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What if I can't?

Bottle Feeding with Love - excellent blog post by a mother who really endeavoured to breastfeed and how she came to bottle feed. An honest and reassuring account that acknowledges the complex emotions involved.


Homemade Formula v. Human Donor Milk - well-referenced and friendly blog post exploring the possibilities available when breastfeeding doesn't take-off, including the option of human milk donation.

What if I can't breastfeed?


Birth blood loss, low milk supply, mastitus, thrush, inverted nipples, birth trauma to the baby, maternal surgery, tongue-tie, lack of support at critical moments and many more reasons may prevent you from breastfeeding.   Some mothers who expected to breastfeed and found it hard or impossible to do so then experience a sense of loss, shock and guilt. Some even worry that they will not have the same bond with their child as a woman who has exclusively breastfed.  


We feel that Bonding through feeding is possible if you breast or bottle feed.  Sometimes it can be possible to combine the two and it's sometimes possible to dry-nurse if you feel you want to have a nursing connection, even without or only a very little milk. Many mothers have told us that the most useful thing they found to help them through the times when breastfeeding was most challenging was to take things one day at a time. If you need to nourish your child with formula there are lots of things to consider too (don't forget to read our page on feeding). Here are a few...

Increasing Milk Supply - excellent information and suggestions on how to maintain and improve milk supply.


Alternatives to Bottles - great resources from Dr Sears detailing the possible options for feeding without bottles and includes a useful explanation on supplemental nursing systems.

What if I can't bedshare?


Epilepsy, sleep apnea, bottle feeding, extreme snoring, exhaustion and other circumstances may prevent you from bedsharing. Some situations mean one parent may not be able to co-sleep in the same room either. Here are some ideas for organising family sleep...


Noisy Family Bed - useful Q&A with Naomi Aldort about how to manage noise in the family bedroom.


Co-sleeping - Making it Work - helpful guide offering practical tips on how to organise a suitable sleeping arrangment for the whole family.




What if I can't babywear?


Babywearing is wonderful, it can be tiring too! Sometimes it's too uncomfortable to wear a heavy baby for long periods or it may be that your back won't tolerate babywearing at all. Here are some alternative options to explore...


Hippychick Hip Seat Video - endorsed by chiropractors this hip seat prevents the carrier from 'throwing out' the hip while supporting the baby. It can make carrying more comfortable and is useful for children who like to be carried but also jump down very frequently.


Wearing Through Chronic Back Pain - interesting blog post by a mother who experience severe pelvic discomfort during pregnancy which worsened post-birth. The post details her coping mechanisms using babywearing as a positive experience that fulfilled her desire for close contact.


Find a Chiropractor - many women rely on chiropractic care to support the physical changes in pregnancy and during the years of babywearing. This site offers a postcode search facility to find a qualified/registered chiropractor near you.


Rear Facing Buggies - buggies can be essential items, especially for heavy babies with carers who may have physical isues preventing babywearing for long periods. Research shows many advantages to rear-facing over away-facing buggies that are well worth consideration.




What if I can't stay calm?


Remaining calm, patient and jolly at all times is probably not an authentic state as a parent! Sometimes, we experience triggers that challenge us to accept and deal with difficult, strong emotions while respecting our children through these stormy moments. Here are some resources for helping you care for your feelings in a positive way...


Transforming Anger - super article by Scott Noelle about the energy of anger (as a parent) and how to use that power positively through acceptance and new perspective.


Raising Children, Raising Ourselves - this book by Naomi Aldort guides the reader through the SALVE approach which invites child carers to unlearn some of their conditioning and find a calmer, more empathetic and effective way of communication.


Nonviolent Communication - a compassionate communication method devised by Marshall B. Rosenbrg gives specific guidance on how to deal with conflict, anger and complex emotions through a four-step process which can be put into use in all relationships.




What if I can't forgive myself?


Did you let your baby cry, use a cot, not babywear, birth with intervention? Do you feel traumatised, guilty, resentful and sad about decisions you may wish you had made differently. Guilt often finds a way of holding hands with parents but is never a friend.


Parental Guilt - short and sweet Daily Groove article by Scott Noelle with an interesting take on guilt.


Nobody's Perfect! Got Guilt? - excellent blog post revealing how 70% of mothers feel pressured or guilty in their breastfeeding choices and how guilt pervades parenting (but why it shouldn't!).


Attachment Parenting & Self Love - compassionate, insightful blog post written by an AP mother who acknowledges the need to accept guilt and to learn from it.


Confessions of an Attached Parent - a blog post listing things this AP mum feels guilty about! Nonetheless, this list is honest, real and founded on the need for the balance and compromise necessary in family life.


'Don't Feel Guilty: Does the Phrase Really Help?!' - short and sweet blog post exploring how parental guilt is offered handled by others and the effect this might have on those involved.




