Attachment parenting is the easiest way to parent in the world. There, I've said it. Forget the articles you've perused that read like instruction manuals for a washing machine! Forget any articles you've read that sound judgmental and make this sound like the only way to parent. Forget about lists of things you absolutely must do in order to practice attachment parenting. There are no hard and fast rules! Most parents, even if they've read every parenting book available, are just making things up as they go. This is because all children are essentially different. Just when you think you've figured out a way to parent one child, you have another baby and find that you're starting all over again with a totally different personality. In this article I aim to throw out some ideas that have worked for our family and helped me immensely when it comes to parenting. So, let us begin. To start with, here are some things that attachment parenting is NOT.
- Attachment parenting is not something that only certain kinds of people do.
- Attachment parenting is not just for people with a lot of money and free time.
- Attachment parenting is not just for stay-at-home moms.
- Attachment parenting, just like any other kind of parenting, is not perfect.
To me, attachment parenting is great because it seems like such a natural and intuitive way to parent. A lot of devotees may immediately brandish their books by Dr. William and Martha Sears whenever they hear the words uttered, as if these two people have all the answers in the world. Even though I have found the Sears' books to be very helpful indeed in many regards, there are a great many other books that I have also found invaluable. But again, once you learn about attachment parenting you find that you really don't need books. Rather, you take cues from your baby or child. This seems much easier than following someone's advice that doesn't even know your child, whether that's an author or even your child's doctor. Nobody really knows your child but you.
Here are some attachment parenting ideas that parents could incorporate into life with their baby that wouldn't take much effort.
- Carry Your Baby. Who wants to lug a giant stroller around anyway? Carry your baby in a Baby Bjorn, a sling or a Mei Tai. Personally, I loved my Baby Bjorn and my sling but felt a little nervous about using a Mei Tai even though many of my friends swore by them. Carrying your baby a lot is one of the central tenets of attachment parenting and boy does it make things easier when you're out and about! Your baby will feel comforted when snuggled up against you and it makes any and all outside expeditions that much easier. A great independent website that will tell you everything you need to know about wearing your baby as well as proffer up lots of reviews of different carriers is available at The Baby Wearer.
- Co-Sleeping. Talk of co-sleeping will surely inspire great angst and worry in a lot of people, but it needn't be that way. People have been doing it for thousands of years and the chances of your baby dying of SIDS is markedly decreased if you co-sleep. Co-sleeping must be done responsibly, however. This means some obvious things: no sleeping with your baby on a couch ever or other soft surfaces like waterbeds, and never sleep with your baby if you've partaken of any alcohol whatsoever beforehand. A fantastic article on co-sleeping written by Dr. James McKenna who runs a mother-baby sleep lab at the University of Notre Dame sheds further light on why it can be a good thing to sleep with your baby.
- Breastfeed. Once again, this may inspire anxiety in women who can't breastfeed, so as I write this do bear in mind that if you can't breastfeed and you use formula you are not a bad parent! You don't have to breastfeed to practice attachment parenting. I've just found it to be a very relaxing thing and much easier when you co-sleep as well. There's no crying or fussing at night, and parents usually get a good night's sleep which is always a welcome thing.
The above list is small and you shouldn't be surprised. Attachment parenting works differently for different people, but you'll find that when you do things like carry your baby, co-sleep and breastfeed that you just fall into a natural rhythm with your child. This is the way parenting used to be done and has only now been given a name as it's so markedly different from ways a lot of Western folks parent. It relies more on love than material items. So, go ahead and give it a go if you fancy and see if it works out for you. If it does, great! If it doesn't, don't sweat it.
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