View Full Version : Disagreement over attachment parenting
01-18-2010, 01:12 AM
Just wondering if anybody else had this issue. My wife and I have a 10 month old daughter. My wife has used the attachment parenting method, especially with sleeping. My wife and daughter sleep together on a mattress on the floor, while I sleep in our bed. At first, I didn't mind because it worked and we all slept.
But now I'm having an issue with it. It's been 10 months since I've spent a night in bed with my wife. She won't let our daughter cry for more than 10 seconds before picking her up, so she's not learning to sleep on her own, and it's getting worse. I'm scared that she'll never learn to do it.
The main issue for me is having actual alone time with my wife, because apart from occasional half hour naps, any time I spend with my wife, our daughter is there with us. I've brought it up with her many times, but she just gets angry with me and guilts me by telling me that there's nothing wrong with what she's doing, and that it's in fact the best method.
I get that, but I feel myself growing further apart from my wife because I spend my days and nights either by myself, or with both my wife and daughter - never with just my wife. Any of you guys have this problem? If so, what'd you do about it?
01-18-2010, 12:29 PM
I have to admit I'd never heard of "attachment parenting", it sounds like a pretty strict approach and if both parents aren't happy with the arrangement then it certainly needs to be reviewed. I found this article which might help you:
01-19-2010, 02:19 PM
While I don't entirely agree with the article that pp posted, I do agree that AP is meeting the needs of your lo and family. I will say that from a mom point of view that your wife probably doesn't even realize that you feel left out or that you want time with her exclusively. Overall, a couple of years of a family bed is a small time frame in your entire relationship. Your lo will sleep by themselves eventually and it really is different for every child. My dd started sleeping on her own at one. Ds, hasn't started yet (he is 15 months), but I am confident that he will when he is ready. I understand where your wife is coming from, and honestly, would be upset at dh if he suggested that I let either of our children cry themselves to sleep. It sounds like she's done a lot of research and I hope you can commend her for really trying to do the best that she can for your lo.
As for time with your wife, I understand wanting to sleep next to a spouse and having to put it on the back-burner for your lo (meaning, yes, even though I sleep with my kids now, someday I would like to sleep next to dh sans babies...). Are there other ways for you to connect? Do you have a date night, a time set up for just the two of you in the evenings or mornings, etc.? This will help you re-connect until your dd is older and it's easier to 'get away'. Also keep in mind that your family is now a threesome, and that is a change that might just now be presenting itself to you. That feeling is totally normal ;). It took my dh a couple of years to make the connection that our lives were not ever going to go back to the way they were pre-baby.
01-19-2010, 02:58 PM
Jeez. My son slept on his own from day one. In a bassinette in our room first, and then in his crib in his room a short time later.
This is tough. I can't imagine not sleeping with my husband.
My honest opinion is, put your foot down. Tell her why its bothering you, and how you feel. Don't be rude/harsh/hurtful. Just explain your feelings and tell her something NEEDS to change. She obviously wants the close bond with your daughter, but she needs to keep up her bond with you, also.
And while lismom is right that life won't ever be the same, your relationship still can be. My marriage has only gotten BETTER since our son, it didn't fall apart. Every situation is different, and it is what you make of it, but its very important that you and your wife are on the same page. Which right now you obviously aren't. Definitely sit down and have a calm but serious talk with her about all of this.
01-24-2010, 11:19 PM
Make and effort to go to your daughter's next doctor visit with your wife. Bring up your concerns about the attachment method, especially that your baby is not sleeping through the night (typically a 10 month old should get at least 6 hours without waking) and see what the Ped's opinion is on it and what it is extreme and what is okay. Be sure to let your wife know that you plan to ask the doctor this - if you catch her off guard she will not listen to the ped at all - and be mad at you.
An alternative, is call up the ped and speak privately about your concerns. Then if he feels changes are needed, he can bring it up at the next appointment. I believe that almost any parenting style can be good, but also, any parenting style can be taken to the extreme and become detrimental. You need to figure out if your wife is still in the "good" or if it is becoming "extreme" and then act accordingly.
01-25-2010, 12:33 PM
Heso she's not learning to sleep on her own, and it's getting worse. I'm scared that she'll never learn to do it.
