Attachment parenting is not a baby training system; it is not meant to be a rigid system to follow. It is a guide that helps parents connect with their child so that communication, discipline and overall parenting are easier. There are 7 initial tools for proper attachment designed by Dr. Sears (www.askdrsears.com). It is important to note, if something does not work for you, or feel right, then it’s not. It’s ok to adapt this style to fit you. What is important is that you learn attach and connect with your child. This is meant to point you in the right direction. These tools are referred to as the 7 B’s or Baby B’s and are used at the birth of a child. If you have an older child there are other tools you can use that will be discussed in other articles.
1. Birth Bonding (Bonding): When a child is first born, they are “designed” to be close to their parents. They need constant food, changing, attention, care and love. Allow for you and your partner to take the time to connect with your baby at home. If you can, both of you should try and take at least a week off of work. Spend that time with you, your partner and baby. Get to know each other and enjoy it!
2. Breastfeeding: You may think breastfeeding is just about feeding your baby, but it’s not. Learning to breastfeed together (and you will have to learn) will help you learn the subtle, and not so subtle, language of your baby. It helps mother and baby get in sync, building on the parenting bond. (Support and info for breastfeeding moms can be found at (www.llli.org) *If you are bottle feeding that as ok! Supplement this bonding experience by holding baby close to your chest so baby can hear your heart. It’s also the right distance for baby to see your face, which also helps with the bonding experience.
3. Babywearing: Being close to a parent keeps babies calms and the developing beyond between parent and child. Babies who are worn by a parent, cry less, are more organized and learn more. They socialize easier and earlier. For more on this got to www.babywearer.com
4. Bed close to baby: Co-sleeping is a personal choice and is not for everyone. There is a safe alternative to the family bed (baby sleeping in the parent’s bed). Bring the crib, a bassinet, or a co-sleeper (bed that attaches to parent bed) into your bedroom. This helps reduce the stress of sleeping alone for baby, makes nursing smoother, and allows busy families a time to bond at the end of the day.
5. Belief in baby’s cry: A baby’s cry is a survival instinct. In the womb, your baby is connected to all the nourishment and warmth it needs and wants for nothing. After birth, a baby must find a way of communicating these new needs. Crying is nature’s answer. Your baby trusts that you will respond to their cries. Responding builds trust. It teaches your baby that when they are cold, hungry or wet; you will take care of them. Eventually you will even find that you can distinguish the different types of cries your child has.
6. Beware of baby trainers: Baby trainers tend to be rigid and extreme parenting styles. While they may initially help, they often create distance between parent and child that disrupts your bond. Anything that does not allow for flexibility for the parent or child should be looked at with extreme caution. People are unique, and you need to find what works for you.
7. BALANCE: Don’t forgot, you and your partner are important too! It is easy to forget about yourself and your relationship, but these things are equally as important. Take time for you and your partner. The key to being a good parent is knowing when to say no, and when to take time for you. If you remember this, you, your partner and your baby will be happy.
While the Dr. Sears website (ww.askdrsears.com) and Attachment Parenting International (www.attachmentparenting.org) are great online tools, you may want to consider The Attachment Parenting Book by Dr. Sears. Not only is it a great resource, but it’s also enjoyable to read. You can buy it on the Dr. Sears website, your local bookstore and most online books stores.