What is attachment parenting?
Attachment parenting is: parenting in a natural, intuitive way. There are many words describing natural parenting, we have chosen attachment parenting to make clear that we regard the attachment process between parent and child as being fundamental. Babies and children need, and have the right, to grow up in a loving and protective environment, surrounded by empathy, harmony and trust while providing a secure basis on which to grow and develop into a successful adult.
As parents we all do our best in the hope that the later child and adult will be, amongst numerous other good qualities, very happy of nature, emotionally stable, independent, reliable and able to maintain enduring relationships. The ways by which we try to attain these goals are the basic principles of attachment parenting.
Attachment parenting proposes a warm, loving style of parenting and opens ways to a more peaceful life with children. This nurturing, intuitive style of parenting is beneficial to the health and development of children, harmony in the home and it aims to preserve a healthy sense of self worth and empathy towards others. Attachment parenting is based on research and practical findings.
Attachment building practices
To make healthy attachment possible a consistent, nurturing and loving primary care giver, ideally a parent, must be provided for a baby. Commencing with bonding at birth and continuing through at the very least the first three years of life. It is of the utmost importance to be very open to your baby’s cues. Most babies communicate their needs before they start to cry. Understanding these needs and behaving accordingly will result in a happier baby and a less clinging and whining behaviour later.
Keeping your baby physically close will enable you to give a prompt response to any need as well as to get to know your baby better. If you carry your baby you can reduce the time your baby spends crying by around 45%. A baby needs you to be with him, or her, and touching, for long periods of time at first. Therefore we also advocate sleeping together in a family bed, under safe conditions, and being open to flexible sleeping arrangements, to suit everyone’s needs. Breastfeeding is ofcourse the ideal food for babies for optimal nutrition and comfort. For instance, breastfeeding provides protection against infections and allergies and it helps the brain to develop optimally.
Keeping your baby near you will make it easy to feed our baby on cue, which is a very important factor for a successful breastfeeding relationship. Furthermore we believe that ideally weaning should be initiated by the child. A weaning policy of any kind, and certainly one initiated too soon, can easily push a child into something that it is not ready for. Indeed it is often the start of difficult behaviour and of strong attachment to inane objects or rituals. These objects and rituals take the place of a warm, interactive relationship.
Parenting children in a natural way also means teaching empathy through positive, non-violent approaches to discipline. Babies and children ought to be treated and guided in a respectful way, respecting them just as you expect them to respect you. Your children look to you for an example and need you for survival; this means you have to be strong and dependable, but flexible too. It alarms us that the gap between the child-world and the adult-world seems to be growing. If we want our children to have a realistic view of the world we need to have them share it with us.