Heyfolks! My lovely friend Nic has offered to do some guest posts on Attatchment Parenting. Nic has just moved to Adelaide from Sydney with her husband and sweet little boy. They are having another little treasure later in the year.I think Nic is a great mama. She really thinks carefully about how to parent and always has fantastic and considered advice. She has been such a blessing to this rookie mum.
I'm really looking forward to reading these posts and I hope you enjoy them too.
Attachment Parenting. Part One: What is Attachment Parenting?
Attachment parenting (AP) is a parenting philosophy based on the principles of attachment theory. In AP, parents seek to develop a strong emotional bond with their children during infancy and childhood, in order to foster their child’s development and wellbeing.
Attachment parenting is not a strict set of rules or a one-size-fits-all approach; rather, AP philosophy recognises that each child, parent, and parent-child relationship are unique, and encourages parents to become confident experts in their own child. Drs William and Martha Sears, leaders in AP theory, write that “above all, attachment parenting means opening your mind and heart to the individual needs of your baby and letting your knowledge of your child be your guide to making on-the-spot-decisions about what works best for the both of you.” (William Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N.; Attachment Parenting, p2)
In AP philosophy, building a strong emotional connection between parent and child from the early years is key in a family’s approach to sleep, feeding, care, and discipline. Parents who learn to be sensitive to their child’s individual needs and signals, so the theory goes, are better able to read their child’s signals and meet their specific needs. Children who feel thus secure in the knowledge that their parent is available and responsive can be more settled and confident as they grow and learn about the world.
While there are few empirical studies on the efficacy of attachment parenting, there is a significant weight of anecdotal evidence from parents and children who have found the AP approach to be both enjoyable and beneficial for their families. Not least of these are the Sears themselves who, in addition to being pediatrics experts, have raised 8 children of their own (including one with Downs’ Syndrome) according to their philosophies!
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of the AP approach is its flexibility and sensitivity, equipping families with the tools and confidence to make appropriate choices for their own children, and enabling them to work out how best to love and care for their children, whatever situation or season of life they are in. It is true that AP can be very demanding on parents, especially during the first year of infancy. However, it is also true that it can be a deeply rewarding approach to childrearing. We have found this to be very much the case in our own experience raising our now 25-month-old son along AP principles!
During the rest of this series, we will look in turn at each of the seven ‘attachment tools’ which form the basis of Dr Sears’ theory of AP in infancy. These tools, or “Baby B’s”, are: Birth Bonding, Breastfeeding, Babywearing, Bed Sharing, Belief in Baby’s Cries, Balance and Boundaries, and Beware of Baby Trainers. I’ll also share with you from my personal experiences and do my best to answer any questions which pop up along the way.
Until next time, enjoy that baby!