Today Moms Blogger Mayim Bialik On Labels
After reading the new Today Moms Bloggers’ first post, while there is some stuff Mayim Bialik writes that I agree with, I felt the need to respond to some of the more objectionable comments she makes. First off, she starts out by saying she doesn’t like labels but then proceeds to label herself throughout the blog post. She dubs herself an attachment parent and goes out of her way to alienate her readers on her very first introduction to them. And that’s coming from an attachment parent!
We didn’t plan on becoming AP parents – we just sort of fell into it. And to tell you the truth, I would have had no idea what the term meant if it weren’t for the book I gravitate to most as a new parent. Nighttime Parenting by Dr. William Sears became my go-to book when my son Mylo was a newborn, and still is today.
Sharing sleep. Ms. Bialik calls it "bed-sharing," we've dubbed it family bed or "sharing sleep" as Dr. Sears does. Either way, we're down with it. It's been my experience that some parents shun sharing sleep, but we quite like it. Dr. Sears says that sharing sleep teaches your baby about trust. He also notes that children who are given open access to the family bed in infancy become more secure and independent in the long run. Who wouldn't want that for their children?
Birth. Ms. Bialik writes that natural birth is not something to “try for” and feel bad you couldn’t do. I was in labor for 30 hours and had a natural birth, so I feel at the very least that I can speak to the subject. It was always my plan and goal to have a natural birth. While I wanted to avoid having a Cesarean section, I hadn't written off the possibility of having drugs. As I approached the 25th hour on game day I was in so much pain and in so much distress that I not only pleaded for drugs but I begged for a doctor to cut me open. I know now that that was the pain talking, and my support team - my husband, mother and midwife - knew that too so they didn't fulfill my wishes. They were there to help make my goals a reality, and of course today, I am so grateful for that, and for them.
In the months that I have become a mom and made other mom friends, I was just as happy to share in their birthing experience, whether they had drugs or Cesareans. I don't think that there is a place for elitism in childbirth. I do support Ms. Bialik on one thing regarding birth, though. That our country needs to step up to the plate in educating women about the benefits of natural birth.
Strollers. I dig them. Ms. Bialik, not-so-much. Happens that she is a staunch proponent of wearing her children in slings. She uses nursing on demand as one of the reasons why. My son nurses on demand, too, however I challenge her to show me how convenient that is for large-breasted women who have three or four layers on and are trudging down New York City streets through inches of snow. We have the Baby Belle Carrier and rock it often. But the stroller is a wonderful invention and we use ours more often than the carrier. When Mylo was five months old, we removed the car seat attachment from our Bumbleride Indie and faced him out toward the world. It was a bittersweet moment for me. Ok, it was more bitter than sweet. My husband laughed and said "Don't worry babes, I don't think he's leaving home just yet."
Breastfeeding. I agree with Ms. Bialik's scientific fact that human breast milk is the best food, comfort and nourishment for human babies. However, the fact that she breastfeeds her children as long as she does is (in my opinion), questionable.
When I was pregnant the women in my family assumed I would breastfeed. The way I was asked was at times indignantly, like, "you're going to breastfeed, right?" Anyone who knows me knows I don't like being told to do something. I pretty much have to discover it on my own and on my own time. The truth was that I did want to breastfeed, I was just scared I would fail at it the same way I was scared of failing at natural childbirth.
I soon learned that while breastfeeding was difficult, it was only so for the first week. It was painful and exhausting, but not nearly as painful and exhausting as giving birth. Friends would coo that it was a wonderful bonding experience with their children. I am hard-pressed to say that there's a lot of bonding happening in the early weeks so much as there is surviving. The first few weeks are all about survival; for the mother in terms of rest and for her infant in terms of nourishment. I am still breastfeeding today, though, (on-demand might I add), and loving every feeding. I remember when Mylo was two months old, I thought 'ok, four months to go' as I counted down how much longer I was going to breastfeed for. As my son's six month birthday approaches I no longer have an end date in sight. But unlike Ms. Bialik, there most certainly will be an end. It is my opinion that there is something strange about breastfeeding your child who is two and a half years old. This comment is going to get me lynched. I just know it.
Discipline. Ms. Bialik claims to practice gentle discipline. As far as parenting goes she is more versed in it, I'll give her that. She became a mom in 2005. I became a mom five years later. Given Mylo's young age there isn't much disciplining going on right now though we are trying to teach him to touch the animals gently, and we tell him "no" when he army crawls his way over to the tassels on our rug so he can chew on them. While we don't aim to be militaristic in the discipline category, we also don't want to be passive. So without a doubt manners will be taught and boundaries will be given to our children. After all, who doesn't love a polite child?
Attachment parenting is so much more than natural childbirth, breastfeeding and wearing slings. So it is unfortunate that Ms. Bialik coined attachment parenting the way she did. She likely scared off more readers by doing so. Coming from someone who is pulling from this style of parenting as well, she put me off, that's for sure.