“Attachment Parenting…a white people thing.”

Today I stumbled across an article on Parent.com of all places, that raised the question of “attachment parenting” being a white/caucasian thing. After reading it, I replied saying that the article was absolutely ABSURD and that the only thing white about attachment parenting, is the men who gave a name to it. See white men like Dr. Sears and John Bowlby, basically put a label (as they like to do with EVERYTHING) on what Africans and any other people of color have been doing since the beginning of time! From “wearing your baby” and “co-sleeping” (again with the labels) to breast feeding, THIS is the norm with most cultures, but has not been accepted or openly tolerated by the western culture until recently. Or is it?

These techniques were and are probably still looked at as things only poor or indigenous people practice, but despite the association, they had the right idea. The TRADITION and ART of “Baby wearing” was a NECESSITY not some type of fad and the use of strollers (which grew popular with the British) was counter productive in more ways than one. Honestly when I went to a group meeting about “wearing” your babies, I felt it a tad odd to see a white woman hosting it. I wasn’t used to seeing white women with their babies tied to them.  However living in San Diego for a year got me used to seeing these granola white women more involved in nurturing their children, it even made me wonder why don’t I see more black women extra involved with nurturing their babies in this way?

I think this whole uproar in breast-feeding/attachment parenting, with high society white women is a shock perhaps only to
white men, and unfortunately some black women. I’m not mad at nor am I putting down white women who adopted these methods, but I am disappointed that this is yet another thing most black women have  abandoned and allowed white men and women to take credit for.
It is my belief that the US as a whole needs to widen it’s perspectives, and black women, we need to realize that this is OUR history. This is what we do! It is NOT a white people thing.  We don’t nurse because celebrities are doing it, we do it because thats what God made breast for and it IS the best way to nurture our babies. Everything else after that is the ALTERNATIVE. You see not too long ago white women who were rich and famous did not raise their own children (a lot of them today still don’t). Hell even if they were moderately well off they had other women, such as black women (nannies) raising their children. “In fact, slave owners used and purchased black women as wet nurses for their own children, often forcing these mothers to stop nursing their own infants to care for others.(www.momlogic.com/)

 

Why, black women, are we allowing the media to teach us something that is a major part of OUR culture, OUR history? Furthermore, why are we still allowing some white man to TELL us what is right when is comes to child rearing, as if they didn’t first learn from our ancestors? They if anyone are THEE furthest example of a nurturer. Mothers on all levels are constantly trying to figure out the best ways to nurture and care for their children. For the most part all mothers want to make sure our children are well balanced and reach their optimum potential.Why are we thinking that it’s a white thing along with everything else thats good?  The only thing that comes to mind is miseducation, and a heavy reliance on someone elses opinion, that may not have your best interest. Bottomline? OPEN YOUR MIND TO WHATS INNATELY WITHIN YOU!

15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Arlene Johnson
    Jun 26, 2012 @ 22:30:35

    Hey ladies I just want to say big UP’s!!!! for creating this “Keeping it real” knowledge that a lot of young women of all races are missing. Love the blog!!!!

    Reply

  2. Luqman Muhammed
    Jun 27, 2012 @ 13:00:35

    wow. great stuff. i believe that our soceity has labelled and constructed black women as inefficient mothers. WE think black women are so occupied with sexual conquest and “gold-diggin” (just to name a few) that motherhood is a mere after-thought. one theory behind the welfare 1996 was that black women (mothers) were so irresponible that the government had to regulate their behaviors. on second thought. why do you think black people love our mothers so dearly? we recogonize and appreciate the hard black mothers do. cant wait until the next blog. great job.

    Reply

  3. I
    Jun 28, 2012 @ 10:54:59

    Haberi Gani,
    My first memories of babies are all nursing babies, at least until I was seven and we moved across the country. The bottle was a novelty, mainly for when a mother was sick or had to go back to work too soon. And we couldn’t help wash the bottles and measure the canned milk and Karo syrrup and boil them in their special big pot, because the least thing that didn’t go right would poison the baby. There was only Carnation and Pet milk, and everyone took sides–until the Fultz quads started showing up in Ebony’s ads, then most Negro mothers used Pet. (Ask your grandmother, ask your great-aunt!)

    I boiled the bottles for my children, but a little after my grandchildren were born they’d come up with bottled formula, and pretty quick figured out that it didn’t HAVE to be heated if it was room temperature. People still felt that bottles should be warmed when the new-fangled microwave became affordable. But several babies were scalded in the throat before we realized that microwaves heat from the inside out, and glass could be just right on the outside but boiling hot in the middle.

    Of course breasts are always just the right temperature, ready with the flip of a snap or two and a warm washcloth, and you don’t have to stumble around the kitchen half-sleep hearing that pitiful “hungry cry” before feeding the poor baby. You never find the milk sour or with dust, lint, or gnats floating in it, and you can’t knock it over and have to run out and buy more.

    Not to mention that the first few days give the baby nutrients that nobody’s yet been able to put in vitamin drops, and those prone to asthma and a number of other chronic conditions do much better when they can nurse.

    On top of all that, the womb heals much better and faster when a woman breastfeeds. Trust me, I had two premies at the time they didn’t understand that I should be in the hospital nursery feeding (or expressing for) my own baby. So I know the world of difference it makes. It does you good into middle age.

    Reply

    • consciousdaughters
      Jul 03, 2012 @ 19:50:54

      Your comment is greatly appreciated, and needed! Your story is similar to what my grandma tells me, although she Breastfed my mother, she knew how to make that PET milk formula for my youngest sister. I couldn’t imagine boiling bottles and all that extra stuff, when I could just give my baby one of my breast! Thank you again!

