8 things you need to know about Attachment Parenting...
When we first became parents, a lot of people asked us if we did the “cry it out” method, and we did try it, but it just didn’t sit well with us. As time went on we couldn’t really explain all the things we did, but we went with our instincts to baby-wear, respond quickly to our child’s cries and soon a couple psychology expert friends informed us that we were following the model for attachment parenting.
This really wasn’t intentional, we didn’t read any parenting books, we relied on our families to speak wisdom into our lives about how to care for our unborn and then newborn children. I realize this may not to be a healthy option for everyone, we were blessed to both be raised in happy healthy homes, our parents are all still married too, my parents are going on nearly 40 years and my in-laws more than 30. We have quite the role models to look to.
I’ve been reading love and logic and it talks about the significant healthy benefits to children’s development when they are cared for attentively and it just makes my heart sing. We knew virtually nothing about attachment or even knew that “attachment parenting” was a style.
I’m going to highlight a few key aspects of attachment parenting for you. I’m gleaning from this resource.
8 Tips for Attachment Parenting
Prepare for childbirth and pregnancy, while eliminating all negative thoughts or feelings.
I was incredibly intentional about this, I have some fear around medical issues and as got further along into my pregnancy I was passionate about only reading select books, which a positive not fear-based approach, and we worked with a doula who encouraged and supported me in this approach.
Feed with love and respect.
Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to create a secure attachment by showing your child you respond to their needs.
Respond with sensitivity.
(This one is the only one we differ on slightly) We do believe emotions are a way of communication, however I do not believe for myself or children that emotions are always reliable. I believe that emotions are fleeting and that it is unwise to follow your emotions in every circumstance.
Use nurturing touch.
This can be done through baby-wearing or taking baths together, we almost never used our baby bath, probably 5 times total with both girls. However baby-wearing, we have several options and use regularly.
Engage in nighttime parenting.
Either by co-sleeping, bed-sharing or having the infant in the same room with you. We did bed-sharing with our first, she needed it, she had ulcerative colitis symptoms from 2 months of age. However, our second baby, Alana, didn’t need it, she was perfectly happy and content being in the bassinet, occasionally wheeled into our bedroom and she’s been sleeping in her crib in her bedroom since about 8 months of age.
Provide constant, loving care.
This means having the baby with you constantly, we were fairly consistent with this one, however we did go on walks without the baby and did a few date nights, and even an overnight. I also was a full-time working mom when until Lucia (our oldest) was 18 months old. But my hubby, was a stay-at-home-dad (sahd) until then. So we did not have her in childcare, and we believed that we were the best people to be with our children.
Practice positive discipline.
Redirect, distract, model positive behavior and provide logical consequences. Not imposing your will on the child or spanking, for the record we have used spanking, but haven’t found it to be very good, for us emotionally as parents OR for enforcing rules. So, we are ditching that approach.
Strive for balance in personal and family life.
Create a support network and live a healthy lifestyle. For us this translates to having regular date nights, girls night, guys nights and simply asking for help!