Alanis Morissette Reveals That She Is An Attachment Parent

"I'll be breastfeeding until my son is finished"

Last week Time magazine cause quite a stir with their coverstory feature on attachement parenting (so much of a stir that actor Jason Biggs and his wife jokingly recreated the Time magazine attachment parenting coverphoto for sharing on Twitter) and today we learn a bit more attachment parenting news. It turns out that singer/songwriter Alanis Morrisette is a proud attachement parent. In a new interview, she expresses how important it is for her to continue to breastfeed her 16 month old son Ever Imre.

Alanis Morissette has revealed she still breastfeeds her 16-month-old son Ever Imre and has no plans to stop any time soon. The 37-year-old singer – who is married to Mario ‘Souleye’ Treadway – believes attachment parenting is important for her child’s well-being. She believes it will help his long-term emotional welfare – and prevent the need for therapy in years to come. She said: ‘I’m an attachment parent. I breastfeed and I’ll be breastfeeding until my son is finished and he weans. I think it affords the child, when he grows up, to have a lot less therapy to go to. For me, I protect his safety and his well-being and his attachment. That stage of development is a very important stage’ … She told Access Hollywood: ‘We’re definitely skin-on-skin connected as much as possible.’ However, despite her dedication to attachment parenting – which encourages constant contact between parent and child – the Ironic hitmaker insists it doesn’t stop her finding the time to be intimate with her husband. She said: ‘He’s a very robust virile man. You gotta take care of your husband.’ Alanis recently revealed she installed a recording studio in her home when working on her new album Havoc And Bright Lights because she didn’t want to be too far away from her son.

Honestly, it doesn’t surprise me in the least to learn that Alanis is a staunch believer in attachment parenting. I honestly cannot say one way or the other if attachment parenting is a good or bad thing but I do believe that however a mother chooses to parent is the right thing for her and her child. That said, I must admit that it seems TO ME that too much coddling of a child might lead to problems later on down in life. Children who aren’t allowed to learn independence might become too reliant on others … and on their mothers especially. It sometimes seems TO ME that it’s the mothers who get the most out of attachement parenting (ie. they aren’t ready to let go of their growing babies so they try to baby them for as long as possible?). But, again, far be it for me or anyone else to tell a parent how to nurture their children. It’s a fascinating topic, I must admit. Say what you will about that “controversial” Time magazine photo but it really did spark a hearty conversation in our popular culture.

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  1. Lexifer

    If a child is old enough to ask for it, he is too old to be breast feeding. I personally find it disturbing to have a child that old breast feed, and I can see it creating issues down the road.

  2. kat :)

    @Lexifer Babies can communicate as young as 6 months, and talk at one year to ask to be breast fed. You obviously have no idea what you’re talking about.

    @Trent- well said. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that Alannis is an attachment parent. Good for her for speaking up for something she believes in, and really- it’s up to the parent and child to decide what’s best for them. Who are we to judge? I breastfed both my daughters until they self-weened themselves after a year. Plan to do that with this baby as well. And I could give a crap how long anyone else chooses to do it :)

    • Lexifer

      Kat, you missed the point. At 6 months old they will not be able to say they want a boob. And if you want to continue giving your child breast milk, then pump your breast milk out. But imo if they have teeth, then it is time to switch to the fake nippled bottle!

    • ChristineLA

      Yeah, try pumping on a regular schedule when you have a toddler running around, and let me know how that works out for you. It is utterly asinine to expect already exhausted mothers to pump so that society as a whole won’t feel all icky. Give me a fucking break, breasts were made for nursing. My son self-weaned a little over two, and I find it utterly ridiculous that ANYONE feels like they have the right to tell a mother how to feed her child.

    • ChristineLA

      Also, it is not horribly abnormal for a baby to be born with a tooth. Is that mom just shit out of luck, so you will be more comfortable?

  3. Hannah

    We all just want to raise our kids the best way possible. None of us have the perfect method and we will all make mistakes.

    It is great that she wants to come out with how she raises her child but I feel like the whole AP movement right now is creating a divide. Most parents from my experience do a mixture of AP parenting and non AP parenting. Creating terms is silly, we do what we think is best for our child. And every child is different so we cannot claim that one way is best for all.

    • @Hannah — “every child is different so we cannot claim that one way is best for all.” exactly, well said.

    • Sara

      Very well said! Like I said in my comment below, I don’t think it’s an all or nothing thing. You just see what works for your family and your children!

  4. Pumpkin

    I had an experiance with attacment parenting about 10 years ago. I was the manager of a daycare and was signing up a new parent who had also brought her other kid who was 4yrs old. The kid walked up to her and told his mum he wanted a snack. Well mum didn’t whip out a cookie, let me tell you! I really think that if the kid is old enough to ask for it, they are old enough to know what a cup is! But who am I to say, I don’t have kids and don’t plan to have kids.

    • Lexifer

      That was exactly what I meant in my comment. If a child can walk into a room and say “Mom I want your boob” (which I HAVE seen) then clearly it is old enough to not be breast feeding.

  5. Melissa

    Proudly still BFing my 15mo old. Go Alanis!!!

