SALT LAKE CITY — The parent and the childless alike were taken aback by Time magazine's May cover story, which depicted a slim, blonde woman breastfeeding her 3-year-old son. Inside the cover, Kate Pickert's article about Dr. Bill Sears, dubbed by Time as "the man who remade motherhood," spurred talk of this man who founded the "child-rearing philosophy called attachment parenting." Reported The Washington Post, "It’s hard to know which took more of a beating among the parenting literati this weekend: attachment parenting or Time magazine."
Defining this method as "eschew(ing) notions of perfection but instead seek(ing) to educate women and families about the natural, organic and normal ways our bodies were made and how to best maximize the potential for securely attached children who live in harmony with parents who are not afraid to be imperfect," New York Times reporter Mayim Bialik finds attachment parenting a way in which women can empower themselves and "refuse to endure a male-centered obstetric history that has taken women’s bodies and molded them to their preferences for their convenience, their comfort and for their world view."
Brynna Leslie of EMC News, however, has a different stance. She reported Thursday that, "underlying these policies is an attempt to protect women in developing countries, where a lack of clean water make extended breastfeeding the safest option. Although this guideline is largely irrelevant in the developed world, it offers another institutionalized opportunity." Leslie draws upon French feminist Elisabeth Badinter, who argues that this opportunity is to "pressure mothers back into the domestic sphere."
In self-proclaimed "vehemence," Rabbi Shmuley Boteach at The Huffington Post noted, "It seems to me that elements of attachment parenting are extreme and lack balance. And in the same way we should avoid religious extremism and political extremism, perhaps we ought to avoid parenting extremes as well. Families are well integrated machines and they require balance above all else."
The Atlantic geared up to take the quarrel that would follow in defense of attachment parenting. Drawing upon the findings of psychologist John Watson, they addressed What Everyone's Missing in the Attachment-Parenting Debate. "Instead of making children weak and clingy," The Atlantic reported on Thursday, "early attachment allowed children to grow up confident and secure."
In the end, Kate Pickert vocalized in Time's Complete Coverage on Attachment Parenting one thing most critics can agree on. "The good news is that, in the end, data and research has shown that a kid that feels wanted and feels loved is on the right track. But there is no evidence to show that wearing your baby on a sling or sleeping with your baby is really going to change how they turn out when they are kids or later when they are adults."
Rachel Lowry is a reporter intern for the Deseret News.