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February 25, 2020
When I first was introduced to the concept of attachment parenting, I had no clue what to think. The title itself had an overbearing feel to it and until I broke it down, I later realized that it boils down to getting back to basics. Treating others as you want to be treated and that my friends starts with how you treat your babies.
The deep rooted focus of attachment parenting is raising our children with a core understanding of empathy and connection, eliminating shame, and forming strong connections between parents and their children.
Attachment parenting is all about balance – not being super lenient however focusing on being attentive. As time goes on, you and your baby will naturally be in tune. It's a win win situation.
With endless parenting books, the internet, social media, and everyone's personal favorite- the over opinionated and know it all moms out there, we can't help but always question if what we are doing is right for our child. So let's pretend these outside influences didn't exist, how would you understand your baby?
Understanding someone isn't something that happens overnight. It takes time, love, and patience. The more a mother is with a newborn the more secure the baby feels helping them develop confidence and security. Responding to your babies needs is usually debatable with spoiling the baby. This is when you have to ask yourself...does my baby need this, or does my baby want this? It's very important to make sure you're giving the baby everything he or she needs, not wants. The burning question every mom loves, when do you say yes and when do you say no.
When I came across Dr. Sears and attachment parenting, he broke it down in 7 simple practices where it became a part of my life in the most natural way.
Speak up and take an active role in the birth YOU WANT. The first few weeks/months are sensitive and you're both uniquely prepped to want to be close to one another. Try to stay present.
This is an amazing way to bond with your baby. You are learning to understand the baby's cues and body language while simultaneously stimulating your hormones that give your mothering a boost. Of course, you also have to do what is best for you and your family. If nursing is not your option or choice, feeding time is still an amazing chance to bond by holding your baby close, looking into their eyes and letting the rest of the world fall away.
Aside from just being close physically, when you wear your baby, both mother and child release the ‘love’ hormone Oxytocin, enabling you both to connect emotionally, and to align your breathing, temperature and heart-rate in relation to each other. Babies have a super strong instinct to stay close to their mother. When you wear your baby in a ring sling, your little one feels safe and secure. And from this place of security, they begin to develop their own confidence and independence.
This I feel is everyone's favorite topic to critique. "Oh my, your child STILL sleeps in bed with you?". Ummm yes she does Karen because it works for US. This helps to reconnect you and your baby after a busy day and minimizes night time separation anxiety. Try putting the baby at arms reach if you prefer not to share the bed. Again, do what is right for you and your baby. There are so many options these days for co-sleeping. You can have a crib inn your room, a co-sleeper in your bed or just have your baby next to you. It's a totally personal choice. I slept in bed with both of my kids when they were nursing. It actually meant that I got WAY more sleep! When my would wake up, he wouldn't cry, just look for me to nurse. I would just start him nursing and go right back to sleep!
We are human and not perfect. All we can do is try to develop patterns where overtime it because second nature to us. Dr. Sears gives a great example on how to sensibly respond to crying:
"Say, for example, you are busy in the kitchen and your seven-month-old is sitting and playing nearby and cries to be picked up. Instead of rushing to scoop your baby up, simply acknowledge your baby and give your baby “it’s okay” cues. Because you and your baby are so connected, your baby can read your body language and see that you’re not anxious, so you naturally give your baby the message, “No problem, baby, you can handle this.” In this way, you’re being a facilitator , and because of your close attachment you’re actually better able to help your baby delay gratification and ease into independence."
Sharing advice is a wonderful thing. It's a great way to come together with fellow mama's and share what little tricks helped them along the way. You never know, maybe playing the Macarena will calm your baby down too! Who knows?!? However, you don't have to do anything that doesn't sit well with you and your baby. Parent from your intuition.
Finding your inner peace and your place of zen is very important. Learning when to say no is crucial. Take care of yourself, your baby needs you and feeds off of your energy. Taking care of yourself helps you to be at your best for your family. Ask for help when you need it. No one can do everything all the time.
Attachment parenting is a great way to awaken your natural motherly instincts, shed the pressures of keeping up with the ever changing fad parenting tips and stay present and mindful with your baby. Take a deep breath, you got this!
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