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Attachment Parenting

Updated: Jul 16

MYTH ALERT - Having a strong attachment with your baby, being responsive and emotionally available will lead to spoilt clingy children...



Far too many people seem to have the view that you are able to spoil a baby with too much love, an abundance of cuddles and by eagerly responding to their cries.


But this couldn't be further from the truth.


Securely attached infants, who have been responsively cared for in their early years, actually have a tendency to become very independent and confident adolescents and adults. By having had their needs responded to, they trust that help will come if it is really needed - and are therefore happier to explore and create strong and trusting relationships.


ATTACHMENT PARENTING is a theory first spoken about by Dr. William Sears who identified the principles of the 7 B's.

Birth bonding
Breastfeeding
Babywearing
Bedding close to baby
Belief in the language of the infant cry
Beware of baby trainers
Balance

I personally feel that this is a little restrictive and understand that there are many reasons why parents may not be able to adhere to all 7 principles. However, the thinking behind his definition of attachment parenting is sound and has led to the development of more modern and inclusive versions of this concept.


Holistic Sleep Coach, Lyndsey Hookway, lists the 'Essential Ingredients' as:

Love
Reciprocity
Mutual enjoyment
Responsiveness
Attunement
Co regulation

Co regulation is something I find particularly important. Babies and children are unable to self-regulate, so it is important for parents to support their child through big emotions. You are NOT pandering to a child by giving them love and comfort when they are upset. In-fact it is scientifically proven that by being loving and nurturing in the early years, you can affect your child's epigentics, so their bodies have a normal level of stress response from the rise in cortisol (the stress hormone) and a quicker calm down. All of which means - without going into too much science talk - cuddling creates children who handle stress better.


Sleep coaches could also talk to parents about being emotionally available to their child from an early age, understanding their babies’ distress, and being able to be present and responsive to that distress. Research demonstrates consistently, that when infants are responded to promptly, they become more independent in later life
(Feeney, 2007;Frick et al, 2017).

Attachment isn't necessarily automatic. There are many factors at play in the early days that can prevent that fairytale moment where it all seems to fall in to place. But if for whatever reason you don't feel like your child is securely attached this can be repaired.

Spending quality time with you child fills up their love tank no end.


Here are a few small things that can make all the difference:


Touch

Cuddles, massage etc


Playtime

Play, play, play, play. Don't worry about structure or education, follow their lead.


Eye contact

Talk and play on their level with lots of eye contact.


Behavioural Cues

Learn your babies' behaviour so you can respond accordingly to their cues.


And the most important one of all...


You do you

Never feel like you have to go against your instinct to be close and supportive to your child for fear of spoiling your little one; even if Sandra's Grandmother from down the road said you are. Simply by responding to your child with love, you are absolutely smashing it out the park.


If you would like to discuss the support I offer, all of which is gentle and evidence based, please go to my contact page and request a free, no obligations 15 minute call to talk through your options. Alternatively, head to my packages to see what I can offer you.

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