Attachment parenting is a parenting style that focuses on building a healthy emotional relationship between parents and children. Learn all about this parenting style and if it would work for you and your family!
Many parents experience an immediate bond with their kids as soon as they are born. For me, there was nothing quite like meeting each of my babies for the first time. From the time they came into this world, I wanted what was best for them.
One thing I didn’t realize when I had my first baby was the importance of creating a healthy attachment with them. I thought that the time to truly build a relationship was later when they could talk and communicate. I didn’t understand that building a relationship with my kids started from day one!
As I learned more about my parenting style and the importance of building my parenting skills, I realized that it is never too early to begin creating a healthy relationship with my kids. This is one reason that I find attachment parenting so interesting. It emphasizes the importance of working to build emotional relationships between parents and kids from the time they are infants.
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What is Attachment Parenting?
Attachment parenting, much like it sounds, is a parenting style based all around the attachment theory. Attachment theory says that the connection that parents have with their kids when they are babies has an influence on the emotional health of the kids as they get older.
This parenting style is a fairly modern approach and is considered a type of authoritative parenting. Meant to build the confidence of both the parents and the kids, attachment parenting uses tools that promote empathy, responsiveness, and physical affection.
The tools used help the parents become more aware of their kids’ needs. This leads to higher levels of confidence for the parents because they are able to regularly respond to what their kids need. It also builds confidence for the kids because they know no matter what, their needs will be met.
Key points of Attachment Parenting
- Attachment parenting puts emphasis on the bonding that occurs between parents and their infants between the time and birth and the first six weeks of their lives. The principle of skin-to-skin (with the mom and dad) fits into this parenting style as crucial for the bond to form.
- Breastfeeding is another area in which attachment parenting sees an opportunity to promote bonding. It offers many opportunities for skin-to-skin with the baby. Breastfeeding also releases hormones in the mom’s body that can heighten her parenting instincts. It is important to note that while breastfeeding can be great, it is not uncommon to encounter many breastfeeding problems that can make it difficult or even impossible. Understand that if you wish to practice attachment parenting, but breastfeeding is something you cannot do or choose not to do, you can still be successful!
- Baby wearing is another tool used by attachment parenting to further foster a healthy emotional connection between parents and their babies. A bonus to this is that baby can be snuggled while keeping mom’s hands free to do other things!
- Co-sleeping is a more controversial tool that is often used by those who practice attachment parenting. It is thought that co-sleeping can reduce a baby’s separation anxiety and be beneficial later on in their lives. That being said, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends sleeping in a different bed (but the same room) as your baby for at least the first six months of their lives to prevent SIDS.
- Attachment parenting does not believe baby’s cry to be manipulative, but sees crying as a baby communicating a need. Parents who practice this style respond immediately to their baby’s cries.
Pros of Attachment Parenting
There are some amazing benefits of attachment parenting that may help you decide if it is right for your family!
- Attachment parenting can be fairly flexible for parents. You may agree with some of the “tools” that it uses while choosing to ignore others. This can be helpful for the parent who objects to co-sleeping or the mom who is unable to breastfeed.
- Kids whose parents practiced attachment parenting had better developed language skills than kids whose parents didn’t use this style.
- As kids of attachment parents get older, they show high levels of emotional regulation. This means that they are better able to handle negative emotions (like fear and anger) in positive and helpful ways.
Cons of Attachment Parenting
There are some downsides to attachment parenting that you should consider before choosing to implement it.
- Some parents may find it challenging to always respond to every cry from their baby, especially if they are faced with a colicky or otherwise discontented baby. Especially when sleep is scarce and exhaustion sets in, parents may have a hard time continuing this kind of parenting.
- Parental anxiety can be increased as they feel pressure to respond appropriately to their baby. They may also neglect their own needs to meet those of their baby. For example, many moms may find it difficult to find time even to shower because their baby cries whenever they lay them down.
What are your thoughts on attachment parenting? Do you think this parenting style might work for you? Tell us in the comments below!