I'm not aware of any teenagers who still sleep in their parents' bed, so I'd lay this one aside.
But your concerns about lack of intimacy are legitimate. Any parenting arrangement needs to work for all involved, and it is apparent this is not working for you.
02-06-2010, 05:52 PM
I haven't had this problem, but I sympathize! I'm not a fan of AP parenting myself, but I did read Dr. Sears' The Baby Book, and even he says co-sleeping is only a good idea if both parents are on board with it! I see this problem as an issue of respect. Your wife doesn't respect that you have different ideas on the best way to parent your daughter. When there is a strong difference in philosophy, you have to compromise.
I never had to use a cry it out method. I simply established a bedtime routine with my son and he knows when it's time to go to sleep in his own crib. He has slept 9-10 hours a night (most nights) since he was 4 months old. He's not damaged in the least because of it!
My advice to you is to find a book like Baby Whisperer that advocates a middle of the road approach - not cry it out like Ferber, but not co-sleeping either. Make an intelligent argument and ask her to compromise. You are just as much a parent as your wife and it's not fair for her to make all of the decisions.
And for the poster that said 10 months isn't a long time to sacrifice for your child, I strongly disagree. A husband and wife should be able to sleep in the same bed, and the child will not benefit from AP if her parents' marriage suffers because of it.
02-09-2010, 03:17 PM
I completely agree with fluffybear. The poster who sets aside her husband for her children is doing her CHILDREN a disservice. Not only is this method disrespectful to the needs and wants of her husband, she's teaching her children that they are more important than Daddy. Not a good way to go. Any teenager who was taught they are more important than their parents as a child, is likely to have a discipline problem when they get older.
The fact is, the children are a product of the marriage. And when the marriage suffers, the children suffer. The marriage must always be the priority.
I have never been a fan of attachment parenting. From the day they are born, children will become increasingly independent of their parents, and it's the natural pattern of growing up. (In my opinion), AP seems to serve the mother, by delaying that natural pattern and extending the amount of time the child is dependent on her.
I guess if both parents are on board, then I see no problem because there is an agreement. My husband and I will never do it. But to each their own...
We did use the cry-it-out method at 9 weeks when we transferred him from the bedside bassinette to the crib. It sucks at first, no lie! But 3 days later, I have a kid that sleeps through the night, who is always a happy baby and seems to take change and separation pretty well (now that we have object permanence down).
It's also worth noting that doctors DO NOT recommend co-sleeping because there is too much of a risk of suffocation among fluffy comforters and pillows, and of 150 lb adults hurting 20 lb infants when they roll over.
02-09-2010, 08:26 PM
Aloha All ~
Thanks, DadsNursery, for posting a link to my BabyShrink article on Attachment Parenting. There is a lot of controversy over this method. I will say that I think one of the strongest arguments for NOT co-sleeping is the damage that can sometimes be done to the parental relationship. Often, Dads feel left "out in the cold" when a baby or toddler co-sleeps, and stress in the parents' relationship does WAY more damage to the developing psyche of your child than simply sleeping alone.
Maintaining a strong family hierarchy, where parents' are at the top of the pyramid, is an essential goal of a healthy family. It's just like the airplane instructions that tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before that of your child. YOU need to be strong first, then all flows from there.
Thanks for the interesting discussion, Dads!
02-10-2010, 09:12 PM
I like to consider myself "attached". I enjoy co sleeping with my DD but not at the expense of being close with my husband. At first, we exclusively shared a bed with DD. Mostly because i was so tired and it was the easiest way for me to get sleep. Then i started transferring her into her cradle which was right up against my side of the bed. It wasnt long before she started just sleeping in the cradle.
Now she sleeps most of the night in her crib in her room. When she wakes for her 3am feeding, i bring her in our room to feed her. Sometime she stays in bed with me, and sometimes she goes in the cradle or back to her room.
Maybe you can suggest that your wife bring the crib into your room and side car it right up against her side of the bed. This way you still get to share a bed with your wife but she still feels close to the baby.
