Attachment Parenting originates from a pediatrician, Dr. William Sears, who defines it as establishing a strong emotional bond between parent/caregiver and child during the developmental period to enjoy lifelong positive effects. If the parents provide a strong emotional and sensitive form of parenting, the child grows up with the right balance of empathy for others, sensitivity, good social skills, and a less skewered emotional state.
Children who are not exposed to this kind of parenting method can form no attachment at all. Thus, they may experience an attachment disorder or be unable to handle stress, trauma, abuse, stress, or even daily challenges. An extreme example of the lack of attachment parenting is when parents/caregivers/guardians leave the children, even babies, alone for long periods to cope as they please.
Attachment parenting starts when the child is born but does not mean a parent cannot start when the child is older. According to the theory, at infancy the bond between parent and child is established, and the baby learns to turn to the parent in times of stress or anxiety. Without the parent responding properly, the baby will learn depression in its very basic form – crying.
The stages in attachment parenting start during the first few hours after childbirth and continues with breastfeeding. It also includes learning to listen to the baby’s cries, carrying the baby around close to the body in a sling, and occasionally sleeping with the baby. At the age of toddlers and pre-teens, parents should continue attachment parenting by providing adequate discipline, guidance, and having fun with them.
This theory is in direct collision with another parenting theory that states parents should allow the babies to cry until they stop. This contrary theory promotes the idea that at infancy, a baby can learn to adapt. However, historically, it is attachment parenting that has proven to be more accurately correct.
For instance, when a mother breastfeeds her child, every second of the nursing is special time including the pain of baby bites and pulling off the breast. These are moments the babies will never remember but will be carried by the mother forever as a monumental part of the child’s life. And even if babies don’t remember the nursing they receive, they reap the benefits health-wise and emotionally. In fact, medical research shows that:
- Babies are comforted when cuddled while feeding as compared to propping the bottle and leaving the baby alone to feed. Not only does it lead to tooth decay, but it is also emotionally unsatisfying.
- Mothers who breastfeed their babies are less likely to develop breast cancer (Newcomb PA, Storer BE, Longnecker MP, et al. Lactation and a reduced risk of premenopausal breast cancer) and ovarian cancer (Rosenblatt KA, Thomas DB, “WHO Collaborative Study of Neoplasia and Steroid Contraceptives”. Int J Epidemiol. 1993;22:192-197
Finally, there are many other benefits to breastfeeding aside from attachment parenting but nothing more important than the fact that it has been medically proven that breastfeeding can prevent certain health problems in children. For instance, it may prevent asthma, allergies, ear infections, sudden infant death syndrome, diarrhea, bacterial meningitis, respiratory infections, certain types of child cancer, Hodgkin’s disease, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, vision development, and the list goes on and on.