Screw Attachment Parenting, I’ll Take Detachment Parenting

What's wrong with attachment parenting? Let me count the ways...

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / mimagephotography

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / mimagephotography

As a parent are you attached to your kids? Well, that seems to be kind of a silly question. Most, if not all, good parents are attached to their kids. It’s natural. You love them, you form a bond with them the minute you first look into their eyes and think to yourself, yes this one is mine, my child. You are attached to them. But as far as the term “attachment parenting” (AP) goes, I am just not a fan of it. I prefer detached parenting. You won’t see me with my baby strapped to me in one of those slings, co-sleeping, making organic baby food for my cloth diaper wearing offspring. It’s just not my thing. So does that make me a detached parent?

How will you know if attachment parenting is your thing? If you’re a crunchy mom who scans the baby wearing, gentle discipline, cloth diapering, breastfeeding and co-sleeping forums on, you’re probably into attached parenting. If you gave birth in your bathtub on your ranch in upstate NY with only a midwife, two doulas, your life partner, and 26 of your closest friends and family… then all signs point to attachment parenting as your mothering motto.

A detached parent like me had a completely medically supervised birth in a state of the art hospital, with a male OB present that not only induced me, but did all kind of medical interventions in the birth, such as break my water. As a detached parent I also chose not to breastfeed. “Gasp,” went the attached parents reading this! I didn’t want to breastfeed for a completely selfish reason that I will only admit to you fine non-judgmental readers. I didn’t want my breasts to sag. I am quite attached to them in their full perky state. Oh, and I also heard that formula fed babies sleep through the night sooner. Plus bottle-feeding allowed my husband to step up and help out more then saying, “Honey, can I bring you a glass of water and are they supposed to be oozing like that?” Not for me. And neither were cloth diapers. I know that they seem to be better for the environment and I hate to spit in the face of Mother Earth, but I don’t care. Bring on the Pampers, Luvs, Huggies, even the generic Target brand of diapers will do in a pinch, but no way no how I can deal with the mess and work of cloth diapers.

I did buy a sling. But not really a “sling” sling. I bought the yuppie parent’s answer to a sling…the Boba 4G Carrier. And really the only reason I bought it was because it was so crazy expensive that it was more like a status item for your baby. Yes, for only 125 smackers you can have the prestige of wearing your baby as a necklace. It’s almost as good as a Hermes scarf, but heavier and will actually projectile spit up on your chest as you walk through the mall. Not for me.


You know what I did love and became attached to? The great convertible infant carrier, car seat, stroller system. Now this is a valuable item for the detached parent. You can actually run errands and bring your new baby, in and out of many places and not even have to remove them from their seat. Brilliant! Other items that are the antithesis of attachment parenting include the vibrating bouncy seat, swing, bassinet, play mat or anything that you can place your baby in and actually take two minutes to jump in the shower. Otherwise to me attachment moms must wander around all day, baby securely in their arms, or sling, dirty. Can’t really shower holding a baby can you? I tried once and almost dropped my slippery little eight-month-old daughter to the floor of the shower. Just caught her by her head. Never tried that again. So much for my shot at attachment parenting.

Now don’t misinterpret my detached parenting skills. My two beautiful children are 1 and 4 and I adore them dearly. They are my life, my love, and I can’t imagine being without them. I think they are the most perfect children ever created. I sometimes just marvel at my baby’s perfectly pink chubby cheeks or how her big sister kept sneaking glances my way during her ballet class and blowing me kisses. Most of the time I feel like my heart now resides outside of my body and walks around reflected in their perfect little faces. If that’s not the definition of attached, then I don’t know what is. But at the end of a long hard day when there where one too many tantrums thrown, or meals refused I am so glad that I can take them upstairs to their own room, where they sleep in their own bed or crib and I don’t have to share my bed with them. There is some separation between us and it’s healthier for me. That there is still a “me” outside of parenthood, detached in many ways but always attached to them.

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  • Andrea Z. Smith

    Wow….pretty stupid article. Why would you go out of your way to write this? You obviously have some insecurities you need to work through. Stop comparing yourself to other mothers.

  • Jennifer Fletcher

    Being an attached parent isn’t about your own attachment to the baby, but putting your baby’s need to attach to you first!

    It is sad that parenthood couldn’t stop you being so self centred.

  • Lauren Hutton

    What an ignorant and unnecessary article.

  • Ann Minton

    Great article!

  • Marina J Neary

    Ah, I love sitting there and enjoying Mommy wars 😉 I think the author is very candid and humorous. It’s the “perfect mommies” who are so saintly and aggressive in their ideology that made me want to avoid mommy groups altogether.

  • Elizabeth Klebart

    I was an attachment mom and run a business based on the principles. The goal of attachment parenting is to attach to your children and create a loving bond. Some children, like my own, needed more of the AP practices. I wore him, coslept, extended breastfed for his needs, but also my own sanity.

    Sometimes I think advocates of attachment parenting miss the point. Personally, I don’t care if you bf, babywear, cosleep, as long as you are meeting their needs and your own. A resentful, burnt out mom is not present or connected. If getting a good night’s sleep is crucial to your sanity, then that benefits yourchild.

    There are ways to meet everyone’s needs and bond/attach. Don’t want to breastfeed? You can still bond while bottle feeding if you hold them and mimic breastfeeding proximity. Don’t want to cosleep? There are ways to respect their needs without forcing them to cio. There are gentle ways.

    I believe in respectful parenting, when it comes down to it. Respecting the needs of all involved. In our home, cosleeping/babywearing achieved that. That’s not true in all cases.

    I did not believeyou are selfish or detached. By ignoring your needs and intuition, then you can’t be the mother you need to be. I also believe in the science behind attachment and try to practice and promote practices that achieve that.

  • Suzie Williams

    Talk about the EXTREMES of both sides. This article is terrible. Yes I breastfed my son and wore him-does that mean I bathed with him? Ummm NO!
    I don’t believe in bedsharing as it is the number one cause of death in infants but yes I DID buy organic baby food for my child. Wow! I’m just SO CRUNCHY!
    No, not really.

    Also breastfeeding doesn’t cause your breasts to sag that’s pregnancy in general. My breasts didn’t get bigger during pregnancy and when I was done with breastfeeding they still look the same -I’m lucky with that but this article is just the worst. I looked up articles on detached parenting to handle temper tantrums better and….this…’article’ just makes me roll my eyes and call SS on the author

  • sfmum

    THANK YOU for writing this article. It’s hard to find other moms who don’t subscribe to the attachment parenting philosophy, especially where I live (San Francisco Bay Area). I find the other rude comments here unnecessary. Just because you disagree with something doesn’t mean you need to bash it. The author isn’t attacking those who follow attachment parenting; rather she is stating her views. The only right way to parent is what works for you. As long as your child is healthy and happy is what matters. Also, a mom who is healthy and happy makes for a much better parent than one who is not. I don’t think it is “selfish” to take care of yourself, too-it is necessary in order to be the best parent to your child. Attachment parenting doesn’t work for every family. The author is just doing what works for her.