02-10-2010, 09:32 PM
OMG you sound like my hubby lol! We have 2 children the youngest being 7 months old. Our oldest I set up her crib in our room and had no issues. Did your daughter have sleep problems? My son ( on the other hand) is a HORRIBLE sleeper and only sleeps by me on the couch. No offense but my hubby doesnt understand why i choose this either. Being a mom is a job in itself and trust me without sleep a mom can not process lol. I have been trying to sleep train him for months with different methods since he was 2 months with no avail. Your wife probably doesn't see anything wrong with it or even gets how upset you are. Me and my hubby has yet to sleep together in the same bed since our son was born. Maybe you could try co- sleeping? The baby will be there but at least your wife is there with you. As far as alone time we dont get that either unless we let someone watch our two kids. Maybe you could try talking to her again and be open with your feelings.
02-12-2010, 08:14 PM
Attachment parenting is a beautiful approach that emphasizes healthy emotional connections which have important effects on later development. BUT any strict adherance to any "system" of parenting ignores the unique relationship between parents and newborns. The reality is that you and your child and your wife need to find what works for you. happy marriages lead to happy children. If that means that your wife puts your child to sleep and then lays her in a basinette once in a while so you guys can have some time then so be it. You are still attachment parenting becasue you are attending to everyone's emotional needs. your child will still be picked up when she cries and you and your wife will have a chance to enjoy the family that you created :) this time flies by so quickly, enjoy it.
lesley in hawaii
02-13-2010, 11:08 PM
This is though. It's a hard transition from being pregnant to becoming two people postpartum. I wouldn't take her actions as an act of disrespect from your wife at all! I think that you just have a sweet wife who wants to protect and love your new child. It's easy for women to see their husbands as strong men who can take care of themselves. She probably gets defensive because she expects you to show your child the same type of protective love that she does. She may just need to be gently reminded that you need her too.
02-17-2010, 05:52 PM
I agree with newMrsK.
I also wanted to add that every baby is different - some sleep through the night at a few months old, some take a lot longer, but they all eventually get it. One thing that might be keeping your wife co-sleeping is her own fatigue. When you're already exhausted from broken sleep, the last thing you want to do is get out of bed and walk to another room to get a crying baby who by that time is wide awake. Maybe if you offered to take at least one night time waking so that she could get more sleep she would be more open to not cosleeping. Just a thought.
02-19-2010, 12:52 AM
I have been there before,
It is not easy, you feel rejected but I think the method is to help out more.
say honey ill sleep with the baby tonight, you get some rest.
try to make her feel comfortable with the idea.
Also maybe you should have her talk to her doctor about methods she can use when the baby cries.
02-19-2010, 10:38 AM
Sometimes co-sleeping, especially if breastfeeding is the only way to keep your sanity and get any sleep at all. I think I averaged 2 hours a day for the first 1-2 weeks. I was a zombie. Then, I put my daughter in bed with me and finally slept for almost 4 hours straight! I'm just trying to say to try to be a little bit understanding about how hard being a new mom is especially when exclusively breastfeeding (I am not saying it's not difficult being a new dad), but this is a time when you really need to look at things from her perspective. If you still feel like the baby needs to be out of the bed, help her to make that transition. I don't remember if you said how old the baby was, but maybe put them in a bassinet next to the bed, or put the crib in your room for a little while, and make sure you wake up sometimes with the baby to help her get some rest.
02-19-2010, 12:18 PM
This is something my DH and I are working on right now - as a first-time mom of a 10 month old DS, it's hard to keep up enough energy to go around, which means my DH has been last on the list. We are attachment parents who co-sleep, but we are transitioning our DS into his own space and we are up to a few hours each night in his own crib. As the harried new mom, I appreciate my DH being supportive of our sleeping arrangements, but I am also aware of the toll it's taking on my DH.
If possible, I would take a hybrid approach - "You know we're both committed to DD, ensuring the best for her" etc... but try an "I miss you, I miss us," which may help bring your point home without making her feel like you're not supporting the AP decision (or, really, your wife and her efforts).
If she's a research kind of girl, perhaps bring up the benefits of, say a co-sleeper (ie Arms' Reach); or offer to let them both sleep in the big bed for a time, with the plan to transition DD into her own space within X amount of time. Your wife *should* understand that a strong couple is very important to proper parenting.
One more thing - pregnancy and new mom-ness can really remove any self-appreciation a woman has for her looks and her appeal. You may get even farther by reminding her (however you prefer) that she's still the beautiful, attractive woman she was pre-baby... sometimes we need to hear it from you guys to shake us up out of 24-hour-mom-mode. HTH and congrats on your new family!
