Attachment Parenting: Good or Bad?

Attachment Parenting: Good or Bad? | Baby Chick

Attachment Parenting: Good or Bad?

Attachment parenting is a parenting philosophy by pediatrician William Sears based on attachment theory. It’s basic principles —the 7 Bs— include:

  • Birth bonding
  • Breastfeeding
  • Babywearing
  • Bed-sharing
  • Belief in your baby’s cry
  • Beware of baby trainers
  • Balance

Attachment parenting is making waves in the parenting world. Although the theory behind its principles is not in question; the extreme, impractical, and — sometimes — anti-feminist practices involved with attachment parenting is causing all the hubbub.

Let’s take a closer look at each attachment parenting principle and see for ourselves, whether it’s actually good or bad.

Birth Bonding

THE GOOD: Birth bonding is the formation of a close bond between the parents and their baby, which starts as soon as birth. In addition to birth bonding, attachment parenting also advocates finding the least traumatic method of birth for the baby.

THE BAD: For mothers who didn’t get the chance to bond right after birth, this tenet may seem alienating. This suggests that moms who adopt or who were separated from their newborns due to medical issues cannot attach with their babies.

VERDICT: At this point, we should differentiate attachment parenting from attachment theory. Attachment parenting is the style of parenting aimed to achieve attachment. Attachment theory, on the other hand, is a theory stating that a baby will securely attach as long you meet his or her needs.

Therefore, a mother who was unable to bond with her baby right after birth but does “catch-up bonding” can still achieve attachment.

Breastfeeding

THE GOOD: Breastfeeding is an excellent way to secure attachment. It’s an opportunity for bonding & skin-to-skin contact, and the benefits of breastmilk are undeniable.

Attachment parenting also advises you to feed your baby on demand, not according to the parent’s convenience. Responding promptly to the baby’s needs fosters trust.

THE BAD: Mothers who don’t breastfeed could get the wrong idea that they won’t be able to attach well with their babies. And for whatever reason, a lot of mothers do not breastfeed.

Furthermore, attachment parenting states that the child should breastfeed for as long as he or she wants. This could become impractical or uncomfortable for some.

VERDICT: Although breastmilk is undeniably best, attachment is not based on what milk the child drinks. Attachment is based on being attentive and responsive to your baby’s needs.

Related: When Breastfeeding is NOT the Best Choice

Babywearing

THE GOOD: Attachment parenting advocates wearing your baby on a sling or wrap. Physical contact fills an infant’s need for comfort and stimulation.

THE BAD: Unless you’re a stay-at-home mom, this arrangement can be quite impractical.

The baby’s development is another concern. As babies grow up, practicing motor skills like rolling over, sitting up, and crawling is necessary. 

THE VERDICT: Quality time spent with your baby is more important. You don’t need to be joined at the hip to form a secure attachment. Setting your baby down nearby to do chores is completely fine.

Related: How Babywearing Can Help You Breastfeed

Bed Sharing

THE GOOD: Attachment parenting encourages co-sleeping to make it easier for the parents to respond to their baby’s needs at night.

THE BAD: Bed-sharing significantly increases the risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). 74% of infants younger than four months who died from SIDS were bed-sharing at the time of their death. Safety precautions must be taken seriously when considering bed-sharing.

THE VERDICT: Bonding with your infant during the day, plus, it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep if you’re unable to relax. If you insist on co-sleeping, keep a bassinet near your bed or research safe bed-sharing.

Belief in Your Baby’s Cries

THE GOOD: Babies cry because they have a need that’s not being fulfilled. Since their brains haven’t fully developed, crying is their only way of communicating needs.

For babies, crying is not a form of manipulation. By changing the perception of crying from noise to actual communication, parents can learn to interpret their baby’s cues and respond to them faster.

THE BAD: Some parents immediately respond to the slightest whimper by feeding their babies. This preempts the crying, making the parents unaware of the actual cause. This could also suggest that attachment parenting means spoiling the baby.

VERDICT: Wants and needs are practically the same for babies in their early stages. Thus interpreting these cues is very important. Wants and needs only become more distinct as your child grows older.

Beware of Baby Trainers

THE GOOD: Figuring everything out on your own can be tough, especially when you have your baby’s life on the line. If you think sleep training could help you, proceed with caution. Don’t trust any one sleep training method. Seek out advice from other mothers more experienced in this.

THE BAD: Baby trainers are unacceptable in attachment parenting. Understanding your child trumps any kind of baby expertise or training method for that matter. There is no one-size-fits-all approach that works for all the babies in the world. 

VERDICT: Each baby is different, and no one method for sleep training works for them all. Some babies will sleep through the night with minimal fuss, and others will wake and cry every hour. Ultimately, your decision on whether to defer to sleep trainers depends on your circumstances and good judgment.

Balance

THE GOOD: Balance in the family is achieved by continually reevaluating priorities: meeting the baby’s needs, while not neglecting your partner’s. Or your own, for that matter.

THE BAD: The principles of attachment parenting may seem contradictory to this one. Keep in mind that you’ll be your best self when your needs are satisfied. And being your best self leads to being the best parent you can be.

THE VERDICT: Upon becoming a parent, you’re expected to put your needs aside and put your child’s first. But don’t forget that you’re human too.

Ultimately, if attachment parenting works for you, well and good. If it doesn’t, then don’t do it. The choice should be what works for you and your family with everyone’s best interests in mind.


Sources:
https://www.webmd.com/parenting/what-is-attachment-parenting#1
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/jul/30/attachment-parenting-best-way-raise-child-or-maternal-masochism
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/08/the-perils-of-attachment-parenting/375198/
About the Author /

Melissa is a young and energetic writer, Associate Content Director for Project Female, a mom to a sweet little boy, and a fur-mom to two perfect pooches.

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1️⃣ For night feedings. When mom wakes up in the middle of the night, you get up and ask if she needs any help or water. The truth is most of the time she will say no but just the fact that you offered will go far.⁠
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2️⃣ Ask mom if she can pump and then pick 1 feeding that you will always do. Mom will take on almost everything and will burn herself out if you let her. At times you may have to force her to rest without worrying about the baby. This is an easy way to do that without a fight.⁠
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3️⃣ Don't put a time limit on how long mom breastfeeds the baby. It's not just about feeding your child it's about them bonding as well. I know everyone has a different length of time they will breastfeed and as a Dad, it's hard to fully understand. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT try and rush this process. It's not our place and it's not safe. You will open yourself up to a fight you can't win.⁠
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4️⃣ Be patient. I know as a Dad the first few weeks we are equally excited and yet not as important. Your time will come faster than you know. Babies grow fast and the stronger and bigger they get the more Daddy Time will be coming your way.⁠
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5️⃣ Paternity leave! If you have it TAKE IT. The early stages of a child's life are not just for moms to enjoy. I know as men making the money especially after having a baby it's hard, but trust me. You can always make money but there are no instant replays in life. It doesn't make you more of a man to not take the leave. It's equally as important that you as a Dad get to be a part of the early development of your child. ⁠
If someone needs this info tag them ❤️⁠
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Absolutely love these tips from @chroniclesofdaddy. 🙌
7 Postpartum Yoga Poses That Strengthen Your Body 7 Postpartum Yoga Poses That Strengthen Your Body After Baby 🧘‍♀️⁠
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