What is Attachment Parenting?
Named by the infamous pediatrician Dr. William Sears, attachment parenting is a parenting theory that gained its roots based on the attachment theory of developmental psychology.
Essentially, children forge strong bonds to their caretakers. These attachments set the tone for the child's lifetime. By allowing a child to develop strong emotional bonds through the attachment approach, the philosophy dictates that the child will then have more security and a better likelihood of an improved sense of well-being and socioemotional development.
What Does Attachment Parenting Look Like?
If we are to follow Dr. Sears' approach, we would see the 7 B's of attachment parenting: Birth Bonding, Belief in the signal value of your baby's cries, Breastfeeding, Babywearing, Bedding close to baby, Balance and boundaries, Beware of baby trainers.
When it boils down to it, attachment parenting is responding to the child's needs (emotional, phsyical, and practical needs) while offering a lot of time close to the caregiver's body. The baby cries, you respond. As baby grows, you learn how to approapriately set boundaries for your baby. This does not mean running to your baby anytime it falls (think about when they're trying to walk): Wait. Listen. Follow their queues. Many kids will get back up without a second thought, but if that pain or scared cry comes, you respond with comfort. That's just one example of a boundary that can be set in attachment parenting. It is not about spoiling the child. It is about having them be very secure that you will be there for them when they really need it. Secure children tend to feel more safe to explore their world, knowing their caregiver(s) will respond to them when they truly need it.