What is Attachment Parenting?
There are so many different styles of parenting these days: helicopter parenting, permissive parenting, authoritarian parenting, unconditional parenting, and more. Over the last year or so, attachment parenting has been garnering a lot of attention and buzz. Perhaps, like me, you’ve heard the term and may even know a bit about it, but you still aren’t quite sure what the philosophy entails. In essence, this style of parenting emphasizes early bonding with your baby (starting from the moment of birth) to build a close, loving relationship that will teach your child to develop positive and healthy relationships with others and to have a more positive overall outlook on life. Like all parenting philosophies, attachment parenting includes a few basic tenets. Here’s an overview of the primary aspects of these parenting philosophy:
Breastfeeding is the key to attachment parenting. Proponents believe that not only are you offering your baby the best nourishment for his or her development, but you are also fostering an ongoing bond through this intimate experience. Breastfeeding on demand is also thought to help parents tune into baby’s signals better, helping them develop a closer relationship by learning their baby’s communication style and personality.
Regular, close physical contact is at the core of the attachment parenting philosophy. This physical intimacy is thought to soothe babies, who often see the world as scary and unpredictable. The physical contact is also thought to help nurture emotional bonds. Therefore, parents are encouraged to wear their babies in slings or carriers as often as possible, and to otherwise engage in positive touch, such as hugging, massage, and playing.
Co-sleeping or rooming in is thought to help parents reconnect with their babies at night and to create a stable, soothing, and safe environment for night-time sleeping. Many babies are said to feel frightened or confused by being left to sleep alone in a crib, and proponents of attachment parenting say that sleeping with your baby can help create a positive sleep environment that allays these fears.
Attachment parenting puts a great deal of emphasis on learning to read your baby’s cues so that you can respond appropriately. Infants and young children are unable to process their emotions or to communicate their needs, so the idea is that appropriate responsive parenting can help satisfy these needs and teach them to regulate their emotions over time. Responsive parenting is also said to enhance communications levels and bonding between parent and baby.
Despite all the emphasis on listening to and responding to baby’s needs, attachment parenting also emphasizes the need to find a healthy balance within the family and your marriage for the health of all family members. This style also emphasizes balance in your parenting and learning the appropriate times to say “no.”
There are many more facets to the attachment parenting style, but these are some of the core concepts. For more information about this philosophy, visit Attachment Parenting International (http://www.attachmentparenting.org/). Do any of you have experience with attachment parenting? Tell us about it in the comments!
Born and raised in North Carolina, Heather Green has worked as a fashion and beauty consultant as well as freelancing for various wedding, fashion, and health publications. She currently acts as the resident blogger for Online Nursing Degrees where she’s been researching online rn to bsn as well as online health care admin degrees.
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