What is Attachment Parenting?
Attachment Parenting are parenting steps meant to create a close, respectful, and trusting bond between children and their parents, starting from birth. It is also referred to as responsive parenting. There are 6 main parts of AP called “The 7 B’s”. These 7 building blocks are really just the beginning, and allow you to develop your own parenting style. Most parents begin life with their baby using attachment parenting. The trick is to stick with it as your child becomes older.
The 7 B’s:
1) Birth Bonding- This is the immediate relationship developed between parents (especially mom) and baby from the moment of birth. Naturally, the majority of Mom’s time is spent focusing on baby’s needs.
2) Breastfeeding-Breastfeeding is beneficial in so many ways. Breastmilk is the best substance for your baby. It contains all the vitamins and nutrients necessary to give your baby the best start at life you can offer. It also creates an intense bond between Mom and baby. You learn valuable body language cues from your baby during breastfeeding.
3) Babywearing- Babywearing is incredibly beneficial to babies. The constant closeness improves parent sensitivity and gives baby an increased feeling of comfort. Babies worn in slings, wraps, and other baby carrying items are less fussy than babies who are not. Baby wearing also increases the time your baby spends in what is called “quiet awareness”. Quiet awareness is when baby is awake and aware and comfortable with their environment. It best promotes learning.
4) Bedding with or close to baby- Sleeping arrangements can greatly increase your bond with your baby. Co-sleeping gives you a night time constant touch that is comforting to baby, allowing them to sleep better. It also gives mom the ability to be with her baby as soon as baby wakes and is hungry. Using a co-sleeper, bassinet, pack ‘n play, etc that is set right next to the bed are also beneficial. They allow you to simply reach out and touch your baby when they wake and are fussy, thus reducing night time anxiety.
5) Believe in the value of your baby’s cry- Crying is how babies communicate. It is important to learn what your baby is telling you. Different cries are typically very distinctive. It is vital to the bonding process to learn the difference between a hungry, scared, or uncomfortable cry. Responding to your babies cries in a fast manner reassures your baby that you are focused on meeting their needs, increasing baby/parent trust. Remember, babies do not cry to manipulate.
6) Beware (of baby trainers)- Beware of advice that seems unnatural. Attachment parenting is focused on creating and intensifying the bond between you and your baby. Methods that seem harsh and rigid should be avoided. You know your child best. If something in your heart tells you that a suggested method may harm the bond you have worked so hard to create with your baby, avoid it.
7) Balance- While attachment parenting definitely encourages a focus on your baby, it is important to know when to take time for yourself. Whether it’s a hot bath or meeting a friend for coffee, it’s vital to get time to yourself so that you can refresh yourself and better focus on baby. It’s hard not to feel guilty when we do this, but try not to.
Using these 7 B’s to create a close and intense bond with your baby will only benefit you down the road. For more information on attachment parenting, go to www.attachmentparenting.org .