Attachment Parenting – What Is It? How Does It Help?

father cuddling daughterAttachment Parenting refers to a style of upbringing that would eventually bring out the best in the baby. It is something that comes to parents instinctively and more importantly comes naturally to parents.

Attachment Parenting can take several forms and really depends upon the bond between parents and the baby. Parents learn to realize the baby’s demands from behavioral cues.

Whenever a cue is responded to, the baby becomes more adapted to the behavior. Over time, babies become better cue givers and parents, better cue readers.

Key components

Attachment parenting is more “child centered” than “parent centered”. Parents in this case need to read cues and be responsive to the demands of the baby. This will basically involve:

• Co-sleeping: This could either be in the same room (safety precautions in place) or in the same bed. The bedtime is regulated as per the baby’s demands and not the parent’s schedules.

• On-demand feeding: The baby is allowed to set his own feeding schedule (bottle fed / breast fed). This is also accompanied by self-weaning.

• Cry responsiveness: Parents need to get the cue early on and reach to a child’s distress before it gets uncontrollable. Not letting the child “cry it out” will foster a permanent behavioral response.

• Touching and holding: Regardless of the child being cradled or cuddled, AP suggests keeping the child physically near. This may even involve wearing a backpack arrangement.

How does it help?

A secure attachment with parents ensures the baby’s trust and they are better able to communicate their feelings. A loving empathetic relationship can be the core of a confident childhood. This is your child’s foundation to interacting in the social community later in life.

According to a recent study, babies who get constant cuddling tend to sleep better, manage stress more easily and exhibit better autonomic functions, such as heart rate. Oxytocin – the feel-good, bonding hormone – increases in both mothers and babies during cuddle sessions, and it is likely to rise similarly in breast milk too, giving babies an additional boost every time they nurse. (Source)

Attachment Parenting helps in:

  • Enhancing the sense of well-being
  • Building self-confidence
  • Balanced emotions
  • Fulfilling intimate relationships
  • Better rebound from loss and disappointment later in life
  • Support-seeking and sharing personality

Parenting is not just about an emotional bond but a disciplined behavioral model that is set with some values. With so much being said about the different types of parenting and the roles that each parent play in a baby’s upbringing, parents are often confused about the best path to take.

However, attachment parenting is something that comes naturally and cannot be forced. The nurturing connection forms a secure relationship that continues for a lifetime. The proponents of attachment parenting believe it is the best way to raise independent, empathetic and secure children.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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