Danica McKellar, best-known for her turn as Winnie Cooper on the hit television series "The Wonder Years," is causing something of a controversy with the reveal that she's big into attachment parenting.
For those not up to date on the term, it refers to a parenting style that encourages forming and nurturing strong connections between parents and their children. This is done through prolonged breastfeeding, co-sleeping, positive discipline, and constant contact. The whole idea, according to Attachment Parenting International
, is that children raised in this fashion "will become adults with a highly developed capacity for empathy and connection."
Okay, so why is this a big deal? Well, like that Alicia Silverstone baby-feeding video that everyone freaked out about last year
, some people believe rearing children with this level of closeness is somehow "gross" or "bizarre." For instance, in McKellar's case, she decided to breastfeed her son Draco until he was 2-and-a-half years old. Because the kid is no longer an infant, some people believe breastfeeding for this duration is unnatural. They're wrong - especially when you consider that the World Health Organization now recommends breast-feeding "up to two years of age or beyond."
"Cuddling, being close, you know, sleeping in the same bed sometimes, wearing him in a sling, long-term breastfeeding, all have to have this closeness," McKellar told ABC News
. "On the other hand, doing everything your child wants you to do right when they want you to do it is another thing. Spoiling them is completely different," she said.
And as for those that believe such longterm habits negatively impact a child's ability to be independent, "Big Bang Theory" star Mayim Bialik - who recently stopped feeding her four-year-old son Fred - had this to say:
"Well, nay-sayers, prepare to be proven wrong," she wrote in February. "All of you snarky mamas who glared at me nursing my 3 1/2-year-old on the NYC subway, prepare to be amazed. And to all of my family and friends who wanted to chastise me about nursing a walking, talking, thinking, laughing little man named Fred, thanks for holding your tongues. Because we did it. Fred isn't going to nurse on his way down the wedding aisle or at his high school graduation. I didn't need to break him of a 'habit' and teach him 'who's in charge.' I didn't need to set boundaries you thought I should have set when I didn't want to set them. Because we did it: Fred weaned."
Watch Danica McKellar sharing more about her attachment parenting style with ABC News below.