    • Sara

      I am still nursing my 15 month old as well! He was a 6 week early preemie and I worked REALLY hard to breastfeed. I pumped for 4 months and worked on latching and he finally got it. At this point he usually only nurses when he wakes up, when he goes down for his nap and when he goes to bed. He weaned himself from the pacifier when he was 11 months old and the bottle when he was 12 months, and I can tell he is slowly transitioning away from nursing. I wouldn’t be surprised if he will be totally done with it by the time he is 18 months old. Until then, it is nice snuggle time for me and I’m enjoying the closeness while I can. As an added bonus, he has only been sick once since he was born, and I’m happy to provide immune support for him in that way!

      For people to use the “if they are old enough to ask for it” thing, I totally agree with the above comment by Kat. A 16 month old may be a toddler, but that is not a child that is too old to be nursing. And my son may only be saying a few words now, they definitely let you know when they want to nurse as soon as they learn to communicate. I personally wouldn’t be comfortable nursing a 4 or 5 year old, but honestly who cares if a mom decides that is what is right for her family? At least the child has supportive parents and a close family bond… honestly I think it could be a lot worse.

      It bothers me that if someone uses any part of “attachment parenting” they are now automatically labeled a freak that never lets go of her child. But it really is something that you can use as much or as little of as you wish. Just because you do some baby-wearing while they are little, or if you nurse past 12 months, or co-sleeping, doesn’t mean the child is never allowed to explore their environment. As with anything else, there are always people who take things to the extreme. You just have to remember that it’s not an all or nothing thing, we all take what bits we like and forget the ones we don’t and form our own parenting styles! Each child is different.

    • ChristineLA

      Sara, I have a similar story, my son wasn’t able to latch until 4 months! My hat is off to both you and Melissa. Do what is right for YOUR CHILD, and ignore everyone else. It is hilarious to me that people feel they have the right to tell mothers how to feed their children. Especially people who don’t have children.

  6. Colleen

    I proudly nursed my daughter till she was 18 mo and I, in no way, consider it AP. I just think whatever is comforting to your baby is what’s best. I feel that they will let you know when they’re done. That being said, I think 4 yr old nursing is pretty creepy. And I do agree with you Trent…I think it’s great to let kids figure things out on their own! Too much coddling, I think, is not a good thing. I think kids need to build their own sense of independence and know-how.

  7. I’m doing an element of attachment parenting and that will be co sleeping. For me, I believe being close to my child will create a good relationship. That said, I don’t expect to breast feed much after 18 months if that. I’m gonna want my boobies back at some point.

    • Lulu

      I co-slept with all 3 of my kiddo’s and haven’t regretted it for a second. And despite what everyone will tell you, when it was time for them to move on to their own rooms in their big boy beds it was a painless transition.

      Enjoy the snuggles!! :)

    • ChristineLA

      Exactly, Lulu. My son decided co-sleeping wasn’t for him at 4 months old, and it broke my heart! Enjoy it while it lasts, infancy and early childhood is over in the blink of an eye.

  8. Syslak

    I nurse my baby while reading PITNB. He’s totally up in the latest gossip :-)

  9. Courtney

    some of you are totally backwards The World Health Orginization and CDC recomend nursing for 2 years when it’s posssible. Alanis say this isn’t surprising she believes in it just like Joanne Woodward did back in the day she nursed each of her daughters for 18 months or Vanessa Redgrave who admitted to nursing her two younger children until each was 2 years old

    • ChristineLA

      Don’t even bother, Courtney. It is useless to try and change the minds of people who don’t have children, or are already firmly intrenched in their beliefs. For some reason, breast feeding is a topic everyone feels they have a right to a strong opinion on.

  10. Brooke

    It’s really kind of sad that we can’t just live and let live. I think AP moms and dads are just trying really hard to care for their children and provide for them in the best way they know how. I frankly think some of the AP methods are verging on strange, but what do I know? As long as a child is loved, protected, taught, and valued a parent is doing the best they know to do. I work in a retail environment and trust me, I see tons of truly bad parenting on a daily basis. Breastfeeding your kid for (seemingly) too long is a much lesser offense than ignoring or abusing them. Let people get away with a little bit of parenting that seems strange. At least they are trying!

  11. Chivonne

    I don’t see why it is any of our business what any person decides to do. Good for her for saying she does the same!

  12. lemur

    As a mother who didn’t breastfeed, never co-slept, had an epidural as soon as possible, etc. I always feel like I’m having to defend my actions to other mothers. Attached parenting doesn’t make sense to me and I totally agree with Trent in regards to attachment parenting being more for the parents than the kids. With that being said, parenting just gets harder and harder as the kids grow, so why are moms so hard on each other (and themselves) when we should be supporting each other on this journey. I say good for Alanis for doing what she thinks is right.

    I read a really great article that I want to share everyone!

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/ignore-time-breastfeeding-cover-never-ask-mom-enough-185319610.html

    This “Are You Mom Enough” mentality really needs to go…

    • Velaine

      As an Attachment Parent who breastfeeds, co-sleeps, and had labor without medication, I feel that constant need to defend too (mostly from the in-laws). I can’t even say the words “attachment parenting” without someone assuming I’m going to breastfeed my kid into kindergarten.

