The Truth About Attachment Parenting Style

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When I was a first-time mother the attachment parenting style caught my attention. Of course, I want to be attached to my kids. Who wouldn’t want to make sure their baby felt loved and had all their needs met? After having 3 children whom I have practised this type of parenting style with and having talked to other mothers who practised this type of parenting style I have come to a few conclusions which I will list below. But first question would be, what even is attachment parenting?

Mother and daughter heads touching eyes closed.

What Is Attachment Parenting?

The attachment parenting style is aimed at maximising you and your child’s bond by physical touch and responding quickly to their cries and needs. There are 7 B’s of attachment parenting that are set as guidelines to help you and your child have a close relationship. When I first read about attachment parenting the main outcomes where to have a well-adjusted child who felt loved and would turn into confident adults. There are many benefits to this type of parenting but, they didn’t really talk about the cons and other hardships some of the B’s listed above could cause.

Please be aware this is just my observation and thoughts. Below I will talk about the benefits I have noticed as well as the cons to each of the 7 B’s. I will also share some tips that I think could be helpful to you the mother. Of course, always do whatever feels right for you and your family! All we can do is try our best!

What Are The 7 B’s Of Attachment Parenting Style?

Birth Bonding

Birth bonding is a beautiful moment between you and your new little baby. It’s when your baby is placed skin to skin on your chest and you get to smell all those sweet little smells from your babies’ head and start to fall in love. You start to feel this strong urge to love and care for your little one. They start to bond to you as well. I think this is actually very important for mothers to do after birth not just for the baby but for you. After you have spent several hours delivering a child it is so sweet to have this tiny little wriggling warm body on your bare chest and being able to smell that amazing baby scent.

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is another one of the 7 B’s for this attachment parenting style. I want to start of by saying I do advocate for breastfeeding if possible! It is a great way to nourish baby and really can help strengthen the bond between mother and baby. Plus, it’s awesome being able to go out and not have to worry or remember to bring food for your little one!

But there can be a lot of other issues that come to play. While I breastfed all my children and would continue with any other children I have, there are definitely some cons to this one that I want to share with some hopefully helpful tips for you.

Breastfeeding On Demand

I don’t actually think this is beneficial for anyone for several reasons. As a new mother every time the baby cries, we assume either they are hungry, need a nappy change or just uncomfortable. If nappy seems fine, we generally try to feed the baby who has a little tiny stomach at this point. This can lead to a vicious cycle where babies tummy is actually full. They are throwing up or have tummy pains and we think they need more food because they threw up so feed again. They continue to cry because their little bellies hurt and need a break.

  • Honestly doing a feeding schedule that is suitable for the babies age is the most ideal way to go. Your baby won’t starve, they get used to a schedule and it can really make life easier for everyone!
  • Also make sure to burp your baby after every feed. They can’t release gas buildup properly on their own yet.

Not Latching Properly

Sometimes baby don’t latch on properly and swallow lots of air. Their bellies can hurt from excess gas build up in their tummies. Make sure you burp your baby regularly or they will be crying out in pain. They can also throw up milk because of that air build up to. If your nipples go cracked it can also really hurt which isn’t fun for you or baby. Lanolin cream works a treat for cracked nipples by the way!

Weaning Baby

There is so much conflicting information out there it can be hard to find out what to do. Two of my kids didn’t get weaned until they were almost 2 years old. It was very exhausting by that point. Once they know you have the goods, they don’t want to part with it easily and it becomes their soothing device. The older they are the harder I have found it has been to wean them off the boob.

That’s not for everyone by the way some kids naturally wean themselves, but I haven’t been that lucky. My son, who I had to wean off at 6 months for health reasons was so much easier. This can be extremely exhausting for mothers when baby gets older. It’s also hard for little ones who are now depended on the boobs for comfort.

Baby Wearing

Wearing your baby is a big factor in this type of attachment parenting style. The reason is being present with your child and having lots of skin-to-skin contact. Lots of skin to skin contact and touch has been shown to increase brain development in little ones, so I am not saying it’s a bad thing. They just don’t have to be held or touched all the time is all.

I personally do not think it’s practical. Babies believe it or not like to have routines and habits. If you are wearing your baby so they sleep, this is what they will get used to. When you want to try and transition them to a cot it can be very difficult as they have been used to sleeping tight and close to you while being rocked while you walk around.

