I had never heard about the benefits of attachment parenting until I had my first child. It wasn’t through prenatal classes of the volume of books that hospital sent me home with though, it was from searching the internet. As a new mom I found myself questioning everything my daughter did and every decision my husband and I made. Though I was following instincts, it was as if I was looking for reassurances via the internet to give me the pat on the back that I needed. I needed to hear that I was doing the right things and that I wasn’t alone.
Breastfeeding was something I was determined to do, not just from a nutritional standpoint as my education and prenatal care had taught me, but as a personal feat I wanted to conquer. I was determined to make it to at least a year of exclusive breastfeeding. What I wasn’t prepared for, even in all of my internet searching and book reading was how difficult the nights would be. I was more than glad to be doing for my daughter, and I enjoyed the time with her but I was beyond exhausted.
One night I couldn’t handle anymore nighttime two hour feeds. It took forever to get her settled after a late night feed so one night, out of desperation, I pulled her from her bassinet and laid her beside me, in our bed. That was the first night of almost ten months of bed sharing. Though I didn’t know it until I stumbled upon it in the internet, I was practicing what Dr. William Sears calls, attachment parenting.
Attachment parenting is a series of bonding techniques that, in theory, strengthens the bond between the child and parent. Proponents of attachment parenting argue that this form of parenting creates a stronger, more emotionally-stable child and healthier relationships. As someone who didn’t seek out to practice it in the beginning I am so glad I did. I am a huge advocate of attachment parenting as there are so many benefits.
In practicing the so called ‘’seven baby B’s’’ my life became infinitely easier. It was so much more natural to be ‘’this mom.’’ I was sleeping more at night and was actually looking forward to our evening family cuddle sessions every night. Baby wearing during the day kept my daughter calm and gave me more freedom to get stuff done, it all just make my life easier and felt right.
The bonding we experienced, as a family was an unexpected bond I never imagined and wouldn’t change for anything in the world. Breastfeeding became a sanctuary for me. When she finally self-weaned at 14 months I was a little heartbroken but knew it was her time which made it a little easier.
When it came time to move our daughter to her own bed, around 12 months of age, she wasn’t sleeping great. Books were telling me she should be sleeping through the night with ease and that if she isn’t, then crying it out would be the only solution. I’m so glad I studied Dr. Sears’ statements about sleep training. Again, attachment parenting gave me the confidence to trust my instincts to do what was best for our family.
I can’t say enough good about the benefits of attachment parenting. As a self-confessed parenting book and website junkie, I feel like I have a good knowledge base of what it out there in terms of advice. Dr. Sears’ attachment parenting is the most natural form of parenting ‘’advice’’ I have read and faithfully followed. With a happy, confident two year old running our house, I am confident attachment parenting was the best decision for our family.