Raising your child in a loving and supportive home is the hope of every parent as they begin the journey through pregnancy, birth, and parenthood. Attachment Parenting is one approach of many to guide you through this journey.
A wonderful Attachment Parenting (AP) resource is Attachment Parenting International (API), a website designed to explain AP to new and experienced parents. API believes it is important “to promote parenting practices that create strong, healthy emotional bonds between children and their parents.”
From birth a baby is able to indicate their needs and wants through motions and sounds. AP believes it is the mother’s duty to fulfill these needs through closeness, love, and consistency. It is important for the entire family to work together in the development and caring of a child from infancy to adulthood.
Each family varies in what works best for them. Certain circumstances, beliefs, and developmental needs can impact a parent’s decisions about parenting. Keeping this in mind, the API developed Eight Principles of Parenting, designed to guide a parent through the journey of Attachment Parenting.
1. Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting: It is important to look beyond simply setting up the nursery, and focus on educating yourself and your family about this new experience you are about to undertake. It is important to become informed about all aspects of pregnancy, birth, and parenthood. There are a variety of resources available to educate all new and experienced parents. It is essential to develop a parenting philosophy, to learn about the birth experience and breastfeeding, to stay healthy and strong during and after pregnancy, to understand newborn care, develop a support system, and to be cognizant of your healthcare options.
3. Respond with Sensitivity: Your child is learning about this new world, and you are their guide. AP suggests the parents approach their child with sensitivity and respond to emotions with respect. This can be accomplished through a soothing and understanding approach to your child’s emotions, including tantrums. Remember that your child is still learning to manage their emotions, and tantrums are a result of an overload of unfamiliar emotions. AP believes this approach leads to self-soothing and sensitivity in your child.
6. Provide Consistent and Loving Care: Consistency is essential for the healthy development of any baby. The API recommends that family schedules are created “with Baby in Mind” instead of what mom would enjoy. The parent is the optimal choice for care giving if possible. AP recommends that you limit the need for an outside caregiver if financially practical. If an outside caregiver is required maintain as much continuity as possible, such as the caregiver coming to your home.
The Eight Principles of Parenting are meant as a guideline to help parents interesting in Attachment Parenting to develop their own philosophy towards parenthood.
There are several support groups geared at helping mothers interested in Attachment Parenting. The Greater Pittsburgh Attachment Parenting International Group promotes AP through support groups, educational resources, and consulting.
The Harrisburg Attachment Parenting Meetup Group gives parents the opportunity to find like minded parents practicing AP in the Harrisburg area.
The Lancaster Attachment Parenting Meetup Group promotes “bonding, connection and peace” through AP.
(2011). Attachment Parenting International. Information retrieved from http://www.attachmentparenting.org/
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