02-19-2010, 05:28 PM
My husband and I have been ap and co-sleeping with our son (all in the same bed!) for the past three and a half years. We are still intimate but will either lay on the floor together, or another room in the house. It's great that your wife wants to co-sleep and not let her baby cry it out, but there are still ways for you to get attention too! <3
02-21-2010, 06:45 PM
I think your wife should be willing to try alternative arrangements for a couple of days, but neither our two year old or our two week old will sleep for more than an hour except on someone's arm without blood curling screams. "Crying it out" doesn't work because they will sleep off for 20 minutes and then wake up with fresh voice. So you may end up back to square one, but perhaps with knowledge that your concerns are not ignored.
02-23-2010, 03:58 AM
I'm not aware of any teenagers who still sleep in their parents' bed, so I'd lay this one aside.
I am! My baby's momma.
She co-slept with her mother and through an array of events of social traumatization, she ended up kicking her dad out of the bed! When she and I first got together she was just about to turn 18, and still sleeping with her mom at night. This is a very serious developmental gap and an issue I have with attachment parenting, while the intentions are good, is the problem of becoming independent as a social being. My BM is incredibly dependent and attached to her mother, and she recognizes this and is/was against co-sleeping when she had our son too.
It wasn't long (a few days after she got home) that she began co-sleeping just because the baby wouldn't sleeping if he wasn't cradled in her arms. She literally held him in her arms constantly for the first 3-4 months. When they come to visit, I'm not comfortable sleeping in the same bed with him even though we have a queen sized bed and both of us are pretty short people -- not because he's male, but because I don't want to induce that dependency and I also don't want to roll over on him (which I've heard of happening). So I end up putting myself out on the couch lol.
He's better at sleeping in his crib now and we'll be inforcing this kind of sleeping pattern heavily, but sometimes the only way to get him to sleep is to lie in bed with him until he passes out, then carefully, and goddamnit I mean carefully, rest him in the crib.
And I absolutely sympathize with your struggle for affection. My BM and I separated about a month ago, on better terms than how we were at the moment, but she hasn't seen or touched my penis or me affectionately since the last time we had sex, which got her pregnant. The THREE times we've fooled around, I've gotten her to orgasm, and before I can even hint that it's my turn, she's up and out of bed :(
Convey these sentiments with her and if it takes admitting to some jealousy over the baby's absorption of her affection do it. In any case, good luck; sleeping by yourself sucks.
02-23-2010, 01:29 PM
"She won't let our daughter cry for more than 10 seconds before picking her up, so she's not learning to sleep on her own, and it's getting worse."
Okay - this coming from a mom of 2 - your wife needs to let that baby cry! She needs to learn to deal with things herself and your wife is just setting herself up for problems later.
My husband made it a RULE that our kids would NOT share our bed. Our daughter did share our room for a bit, but when it was time for her to have her own room our daughter would NOT go to bed on her own. Finally, at the Dr. one day and the Dr. simply said "I never knew a child to die from crying... Let her cry. It WON'T hurt her."
Then she proceeded to tell us the only thing that worked - put her to bed, let her cry for 5 minutes, go in - but don't pick her up - tell her it's bedtime and leave the room. If she still cries (which she WILL do) go back in 5 minutes and keep doing that. The 1st night we did it for 30 minutes before I actually picked her up. The next night it was on;y 15 minutes before she fell asleep ON HER OWN, the next night it was 5 minutes and she has gone to bed on her own since then. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule - like they are sick, or having night terrors, sleep waking or walking, but these didn't happen every night for us. If it wasn't for that Dr. though I'm sure we still wouldn't be sleeping or having anytime together!
02-23-2010, 01:55 PM
I dont do everything though, i let her cry a little every now in then, i set her in her high chair or swing when me and dad want some us time, but she does sleep in the bed with us. Truth be told it was HIS idea i didnt like the thought much mostly because we have a full size bed and that doesnt give us much room... but i loved it and still do. Im guessing its ya'lls first baby? I was like that the first couple of weeks but once i realized that i didnt have to run into a sprint to get to her when she cries i chilled out. Keep talking to her though let her know how you feel for the child to always be happy and healthy the parents should be happy to and that means giving time to your relationship to. Hope this helps...i tend to ramble....Good luck!!
