting is different for each child. You can't throw them through a cookie cutter and punch out kids like automatons. If I had tried that attachment garbage with any of my girls they more than likely would have plotted my slumbering demise. Get off your pedestal, princess, you're not the perfect parent.

        May 14, 2012 at 1:33 am |
  86. Ted Ward

    You go babe! Nerds to the rescue! "Conventional" (read: "pc") media approach to family is why we have 50% divorce rate, a failed public education system, and 2 MILLION (mostly minority) men sadly in prison. Maybe just maybe we've got things way wrong, duh!

    May 11, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Issaquah78

      Attachment parenting IS the new pc, silly person.

      May 11, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • NyteShayde

      Ted, if I see the word 'duh' one more time, I'm going to throw my monitor at *your* head.

      May 14, 2012 at 1:29 am |
  87. TB

    If I read the word nerd one more time I'm going to throw something at my computer screen.

    My cousins were brought up in an "attachment parenting" home. They are bratty and completely ATTACHED to their parents. The 11 year old has trouble sleeping on his own. I

    May 11, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Stephanie

      Yes, my sister did attachment parenting. She now has a 10 year old sleeping in her bed who is scared to even close the bathroom door and go to the bathroom alone. She doesn't flush, either. Sleepovers? Forget it. Camp? Forget it. Just being separated from mom long enough to attend school is traumatic. She will flat out tell you that she will live at home forever and that when she gets married, her husband must be willing to move in with her parents. I haven't asked her yet what she plans to do when they die. I just don't see how having kids overly attached to their parents is a good thing.

      May 11, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  88. viranka

    Mother's and /or parents DO NOT always know best...

    May 11, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Edwin

      The same is true about doctors and extended family members. Basically, nobody is always right, but that doesn't stop people from offering unwanted opinions much...

      May 11, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  89. SKT in Minnesota

    This article is really setting up a strawman in the way it portrays the supposedly cold, interventionist modern medical establishment. I am not aware of a single OB/gyn or pediatrician who would promote formula over breastmilk. They might tell you to relax and not get upset if there are reasons you cannot breastfeed, but I doubt any MD has been actively promoting formula over breastmilk for the last forty years.
    Also, anyone who does not vaccinate is playing with fire, both for their child and for the community at large. They lose all geek-cred with me if they don't take an unbiased look at the refereed scientific literature on the subject. There's a difference between actually being a geek and playing one on TV.

    May 11, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Mac

      Excellent points. This whole article is slightly frustrating as it plays fast and loose with facts and highlights rogue opinions on child rearing. It is irresponsible in my opinion. You can get better FACTS off youtube.

      May 11, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
  90. cyn

    Mothers have been around since the beginning of time; it amuses me that so many women today believe they should show all the mothers that came before them how it's done. How nice for them to have all the answers and feel the need to share their expertise with the world. Let's check back with these modern moms in a few years when their kids have reached the teenage years.

    May 11, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Dr. B

      Amen, cyn. Amen.

      May 12, 2012 at 9:35 am |
  91. jj

    For brainy woman without children, the phrase "When you're used to being prepared to reject conventional wisdom, it leaves you open to learn more" can be applied to so much more than motherhood.

    May 11, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  92. JemRSTR

    I think we are using the wrong term for this "alternative" approach. It's not Attachment Parenting, it's Attachment Mothering. What's so frustrating with this approach and books and articles that have been published on it, is that it never mentions the father. Isn't a father a parent, too? Perhaps the Time cover image is correct... this approach is just about three components: a mother, her breast and her offspring. As a socially, self- and academically proclaimed nerd, this equation (mom + boob + baby = self-actualized offspring) just doesn't add up. There are so many missing variables.

    May 11, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Liz in Seattle

      Well said.

      May 11, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Anna

      Dr. Sears writings provide a great many suggestions for dads who wish to attachment parent their children – it is not, pardon the terrible pun, a mom-opoly.

      May 11, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  93. DamselinSoS

    As each person, including, children are different – there should not be one style of parenting. Parents may even utilize different methods for a different child. As far as health care choices such as vaccinations, those are for parents to research and decide what is the best course for their child. That being said, people need to stay within the bounds of common sense. Also remember that at some point, these children will have to interact with society. While they should not be ashamed of likes or dislikes, things such as "please" and "thank you" will take them far.

    May 11, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Brett

      Wrong! When you decide not to vaccinate your child you put other children at risk, in particular, those children who cannot be vaccinated due to a medical condition. Vaccination is about protecting Public Health. It is not an individual benefit so much as it is a benefit to society. Additionally, your child benefits from those around him/her being vaccinated – therefore you are taking advantage of the system without contributing (aka. a cheat, a mooch, a leech, etc.) if you do not vaccinate.

      I do agree with you about the use of please and thank you.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
      • mel

        Brett – you are dead wrong!

        May 12, 2012 at 12:25 am |
      • DamselinSOS

        Brett, I almost agree with you on the vaccinations. Polio and small pox vaccinations erradicated a dangerous disease. Now, dut to a chicken pox vaccination you hardly hear of that disease anymore. DTP is a necessity. But I am still on the fence about the "new" HPV vaccination for girls only. At it's debut it was considered an "optional" vaccine. I haven't bothered to research the matter. (I don't have kids yet.)

