The Web defines attachment parenting as:
An approach to raising infants that aims to promote a close relationship between the baby and its parents by methods such as feeding on demand and letting the baby sleep with its parents.
1. What do people mean when they talk about attachment parenting?
Attachment parenting is based on the attachment theory which basically about the attachment between child and caregiver, making the child feel safe, secure and protected. Attachment is where the child uses the primary caregiver as a secure base from which to explore and, when necessary, as a haven of safety and a source of comfort. It is an approach to bring up your child that promotes a secure attachment bond between parents and their children. It is not a list of rules, but more a philosophy.
Many people mistake Attachment with Bonding (which is the skin-to-skin contact during early critical period). Attachment parenting focuses on the nurturing connection that parents can develop with their children. That nurturing connection is viewed as the ideal way to raise secure, independent, and empathetic children. They also say that even though there are ‘methods’ to apply, how it’s applied is open to interpretation. People define it as more of a mindset that a method
Attachment parents believe that certain methods increase the bonds between parent and child and thereby set the stage for secure relationships later in life.
2. Fundamentals of attachment parenting:
Attachment parenting.org describes the following 8 principles of attachment parenting:
• Prepare for Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Parenting – We agree that you need to research and decide about care during your pregnancy, childbirth and parenting styles. They also promote childbirth without any interventions, but also mention that there are ways to help with the initial bonding experience for mothers with complications.
• Feed with Love and Respect – I agree that breastfeeding a baby is definitely the best option, if you can at first. Again, I think that if you bottle feed, you can still connect with your child just as well as if you’ve breastfed. I believe that breast milk is the healthiest option for baby, but not necessarily that it’s something you HAVE to do to ‘attach’ better
• Respond with Sensitivity
• Provide Nurturing Touch – Again, nurturing touch is great, to hold your baby is great, to carry your baby in a sling or wrap, great, to touch your baby great, BUT not if it interferes with something your baby is learning or it’s actually done in such an excessive manner that it’s more annoying to baby, than actually adding value to the whole attachment theory. For example, if babies sleep, they do not want to be touched the whole time, they need to learn to self-sooth and to be comfortable in their own skins. I believe that nurturing touch has is place, but not all the time…anything excessive, will become a problem later in life.
• Ensure Safe Sleep – whether you are an attachment parent or not, it is very important that safety should be your first priority and there is a lot of scientific proof that co-sleeping is not the safest way to sleep
• Use Consistent and Loving Care – Whether in home or at school it is important.
• Practice Positive Discipline Strive for Personal and Family Balance — All members of the family have equal value. This I agree with, but children still need to understand and respect their parents. Parents need balance between their parenting role and their personal life in order to continue having the energy and motivation to maintain a healthy relationship and to model healthy lifestyles for their children.
3. Who advocates it and who does not?
Mostly stay-at-home moms (it’s just not possible to follow most of theAP if you are working)
Dr William Sears – paediatrician who made AP famous
Cry-it-out method followers
People who actually believe that their whole family needs to sleep well
Whether you will label yourself as an attachment parent or not, we do believe that “extremisism” in which ever way is not good when it comes to our children. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty or bad about how you raise your children. You are the best parent for your child and should do what you feel comfortable with.
We are for sleep, and we believe that all children and moms – even attachment parents – can teach their children good sleep habits. Good sleep and attachment parenting does not need to be mutually exclusive.