I am an attachment parent.
I used to hear about attachment parenting before I had a baby but never really gave it much attention. I remember studying Psychology for my A-Levels and I always loved a theory, I still do but I mostly make my own up now.
I never really thought of myself as an attachment parent because I hate breastfeeding campaigns and breastfeeding is a massive part of being an attachment parent. Some people view attachment parenting as a bit of a hippy culture thing but its really not and since rediscovering a few theories I am proud to be an attachment parent.
The Baby Book by William and Martha Sears developed the most famous explanation of attachment parenting and that is ‘The 7 B’s’. So I’m going to outline the 7 B’s and explain why I am an attachment parent and why I believe it is a good method.
1. Birth Bonding.
This is all about skin-to-skin contact and imprinting. I always knew I wanted to hold Ollie as soon as he was born. I am sad to say that Dave held him first because of my emergency c-section! They handed him to him but I lay next to him straight away and as soon as I was in recovery we had skin-to-skin and I breastfed him. I think this is a real natural instinctive thing to do and I don’t know any mother that doesn’t want to hold their baby first.
2. Belief in the signal value of your baby’s cries.
I have written a lot about this because it drives me absolutely nuts when people say babies cry for no reason or leave them to cry to teach them routine or a lesson. Babies cry to communicate and I believe in responding as quickly as possible. The longest Ollie has to wait for me to respond is the time it takes to get off the toilet or the time it takes for him to wake me up! I know what all his sounds are and I knew really early on and I won’t have anyone tell me he’s not hungry or got wind or whatever because I know.
I am absolutely pro breastfeeding. It is the best for baby and has benefits for the mother too. I hate breastfeeding campaigns and I would never take a brelfie or get into a breastfeeding Facebook group. The whole point of attachment is that it creates a bond for you and your baby. When you’re plastering yourself over the internet and ranting about people having an opinion on public feeding or using formula, you are not putting your baby first so it is a complete contradiction.
If you are pro breastfeeding for the right reasons, get off Facebook and concentrate on your own life. If you’re breastfeeding because your mates are or to seek validation as a mother then you’re not an attachment parent anyway!
There is always somebody that struggles to understand a difference of opinion when it comes to breastfeeding, this is my opinion. There is no need to get defensive. If you like groups and your first thought when feeding is #lemmetakeaselfie – that’s fine for you but I don’t want to do either of those things.
I’m writing about me not you.
Ollie did have to go onto formula due to my complications after my c-section. I was gutted and would never choose formula over breast milk.
I loved babywearing. Ollie lived in the baby carrier for the first three months of his life. I loved carrying him around, we had naps together and I did all my jobs with Ollie attached to me. When he started moving around he hated the baby carrier but if I can do a job one handed, I’ll do it holding Ollie with the other hand. I love having him with me. I dance with him too. He just looks at me as if to say, “What are you doing Momma?” But I think it is good for bonding.
5. Bedding close to baby.
If you read Sleepless in Kings Norton, you’ll remember that I was a complete wimp about putting him in his own room. He slept in our room until he was six months. Co-sleeping is encouraged in attachment parenting. I really like co-sleeping. Ollie instantly calms down if he cuddles up to me and apparently your heartbeat regulates their heartbeat and can actually reduce the chance of cot death. Some attachment parents argue it is called cot death not mommys-bed death! I co-nap with Ollie all the time but I always tried not to sleep through the night with him mainly because he always got really hot. I don’t think I would’ve rolled onto him because wherever your baby sleeps I think you’re always only partly asleep and respond as soon as they make a noise. The only time I deep sleep is weekends because I know my partner has taken over looking after him so I have a lie in. Although I’m all for co-sleeping I am more for a cot in your room and I wish I had one of those cots that attaches to the bed.
6. Balance and Boundaries.
This basically means responding appropriately. So as B number 2 points out, I believe in responding to cries but there are times when my response is, “No Ollie!” For example when he found a piece of clear cellophane on the floor and put it in his mouth. I took it off him, he cried, I said “No Ollie!” When I’m looking after his safety I won’t just say awww it’s ok Ollie! I think it is important to teach them boundaries and rules. If he is crying because he needs something I’ll respond and give it to him. If he cries because he wants something that he can’t have my response will often be no. Like when he tries to climb up the shelves. He will cry if I move him away but I’m not neglecting his needs, I’m looking after him.
7. Beware of baby trainers.
I definitely support this point. This means, listen to your instincts, don’t listen to people telling you to ignore them to create a routine or wake them up to feed them. Don’t ‘train’ your baby to not cry because all you’re doing by ignoring them is basically telling them you don’t care. Eventually they will stop crying when you put them in bed on their own. They will stop crying because they have realised there is no point because they get ignored, not because you’ve ‘taught’ them to be quiet. When you come to weaning and potty training this could cause problems. I am writing in depth about how this will cause problems so keep following or sign up to my mailing list to find out more!
These are my beliefs and I really believe that the first 12 months are crucial for creating a bond. If you disagree that is fine, I’m not saying non-attachment parents are bad, I’m saying I like and support this method. I have a very happy baby and a very chilled out life so I think it definitely works for me!
What do you think? Having read this do you think you might be an attachment parent or have you always been for or against it?