The term Attachment Parenting was originally coined by paediatrician William Sears and these days it is a way of life for many parents, some of whom do not even realise they are doing it! There are whole communities both online and in 'real life' that are dedicated towards the method of parenting. So, what is this form of Parenting and is it for you?
The Attachment Parenting loosely translates as sensitive and emotional parenting, where parents and caregivers respond to a child's needs in a way which is said to foster healthy social and emotional development. For example,centennials many Attachment Parents may practise co-sleeping for as long as their child benefits from it, which in some cases could be several years. The belief is that by allowing the child to fall asleep peacefully beside the parent, the child then learns to grow in confidence to the point that she is finally able to sleep independently- because no-one has asked her to do this before she is ready. The ultimate aim of Attachment parenting is to promote a healthy attachment between parent and child and let's face it- most parents want this strong, secure bond anyway.
For the first weeks of a baby's life, attachment parenting requires parents to hold their baby close for as long as they can and as often as they can. Slings and baby-carriers are perfect for this and help to strengthen the bond further. Holding your baby also means that you become more adept to your baby's moods, wants, needs and emotions, mostly due to the close proximity.
Attachment Parenting does not believe in leaving a baby to cry it out- this goes against the concept. By responding to your bay immediately, it is believed that you are instilling your child with the confidence they need in order to gain independence. Breastfeeding is also very common for parents following the attachment parenting model. Of course, this is not always possible for all mothers and that's fine.
Finally, attachment parenting, contrary to popular belief, does require discipline. The term commonly used is 'gentle discipline', which means that parents need to understand their child's behaviour in order to deal with it appropriately. For example, babies like to put things into their mouths- this ig huge part of the ways in which they learn about texture and taste. It would be unrealistic to remove all objects from a baby's grasp twenty-four hours a day and so attachment parenting requires parents to simply educate their child which things can or cannot be tasted. The same applies for rough behaviour. A baby who likes to pull hair should be gently told 'no' and then should be shown how to play nicely instead.
Many parents will find that they are already applying much of the principles of attachment parenting already. William Sears has written many interesting books on this subject and his theories may well already be common practise in your home. The most important fact to remember is that, as a parent, it is vital to follow your instincts. The rest, hopefully, shall follow naturally.