When you are having a family, you are going to have many different ideals about how to parent. You’re going to base your choices on your own experiences as a child, for sure, but you should also think about the way the research in parenting has changed over the years. Your baby is not you. Your baby is not in the 1950s, and your baby is going to benefit from you parenting in a way that keeps you close and attached – known as attachment parenting. There are so many things that you’ll be told about parenting: don’t cuddle your baby too long, let them learn to self-soothe, give them rusks in their bottle, smack when they’re naughty – so much advice like this is outdated and incorrect, and it can be damaging to follow it.
You’ll be thinking about learning How To Get Your Baby To Sleep Through The Night, but no one tells you that they’re supposed to wake frequently as a survival instinct and this advice will work much better when they are older. You’ll think about the advice that says you should switch to solid food before 6 months, but you need to read the part that talks about the risks to the gut in later life.
Grandparents often give pearls of wisdom, but their pearls can be dangerous and it’s important to research and learn for yourself how to parent. The thing is, you can also learn to trust your natural instincts, which will tell you to be close to your baby. They’ll tell you to be close and hold your baby, to pick them up when they cry and soothe them to sleep every single night. You can feed how you want to feed, but leave the solids out of the bottle! Attachment parenting teaches you that being close to your baby is the natural way to be, from safe bedsharing and breastfeeding (where possible) to contact napping and immediate responsiveness to baby’s needs. So, here are the benefits of attachment parenting.
- It’s about mutual giving. The more you give your love to your child, the more you get back. Those small moments of quiet joy you have when you are holding your tiny baby aren’t just joyful for you. There is peace in your presence and that calms your baby and their worries, and your baby feels calm, too.
- There’s a chemical boost. Did you know that your body chemistry responds to your new baby? When you feed your child, your baby is able to get what they need from you and your body responds to it, too. Even if you bottle feed, you’re going to be able to have a moment of closeness with your baby and be holding them closely.
- Parenting is peaceful. Holding your baby to sleep is peaceful. Your child learns to trust you and trust that you will be close to them whenever they need you to be. If you are feeding to sleep, you’re going to let down a sleep inducing effect in your baby. Parenting is much more peaceful with contact naps and close sleep, using a baby wrap and more. Contact is key to form that bond.
- Shaping their personality. When you become a parent, you are going to be forever changed. You shape your child and they shape you and change you into the new person you’re going to be forever. A baby communicates with their cry and if they know you’re coming and holding them when they do it, you’re not ‘making a rod for your back’, you’re showing them that you are there for them no matter what.
- Promoting independence. Attaching yourself to your children actually helps them to feel more independent from you. They trust that when they need you, you’ll be right there next to them and they can feel confident in their independence from you as a result.
- Improving development. Babies develop in a way that they cry and learn your responses to those cries. They use their time to grow as much as possible and if you are there with them, you’ll help them to improve development as they feel confident enough to do so, too. Attachment babies feel comfortable and calm, and they are happier as a result.
When we respond to our children – which is the natural thing to do – they become healthier, happier and better rounded adults with a deeper connection to you as their parents. Look into it and see how you can adapt to attachment parenting.