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Wait, Am I an Attachment Parent?

5 reasons you just might be an Attachment Parent.

Wait, Am I an Attachment Parent?

The amount of books I read during pregnancy, and even through the newborn phase, was nothing short of ridiculous. I was “prepared” for every type of birth after reading What to Expect, YOU: Having a Baby, From the Hips and everything Ina May Gaskins. I was ready to face every breastfeeding hurdle after reading The Complete Book of Breastfeeding. I was equipped to make my baby The Happiest Baby on the block. But after Simplicity Parenting, my parental reading got trampled on by everyday obligations and... actual parenting. Although Bringing Up Bébé introduced me to helicopter parenting, I think it was my mom and sisters insisting that I answer to each baby sound IMMEDIATELY that unknowingly taught me about Attachment Parenting.

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Still, it wasn’t until I hit the parks and heard fellow moms talk about their beliefs that I started really examining my parenting style. I definitely wasn’t a Tiger Mom but then again, how much of a tigress can you be with a baby? I teeter-tottered on helicoptering during those tummy time classes that I ended up nursing through. Do you really even parent until your baby becomes a toddler? Just keeping them fed is a full-time job until that point.

As I thought about it, I realized that the way I was raising Oliver was leaning heavily into the Attachment Parenting International ring. But then again, it was only because our lifestyle really called for it. And it wasn’t just me. It was the mom I walked by nursing her toddler on the park bench and the dad baby-wearing on the subway. Suddenly I started thinking about all the moms and dads I knew that were actually Attachment Parents without them even knowing it.

Here are a few of the API principles and some of the commonly spotted behaviors that lead to them. So before you judge, remember: You might just be Attachment Parenting. Gasp.

Respond with Sensitivity

“Babies cannot be expected to self-soothe, they need calm, loving, empathetic parents to help them learn to regulate their emotions.”

If you live in a city, you’re probably the type of person who is out and about a lot. Therefore, even though internally you may want to scream, “Not now child!” the external you is probably sitting at a crowded brunch -- with babyless friends -- saying, “I’ll have an Americano,” all cool, calm and collected while you gracefully undo your nursing bra to get that baby fed as fast as possible. What’s that saying? “Make believe long enough and it becomes real”? That applies to patience too.

Feeding with Love and respect

“Breastfeeding is the optimal way to satisfy an infant's nutritional and emotional needs.”

Plain and simple: city life is expensive. While we all know a mom can feed their baby with love with a formula-filled bottle as well, for some, overcoming those breastfeeding hurdles might economically be the best reason to stick to breastfeeding. Since it’s free and all.

Use Nurturing Touch

“Skin-to-skin contact is especially effective, such as during breastfeeding, bathing, or massage. Carrying or babywearing also meets this need while on the go.”

I can’t be the only one who will avoid a NYC subway elevator at all costs. Unless I am with my fiancé, I will always opt to babywear instead of taking the stroller. It makes me nervous to carry a stroller up and down the stairs, and you can’t always assume there will be a stranger there to help you (except usually they won’t say no, even if they’re annoyed). When you babywear, you don’t have to worry about narrow doorways or getting stuck in sidewalk cracks. It just so happens your baby is benefiting from the closeness as well.

Ensure Safe Sleep, physically and Emotionally

“Safe co-sleeping has benefits to both babies and parents.”

Aaah, the joys of co-sleeping. The gentlemen at How to Be a Dad sum it up pretty perfectly. But as you know, we live in close quarters as New Yorkers. Many people I know -- including myself -- live with their babies in one-bedroom apartments for at least the first year. And while we don’t consider ourselves co-sleepers, for one reason or another, I wake up with my toddler next to me every morning. Maybe it’s neighbor etiquette -- there is only so far you can take sleep-training when you have people living above and below you… and sometimes to the left and right of you. “Just bring ‘im into bed” will become a regular part of your late-night dialogue if you don’t have a natural born sleeper.

Strive for Balance in Personal in Family Life

“It is easier to be emotionally responsive when you feel in balance.”

If you live in a city, there's probably as much for you to do as there is for your baby, and according to API, taking care of yourself should be a priority. Sometimes all it takes is a solo walk to get recharged. There is so much to see and so many interesting people to gawk at. Leave the baby with someone you trust whether it’s solo or with your partner and go let off some steam, have a good meal (and cocktail), and get inspired.

Do you have a specific parenting style?

Photo of Koyuki Smith and son Seiji by Bianca Fehn of Metro Minis.

This year many of us have a tighter budget than usual given (looks around) everything that has happened. Coupled with the uncertainty of what Halloween might look like, many of us are reluctant to spend money on brand new costumes that our kids will outgrow by next year. I get it. But I also know that many, like me, love Halloween so much. I thought about skipping the celebration this year, but that just feels like too big of a disappointment in an already disappointing year.

That's why I started looking into alternative costumes—something my kids will be able to wear once the clock hits November, and maybe even hand down to siblings and cousins in the coming years. At the same time, I'm not a DIY person, so I wanted outfits that didn't require any sewing or hot glue. Last year I attempted using one to build my son's Care Bear costume, and of course, I burnt my hand.

So with some creativity (and the brainpower of my colleagues), we came up with these costumes that are both fun and practical, made with items that your children will be able to (and want to!) wear year around:

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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My 3-year-old is eating peanut butter toast with banana for breakfast (his request), and we are officially running late for preschool. We need to get in the car soon if we want to miss the morning traffic, but he has decided that he no longer wants the food that he begged for two minutes earlier. What started off as a relatively calm breakfast has turned into a battle of wills.

"You're going to be hungry," I say, realizing immediately that he could care less. I can feel my frustration rising, and even though I'm trying to stay calm, I'm getting snappy and irritable. In hindsight, I can see so many opportunities that fell through the cracks to salvage this morning, but at the moment… there was nothing.

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