The Basics of Bonding through Attachment Parenting
When my children were newborns, the term Attachment Parenting (AP) had not yet been coined by Dr. William Sears. When I had my first baby, co-sleeping was frowned upon and “Ferberizing” was the technique moms were discovering as a way to get their babies to sleep. I could not bring myself to let my babies cry it out, and at that time I didn’t know about the benefits of The Happiest Baby on the Block‘s Seven Baby B’s and how those could have made my time with my newborns so much more enriching.
But of course I bonded with my babies, nonetheless; I cuddled with them, talked to them, and made eye contact as I bottlefed all three of them. I carried them around, a lot, but there was probably so much more I could have done to strengthen the amazing bond that occurs between a parent and child.
Now, though, parents are learning the approach of Attachment Parenting and why it’s so good—not only for Baby, but also for Mom and Dad. Co-sleeping, baby-wearing, attending to your baby’s cries immediately … many parents agree that practicing the philosophies of AP helps parents raise more self-sufficient and independent children by being available for their every waking need as they learn and grow. Robin Nolan, of Raleigh, North Carolina, first heard about Attachment Parenting when her husband brought home Dr. Sears’ The Baby Book when she first became pregnant. “I had never heard of Dr. Sears and I didn’t have any idea how to parent,” says Nolan. “Reading the book gave me incredible tools for rearing our children.” Nolan gained the confidence to proceed with AP, and after discussing the different aspects, she and her husband decided they would use the approach.
Everything about AP made sense to Nolan. Why should she have to disrupt her and her baby’s sleep for feedings in the nursery when it was so much easier to reach over and pull her co-sleeping baby in closer to nurse? “It’s crazy to get up and go to another room to do all of this when being a mom is so exhausting to begin with,” Nolan says.
If you’re not breastfeeding, you can still utilize the philosophies of AP. Elizabeth Pantley, mother of four, and author of Gentle Baby Care and The No-Cry Sleep Solution offers ways to connect with your baby if you’re bottlefeeding. Like an AP breastfeeding mother, hold your baby in a “loving, close embrace, maximizing bodily contact,” says Pantley. “[The AP mom] is unlikely to use any kind of bottle prop or holder. She uses feeding time to nurture and connect with her baby, making bottlefeeding a pleasant bonding experience for all involved.”
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