Monday, 13 April 2015

What is Attachment Parenting?

I've been asked several times recently what Attachment Parenting is, having shared various articles on my Facebook page, and writing about aspects of it here.

So, if you're new to Attachment Parenting, or you want to know what the heck I'm talking about, or you're looking to find out more about different ways to bring up children, then hopefully I'll be able to help.

Cosleeping Bedsharing Dad
Safe bedsharing promotes bonding
Attachment Parenting is a way of raising children that focuses on fostering closeness between parent and child, through respectful feeding practices, bedding close to baby, nurturing touch, responsiveness and balancing the needs of all family members. Attachment Parents are baby-led, respecting a newborn's needs for proximity and near-constant touch. 

The term 'Attachment Parenting' was coined by Dr. Sears to describe the philosophy based upon Attachment Theory. 

The general elements of Attachment Parenting are:

Babywearing back carry mei tai hands free
Babywearing for hands-free parenting

  • Feeding with respect and on demand - whether that is breastfeeding, or bottle feeding, or a combination of the two. 
  • Bedding close to baby - cosleeping, bed sharing, using a cot attached to your bed. 
  • Babywearing - carrying baby much of the time, in a sling, wrap or carrier, or in arms.
  • Responding to baby as soon as - if not before - they cry, never leaving them to cry alone. 
  • Trusting instincts and biology, and your baby, over the latest 'Baby Trainer.'
  • Balancing your own needs with those of your child, in order to be the best parent you can be
  • Gentle, positive discipline. 

I asked some parents whom I know follow the practices of Attachment Parenting to describe it in just one word. Here are their responses:
Breastfeeding baby
Many AP mothers breastfeed

Babywearing family involved
Babywearing gets other family members involved 
I would describe Attachment Parenting as caring for our children the way that God cares for us: with respect, unconditional love, boundaries and freedom; meeting needs with patience; feeling our pain and validating our emotions. It is equally a scientific way of parenting, with research backing up much of what Attachment Parents do instinctively. 

How would you describe Attachment Parenting? 

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