I really don’t think you know exactly how you’re going to parent until you’re there. Prior to having our daughter, I probably didn’t give much thought to attachment parenting. I didn’t really know what it was. There’s a chance I thought it was probably some sort of natural, or green parenting, but I don’t think I ever really asked the question “What is attachment parenting?”
When we had our daughter, we had everything we thought we would need. We had the cot, the pram, the moses basket, and we even had the bottle feeding stuff despite having no intention of using it. But in the end, we barely needed any of it. Instead, we inadvertently went down the route of attachment parenting, and we had no idea we were even doing it.
So What Is Attachment Parenting?
Attachment parenting is basically a form of parenting where you connect yourself with your baby as much as possible. Generally it consists of the following:
Holding and carrying the baby as much as possible
Attending to their cries quickly without letting them ‘cry it out’.
It’s essentially a more ‘natural’ approach to parenting, and one that has a large connection with our ancestral roots. You can find out more via the APUK website. Of course, you don’t have to incorporate all of this into your life to be an attachment parent. I think it’s more about connecting yourself to your baby and being responsive to them.
A Gradual Stumble Into Attachment Parenting
For us, it all happened quite gradually. The first thing to go was the feeding equipment. My wife took to breastfeeding rather well, and despite the early difficulties she faced – and probably the similar ones most mothers face – she kept going. It’s always a little disheartening when mothers say they stopped so early. I know it’s insanely difficult at first, but seeing my wife do it these days is almost hilarious just how easy it is. Here she is walking through Lynton whilst feeding Isabelle:
I will also say that you can still get into attachment parenting whilst bottle feeding as long as you do it in the same way. In other words, hold your baby close, do it on demand and be present as you feed them. That means no sticking a bottle upright in a babies mouth and leave them little choice but to drain the thing. That’s not a very nice way to do it.
If you’re wondering whether co-sleeping is safe, then I’ve written about that too.
As for the night, we shifted from the basket to the next-to-me cot. It was one of the best choices we ever made. Having her so close to my wife made night time feeds so much easier. It also enabled her to have Isabelle fall asleep whilst still being touched if needed. Does she sometimes fall asleep whilst feeding her? Yes, she does. But it’s fine. It can still be a perfectly safe thing to do if done correctly. This is how we’ve been sleeping with our babies for hundreds and thousands of years, so there’s no need to change things now.
As for the pram, the last time Isabelle used that was when she was two months old. It’s bulky, takes up the majority of the boot of the car, she can’t really see that much, she isn’t in contact with us and we can barely talk to her. If that’s not a strong enough list to ditch it then I don’t know what else you need.
Instead, we opted for baby carriers, and haven’t looked back since. I love taking Isabelle places now. I talk to her the majority of the time and let her hold my fingers whenever she wants. When she finally gets tired after all the stimulation, she can simply lower her head onto my chest and drift off whilst I continue the shopping, or whatever else it is that I’m doing. In lieu of a carrier, we would often just carry Isabelle in our arms. Once she started walking we even stopped using the baby carrier as she simply wanted to walk everywhere herself. But it did have its uses in the first year of her life.
I don’t think you have to babywear to attachment parent, but obviously it is something we would have done back in the day. I dare say the cavemen didn’t have a pram.
Why Use Attachment Parenting?
Personally, I feel that people are too quick these days for their babies to grow up. They quickly forget that their baby is a fragile, dependant, needy creature, and it’s ok for them to be attached to you. They want them to learn independence before they can even crawl; and they’re worried they’re going to create a child that is never going to be able to cope on their own. Well, to me, a child is far more adventurous when they feel like they have a safe-zone, and you’re much better just letting them do it all in their own time.
For me, I love this choice we’ve made, even if we stumbled into it. I suffered with postnatal depression for the first 12 weeks of Isabelle’s life, and on and off after, and getting into attachment parenting was something that really helped me. Having that close bond with her and being able to connect with her as often as I could, made my depression ease off. I’ve even written about it as part of my postnatal depression toolkit, if you fancied reading that.
Maybe It’s Not For Everyone
Like anything in life this style might not be for everyone. I know that. We all parent in different ways and that’s the great thing about parenting. This is merely me talking about how parenting isn’t always what you think it’s going to be until you’re there. People might hold certain views on an array of topics, but their mind can easily be changed, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
If you’ve done a similar thing to us, then feel free to let me know below! Or if attachment parenting worked for you, then again, you can always comment and talk about why. Or you can just close the browser. You don’t have to leave a comment.