Attachment parenting is a parenting style that is becoming more popular. It has roots in attachment theory, which states that an infant seeks closeness to an attachment figure to make them feel safe and secure. Based upon this theory, attachment parenting focuses on creating a strong and nurturing connection between the parents and the child. It is believed that having a trusting attachment to the parents will help children grow into strong and independent adults. Attachment Parenting International is an association that strives to educate parents about attachment parenting, and they have set clear guidelines about attachment parenting that can help you decide if it is a parenting style you’re interested in.
1. Respond with Sensitivity
One of the principles of attachment parenting is to respond with sensitivity to your child’s needs. In general, most parents do this automatically. However, attachment parenting means always responding to your baby’s needs. For example, you should always soothe a crying baby and not wait. Also, you should respond to the natural rhythms of your baby’s sleeping and eating patterns. This can be quite demanding, and, indeed, attachment parenting is a style that demands a lot of attention.
2. Nurturing Touch
Having physical contact with your baby and growing child is one of the key elements of attachment parenting. It has been demonstrated that physical contact stimulates growth hormones, improves intellectual and motor development, and helps regulate temperature, heart rate, and sleep patterns. Skin to skin contact is very important in infancy, and as a child grows frequent hugs are important.
3. Consistent and Loving Care
No one will deny that children need consistent and loving care. However, in attachment parenting this may look a little different than other styles. Parents who follow this parenting style take their baby with them as many places as they can, even on date nights. Consistency lies in having the continued presence of a loving care giver, and for the few occasions when that is not possible a baby sitter who follows attachment parenting principles is recommended.
4. Sleeping Patterns
According to attachment parenting, babies and small children need their parent’s presence to feel safe at night. Therefore, co-sleeping cribs and bed sharing are often recommended. When children are older, it is recommended that you lie with the child until they fall asleep. This is perhaps one of the more controversial principles of attachment parenting.
5. Feed with Love and Respect
Another controversial component of attachment parenting is the guidelines on nursing. It is recommended that children be breast fed until they are ready to stop, which can mean breast feeding up to five years of age. At the very least it is recommended that children nurse until age 2. Naturally, this is very controversial; however, what isn’t controversial about this principle is the guidelines that hunger needs be met with healthy food.
Attachment parenting guidelines insist that parents strive to create a balanced family life, where everyone’s needs are met to the greatest extent possible. That being said, it is recommended to keep schedules from becoming too full. Also, eating healthy foods and getting regular exercise is stressed.
One of the principles of attachment parenting is to prepare for having a baby. This is something expecting parents tend to do regardless of parenting style. Educating yourself about childbirth and newborn care is very important when you are expecting.
Attachment parenting is not a parenting style for everyone, but there are some principles within attachment parenting that most parents follow, such as creating balance and preparing for a new baby. Whether or not this style is for you, it is important to be informed on the choices you have. What are your opinions of attachment parenting?