Exploring the 8 Principles of Attachment Parenting
Every parent seeks to form a secure bond with their baby, and parent in a way that maintains that strong, secure bond.
Enter Attachment Parenting, a parenting philosophy whose core focus aims to strengthen family bonds by nurturing a child’s natural needs for affection and trust.
Attachment Parenting’s principles therefore have a heavy focus on the use of skin to skin contact and physical proximity, which work in conjunction to build healthy and strong emotional bonds between us and our children. Ultimately, this raises them to be empathetic, secure, and independent.Sometimes the 8 Principles of Attachment Parenting can be referred to as the 7 Bs of attachment parenting. Whether referred to as principles or pillars they still form the basis of how to form secure attachments with our children and they are:
1. Prepare for birth bonding
One of the 7 B’s, proponents of attachment parenting recommend the use of skin to skin contact immediately once the baby is born, and throughout their newborn stages. Additionally, before your baby even arrives attachment parenting recommends the elimination of any negative thoughts or feelings surrounding your pregnancy. This improves the parents mood, eases anxiety, and cultivates positive feelings which fuel the bond between mother and child.
Another B, if breastfeeding is available to you it has long been touted as the initial step in cultivating attachment. Plus, it encourages trust as children feel assured that their parents understand their needs and will work to fulfil these.
3. Be understanding of your baby’s cry
In attachment parenting, any expression of emotion, including crying, or challenging behaviour such as tantrums, should be considered by parents as an effort to communicate. As babies and children cannot communicate like adults, these attempts should be treated with the same respect as an adult conversation and must be compassionately understood rather than simply dismissed or frowned upon.
4. Buy into Babywear
Within attachment parenting, maximum skin-to-skin contact makes up the core proposition of the philosophy. As babies age to toddlers, ways to continually achieve this could include "baby-wearing" accessories such as a front facing sling, or even engaging in joint baths.
5. Bed down with your baby
One of the original 7 B’s, co-sleeping arrangements are highly encouraged in attachment parenting. A co-sleeping arrangement usually presents as a child sleeping in the same room as their parents. This arrangement is recommended so that parents are on hand immediately to either emotionally soothe a child through the night, or for more instantaneous responses to needs such as feeding or changing. Whilst some parents recommend sleeping in the same bed as your baby, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ current guidelines firmly advise against this as correlations have been found between bed sharing and sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.
6. Be constant
Throughout attachment parenting, parents should aim to be as constantly present as possible. Children should not be placed into childcare for more than 20 hours a week if the child is younger than 30 months old, and parents should aim to remain present throughout everyday activities such as walks, work, or any nights out.
7. Communicate Boundaries
Attachment parenting understands that a child's negative behaviour may be failure to communicate a worry, issue or problem. Parents should work to collaboratively establish a solution alongside a child, and aim to distract and redirect challenging behaviours whilst modeling positive behaviour.
8. Strive for Balance
Both in personal and family life, parents following an attachment model should be able to rely on a support network, live out a healthy lifestyle wherever possible, and circumvent parenting burn-out through taking up hobbies in order to remain fully present.
Author Bio: Malin Lankinen is a behavioral scientist and parent coach who aims to not be a perfect parent but to be a real, genuine one through feeling good, being happy and always growing as a human.