Attachment parenting (AP) is often succinctly defined as “Parents focus on forming strong emotional bonds with their children as they grow, using techniques such as co-sleeping, baby wearing and extended nursing”, and there was recently a picture of a woman breast-feeding a three-year old on the cover of Time Magazine (Time Magazine, May 21, 2012) raising AP as an issue for discussion. AP is generally attributed to The Baby Book by Dr. Bill Sears and his wife Martha.
There has been a lot of controversy about the story and cover picture. Some of the comments are along the lines of “people's reactions seem to indicate almost everyone agrees that it's not natural, it looks absurd, it's insane, it's terrible and it's wrong!”, per TIME Magazine breastfeeding cover shines spotlight on Attachment Parenting (no, it's not crazy) (NJ.com)
The author of that article linked above goes on to say:
From what I have read, AP isn't bad at all. It seems pretty cost-effective (using cloth diapers may seem gross but think about how much money you save not having to buy packs of disposables) and it looks like it does help parents develop a close and positive bond with their children from an early age.
Ignoring cost-savings from cloth diapers, are there any known long-term benefits to AP? Are there any detriments? Have there been any solid studies on some or all of the effects (positive or negative) of the tenets of AP: (a) co-sleeping, (b) extended nursing, and (c) baby-wearing?