Not long after becoming a mom, I discovered attachment parenting. I have grown to love this parenting style; it suits me well!
I remember, as a new mom, people would say, “Don’t spoil the baby.” This was in regards to holding the baby too much, or responding when the baby would cry, etc. I HATED this! How in world can you spoil a BABY?!?!?
To me, it only made sense that a baby must cry to communicate. How else does he tell me he is hungry or needs to be changed? I did my best to make sure he was taken care of and didn’t need to cry, but sometimes things happen and he needed to communicate that he was unhappy.
So many people offered advice and strict rules that needed to be set to keep things in order.
You must feed your baby every 3 hours. No more. No less.
Lay your baby down at the exact same time everyday for naps and evening.
Baby needs to cry-it-out in order to learn that you are in charge.
These rules did not fit my parenting style. They did not work for me or my husband. Attachment parenting seemed to lead in the direction my heart was going.
What is Attachment Parenting? (according to Dr. Sears)
- Birth Bonding – Skin-to-skin contact immediately (or as soon as possible) after birth, and rooming in if you are at the hospital.
- Babywearing – I love having my baby close, and this allows me to get things done when the baby is fussy and wants to be held. Personally, I use the ring slings when they are smaller and for quick trips, like walks and grocery shopping, and I use the Ergo as they get bigger.
- Bedding Close to Baby – This is probably the most controversial of all of the attachment parenting choices. Co-sleeping can be done directly in your own bed, or by making your bed “bigger” with a crib or beds made specifically for this.
- Belief in the Language Value of Your Baby’s Cry – Babies cry to communicate, not to manipulate. Learn to listen to the cries and take care of the needs of your baby.
- Beware of Baby Trainers (Baby Wise, Cry-It-Out, etc.) – AP teaches to watch your baby and his cues instead of a clock or some rules.
- Balance – Don’t lose yourself in AP, but learn when AP is necessary, and when you need to make time for yourself.
Benefits of Attachment Parenting
- Shaping – Studies have shown that babies who are a result of AP turn out to be caring, compassionate, connected, careful and confident, and the parents are confident too.
- Promotes Independence
- Baby Cries Less
- Improves Development
- Babies Are Smarter
- Reduces the Risk of SIDS
James and I have enjoyed many benefits of AP. We strongly believe it is why our children are so happy and feel such a close connection with both myself and my husband. Our children also sleep great and know they are welcome to snuggle anytime.
Do you use the attachment parenting style? How well has it worked for you?