What is attachment parenting? The concept of ‘attachment parenting’ was developed by William and Martha Sears who emphasised the importance of establishing connections with children from birth. In developing healthy ‘attachments’ with children early on in life, it is believed that children are raised to be more independent, secure and caring as children and adults.
To advocate the benefits of attachment parenting, William and Martha Sears formed the Attachments Parenting International (API), which works with parents from around the world to educate and support parents about attachment parenting.
But that doesn’t really answer the question ‘what is attachment parenting?’ The API has highlighted eight principles associated with attachment parenting, which they regard as an ‘overall philosophy’ rather than a strict set of rules they must follow. The eight ‘principles’ of attachment parenting are:
* Use nurturing touch
* Feed with love and respect
* Preparation for pregnancy, birth and parenting
* Practice Positive discipline
* Provide consistent loving care
* Respond with sensitivity
* Strive for balance in personal and family life
* Ensure safe sleep, physically and emotionally
One of the main ‘principles’ of attachment parenting is to ‘Feed with love and respect’. Advocators of attachment parenting encourage that a baby is breastfed until the child himself decides to self-wean, which is typically when a baby becomes a toddler.
Although parents who practise attachment parenting are not against bottle feeding, but encourage parents who do decide to bottle feed their baby to model the behaviours of breastfeeding. For example, whilst the baby is being bottle fed to held him close to the breast, to swap sides frequently and to feed on demand.
For more information on attachment parenting and the advantages it can bring to both babies and parents, visit the API website at attachmentparenting.org