Attachment parenting may seem like a hot trend, but it’s actually based on one of the oldest parenting styles in the world. It all boils down to fostering a strong bond with your child, through constant contact (the founder, Dr. William Sears, advocates breastfeeding, babywearing and bedsharing). This was the way the first humans raised kids: with no fancy nurseries or high-tech toys, babies were carried the whole day and shared a bed (or a cave) with their parents later that night. But is the ‘old way’ the right way for you? Read about the attachment style of parenting and find out.
Dr. Sears said that constant contact helps sharpen mother’s instinct. You understand your child more, and can respond to his needs. You also build a sense of trust.
He recommends breastfeeding, babywearing (or carrying your baby with a sling), bedsharing (instead of putting your baby in a crib) and boundary building (or an approach to discipline that centers on understanding what your child can do at a particular age, and then guiding him towards desired behavior).
No to rigid schedules
Unlike the Baby Wise method, which advocates setting up strict feeding and sleeping schedules, attachment parenting follows the child’s leads. Instead of pegging concerns like ‘Is my baby ready for finger foods?’ or ‘Is he ready for a playgroup?’ on an ideal ‘calendar of milestones’ parents are encouraged to look, instead, for signs of the child’s readiness.
No to ‘crying it out’
Attachment parenting encourages parents to respond immediately when a baby cries, believing that there is no way one can spoil a baby because crying is not a tool for manipulation but the only way he can communicate his needs.
Aside from the health benefits of breastfeeding, Dr. Sears believed that babies have a biological need to always be close to his mother. This would act as a natural transition from the womb to the world—the familiar heartbeat and voice assure him, even as he gets used to the new stimulus in his environment.
Instead of placing the baby in a crib in a separate nursery, Dr. Sears advocates sharing, if not a bed, a room. Those who are concerned about suffocation can use a baby cot that is connected to the bed, or place the crib in the room. Again, this allows parents to immediately respond to the baby’s needs.
Boundary building is all about setting realistic expectations: a baby can’t stop himself for reaching for a sharp object, so savvy parents do their part by keeping these things out of sight and reach, instead of swatting the baby’s hand. Attachment parenting is also against corporal punishment, relying instead on consistency and a system of rewards for good behavior, and timeouts or denial of privileges for undesired behavior.
Photo from fromsingletomarried.com