Parenting | Attachment Parenting
Parenting can be very demanding and overwhelming at times. It may not get easier, as documented in “Does It Get Easier?” but it is also the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. As a mom, I’m always striving to be a better parent.
The three most important things (in my own mother’s words) about taking care of a child are to provide love and security while following your mommy (or daddy) instinct. Overall, I feel as long as I continue to provide my baby with love, make sure he feels secure, and always follow my mommy instinct I think I’ll be on the right track. This article discusses these three key points along with some other attachment parenting tips.
I think children learn most from example. The more love I show my baby, the more love in our family, I think the more love my baby will feel and then ultimately give to others. I think it is also important for parents to show love toward each other. One of our favorite things to do in our family is to do a family group hug. My husband gives me and our son a big bear hug usually making a grunting noise and our son (now 16 months) joins in and laughs. If there is any tension from the busy day usually this big group hug helps all of us relax and realize what is important which is being a family.
The more secure the environment, the easier it is for the child to thrive. The child can focus attention on learning, growing, and being a kid rather than worrying. This goes along with the less the child cries the more time she has to learn (Sears 445). This may also be why for many children, a schedule works well since then they know what to expect.
This does not mean you have to have the “ideal TV family. ” (I do love the new TV sitcom Modern Family, check it out if you want an enjoyable 30 minute show on Wednesday night.) My mom raised me as a single working parent and I could not have felt more secure and loved. I was also very fortunate to have other important people in my life, such as my grandma and grandpa, Chris and Jonathan, and Marion. Many different people can help a child feel loved and secure, not just the immediate caregivers.
My mommy instinct is probably one of the things I rely on most when taking care of my baby. I ultimately go with my “gut.” Granted I do a lot of research to find out the facts, I consult and listen to what my pediatrician and other professionals say, but most importantly I listen to my baby and try to determine what he is telling me. I’ve tried to do this since the first day we brought my son home from the hospital. My son was always a very happy, content baby and I think part of that was due to the fact we were able to understand him and meet his needs accordingly.
Later, when my son stopped eating well, when he went from eating 6 – 8 ounces at sittings to becoming very upset at feedings and only drinking 2 -3 ounces at a time I knew something was wrong even though my son’s doctor at the time didn’t seem concerned. I listened to my baby and tried to find ways to help him eat easier. Those tips can be found in “Feeding Tricks.” I was not surprised when we switched doctors and my son was diagnosed with acid reflux. I knew something was wrong and I was relieved once we determined what it was and could try to help with my son’s symptoms. I use my mommy instinct when my son wakes in the middle of the night to determine what is wrong, is he hungry, scared, uncomfortable and I try to meet his needs accordingly. The articles for tips to helps sleep are coming soon.
Ways to Promote Attachment
Some parents are instantly attached to their baby, from the day the baby was conceived, to the day the baby was born, to the day the baby shows the first precious smile. Do not feel upset if you do not feel immediately attached to your baby. Sometimes it takes time. If you do think you’re suffering from postpartum depression, please read “Postpartum Blues” (Coming Soon) and consult with your doctor immediately.
For me I loved my baby from the first minute I knew he was growing inside me. But I didn’t realize how much I loved him. My love truly does grow stronger – every day – every hour – every minute I spend with my son. I enjoy writing down some of the things I love about my son. It usually isn’t the big things, it’s the little things: like his wonderful sweet smell, his sense of independence and determination, his curiosity, his friendly disposition waving and smiling at everyone he meets, the fact he will dance when he hears any sound whether it’s the trees blowing in the wind, my cell phone ringing, or the sound of the dishwasher. For some more of my journal entries, please refer to the “I Love” article.
I admit as much as I love my baby more than anything being a parent is not an easy job which is why it is nice to have something like the list of things you love about being a parent to reflect on. I encourage you to write your own thoughts down which you may or may not pass on to your child as she grows older. Some other ways to promote attachment are to try “Breastfeeding” or “Baby Wearing.” “Bottle Feeding” can also promote attachment. The attachment comes from being with your baby, listening to your baby, and interacting with your baby. Remember that your baby cries as a way to communicate with you.
Attachment Parenting Books
The Baby Book written by the Sears family is a great book that promotes attachment parenting. Information within the askdrsears.com web site also promotes attachment parenting. I think the main reason I enjoy information written by the Sears family is because they bring real life experiences of being a mom and dad; they don’t just consider the medical side of things.
I think Secrets of the Baby Whisperer is another good book that promotes attachment parenting by reminding you to truly listen to your baby. I agree with Hogg in that the following items can make a good parent:
Are respectful of your baby
Know your baby as a unique individual
Talk with, not at, your baby
Listen and, when asked, meet your baby’s needs
Let your baby know what’s coming next by providing a daily dose of dependability, structure, and predictability (11).
This goes along with the three most important things I discuss above about taking care of a child which are to provide love and security while following your mommy (or daddy) instinct. Please refer to the "Parenting Resources" for a full list of other resources.
Determine What Works for You
Ultimately, you have to determine what works best for you and your family. I would be honored if you share some of your attachment parenting tips within the “Community” section which is coming soon.
Hogg, Tracy and Melinda Blau. Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and
Communicate with Your Baby. New York: Ballantine, 2001.
Sears, William M.D. , Martha Sears, R.N. , Robert Sears, M.D. and James Sears, M.D. The Baby Book:
Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby - From Birth to Age Two. New York: Little, 2003.
Last updated: January 2010