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Attachment Parenting - What Is It?

Updated on November 13, 2012

What is Attachment Parenting?

This is a group of lenses that discuss natural or attachment parenting practices, products, or lifestyles.

So what exactly is attachment parenting? Well, attachment parenting is also known as natural parenting or instinctive parenting. Attachment parents do not follow conventional parenting guidelines and ideas. They have chosen to let their own instincts be their guide and not the conventional wisdom parents are bombarded with through mainstream media.

There are a lot of different philosophies out there about how to raise your children. One of more popular parenting philosophies that's been publicized in the past few years is attachment parenting. Many people don't understand exactly what it is. Attachment parenting is when the parents try to form a close, special bond with their children. This strong relationship with their parents is said to help a child develop strong, healthy, secure relationships in the future.

While there are many ways to develop these strong bonds with young children, Attachment Parenting International, a major proponent of this philosophy, has released a list of 8 ideals for attachment parents. It is important to realize that these are something to strive for, not something most people can actually accomplish in their hectic lives.

Photo Source: Deposit Photos

Mom and Baby
Mom and Baby

Attachment Parenting (Agree?)

Attachment parenting is a phrase first used by pediatrician William Sears. It is a parenting philosophy based on the attachment theory in developmental psychology. According to attachment theory, a strong emotional bond with parents during childhood, leads to secure, empathic relationships in adulthood.

In this theory, failure to form this early childhood parental bond can lead to disturbed and developmentally inappropriate ways of relating socially.

The term "attachment parenting" is being co-opted by proponents of controversial parenting techniques.

According to Attachment Parenting International (API) there are 8 principles that foster healthy attachment between the parent and infant.

These eight principles are:

1. Preparation 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 Loving Care


7. Practice Positive Discipline


8. Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life

There are no strict set of rules to follow, so parents can and do interpret these principles in many ways: such as natural child birth, breast feeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing, and home schooling.

One of the least controversial interpretations is baby wearing. Baby wearing is the practice of carrying your baby in a baby sling, baby backpack or other type of carrier. This allows the wearer to carry the baby hands free to do other things and helps the baby to be more involved in her surroundings. Many experts agree is practice helps your baby's sense of well-being and development. Studies have shown that babies who are worn by their parents are more attached, more observant and as a result they cry less and learn quicker.

One of the most controversial practices is co-sleeping. Opponents argue that co-sleeping is stressful and dangerous for baby; a parent may smother the child and believe it raises the risk of SIDS. They also believe it promotes an unhealthy dependence on the parent and could interfere with the parents' relationship to each other. In addition, they contend that this practice may interfere with the parents' own relationship.

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