02-23-2010, 11:33 PM
Not sure if your still looking for advice on this but here is my perspective: I am a first time mommy, and I do attachment style parenting - even though a lot of my family and friends completely disagree with my parenting style.
Anyway, I also co slept with my son. It was literally the ONLY way he would sleep. And I tried what my mom and everyone else said, oh let him cry, he'll stop. He never did stop, he would cry and cry and cry. He slept in my arms for the first 2 months-and yes my husband complained about it. He didnt like the baby being in bed with us because he was afraid to roll on him (even though i laid between the baby and him) and he said he didnt like that he couldnt hug me or move without waking the baby up. At first I totally ignored him, like what your wife is probably doing, I dismissed his feelings and said basically that the baby was more important. But I started thinking well that really isnt fair to him...so we discussed it and came to a compromise. I bought a co sleeper and attached it to the side of the bed so that our son would have his own 'space' but still be able to touch me and see me. He started sleeping there at around 2 1/2 months old. If he did wake up, I was right there to comfort him. This was better for my husband at first...but then at about 4-5 months our son started showing allergy symptoms (he has really really loud, nasal breathing) and it kept my husband up at night. not me, didnt bother me at all but he just couldnt sleep b/c of it! he complained to no end...and started sleeping on the couch. i enjoy sharing a bed with my husband and i certainly didnt want him to sleep on the couch...so we came up with another compromise: i would transition our son to his crib in his room, but only if HE was ready. We tried it and the first time he cried, so i brought him back to our room. We started putting him in the crib for naps, then slowly started having him sleep there at night...not every night, just one or two nights a week. The point of this is to let him get used to it. After about 2 weeks, he was fine. He slept all night in his crib without waking at six months old. He is still very attached t o me, a total mommy's boy, and that is fine with me. I enjoy being a mother and I dont mind "catering to his needs" - i dont agree at all that its spoiling him or ruining his life etc....every child is different and every family has their own parenting style. but i do believe you should compromise with your significant others. It wasnt working for my husband, but I wasnt going to just dump our poor son in his crib and say thats that, cry it out, when he was used to sleeping with mommy. Gradual change may be better.
See if she is willing to gradually let her sleep in a bassinet or co sleeper in your room, then after a few weeks or longer if needed, of this, try the crib in her own room. There is no harm in trying it...if she cries and doesnt go back to sleep, let your wife take her back to bed. Just keep trying it! eventually she will learn this is her new place to sleep. We did it at six months, so your daughter has been used to it for longer than our son was...but it may still work :-)
My husband is a lot happier now! our son is almost 8 months old and he and I are fine with his sleeping arrangment. Also, what helped me the most with the transition was having a really good baby monitor, I keep it next to my side of the bed and it picks up his breathing, (I keep it down low so it doesnt bother my husband lol). Because it wasnt just my son not sleeping on his own, it was also the fact that I didnt mind it, in fact, I enjoyed it! We bonded better, he slept better and I slept better this way. I didnt have to worry about him-so that may be another issue your wife might have. If so, get a sensitive monitor (or if you want to spend a lot of money, a video monitor) so she wont be so worried about her in another room.
I originally wanted to co sleep with my son till he was a year old, but b/c of our compromise, only did till six months. I loved that time but I understood I also wanted my husband to be happy :-)
At the same time though, if our son hadnt taken to sleeping in his crib, I may have extended that time for him; I was just lucky that he was ready.
But I agree that your wife may not know just how much it bothers you. My husband would complain or mention it but I just dismissed him as being a whiny needy husband. I didnt know how much it really BOTHERED him, till we had a serious talk about it.
02-24-2010, 11:18 PM
I'm an AP parent going WAY back, and I think it's very important to note that AP does not mean neglecting couple time and relationship time. Balance is extremely important.
I think that if your wife feels like you are making this an issue with the AP rather than with finding balance she'll be likely to feel more defensive.
For example, why does your wife not parent the baby to sleep and then get up and spend some quality time with you? There is no "AP rule" that says that in order to cosleep you must be physically attached to your child the entire time they are sleeping. Babies this age average 14 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period, your wife likely needs no more than 8. So why not put the baby down for bed at 7:30 or 8? And then spend the next 2 -2 1/2 hours together?