What if I can't have the birth I planned for? 


We all have time to prepare for childbirth, we know it will happen and that we cannot know when or how our baby will come into the world. We can be positive and confident but we cannot always control how much nature cooperates in our birthing experience. It may be empowering and beautiful and yet even the calmest birth can leave us with intense and complex feeling which take months to process. A traumatic, unexpected, or unplanned-for intervention can leave a woman (and her partner) deeply affected. It can become a trauma that changes many things for, and within a woman and it can seriously impact her life in many unpredictable ways.


Birth Trauma Association - UK charity helping people traumatised by childbirth including support for fathers/partners, a reading list, and details on how to understand your hospital notes.


Enjoy Birth - excellent resource outlining 7 tips to help you heal after a traumatic birth.


Birth Trauma Truths - empathetic blog offering personal stories, support, understanding and tools for   what you need to know on the healing journey after a traumatic birth.


Healing the Trauma - really well referenced article on Midwifery Today called 'Entering Motherhood with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder'.


VBAC - a woman-centred, evidence based resource for mothers seeking a vaginal birth after a caesarian.


Spinning Babies - a US organisation (UK workshops available) concerned with assisting positive birth outcomes with optimal fetal positioning. Spinning classes and workshops help mothers understand their own anatomy, birth possibilities, and gain techniques for helping their transverse, breech or malpositioned  baby.




What if I can't be perfect?


We know that Attachment Parents have somehow developed a reputation in some parenting circles as thinking they are 'better than other parents', offering a higher, 'gold standard' of childcare.


The idea that we may have set our standards unachievably high or that we should follow a set of guidelines at whatever cost to our families doesn't sit well with us.  So we wanted to set the record straight here with some truths about our parenting choices and we welcome similar 'confessions' from other Attachment Parents who have made choices that might surprise the wary!


Our 'Guilt-o-meter's' might sometimes go off, but it's all about finding a balance that works for our individual families. I'm an Attachment Parent and I...







The Practise of Attachment Parenting - blog post by an API contibutor explaining why perfection is an ideal not a prerequisite and how her un-perfection is her teacher and motivator in a positive way.


Extreme Parenting - one mother's view on why aspiring to perfection is sure to court a sense of failure and why balance, above all, is key to happy parents and happy children.


Labels & Limits - honest blog account on how one mother became overly concerned with her role as an 'attachment parent' and how she lost touch with her instincts. It's a kind reminder of how coperation needs to trump competitiveness.




What if I can't be a stay-at-home-parent?


Not everyone is able to stay at home with their child full-time. For some parents the return to work might feel like the most difficult and emotional thing they ever have to experience. For some there is a sense of guilt, for others frustration, anxiety, self-doubt or sadness. Of course, with a home/work balance that works, it may also have a positive benefit for the whole family.


In Defense of Attachment Parenting & Working Moms - US blog post by an AP mother who is also a working mother looking at the challenges and benefits of her child-rearing approach.


Mixing Babies with Business - blog post by a UK mum suggesting tips on how to combine babywearing and breastfeeding with the workplace.


Work and AP - lots of great articles from AttachmentParenting International including ideas for reconnecting, seeking balance and how to wear your baby to work!


Working AP Moms - some helpful suggestions from parents who have returned to work on how to facilitate a smooth transition and how best to manage the time at home.




What if I can't be both parents? (I'm single)


Many parents find themselves immersed in the intensity of parenting while mourning the end of a relationship and all that might feel lost in sharing the journey (this is a lovely interview on how to stay married with children). Support for single parents is crucial on every level and ideas for balancing parental and child needs are fortunately readily available from those single parents so willing to share their experiences.


Go Fatherhood - blog about a single father raising three children within an attachment parenting framework and describing the challenges of being divorced and single.


Overnight Visitations - interesting article looking at the effects of overnight visitations during shared custody, suggestions for alternatives, attitudes of the Courts and the priorities for the child.


My Experience as a Single AP Mom - written by the former Executive Director of API, this article outlines her search for support on a practical and emotional level and details some of the unique challenges she attempted to overcome.


Work/Parenting Balance as a Single Dad - blog piece highlighting the challenges in finding balance between work and family life as a single AP parent.

You don't have to do all the things we advocate to be securely attached to your child - sometimes nature doesn't cooperate and the pain and frustration experienced by parents whose plans hit an unexpected bump in the road often goes overlooked and misunderstood. There are many things which can effect the breastfeeding relationship, the ability to babywear (especially for long periods with large children) or the way the family bed is organised. As children age, the challenges evolve and as parents we are frequently reminded of the depth of our resources but also the extent of our limitations. We hope the information here widens your possibilities, even if just a little...

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