It started with the baby carrier. I imagined slinging 10 pounds of squirming baby one-shouldered across a parking lot and declared it a chiropractic nightmare. Then there was the crib. No way was I walking across the hallway every time the baby needed to be fed. Speaking of fed, I’m too lazy to wash bottles—too straight-out, honest-to-god, totally lazy. And when it came to diapers, well, I’d forget to buy them. Partly because I have ADHD, and partly because I just tend to forget vital things like poop catchers.
So we became hippie attachment parents.
Most people allege that attachment parenting is more intensive, and more involved, than conventional parenting. And it is. They also assume that, because of this, it must be more work. It’s not. This is the secret we attachment mommies keep from the rest of the world. We do way, way, way, less work than you. And if you see us snickering at you, it’s because we know it.
Take the baby carriers you drag to your car. When you get to Target, you have to dig out the stroller, open the stroller, take out the carrier, pray the baby stays asleep, and go on your way. Or you have to schlep the carrier, one-armed and heavy, into the store.
You can slot the carrier into the child seat, thus breaking the manufacturer’s warranty and causing significant danger to your little bundle, or you can put the seat in the cart, thus sucking up all storage space. The carrier is always getting hauled into the house, or into a restaurant, or to a playdate. You can’t carry the baby. You have to carry the carrier.
Here’s what I look like going to Target, and I use the complicated baby sling. I unstrap the baby. I strap on the baby. I enter Target with a cartful of storage. No one touches my baby, because he’s tied to me. His weight’s evenly distributed across my torso, so I don’t feel any strain. I wear him all the time, because it’s easier than 1) carrying him in my arms, or 2) carrying him in a baby seat. Yeah, there’s all this research about touch and stimulation and breathing control. There’s research about improved oxygenation. But mostly, wearing a baby is freaking easier than dragging a carrier. Period.
Think of bottles the way you think of the baby carrier. First you have to buy them. Then you have to clean them, sterilize them, fill them, heat them, and give them to the baby. These things, I imagine, take some time—time you don’t have when it’s 3 a.m. and you’ve got a wailing infant in your arms. And those little screamers have a way of going through formula cans, don’t they?
So we picked breastfeeding. Partially out of laziness, partially out of cost, partially so we didn’t have to deal with squalling babies a moment longer than necessary. And we were lucky. My boobs made milk; the baby sucked that milk; none of this hurt; and I could keep the baby with me at all times. Some people have one or more of these things disrupted and have to use formula. And that sucks if that wasn’t their choice. But it wasn’t ours.
Breastfeeding is so much easier. Baby’s hungry? Open my shirt. That’s it.
That goes double for the middle of the night. No way was I setting up a crib, buying a rocker, traversing the hallway in a 2 a.m. stupor, nursing the baby, getting the baby back to sleep, and going back to sleep myself. I’m way too lazy for that. From day one, we put the baby in our bed. When he woke up and squalled, I flipped him to the other boob and went back to sleep. Thus the ultimate in parental laziness: I slept through night feedings. People would ask if he was sleeping through the night. And I’d say, I don’t freaking know.
I do know that cloth diapers aren’t traditionally attachment parenting. But they fall under the aegis of general hippiedom. We knew we’d use cloth as soon as we knew we were pregnant. You buy cloth once. You buy disposables over and over and over, for about $2,000 per kid. Cloth costs around $100 to $200. So it’s cheaper. It’s also easier to remember. I have ADHD. I’d make weekly late-night diaper runs. And don’t talk to me about poop laundry. Moms are doing a million loads of laundry anyway, and your washing machine has seen worse than poop. Cloth is just easier.
We didn’t set out to be hippies. We didn’t read books or embrace a particular philosophy. We just made parenting decisions based on sheer laziness. Turns out, the attachment parenting choice tends to be the lazy choice because it is the “natural” choice—the one developed over thousands of years. And people are, by nature, lazy. Not to anyone’s detriment, this extends to infant care. Man, are we grateful.