      Reply

  4. guest (CTCD)
    Jun 29, 2012 @ 23:13:54

    I’m confused by some of your statements. On the one hand you mention several times that Black women in this country are not the ones who are practicing and teaching babywearing. On the other hand you mention that this is what “we” do. But do we? if so, where are all the babywearing classes being taught for and to Black women? Maybe the reason that so many women of color thing that babywearing is a “white” thing for the very reason that you mentioned above.

    Black women thing babywearing is a “White” thing because White women is whom whom they see practicing and teaching babywearing. I really can’t be made at white women for that. I do have to question, however, why modern, Western women of color have not made the connection to how women all over the world–not just women of African descent–used to parent?

    Also, I’d have to disagree that the “media” is teaching about babywearing. The last I checked the media is promoting those high dollar items that will make companies a lot of money–Western, modern parenting styles like formula, cribs, bedding for cribs, travel systems, swings, Bumbos, bouncers and play mats. Media is not teaching about co-sleeping and making a wrap from some inexpensive fabric so that your baby is close to you and not stuck in some contraption.

    Also, not everyone thinks that White people have invented this “wonderful” thing called attachment parenting. A lot of people view attachment parenting as something that’s negative–indulgent, permissive, excessive etc. So I don’t think that most people are attributing “yet another” positive thing to White people’s creativity and ingenuity.

    I wish that I could claim babywearing as something strictly African. However, women all over the world have used carriers. So, it’s not that much of a stretch that White women are using it. There are babywearing traditions throughout the British Isles, in Russia, throughout Asia, etc. Remember: hundreds of years ago those women weren’t running to Babies R Us to buy a stroller either.

    Finally, I have two very simple suggestions about whey Black women in this country may not be inclined to be more natural in their approach to parenting. The first is money. Companies advertise all these Western methods and contraptions so that they can sell us stuff. And the don’t care whose money hadd to their bottom line–Black womens’ or White womens’ money. The second possible reason is that this country has a very ugly past. Black people often try to separate themselves (ourselves) from things that are looked at as “African” in nature. We have been told that we used to be backward or primitive. Self-hatred runs deep.

    I don’t care how people come to learn about or practice attachment parenting. I’m just thrilled with they do. I’m especially thrilled when women of color practice it. I’m even more thrilled when they can connect the dots and realize that this is how parenting happened for hundreds of thousands of years. I, for one, did what felt natural to me….and didn’t know or care that it had a label.

    Reply

  5. consciousdaughters
    Jun 30, 2012 @ 12:10:15

    Thank you for your reply and sorry for the confusion. With the statement “this is what we do”, I was trying to imply that this is a major part of our history. Maybe I should have added this is what we “should do”. I completely agree with all of your points, however the post is not about the methods being strictly african at all. I think a lot of people got confused with the statement “people of color”. By people of color I meant people all around the world, not just black people. I should have kept it “non-white instead of people color”. lol. Thank you again for your reply and most importantly for even taking the time to read our blog. Peace and LOVE.

    Reply

  6. guest (CTCD)
    Jul 03, 2012 @ 19:38:54

    Thank you for your kind response and for allowing for robust discussion.

    This weekend at the International Babywearing Conference in D.C. I was fortunate enough to try a Welsh shawl with my 11-month old cousin. It’s one example of the European tradition of babywearing.

    Please overlook my typos–”thing” instead of “think,” and “made” instead of “mad,” etc. I was typing too quickly. Thanks, again!

    Reply

    • consciousdaughters
      Jul 03, 2012 @ 22:04:01

      Thank you so much for enlightening us. The style and art of the Welsh shawls are beautiful! Peace and Love!

      Reply

    • B-girl!
      Apr 01, 2013 @ 12:38:58

      Oh give me a break, the shawl has been around for a few hundred years. When the settlers landed on the indigenous countries they were stunned and puzzled at the natives tradition of baby wearing and discouraged it, if its so common in Europe, why do most APs use African countries for an example of parenting? Why not their own culture? Is it because they don’t have one?

      Reply

  7. B-girl!
    Apr 01, 2013 @ 12:12:04

    It’s pathetic. I’m serious, even down to the EC potty training, the baby wearing, the extended BFing, it all makes me sick, that once again white people are stealing from Africans/indigenous that they enslaved for thousands of years….again. It’s like their entire culture is stealing and enslaving other cultures.

    Reply

    • consciousdaughters
      Apr 01, 2013 @ 13:00:43

      It gets really annoying! But you know the American way is to put a label on everything. It’s really just parenting and that’s it.

      Reply

      • B-girl!
        Apr 02, 2013 @ 15:23:38

        It’s called NATURAL PRIMAL parenting, the N/As, Arabs, Africans, Asians, have all been ‘practicing’ it for thousands of years, the whites were the only ones who didn’t understand it, discouraged it and promoted dumping their responsibilities on nannies, wet nurses, baby-food cribs and cuddle toys. Eventually those wet nurses evolved to formula and bottles, and those nannies evolved to TV/daycares. Plzzzz. You go to my hometown, a little child clings to her siblings/cousins/parents not an inanimate object!

        NOW, they act like they ‘discovered’ some great form of ancient natural parenting and give it a label, books and classes. Huh?????? you need CLASSES to strap a baby on your back, and it needs a name????

        I have a little one coming soon, and i wanted to wear him around in my Nana’s West African scarf, feed him from my breast (and mouth), potty train him from birth and co-sleep with him because I have relatives from Benin and that’s been practicing caring for children like that for a very long time. No classes, no books, no labels, in Benin it’s just called parenting and it doesn’t take rocket science or books to figure your kid out. I guess that’s different for white Americans/ Europeans, being they’ve been dumping their children on the indigenous slaves they ruled for a long time even to the extent the children started calling these indigenous slave-women their mammies. (Watch “The Help” to get an idea just shortly 50 years ago on how white women parented)

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