What is attachment parenting? Crunchy parenting at it's best! It is a non-conventional focus on growing your kids.
For me, attachment parenting is
parenting for mental health
. I was intrigued when I first stumbled on a parenting article making reference to it.
It talked about the value of being a stay home mom
, cosleeping, being a babywearer (I've come to especially like the
Ergo baby carrier
), breastfeeding your toddler and the pros and cons of homeschooling.
I learned that attachment parenting is a model or philosophy for raising kids, the name having been coined by Dr. William Sears, whose wife Martha has written the book The Attachment Parenting Book : A Commonsense Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Baby. It emphasizes how important bonding with your baby is by being sensitive and emotionally available. It also emphasizes the importance of physical contact - and hugging and kissing and holding your child often.
As a result of forming a strong attachment with your baby and child using various parenting elements your kids mental health is benefited.
That was a telling moment when I read about it.
You see, although I hadn't heard of attachment parenting, this is how I had been parenting for five years. It's instinctive!
Attachment parenting is not conventional child rearing. Granted, it involves some of the elements many loving parents commonly support to a degree. Many work hard at bonding with baby, breast-feed infants, carry baby in a carrier and discipline with love.
Attachment parenting for me, though, brings raising kids to the next level. You do all these things for longer.
But you might be wondering - Is it for me? Can I do it?
In order to make that personal decision, consider what is attachment parenting based on the eight principles (not strict rules) that are used as a foundation:
prepare for pregnancy, birth and parenting
feed with love and respect
respond in a sensitive way
nurture with touch
provide physically and emotionally safe sleep
show consistent and loving care
discipline with love in a positive way
endeavor to be balanced in family and personal life
I met a woman one day in a re-sale store who was selling her rocking chair. She told me that when her three year old realized it was going he resisted the idea. He wanted to keep it and continue to cuddle on his moms lap as he had done when he was younger. She told him he was too old for that.
With attachment parenting your sweethearts are never too old for that kind of loving time spent in close contact with you.
What is attachment parenting?
Breastfeeding ToddlerAs my breastfeeding babies grew into toddlers there was no trade off that could tempt them (I didn't actually try to wean them). And, so I continued to nurse my two and a half year old with mutual contentment and understanding. Now, at four and a half, although less frequent, my son still nurses.
I love to breast-feed and my situation allows me to do so. On the other hand, I did have someone tell me she couldn't continue because she just didn't have the time.
What is attachment parenting?
Cosleeping is practiced by many attachment parenting moms and dads. For some this means room sharing and for some it means sharing the
We've done it with both kids, but differently. Our daughter was a very light sleeper and navigated her way to every corner of our bed. As a result, she wasn't very comfy (and neither were we!). Our son, on the other hand, is more of a cuddler and sometimes "needs" to be with us to sleep - less and less as he gets older.
What else does attachment parenting mean?
Being a babywearer right through my kids toddler years has afforded me opportunity to carry and cuddle my "walkers" without breaking my back (I can't say enough about my
Ergo baby carrier
!), and allows my little ones comfort when they need it, no matter where we are.
In endeavoring to maintain secure attachment with your kids, you, like many, might site this as one of the reasons for homeschooling. Certainly, a highly motivating reason for considering the
pros and cons of homeschooling
Below is a video of what attachment parenting is for me.
When some wonder, "what is attachment parenting", and then they find out, they argue against it saying it's too difficult, too taxing on the mama.
It does take a lot of time and energy "to be there for your kids" physically and emotionally in a consistent way.
The night time feedings that continues for longer than what a finished breastfeeding child demands.
A two year old that still loves to spend more time than most his age being carried and cuddled
Being physically and emotionally available 24/7 to work through difficulties.
Yep, it takes commitment as does anything worth working for does.
And, it's oh so satisfying. I wouldn't trade for the conventional parenting method!
I love to be with my kids!
That's probably the key. Being with your kids has to be more special than anything else you could optionally spend time doing.
Of course, you may have limitations out of your control. You may be of the minority who absolutely cannot breast-feed. Or you might absolutely have to work outside the home to live.
But that's the great thing about attachment parenting. There are no strict rules. You can make it work for you and your circumstances.
So, what is attachment parenting? It's crunchy parenting - not conventional. It's parenting for mental health. It's being there every step of the way. Is it do-able? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely!