What is Attachment Parenting?

Attachment Parenting is a parenting philosophy to raise infants and toddlers. The main focus is to develop a strong connection between mother and the child. Attachment can be a loving bond in any relationship. In attachment parenting, it denotes a bond between parents and their children that is healthy and brings out the best qualities in both.

Popularized by the famous American pediatrician Dr. William Sears, attachment parenting consists of seven practices or tools to raise happy and healthy babies.

Practices in Attachment Parenting – 

Bonding with baby at birth

Mother bonding with baby

Breastfeeding

mother breastfeeding her baby

Baby-wearing

Mother holding baby

Co-sleeping

baby sleeping next to mother

Paying attention to the baby’s cries for cues of her needs

crying baby

Avoiding strict parenting styles and advice

mom scolding her son

Maintaining a healthy balance to consider needs of both the baby and the parents.

Kids kissing their mom

Attachment parenting has its advantages and disadvantages, which can largely be based on each parent’s individual belief systems, the child’s needs and how they relate to this particular parenting style.

Let us look at different sides to attachment parenting.

Why Attachment Parenting works?

  • One of the biggest benefits of attachment parenting is the mutual trust that can develop between the mother and the child. The mother is encouraged to take feeding cues from her baby’s cries and to respond with love and sensitivity to her baby’s emotional needs. Such practices can help an infant to understand that her cries will be responded to by her mother in a positive way. This can then form the basis for the development of a lifelong trust between the mother and her child.
  • When a mother practices attachment parenting, the child may cry less and use her quiet time for her learning and growth. This can lead to improved physical and psychological development of the child.
  • Attachment parenting can enhance a baby’s behavior by presenting them with more moments of clarity and opportunities for meaningful interactions.

Where Attachment Parenting falls short?

  • Babywearing is the practice of keeping your infant close to you using a sling. In these modern times, when most mothers resume their professional commitments within a few months after birth, it is not possible to keep the baby in close proximity for most of the day. This can not only manifest as guilt in mothers but may also cause a false sense of disconnect with the baby.
  • Bed-sharing has been linked to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). When you sleep in the same bed as your infant or toddler, you may risk your child to suffocation.
  • One of the major critical aspects of attachment parenting is the greater focus on the mother. Most tools of this parenting style apply to mothers only and the onus is on them to be the primary caregivers. This can add to the stress of new mothers.

Is Attachment Parenting for you?

The basic principles of attachment parenting are not new, especially in cultural practices of some countries, like India.  However, if you follow attachment parenting in the strictest sense, one may risk harming the baby, instead of benefiting from this parenting model.

Please remember that attachment parenting is a parenting philosophy. You don’t have to follow a fixed set of rules. You can take what works for you and skip the rest. It is about what your child needs and what is best for you and your baby in any given situation.

It is essentially about happy parenting; not about adding more stress to your life.

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