I coslept with all of my children to different ages depending on the needs of the situation. I also responded to cries immediately in infancy because that is a baby's means of communication. HOwever this does not lead to children who are incapable of falling asleep or sleeping on their own any other problems.
I guess my suggestion is, if AP is important to your wife, I suggest you find ways to address your concerns without making it the scapegoat. Tell her that you know being attentive to the little one is important to her and it is to you too, but perhaps you can find a way to shake things up a bit so that everybody is happy. I also suggest that you read "The Baby Book" by Dr. William Sears if you haven't already (and if she hasn't) because Dr. Sears strongly recommends balance. Recommends that cosleeping only works if it's working for everyone and it's NOT imperative to cosleep to be AP. And you don't have to cosleep forever.
If she feels like you're on the same team in this, she'll be less likely to be resistant to your concerns.
02-24-2010, 11:31 PM
Oh and if my DH tried to pull the "I'll ask the pediatrician about this" we'd have a HUGE issue. And if I had a pediatrician who decided to mix personal parenting opinion with medical advice, I'd get a new pediatrician.
02-25-2010, 12:53 AM
My husband and I had the same issue when our daughter was born three years ago. Honestly, I never, ever would have put her in her own bed and had her cry herself to sleep if my husband (after he got the go-ahead from the pediatrician) hadn't insisted on it. He gave me a glass of wine one night, had me kiss her goodnight, and handled the rest himself. I was sick from separation anxiety. However, much to my surprise, she cried for ten minutes that first night and from then on, would not sleep anywhere but her own crib! This sounds kind of barbaric and backwoods, but I actually respected him much more afterward for stepping up and setting some boundaries as the man of the house. The peacefulness I felt after getting a good night's sleep made me realized how extremely drained I had felt during those dreadful periods of sleepless nights! So I guess my advice is....talk to your wife about this during the day....not at bedtime. Get her to agree to a more suitable arrangement, and then when the time comes, step up and actually do the hard part yourself. This will take the guilt off of her she might feel for being the "bad guy." Good luck!
03-02-2010, 02:29 PM
I've seen a couple of people here post that they don't think it's going to be an issue for very long. My mother put me to bed with her as an infant - I couldn't fall asleep in my own bed until I was twelve. I was scared of the dark, scared of robbers, scared of ghosts, scared of bugs, scared of bad dreams, and didn't know how to comfort myself. It was humiliating to be that old and completely unable to fall asleep without a warm body beside me. Kids have to learn to comfort themselves to fall asleep. You can't be there every second for the rest of their lives, and you're not doing your baby any favors by letting him / her believe you will be.
03-03-2010, 12:53 PM
OK, Listen up! You gotta get a handle on this. Here's the advice given by our pediatrician Dr. Ken Akey here in SoCal - and he's an expert. You gotta sleep with your wife. If you don't habits will form that will change the relationship with your wife for the rest of your life. (So I say have a talk with your wife. Why would she rather sleep with the baby than you. That's backwards.) Wean the baby from crying. Ten months is too long. When she first cries go to him or her after a minute then put the baby back down. The next time they cry let them go for two minutes then console them. You can let this progress. By the time the kids get up to five minutes they usually cry themselves back to sleep. The way you've got this working now the baby is training you. Babies usually cry because they are hungry, tired or have a wet dirty diaper. Our kids all cried so Dr. Akey told us to make sure they were tired so that when we put them down they'd sleep through the night. Parenting is exhausting but make THIS extra effort. Moms and dads usually want a late afternoon break and look forward to the baby's 3, 4 or 5 o'clock nap. Don't let them take it. Keep them awake. Put them to bed at 7:30 and they generally sleep through the night till 6:30 AM. That gave me and my wife between 7:30 and 9:30 on our own. Tired yes. Exhausted yes. But the kids all benefitted from the regimen. Top athletes and top scholars! Follow me on Twitter @BeOraQuelSmart - An experienced dad.
07-12-2010, 03:43 PM
While everyone can agree that it's healthy for children to be 'attached', sometimes both the parent's attachment and the child's can become unhealthy. This short post has some good advice how to ease your child towards independence... http://bit.ly/biC1Q3
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