Parents who practice attachment parenting are often accused of babying their child. They get told that they are pandering to them if they breastfeed past a certain age, they are being manipulated if “that child is still in your bed!?” and that their children will never “cut the apron strings.” But what really is babying?
The problem is that so many people confuse unrestricted love with babying. They believe that as a child gets older, the love they receive should be less tangible, less physical. Why should the love you give your child dilute down over the years until you reach mutual apathy (or even hatred) in their teen years, longing for the day they move out and you can have your home back again?
Babying is something quite different from the simple act of meeting your child’s needs. Babying is feeding your child when they want to feed themselves. It is helicopter parenting, and not giving your child the space to explore their world. It is stopping a child from doing what he wants to do and is capable of doing, to prevent him from unleashing his independence in order to keep him reliant on you.
It is not consistently having open arms for your child whenever and wherever they need you.
It is not continuing to feed them the most nutritional and comforting food they can possibly have.
It is not being understanding, loving and respectful of their needs.
It is not being unconditional and unrestricted in the love you show your child.
To “baby” is to hold your child back from what they need to do. To love and to meet their needs is to be a supportive presence in their lives as they stand on their own two feet.