You may have heard the term Attachment Parenting thrown around here and there. You might know what it means already but I have to tell you (for the ones that don't know) that's it's a pretty interesting point of view on how to raise your child. Attachment Parenting was created by Dr. William Sears to help mothers bond with their babies and stay connected. His theory is that there are eight principles to parenting. Here they are:
- Preparation for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting
- Feed with Love and Respect
- Respond with Sensitivity
- Use Nurturing Touch
- Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally
- Provide Consistent Loving Care
- Practice Positive Discipline
- Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life
In other words, Attachment Parenting strives for a natural birth, skin to skin contact with your baby immediately following delivery, breast feeding, co-sleeping or sleeping close by, keeping your child in a sling most of the time, and a gentle approach when it comes to discipline. His theory suggests that the child's emotional and physical needs be met almost immediately forming a secure attachment and bond.
So what is the down side of Attachment Parenting? While this theory may work for some parents, others are use to a more traditional approach and argue this round the clock parenting isn't necessary. Since there isn't enough evidence to support Sear's theory, many people argue that Attachment Parenting isn't the correct way to form a bond with their child. Not only that, many people believe that co-sleeping is dangerous and should be avoided completely. As many of you know, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly urges parents to not co-sleep due to an increase in SIDS.
How do I feel about Attachment Parenting? While I think some of these principles are correct, I feel that this theory is a little too strict in my opinion. I think as a mother we know what's best for our child. When they are hungry, we know because we feed them. When they need to be soothed, we rock them. When they have a problem, we address it. I for one think that a child should never co-sleep with their parent especially when they are infants. There also needs to be a separation from parent to child so a child can gain independence and self esteem. My problem with Attachment Parenting is that if you are constantly at your child's every beck and call, it doesn't give the child enough space to thrive and grow. Not only do I think it isn't healthy for the child, I think it's unhealthy for your relationship with your spouse. Yes, I'm a big believer in breast feeding and skin to skin contact. I am also the type of parent that likes to have their newborns close by when they sleep. Many of these parents who live by these rules don't have a cut off on age for co-sleeping which means their child or children are still in bed with them! If we try to constantly protect our children by keeping them by our side at all times, how do we let these children "go" when it comes time for school or social settings?
How do you feel about Attachment Parenting?