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Breaking Down the Attachment Parenting Baby Bs

Breaking Down the Attachment Parenting “Baby Bs”

Dr Sears who coined the term “Attachment Parenting” suggests “7 Attachment Tools: The Baby Bs”. Note: These are Tools. Not Rules.

Think of them as tools you have up your sleeve that you may be able to use to help foster a safe, secure, loving attachment with your baby and just use what works for you and your family.  

Birth Bonding 

birth-bonding

The time immediately after your baby is born – and the first weeks of their life – you are primed hormonal to bond. Both mothers and fathers experience hormonal changes that help them bond and connect with their babies. Breastfeeding as soon as possible, skin to skin time for both parents, touching your baby, talking, eye contact – all of those lovely things can help you bond with your baby from their very first moments of life.

However, bonding is not “now or never”! You can still bond with your baby even if early bonding is interrupted – if you’re separated from your baby for a period of time after they’re born. It’s never too late to bond.  

Breastfeeding

breastfeeding

Breastfeeding stimulates oxytocin and prolactin which are hormones that assist bonding. Breastfeeding is more than just food and drink; it’s comfort, pain relief, security and love.

Breastfeeding certainly is a big deal, but it’s not a necessary part of AP. Breastfeeding does not make or break attachment. You can absolutely still use bottle feeding as a bonding experience; you hold your baby close, make eye contact, even incorporate some skin to skin time with bottle feeding.

Babywearing 

babywearing

I personally believe that babywearing is the BEST bonding tool in the Attachment Parenting tool box. Babywearing helps ease baby into the world, especially in the early days which is essentially “the fourth trimester”. Babywearing can emulate a womb-like environment, where they have warmth, security, movement, they can smell their parent – they can have their needs responded to immediately. Babywearing can make breastfeeding easier, especially when you have other children to attend to or you can breastfeed on the go.

Some babies don’t like babywearing and so while it’s a great tool, it’s still not essential for all bubs. Also Attachment Parenting certainly doesn’t mean you can’t own a pram!!! (I’ve had 11 prams!)

Bedding Close To Baby

Young mother and her baby, sleeping in bed

Firstly, “Close” doesn’t necessarily mean bedsharing; in the same room will work fine for some babies. Though when it comes to babies and bedtime it’s important to remember they haven’t changed in 200,000 years. You have a cave baby in a modern world. That is why most babies will cry if you so much as think about putting them down in a cot or bassinet, because for most of human existence babies have slept in their parents arms.

Belief In Your Baby’s Cry 

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This is the only non-negotiable “tool” in my mind. Trust your baby. Believe them. Respect them. They are not spoiled. They are not manipulating you. If your baby is crying – they need something. Unfortunately they’re not always able to clearly communicate what that need is! Even if you can’t work out what they need – or you can’t fix the problem for them – the most important thing is that they know that they can trust you to at always be there for them when they need you.

Beware of Baby Trainers

Similar covers - VERY different books (Hint: Avoid Tizzie Hall)
Similar covers – VERY different books (Hint: Avoid Tizzie Hall)

Beware does not mean never ever ever ever use or follow any kind of strategy or techniques to try to settle your baby to sleep or encourage them to sleep longer. Just… be wary. Not all “baby trainers” are the same or use the same approach. I love Pinky Mckay’s advice on the topic – always ask yourself “Is it safe? Is it respectful? Does it feel right?” If it does – go with it. If at any time it doesn’t feel safe, respectful or right – stop and reevaluate. 

Balance

balance

Balance reminds me of another “B” word; Burnout. Parenting IS hard. Parenting IS exhausting. Parenting IS overwhelming at times. No matter how you approach raising your baby, balance is essential. Balance could mean getting a babysitter occasionally so you can go out. Or handing baby to their other parent, grabbing some ear plugs and getting a solid block of sleep in another room. Or even just putting baby in their cot or a safe space for a few moments so you can catch your breath – even if for those few minutes you’re not actively responding to your baby, sometimes you just need to step outside and cool down.

 

So, I hope my perspective on the “Attachment Parenting Baby Bs” helps and makes sense. Again, the important thing to remember is that these are tools not rules. Find what works for you and your baby. As long as you are responsive, respectful and trusting your baby – and yourself! – you are on the right track!

 

About Rachel Stewart

Rachel is the founder of Parenting Central Australia. She is raising two children, boy and girl, with her partner.She has a background in early childhood education, but right now is content to be a stay at home mum.She is passionate about birthing rights, breastfeeding and mental health. She enjoys crafting, drinking coffee (sometimes wine) and spending a little too much time on Facebook.

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3 comments

  1. Sam Nesbitt

    I do all this and my baby still gives me the shits.

  2. Well past this stage of life now – but I still find it fascinating to think back on it and realise how quickly, really, we became attuned to our babies’ different cries and what they meant (whether they were tired / hungry / grumpy – nappy change), etc, etc – but also how different the two of them were to each other (one usually could be put down and went to sleep almost straight away – the other, well, no much sleep at all, no matter what we did, until around 15-18 months). Interesting how different kids can be!

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