Attachment Parenting

Attachment parenting is a hot topic in the parenting world. There are many critics and the misconceptions are endless.

For some reason, people seem to believe it's a "new" style of parenting, when in fact it's such a natural, age-old style of parenting. In many parts of the world people parent in this way, without even being aware that there is a name for it!

Sensitive and Responsive

Babies and very young children can not provide for their own needs and, therefore, they need a parent to take care of them. Or at least a caregiver, in situations where the parent(s) are absent.

Human babies are not born able to walk, talk and feed themselves, like many animal babies do. Their entire make-up is designed in such a way, that they attract their mothers. Their mother's WANT to stay close, nurture, protect and feed them.

Those chubby little cheeks, cute tiny nose, beautiful big eyes staring at you, in absolute awe... those features attract a mother to want to take care of her little person, who she grew inside her and gave birth to.

So, what does Attachment Parenting Entail? 

According to Attachment Parenting International (API) the eight principles are as follows:

  • Preparing for pregnancy, for birth and for parenting. Ensure that you make informed decisions about your baby's birth and beyond. 
  • Feeding with respect and love, whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Listen to your baby's feeding cues, and breastfeed on demand.
  • Responding with Sensitivity. Respond to your child's hurts and share in their joy. 
  • Using Nurturing Touch. Physical contact is very important. 
  • Ensuring safe sleep physically but also emotionally.
  • Providing consistent, loving care.
  • Practising positive discipline.
  • Striving for balance in personal and family life.

This style of parenting calls for minimum gadgets. All you as the mother needs, is your body and a baby carrier of some sort.

When your baby co-sleeps with you, a fancy cot is not necessary. But even if you do let your baby sleep in a cot, that is in your room, you will get more rest and sleep. Having to get up to go to another room, to take care of your baby during the night is exhausting.

When you babywear, you have no need for bulky prams or strollers and on top of that, you have your hands free.

When you breastfeed, there's no need for bottles, cleaning and sterilizing equipment, no expensive formula to buy. You lift/open your top and your baby has an instant feed. Breast milk is just the right temperature, and perfectly adapted to your baby's needs, at that moment in time.

Joint baths make baby bath tubs unnecessary, but more than that, it provides bonding time. Breastfeeding in the bath is a special time to share together and is often used to encourage a baby to feed and to help with the mother's increased flow of milk, although feeding is not the only way to bond with a baby.

Attachment Parenting Outcome

This style of parenting, contrary to belief, does not produce over attached, clingy children. In fact, children who grow up having their needs met, are the ones who grow into independent, secure adults.

The essence of attachment parenting is that you are able to follow your natural instincts, while maintaining balance in your personal, family and work life.

There is minimal fuss, minimal things bought, with maximum bonding, love and attachment between the existing family and newest arrival.

You get to adapt to life with a baby, and your baby gets to adapt to your life as a new member of the family, gradually and securely.

More information about this natural form of parenting, can be found here at Attachment parenting International. 

Other pages on breastfeeding problems in connection with this page about attachment parenting

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