Before I say much, I want to tell any readers about myself a little bit. I strive for simplicity in life. I don’t like things to get overcomplicated and I think people in general are just that- overcomplicated. When making important life decisions, I try to tap into my natural instincts. I feel that people are still just animals and so deep inside those natural instincts are there. I often think of scenarios as if I were living in the natural community in a cave somewhere, surviving off foraged food.
When I was pregnant I often imagined what it would be like to raise a child in the natural community. I decided to try natural childbirth. I would try to breastfeed as if my life depended on it, babywearing seemed like a must (there are no strollers in the natural community [there are also no babycarriers, just arms, but babycarriers make carrying a baby easier]), and I felt sleeping next to my child was absolutely necessary. The reason for this is that if I lived in a cave, I would never put my newborn baby in the next cave over just so I could get better rest. I would protect my child from danger with my life, even while sleeping. I feel that co-sleeping, for me, insured the survival of my baby.
Now I know that I don’t live in the natural community, I live in the comfort of a home and so these laws of survival don’t necessarily apply to me. I don’t really care. Why shouldn’t they apply to me? In the case of co-sleeping it did. If he was having irregular breathing or needed me for something, I wanted to be right there.
These ideals I had developed are the very core of attachment parenting. Only I didn’t know it. I began hearing the term on natural parenting blogs and I didn’t understand what it entailed. I would ask blog authors for more information about it and they would simply point me to a book -” The Baby Book” by Dr. William and Martha Sears.
I had a hard time finding it. It wasn’t in my local library (hello Southern culture). In my 34th week of pregnancy I found it at Babies R Us of all places. I briefly flipped through it and I was sold. It contained everything I had already decided and more. More that went along with these ideals.
I was very irritated that these blog authors never explained what attachment parenting was. If they were going to talk about it, and how wonderful it is for them, why don’t they define it?
Now I’m not irritated at them. I should do my own research and it’s not their job to educate the world. They know what it is, most of their readers know what it is, so why go into deeper detail? I have found that there really is no information online about the topic, only opinions of parents (who rave about it). The only real information is in the Baby Book. So if anyone has more questions, I recommend this book. In fact, I recommend this book to all parents and parents-to-be. I recommend looking through it with an open mind and making an educated decision about how to raise your children.
That said, I have taken it upon myself to educate readers about it. I am going to define it by using the information presented in Dr. Sears Baby Book.
First of all, it’s important to remember that attachment parenting is an ideal. It’s not a set of strict laws. If these ideals are practiced, even just a little bit, strong bonds form between parents and their children. The term attached is referring to a great benefit- a child will become attached to their parent instead of a blanket, toy or pacifier.
There are “7 B’s” of attachment parenting. Think of them as tips or suggestions for parents and babies to bond easier.
1. Birth Bonding; meaning that parents should plan for a pleasant birth experience and for early bonding with their babies. This often means rooming in together at the hospital if at all possible. Natural childbirth is encouraged, but a mother should never feel guilty about anything when it comes to childbirth, it’s a situation that tends to have its own plan.
2. Belief in your baby’s cries- Read and respond to your baby’s cues; this strongly appealed to my mama instincts. I feel that babies don’t cry to annoy their parents- they are trying to communicate.
3. Breastfeed your Baby; anyone who has been reading my blog don’t need to read my input. I am all for breastfeeding. Attachment parenting is still practiced with bottle fed babies. There are many situations that can be out of our control and breastfeeding happens to be one of them. The Baby Book has a section on bottle feeding with love. Attached parents don’t choose bottle feeding over breastfeeding.
4. Babywearing- Carry your baby a lot; holding your baby close has so many benefits. This is a blog post in itself.
5. Bedding close to baby; for me and many parents this means co-sleeping. But co-sleeping is not a cure-all situation and I know it doesn’t work for everyone. If someone doesn’t want their baby in their bed, keep them in a bassinet close by or in a crib in the same room. This ensures that in the night a parent will be there for the baby. They will be able to respond before complaints get out of control and turn into an all-out cry.
6. Balance and Boundaries; Babies are demanding. That is the simple truth. It’s hard to tend to their every whim and to be honest, that should not happen. Setting boundaries at an early age simply prevents problems from developing. Parents should be appropriately responsive to their babies, and The Baby Book has the answers to every question I have ever come upon. I feel it’s important to note that when practiced wisely, attachment parenting is not an all out give-a-thon.
7. Beware of baby trainers; This is something that appeals to my sensitive side and I’ve felt strongly about this subject even before I knew about attachment parenting. Parents should be warned that when it comes to children, everyone has their opinion and will let you know it. It’s good practice to listen, and make an educated decision about everything. For attached parents, warning flags fly when terms like, “Just let them cry it out,” “You need to get that baby on a schedule”, “You’re spoiling your child because you hold them too much,” or “You’re still nursing?” are thrown around. Following these pieces of “advice” lead to a baby who doesn’t trust their parents to help them in their time of need.
Attachment parenting is, in my opinion, a good way to parent. It’s not the only way and it doesn’t work for everyone. I cannot stress enough to everyone, please do your own research and make an educated decision for your own children, families, and based on your personal situation.