        May 12, 2012 at 7:12 am |
      • DamselinSOS


        May 12, 2012 at 7:13 am |
      • Judynic

        So true about these parents depending on other children being vaccinated keeping their children safe. I had thought I was part of the last generation who would attend school with other children with a withered arm or wearing braces and using crutches. I remember when the oral polio vaccine came out I cried because it meant no more yearly shots. But until then my parents took us every year to the Health Department for them. I suffered through having the measles as a child and lost a childhood friend to measles related meningitis. Thnk God my children and grandchildren have had the protection from this through a simple vaccine.

        May 12, 2012 at 9:27 am |
      • Heather B.

        If vaccination works, then why would it put your vaccinated child at risk for me not to vaccinate my child? If your child is vaccinated, isn't he protected? If he's not, there's hardly an incentive for me to vaccinate my own child, is there? Either the vaccines provide protection, or they don't. If vaccines work, then vaccinated children are safe from unvaccinated children. If vaccines don't work, why should I vaccinate?

        For the record, I delay all vaccinations with my children until they are school-aged. But to hear talk of how unvaccinated children put everyone at risk... well, if vaccines work, then people who are vaccinated aren't at risk. Unvaccinated people put other unvaccinated people at risk, along with those who may have a weak or compromised immune system or other health condition. But either that vaccine is protecting your child against xyz disease, or it's not.

        You can't claim your vaccinated child is protected, then claim he's not protected because of my child; you can't claim your vaccinated child isn't protected, and is thus at risk because of an unvaccinated child, while preaching the benefits of vaccination. Either it's protection, or it's not, plain and simple.

        May 13, 2012 at 9:56 am |
      • AJD13

        It's a bit more complicated than that Heather. Please do some research. There is this thing called "herd immunity" get too many people stepping out of the herd by not getting vaccinated funny things can happen and I don't mean funny ha ha either. People can be carriers of things even if it doesn't make them sick because they've been vaccinated. As I said, it's more complicated than you're making it. It's not an "either/or" thing.

        May 13, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
      • shelle

        Heather, there are some children that are unable to receive certain vaccinations due to medical conditions so, yes, you are directly putting those children at risk. Additionally, there are many immigrants in this country who did not receive vaccinations when they were children so you are also putting them at risk. Furthermore, an initial shot is given at 12 to 15 months and then another shot between ages 4 to 6. So you are also putting the children during the ages at which they are not fully vaccinated, at risk. And, finally, you are putting your own children at risk! Why that, in and of itself, should not be reason enough to get your children vaccinated is beyond me. Measles, mumps, polio, etc. really don’t care that your child isn’t of school age yet so your decision to hold off until them is simply dangerous. The reason that a number of diseases have been eradicated is because of certain vaccines. The only study that scared so many parents into making this dangerous decision was one done by Andrew Wakefield and the propagated by Jenny McCarthy. Are you not aware that Mr. Wakefield’s medical license has since been revoked for the fraud that riddled this study? I don’t blame you for not knowing all of the science behind vaccines; I blame you for assuming that you are more capable of interpreting the medical and scientific implications of vaccines that the medical community is, and you are so sure that you are right and they are wrong that you are willing to put a number of people at risk.

        Here’s a little light reading for you:

        Vaccinate your kids. It’s the only right decision.

        May 13, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
      • BC

        Heather, you are also putting babies at risk that aren't old enough yet to get vaccinated. Newborns don't get their first whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine until two months of age. In fact, they don't get most of their first vaccines until that age. If your kid gave my newborn pertussis and he died, there wouldn't be anywhere you could hide from me. Get your kids vaccinated. Seriously.

        May 13, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
      • Heather B.

        disagreeing with you. As I said already, I don't refuse vaccines for my kids; I delay them until they are school-age.

        No, measles, mumps, and polio don't care about a child's age; however, polio is eradicated in the US (so is diptheria), and measles and mumps are rarely serious in the US in healthy children as medical advances have made them easier to treat. As Pertussis deaths are only RARELY in people over the age of 6 months, I'm not too worried about it either, except for my youngest. He was diagnosed with asthma on the day he received the second dose of DTaP.

        Vaccines are more likely to cause harm in smaller children; I don't agree with how aggressive the current schedule is, with multiple doses given at one time with no way of knowing which vaccine caused a negative reaction. The risk that my children will contract these illnesses is low; the risk that they will be harmed seriously by any of these illnesses is even lower with today's medical advances. I don't trust the vaccines enough to give them to my children when they are so little, to give so many at one time, etc. Most vaccines were designed for older target age groups, then later "approved" for use in children younger. Also, we wouldn't need a National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to compensate those who are injured by vaccines if the vaccines were so safe as to not cause injury. They DO injure people, and our government pays those people through the NVICP. Maybe YOU should do some research.

        So your point is this: unvaccinated children put other unvaccinated children at risk. Okay, well, I made that point already. Your other point: unvaccinated people put those who can't be vaccinated at risk... again, I made that point already. Adult caregivers of newborns also need to be vaccinated to protect babies from Pertussis. But people fail to remember the importance of that and lash out instead at someone whose unvaccinated 4 year-old will never encounter your newborn. (I sure hope you've all gotten your adult Pertussis boosters; there is no way to overstate the importance of adult caregivers having them!)

        My problem is people who claim that their vaccinated child is at risk because of unvaccinated children. If vaccines work, an unvaccinated child doesn't put vaccinated children at risk.

        Also, vaccination isn't the only right decision, as there are health factors at play in parental vaccination decisions that you an outsider to their family may be unaware of. Try to remember that just because I make a different choice than you doesn't mean I haven't done the same research as you. It means that I analyze the risks of each choice and come to a different decision than you–nothing more.

        May 14, 2012 at 8:13 am |
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