Attachment parenting, or more commonly "AP" is the label given to a style of parenting that is considered natural and instinct driven. It is what we as mothers and fathers would do without the social pressure and stigma of "spoiling" or creating "dependant" children. The phrase was popularized by Dr. Robert Sears and his wife Martha. They are the authors of many parenting books ranging from The Breastfeeding Book to The Vaccine Book. The Sears are joined by many respected professionals in advocating for a more loving, gentle style of raising our youth.
Attachment parenting is not a rigid set of rules like many other mainstream philosophies. It is in fact defined by its fluid message of simple love and respect. Everyone ultimately will find a system that works the best for their own family. AP is about listening to your baby's cues, and responding in a way that promotes a secure bond.
Many people consider babywearing, breastfeeding and co-sleeping to be the foundation, or building blocks, to the AP lifestyle.
This is the cornerstone to natural parenting with attachment in mind. Breastfeeding provides all the nutrition, hydration, immunity, comfort and love that your baby will need in the first months of their life. It truly is the best start you can give them. Breastfeeding is much much more than just food. The relationship between you and your child becomes the most important thing for both of you. It is the best way to soothe your baby to sleep, the best way to calm a fussy baby, and the best way to ensure that a lot of time is spent held, cuddling and loving them.
If breastfeeding is the cornerstone, this is the mortar of AP. Night-time Parenting is really what sets attachment parenting apart. Our jobs as parents does not end when the sun goes down. It is not in a baby's best interest to be separated from its caregivers at night. We must continue to provide nourishment, closeness and comfort round the clock. Co-sleeping is a key element in the breastfeeding relationship. At night, mom can simply help her baby latch on and continue to get her much needed rest without ever leaving the bed. It is the in and out of bed at night that causes terrible sleep-deprivation in new parents and it is really unnecessary. You will find that it is when you attempt to go against the grain of natural instinct that everything in life becomes so much harder and more difficult.
Your little one spent nine months safely wrapped inside your body. S/he was warm and comforted by your continuing presence and movement. Babywearing allows for a smoother transition to the outside world for your child. Carriers allow them to continue to benefit from being close to you, they love to be next to your body, smelling your scent, and delight in your motions as you go about daily life. Babies cry less and get the sleep that they need when they are worn by their parents. Mommies get the benefit of being able to continue to care for older children, their homes and many other tasks that would normally be much more difficult or even impossible with their new bundles.
Ultimately, attachment parenting tries to get at the heart of what feels natural and right to us as mothers and fathers. It fosters happy, healthy children who know without a doubt that someone is always there for them when they fall and lets them become secure and outgoing when they're older.
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