    • Brianna

      THANK YOU!

      I am pregnant with my second child and do not plan to breastfeed at all. I have a healthy eight year old boy who was not breastfeed, did not co-sleep, and AMEN – I totally had an epidural. And like you, I constantly feel like I have to defend my actions to those who did.

      I have absolutely no problem with mothers who breastfeed (I admire that you can do it because I just….I just can’t.) and if you would like to do it until they are 20, really, it’s your choice and what is best for you and your family. I would just ask that just because I don’t, that the assumption NOT be made that I am selfish or making an unhealthy choice for my child – because honestly, it would be a lot more unhealthy for me to do something I’m not comfortable with and have resentment and anger.

      Everyone has a level of what they are comfortable with and come on people, parenting is freakin’ hard enough without the pressure to “out parent” each other.

  13. Sarah

    Attachment parenting doesn’t mean you don’t let your kid develop independence. Some people take it to that freaky extreme but most “attachment parents” don’t. Some people let their children “cry it out” until they vomit and insist their crying baby is just trying to manipulate them, which is more insane to me than holding your child when they want you to. Attachment parenting and coddling are very different things.

  14. Stacey

    I really don’t like the term ‘attachment parenting’. Why must we be bundled into categories? We are all PARENTING! There are parts I follow (currently breastfeeding baby#3 @13 months and we co-sleep).
    What gets to me is people saying these children will have problems when they grow up. Really?? Why are we in such a rush for our children to grow? I’m enjoying these early years while I can!! So yes, it is partly about me but so what! I think that children that are forced to be too independent too young and that don’t have the loving attention of a parent or parents will be the ones to have ‘problems’ when they grow up.

    • ChristineLA

      I agree with you. By the current “rules”, I wouldn’t qualify as an Attachment Parent. My son weaned at a little over 2 years, but stopped wanting to co-sleep at 4 months. Whatever works for your child, I say.

  15. PKs

    Please remember that even the guru of attachment parenting, Dr. Sears, says that it is important to ease your child into learning to gain independence. He says in The Baby Book that although you anticipate every need at the beginning, you do transition to lovingly, compassionately, fostering independence. It drives me crazy, all this discussion without people actually having read the books! Attachment parenting, done by someone who knows what it is and what they are doing, is nearly impossible to criticize!

  16. As a child psychologist and a mom, one of the things that is so misleading about attachment parenting is the name. It is only called attachment parenting because of the theory it was based upon. It is not called this because it is the only form of parenting which allows parents to develop a secure attachment relationship with their children. There are numerous ways to develop a secure attachment relationship with our kids. I explore more of this myth here for anyone who is interested:
    http://www.themommypsychologist.com/2012/04/15/what-does-the-mommy-psychologist-have-to-say-about-attachment-parenting/

  17. Velaine

    I’ve heard people many say that they don’t like the idea of “coddling”, or that nurturing independence is important. But we have to remember we’re talking about BABIES. I don’t know how much independence an 18 month old needs (my kid’s only 6 months. I’m not there yet).

    I keep my son’s development in mind, and I want to encourage what I feel is age appropriate independence. I just wish that people wouldn’t assume the extremes when talking about Attachment Parenting.

  18. Nat

    I applaud any parent who figures out a way to raise their child that makes them and their child feel safe,secure and healthy.I do however object to her blanket statement that AP will prevent or reduce the need for therapy in the future.Is she clairvoyant?No child or adult should ever need therapy if they were loved and cared for-AP or not!And if they do-it has nothing to do with whether mom fed from the boob or the bottle.Statements like that do nothing more then cause division, instead of uniting parents in one single cause-raising healthy,happy and loved babies.

    • ChristineLA

      I agree with you. I support any mother nursing her child until they self-wean, but the assertion that it will somehow cut down on future therapy is ridiculous. As much as I am against a “ew, gross” reaction to nursing, I am equally bothered by people who condemn women for choosing NOT to breast feed. There are a myriad of reasons why some women cannot breast feed, and they should feel supported rather than chastised for how they feed their baby.

  19. Stacey

    Brianna, I think we all have some part of our parenting we feel we have to defend. I thought your comment was well written but why the snide remark ‘if you would like to do it until they are 20′?
    I am judged constantly for still breast feeding (my BABY is only 13 months old). It doesn’t help when people ASSUME (just like you wish people wouldn’t about you) that we are going to feed to some ridiculous age? Yeah, I know I’m totally over-reacting but Im also sick of defending my way of parenting.

    • Brianna

      Stacey -

      My comment was not intended as snide or as a dig….more of an attempt (albeit lame) at sarcasm and exaggeration to make a point. I stick by my original argument that parenting is hard enough without having to face ridicule from other parents who are not in our specific situations.

      I think it’s a shame that you have to defend yourself for breastfeeding your 13 month old. You should continue to do what works for your family, and although, we may take different approaches, I applaud you for doing what YOU think is best – and I hope that you will do so until the age you see fit. :)

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