There is no one right way to parent, as there are multiple different ways people choose to raise their children. A lot of the time, it is a decision that is not even done consciously. Two people become mom and dad and all of a sudden they have to raise a little person. How they do it can depend on many factors.
Some parents raise their children the way they were raised. If they remember two loving parents who did a good job, they figure it is better to not fix something that was never broken. Other parents take to the internet and books and look up many different techniques and styles on how to parent a child. They take different things from different styles and apply them. Then there are parents who stick with one style. They have done the research and talked to other parents and decided this is the style for them. After all, we are all raising little children who will one day have to grow up into respectful and functioning adults.
Today, we are going to look at attachment parenting. Attachment parenting is a big hit with a lot of people right now, including a lot of celebrities. Let’s dive in and see what makes this parenting style so popular and what a new mom can do to make sure it works the way it is supposed to.
20 Can You Be A Warm Parent?
Being a warm parent is one of the main things someone needs to do in order to create a healthy attachment parenting style. This may mean that mom (or dad) need to do some self-reflecting on what kind of person they are generally. Are they generally a warm, loving person? Or, are they a bit more reserved when it comes to how they interact with others?
According to an article cited on hyperbiotics.com, making sure you are a warm parent is the basic building block to creating a strong attachment-bond that will make sure your little one feels safe and comforted at all times, which is the goal of attachment parenting.
19 What Are You Feeding Your Baby?
Everyone knows that they need to feed their baby, but what they assume is that they need to just feed them food. That making sure they have food and water are the basic necessities of life, and of course, they are feeding their baby food. However, when it comes to attachment parenting there is something else that mom needs to be feeding her baby.
The article from hyperbiotics.com also states that mom needs to make sure that she is feeding her baby love. With attachment parenting, it is just as important to feed your baby love as it is food. The love you feed your baby is going to be their first experience of receiving love from anyone. When it is put that way, it suddenly seems much more important.
18 Help A Child Figure Things Out
Mary Ainsworth was a psychologist who had interesting theories about attachment parenting, and in an article published by simplypschology.org many of them were explained. One thing she stated as being extremely important to attachment parenting was to help your child.
A lot of parents like to let their child figure things out on their own, to a certain extent, in an attempt to help teach them to be independent. While this may work, it is not the optimal way of teaching independence. Ainsworth stated that by helping your child navigate the world, you are teaching them independence in a safe and nurtured environment.
17 What Is Bottle Nursing?
The optimal method of feeding your infant when it comes to attachment parenting is to breastfeed, however we know that is not always possible. There are various reasons why a woman can not, or does not want, to breastfeed. If mom wishes to not breastfeed, there are alternatives to making sure she is living an attachment-parenting lifestyle.
The next best option to nursing your baby, according to hyperbiotics.com, is called 'bottle nursing.' This essentially is mirroring every single aspect of breastfeeding your baby but feed them with a bottle. This includes holding them as close as you can, even using a nursing pillow to help support the position. Maintain eye contact with them and talk lovingly.
16 Get To Know Your Baby
The next few entries are bought up in an article published by psychologytoday.com. It is really important to get to know your baby. If mom wants this style to work and be successful with her baby than she needs to make sure she knows her baby. All babies are born as blank slates and it will take some time for mom to get to know her little one, but she should pay attention.
Paying attention and getting to know your baby’s personality is the best way to make sure that this method of parenting will be successful. This is because so much of attachment style parenting relies on a mother responding to her child properly.
15 How Sensitive Is Mom?
It is important to remember if you want to have an attachment style approach to parenting that you need to decide how sensitive you are as a mom.
‘Sensitive’ mothers tend to be more responsive to their child’s needs and respond to how they are feeling correctly. These types of mothers tend to be more successful at an attachment style parenting.
This is not always something you can learn, as it is just how a person is. This is why this approach to parenting may not work for your family. If mom is not sensitive, then she will have a harder time using this parenting style.
14 Never Ignore Your Baby
Just with anything in life, there are margins for error and it takes practice to make anything perfect. That means that it is OK to make mistakes when trying to implement an attachment approach to parenting.
One of the biggest mistakes that parents can make when it comes to this parenting style is ignoring their child.
This is (usually) never done on purpose or with hateful intent. It is due to a parent’s fear of ‘coddling’ or ‘spoiling’ their baby. They are told to let their baby figure some things out on their own. They believe that they are helping them become more independent, which we are always told is such a good thing.
13 The Seven B’s
When it comes to many aspects of parenting, especially parenting styles, there are always going to be a set of experts and professionals who compile research about it. Once they have completed their research, the usually outline what they believe will work best when trying to implement it.
In 1987, there was a pediatrician by the name of William Sears who published a book called ‘Creative Parenting.’ It was mainly focused on the theory of attachment parenting and how beneficial it can be to the healthy development of children.
To help parents understand the approach he released a set of tools to help that are known as the ‘7 B-List.’ These '7 B's' were listed in an article published by todaysparent.com. We are going to go through them here.
12 Wear That Baby
One of the biggest things a parent can do when they are trying to have an attachment parenting style is babywearing. Babywearing has already become quite popular because it allows mom to get a lot of things done around the house while having her hands free.
This one is so crucial because it is one of the tools a mom can use right from the moment a baby is born. Mom can start wearing her baby right from the hospital and it is the right first step to attachment parenting and is already helping to build an emotional bond.
