We’ve all seen the cover of TIME magazine that features a woman breastfeeding her 3 year old son and undoubtedly had our own opinions (negative or positive) in response to the striking image. The subject behind this cover was that of attachment parenting which has become a much debated subject across the United States. After giving birth to my first child three months ago I naturally was inclined to research the subject to see what all the hype was about and if it is a practice that I might myself be interested in following.
To sum up attachment parenting it is the practice of raising children by following eight principles of parenting. The principles are as follows:
1. Prepare for pregnancy, birth, and parenting.
2. Feed with love and respect.
3. Respond with sensitivity.
4. Use nurturing touch.
5. Ensure safe sleep, physically and emotionally.
6. Provide consistent and loving care.
7. Practice positive discipline.
8. Strive for balance in personal and family life.
Reading these principles I find it hard not to ask myself “what kind of parent wouldn’t follow these principles?” and wondering how these could possibly be debated. Upon further research however I have found the heat of the debate to lie within issues such as how long to breastfeed your child, whether they should naturally be weaned or forced off the breast, and whether or not to have your child sleep in the bed with you or in a crib in a separate room. I myself have not made any ultimate decisions on these topics as I have never been a parent before and believe in leaving most of this up to my own personal judgment as I go along. I have found my mind surprisingly changed after trying certain methods and seeing how the baby reacts. However, if you should choose attachment parenting as your method of choice it is good to know that many studies have shown positive effects towards these ideas on the baby as an infant and as they develop into an adult. It is said that babies who co sleep and naturally wean off breastfeeding actually grow to be more independent and confident individuals, despite popular belief to the contrary.
Each parent chooses their own path and uses their own discretion and attachment parenting is just one way of raising your child. It is great to be informed and know the differences between different parenting styles and make your own decisions about what works best for you and your child.
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