Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Detachment Parenting

UPDATE: The other two products I mentioned are now shown. 27/10/10

Attachment parenting, a phrase coined by pediatrician William Sears, is a parenting philosophy based on the principles of the attachment theory in developmental psychology. According to attachment theory, the child forms a strong emotional bond with caregivers during childhood with lifelong consequences. Sensitive and emotionally available parenting helps the child to form a secure attachment style which fosters a child's socio-emotional development and well being. Less sensitive and emotionally available parenting or neglect of the child's needs may result in insecure forms of attachment style, which is a risk factor for many mental health problems. (Wikipedia)
This weekend, as I have since 1991, I attended the Pregnancy, Babies and Children's Expo in Melbourne and volunteered at a stand for the Australian Breastfeeding Association. We have all three come a long way since then - I had my last baby that year, the expo has grown to become an Australia-wide phenomenon and ABA continues to grow as the provider of Information and support to parents.

In 1991, I was also fully converted to the style of baby-care referred to from around that time as "Attachment Parenting". Although I had been practicing the prinicples of the technique, it was reading William Sears books while raising my high-needs son (now a confident young man soon turning twenty!) that I became fully aware of its importance.

Which is why I am becoming increasingly concerned by some of the products thrust upon parents at this and similar expos, because it seems to me many are now moving toward the opposite end of the parenting spectrum, which I think of as Detachment Parenting.

Have a look at some of these and see what I mean:

These are Sleepy Wings
With their forearms up and with adequate flexibility to access their mouths, a baby wearing Sleepy WingsTM can self settle and soothe without scratching or harming themselves.  When worn from birth, a infant will learn to associate its wear with bed time, relaxing when worn in preparation for milk feeds and sleep.

This is the Momby feeding "pillow"
Unlike breast feeding cushions, which are designed for the baby to lay
down flat while feeding, the Momby is designed to keep your baby at the right angle, therefore eliminating unnecessary coughing and vomiting.


There was a third product, which I can't find a link to right now (which is probably a good thing)! A teddy holds a feeding bottle, which has a tube leading down to a teat, so your baby can self-feed and cuddle something at the same time. I think this was the saddest of them all.


A product that was (thankfully) not on sale at the expo, but fits in well with the above, was recently shown on Facebook: it is a set of fake adult hands, which are used to trick a baby into thinking a caring human is still holding them as they lay sleeping! I will try and find an image, but if you can imagine how you place your hands after transferring a sleeping baby from your arms to a cot ... 





That these products are deemed useful and even appealing to some parents is not in doubt. That they are contributions toward a society which values nurturing and caring, I am not convinced. And great ideas to get vulnerable parents to part with their money - of course they are!
They would be much better off investing in this:













(My attached infants grew up to be attached adults - which is just how it should be!)



4 comments:

Jesijames said...

I totally agree - that baby holder for feeding looks like a car seat for your lap!
Mind you, the disembodied hands were actually initially designed to comfort babies in humidicribs not cots. Designed to replace the rolled nappies now used to cushion and cosset the baby in the "hot box". Mind you, kangaroo care would work better! However, they at least had a good reason for being invented.
Being sold for home use is just creeeeeeeeeeeepy!

Rainbow JenJen said...

Woah, the images of those products made me cry, and even more so because I can think of some parents I know that would probably look at the same images and wonder where they can purchase them :*(
Hold your babies, love your babies

Lauren said...

I attended that same expo & was shocked to see so many pregnant women & worried looking partners buying up so much unnecessary stuff! I made loud encouraging remarks when passing the ABA, cloth nappy, SIDS, and music stands and avoiding much else. Kept telling my 3 kids why such products were not necessary, or working out how many weeks/months/year worth of pocket money each item would cost.
Those hands are indeed creepy!

Lauren said...

I attended that same expo & was shocked to see so many pregnant women & worried looking partners buying up so much unnecessary stuff! I made loud encouraging remarks when passing the ABA, cloth nappy, SIDS, and music stands and avoiding much else. Kept telling my 3 kids why such products were not necessary, or working out how many weeks/months/year worth of pocket money each item would cost.
Those hands are indeed creepy!