11 What To Think About When Pregnant
It is important to think about what kind of parent you want to be when you are pregnant. Those 9 months you have are crucial in researching and educating yourself on how you want to raise your child and what kind of parent you want to be.
If you have decided that you want to try and implement an attachment-style to your parenting then there is one thing you should do the second that baby is born. It is called Birth Bonding and it is the importance of having a physical connection to your baby as soon as they are born.
This is usually done by skin-to-skin contact and it is important to place it on your birth plan.
Bedsharing is something that is usually frowned upon, but it can be completely safe as well. Bedsharing, when done properly, is a great way to get some sleep and to help foster and attachment-style parenting relationship. Those who follow an attachment style parenting approach insist that mom needs to bedshare with her baby.
It allows mom to immediately respond to her baby in the middle of the night and that is what attachment parenting is all about; responding to your baby.
If mom is completely uncomfortable bedsharing with her baby, sleeping very close to them is the next best alternative. It should be close enough to respond right away, although everyone has their own sleep space.
9 Be Wary Of ‘Training’
One of the biggest things that is advised against when it comes to attachment parenting is to follow trends that are called ‘baby trainers.’
This is any type of technique that forces your baby into a strict schedule. This is the exact opposite of what attachment parenting is, which is responding to your child.
Some moms like to try and put their babies on a feeding schedule which involves holding them off for a set period of time between feedings. That is fine, but it is not going to fulfill an attachment parenting style. Sleep training is also usually frowned upon because they normally involve not tending to your child as soon as they cry.
It probably goes without saying that any form of attachment parenting is going to be pro-breastfeeding. There is normally no greater bond than that of a mom and her baby who is breastfed. Breastfeeding is a special time that allows your baby to feel close to you and receive comfort.
They also encourage a mom who breastfeeds feeds her baby on demand. Also, she shouldn't introduce any kind of nursing schedule but rather let the baby nurse when he wants to nurse and for as long as he wants, too. It can be exhausting at times, but it is essential for following a true attachment parenting style.
7 Language Of Baby’s Cry
When it comes to attachment parenting, there is one major belief that mothers and fathers need to have and that is the belief in the language of a baby’s cry. We must understand that crying is the only way a baby can communicate, and when they are crying it is because they truly need something.
Babies can not cry out of manipulation, so when they cry, they need something. That could be due to hunger, tiredness or the need for a diaper change. It could even just be because they need to be close to you. Even an older child’s language will mean something.
Toddlers may seem like they cry for no reason, but an attachment parent will believe that there is truly a need there.
As in all things of life, there is always going to be the need for balance, and attachment parenting is no different.
There has to be a balance in the relationship between a mom and her baby when raising them from an attachment point of view. Sometimes, mom can put all of her focus on her baby and attend to their needs yet they forget about their own needs.
This can be a mistake and it can lead to burnout. If mom needs a break but is fretting her child will feel abandoned, then she needs to call in help. Ask someone else, who is familiar with your parenting styles, to step in and be there to attend to your child’s needs.
5 Be Aware Of The Negatives
Attachment parenting is not for everyone, and that could be due to some of the negatives that are attached to it. It is not a style that is for everyone and it is important that mom understands the negatives before making up her mind on if this will work for her.
Joan Grusec is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto and she points out one of the biggest negatives. She states, “Attachment parenting can be negative if trying to follow the ‘rules’ leads to resentment on the parents’ part. That resentment can’t help but spill over into the parent-child relationship.”
4 Understand The Rules (Sometimes) Don’t Matter
This last point brings to a very important point; sometimes rules do not matter. It is OK to not follow the rules completely.
A mom who is insistent on relying on the rules entirely may feel like a failure if she should happen to break one of them. She may feel like she is doing harm to her child when she is not.
It is important to understand that when it comes to attachment parenting, the rules don’t matter as much as the relationship does. Parents have unintentionally been doing attachment parenting for centuries now because they respond to their baby when there is a need and sometimes when there is not a need and that is the most important part.
And finally, the 3 don'ts of attachment parenting...
3 Don’t Let Them Lead
We are going to end this article with three very important don'ts when it comes to attachment parenting. All of these don'ts come to us from pschologytoday.com. The first big thing that you don’t want to do is let your child take the lead. Many do this because they are trying to foster independence in their child, but it could hinder them.
This is especially true in toddlerhood. Many parents may present their child with options, like what they want for dinner. This may turn mom into a chef that has to follow all of the demands of their child. At the end of the day, you are still the parent and you still make the decisions.
2 Threaten To Leave
If an attachment strategy has been done correctly, your child will want to be close to you and may not be comfortable being separated. The worst thing a parent can do when they are dealing with their children is to use the threat of leaving as a form of punishment.
This can not only make a child insecure about your relationship an afraid, but it is also not effective. When a child is not behaving in the way they should be, that is when it is most important for a mom or dad to be there. Talk to your child and find out why they are acting the way they are.
1 Dump Baby At A Sitter
The last thing we want to talk about is the instances when your baby needs to be left with a baby sitter. There will always be instances where mom and dad need to go out and leave their baby with a sitter. When you are using attachment parenting, it is important that this is done correctly.
It is never a good idea to just leave your child with a new person with no transition. When introducing a new person, like a baby sitter, it is important that mom and dad are there for a while. Plan a visit before the first time they will be there to introduce your child to a new person so that they feel comfortable and secure.
References; todaysparent.com, psychologytoday.com, simplypsychology.org, hyperbiotics.com