I don’t know if you’ve noticed but parenting now has become a science. Back in the day, you were born however you came, wrapped up in whatever was accessible, held in arms on your way home from the hospital or in case of a home birth you continued on about your business. No frill, no fuss and definitely no science. Times have changed, some things for the better and some are just too much!Today, I practice some form of attachment parenting.
What is attachment parenting you may ask?
According to wikipedia:
Attachment parenting, a phrase coined by pediatrician William Sears, is a parenting philosophy based on the principles of attachment theory in developmental psychology. According to attachment theory, the child forms a strong emotional bond with caregivers during childhood with lifelong consequences.
7 Attachment Parenting Tools: The Baby B’s
Attachment parenting is a style of caring for your infant that brings out the best in the baby and the best in the parents. Learn how attachment parenting babies grow up happier and healthier with these 7 practices.
1. Birth bonding
The way baby and parents get started with one another helps the early attachment unfold. The days and weeks after birth are a sensitive period in which mothers and babies are uniquely primed to want to be close to one another. A close attachment after birth and beyond allows the natural, biological attachment-promoting behaviors of the infant and the intuitive, biological, care-giving qualities of the mother to come together. Both members of this biological pair get off to the right start at a time when the infant is most needy and the mother is most ready to nurture (see Bonding)
“What if something happens to prevent our immediate bonding?”
Sometimes medical complications keep you and your baby apart for a while, but then catch-up bonding is what happens, starting as soon as possible. When the concept of bonding was first delivered onto the parenting scene twenty years ago, some people got it out of balance. The concept of human bonding being an absolute “critical period” or a “now-or-never” relationship was never intended. Birth bonding is not like instant glue that cements the mother-child relationship together forever. Bonding is a series of steps in your lifelong growing together with your child. Immediate bonding simply gives the relationship between parents and attachment parenting babies a head start. (See “Birth Bonding“)
Breastfeeding is an exercise in baby reading. Breastfeeding helps you read your baby’s cues, her body language, which is the first step in getting to know your baby. Breastfeeding gives baby and mother a smart start in life. Breast milk contains unique brain-building nutrients that cannot be manufactured or bought. Breastfeeding promotes the right chemistry between mother and baby by stimulating your body to produce prolactin and oxytocin, hormones that give your mothering a boost.
3. Baby wearing
A baby learns a lot in the arms of a busy caregiver. Carried babies fuss less and spend more time in the state of quiet alertness, the behavior state in which babies learn most about their environment. Baby wearing improves the sensitivity of the parents because your baby is so close to you, you get to know baby better. Closeness promotes familiarity with attachment parenting babies.
4. Bedding close to baby
Wherever all family members get the best night’s sleep is the right arrangement for your individual family. Co-sleeping adds a nighttime touch that helps busy daytime parents reconnect with their infant at night. Since nighttime is a scary time for little people, sleeping within close touching and nursing distance minimizes nighttime separation anxiety and helps attachment parenting babies learn that sleep is a pleasant state to enter and a fearless state to remain in.
5. Belief in the language value of your baby’s cry
A baby’s cry is a signal designed for the survival of the baby and the development of the parents. Responding sensitively to your baby’s cries builds trust. Babies trust that their caregivers will be responsive to their needs. Parents gradually learn to trust in their ability to appropriately meet their baby’s needs. This raises the parent-child communication level up a notch. Tiny attachment parenting babies cry to communicate, not to manipulate. (See Crying and Cry it Out)
6. Beware of Baby Trainers
Attachment parenting teaches you how to be discerning of advice, especially those rigid and extreme parenting styles that teach you to watch a clock or a schedule instead of your baby; you know, the cry-it-out crowd. This “convenience” parenting is a short-term gain, but a long-term loss, and is not a wise investment. These more restrained styles of parenting create a distance between you and your baby and keep you from becoming an expert in your child.
In your zeal to give so much to your baby, it’s easy to neglect the needs of yourself and your marriage. As you will learn the key to putting balance in your parenting is being appropriately responsive to your baby – knowing when to say “yes” and when to say “no,” and having the wisdom to say “yes” to yourself when you need help.
I’m a big believer in this form of parenting. Our babies are only babies for a brief moment and creating that bond and trust between parent and child is a stepping stone to raising a happy, secure, and balanced adult. Only thing I no longer do out of this list is breastfeed, which is an unfortunate thing I would have like to at least have reached a 1 year breastfeeding milestone but really extended breastfeeding is what I would have wanted, the WHO (World Health Organization) recommendation is up until 2 years old.
Finding the balance between caring for baby, yourself, your spouse and your home is the tricky part. But it’s something I strive to achieve daily. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose but with those victories or defeats I’m always growing as an individual, a mother, a lover and friend.
Interested in learning more about Attachment Parenting? Click here.
What about you? Has your view of parenting changed? Do you parent how you thought you would? Let me know in the comments below.