Tip: Wear your baby where it makes sense. If you are going outside for a longer period of time and want your baby around. If baby is awake and you need to get things done and want your hands free. Plenty of wonderful opportunities to wear baby. But I now believe it’s ideal to have more set nap times and get your baby to sleep in a cot more often than nought. It’s easier on you the mother and is easier on the baby. Babies like routines, they won’t have to depend on you to go to sleep when they are tired and won’t have to go through any separation anxiety later on. Eventually you will want them to sleep on their own, it’s easier to get good habits started younger than later.

Bed Sharing

There is a lot of controversy around bed sharing or sleeping close to your baby. I have personally co slept with all 3 of my children and will not do it again if I can help it. I’ll share pros and cons below.

Pros: I love being close to my children for the most part. I love being able to soothe them quickly when they would wake up or feed them when they are hungry. It’s easy to make sure when they were little that they were still breathing and alive and I didn’t have to fully wake up.

Cons: Babies get used to sleeping next to you and as they continue to grow they depend on having you next to them to fall asleep. Remember attachment parenting means what the title says the child is attached to you and wants to be constantly with you. Honestly sleep is hard when you have a child in your bed. They can stir a bit and as they get older start to kick and hit. If they wet the bed, you are there too don’t forget. It can be pretty difficult to transition them into their own room as well. All they have ever known was sleeping next to mom and dad.

Honestly, it’s a lot easier to get them used to sleeping in their own beds from the very beginning. Baby knows nothing else and both of you will be able to sleep a lot better through the night once good night habits are formed.

Baby Cries Responding Every Time

I will never advocate for letting your child scream and cry for a very long time! Definitely when they are very little. This can lead to mistrust and other issues from baby. Also, as a mother listening to my baby cry to long brings on a lot of anxiety. Make sure when you leave your baby that they are safe and can’t harm themselves.

What I want to promote more is if you hear your baby stir a little, whinge a little here or there don’t go running instantly. It’s good to let babies learn to self soothe a bit and figure things out. I’m not talking about infants by the way this is slightly older babies. Sometimes baby just wanted to get in a more comfortable position. Or find their dummy, stretch and let a little gas out and that’s it back to sleep they go. But, if we go running as soon as we hear a noise they learn to wait and cry for us to come instead of soothing or helping themselves.

Remember these are just my thoughts and observations from my children talking to other mothers! Always do what feels right to you!

Balance and Boundaries

Mother and baby holding hands

This is a hard one I have found. Finding a balance where you show your kids they are loved, safe and cared for while also maintaining certain boundaries.

  1. You should respond to your child’s needs by listening to them, hugging and comforting them.
  2. You should set clear boundaries and expectations about how they should behave.
  3. Be consistent with your expectations and consequences. I have to say this has been hard for me and I personally need to work more on this! Kids become confused when you say one thing and do another so be consistent. If you said pick up those toys or I’m throwing them out, well be prepared to throw those toys out. If you aren’t prepared to follow through think of a different consequence that you will follow through with.

Beware Of Baby Trainers

Pretty much this means to be wary of baby experts. We do have natural instincts as a parent. Listening to a so-called baby expert can sometimes make us more confused about how we should raise our child. A lot of times this has to do with sleep training and scheduling training. Honestly, I am definitely going to be doing both of these if we ever have more children!

I schedule fed with my 3rd and life was so much easier for both myself and my daughter without doubt. She knew when she would be fed and I knew when it was feed time, so no one was every angry. I didn’t stick to a sleep schedule as much and really wish I had. Parents Whom I saw had scheduled sleep times had children who fell asleep a lot easier and fussed a lot less. Both child and parent knew what to expect at certain times of the day and the child was overall less cranky as they were well rested.

Benefits Of Attachment Parenting

Benefits of the attachment parenting style are having a secure relationship with your child. Your child feels safe, loved and secure leading to a happier child overall. There are lots of studies showing children who get more physical loving touch have increased cognitive development. Children are normally more confident in themselves. You really do form a strong bond with your child.

What Are The Downsides Of Attachment Parenting?

Some of the downsides depending on how you go about it is a clingier child. The child is attached to you and normally does not want to be watched by anyone else! Say goodbye to a whole night of restful sleep for a potentially long time, like couple of years! You and your child can potentially become very anxious when separated from each other for any reason.

Conclusion

While this attachment parenting style can be a lovely way of securing a strong bond with your child there can be many difficulties as well. With a few tweaks I believe both parents and child can still have a beautiful bond with less stress and anxiety overall. Let me know what you think in the comments below. What sort of parenting style would you say you do?!

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