Attachment Parenting | Piece of Cake Parenting | Do you want to feel more connected and bond more with your baby? Embracing attachment parenting transformed my parenting style and made me a happier mom. Click here to learn how it can help you too! #newborn #gentleparenting #parentingstyle #parentingtips

Attachment Parenting | Piece of Cake Parenting | Do you want to feel more connected and bond more with your baby? Embracing attachment parenting transformed my parenting style and made me a happier mom. Click here to learn how it can help you too! #newborn #gentleparenting #parentingstyle #parentingtips

As a new parent, I am constantly researching and reading ways to improve my parenting skills and become the parent that I want to be for Baby J. Through my research, over and over I find myself drawn to the term “attachment parenting.” This style of parenting aligns so well with my personal preferences and philosophy as a new parent.

Embracing attachment parenting has been such a positive and beneficial experience, both for Baby J and for me. Therefore, I want to tell you a little about what attachment parenting is and why it works for us. 

Don’t forget to check out the comments below and let me know if you do any of these things with your children!

According to Attachment Parenting International, there are 8 main principals of attachment parenting. 

Read more to find out what they are, what the mean, and why they have worked for us while raising our baby.

#1: Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting

One of the key parts about attachment parenting is that you want to become emotionally and physically prepared for all parts of parenting. This means that you are continuously doing research. You’re learning about raising your child. And striving to be more prepared and focused as a parent. Go you!!

Why this works for us:

I am all about research. It’s important to me to always look for different ways to improve my parenting skills. I want to be more prepared to handle situations and challenges. And I want to better support Baby J as he learns and grows. Research is a big part of my day as I strive to become a better parent. 

Also, I think it is vital to set realistic expectations and be flexible with our kids. As parents, it is so tempting to want our children to be perfect. We expect them to sleep perfectly at the time that we want. They’re expected to eat when it’s convenient for us. We want them to perfectly handle their emotions without any challenges. And I don’t think that’s fair.

Little people are allowed to make mistakes. We shouldn’t place expectations on our kids that we can’t even place on ourselves. I certainly don’t always fall asleep when I should or only eat at 8 am, 12 pm, and 6 pm. I don’t always contain my big emotions. And I don’t think that our kids should be expected to either. 

#2: Feed with Love and Respect

With attachment parenting, it is important to follow your child’s cues and satisfy your baby’s nutritional and emotional needs. You adapt to your baby’s schedule and help to meet her needs instead of imposing a specific schedule or expectation of how much she should be eating. Great job!! 

Why this works for us:

We all become much happier and more successful when we started to follow Baby J’s cues and needs. From right away in the hospital, I made a lot of mistakes in terms of feeding. I expected Baby J to eat when it was convenient for me and became frustrated when he wanted to eat too often. He became so much fussier because I wasn’t listening to him very well.

I almost gave up on nursing completely because of challenges with low supply and difficulties getting Baby J to nurse. But as soon as I adapted my thinking and started listening to Baby J, we saw such a big shift in happiness for our entire family. I was no longer obsessed with tracking when he last ate or annoyed that he was eating so often. He was feeling much better because he was being listened to and fed when he was hungry.

“Bottle nursing” helped Baby J to be more content and helped his stomach feel much better. Although we worked very hard to make breastfeeding successful at our house, we are certainly not against bottles. Baby J typically gets a bottle every day or two depending on his needs. At first, we would continue to keep coaxing him and feeding him until he drank his entire bottle. And then he would be fussy, gassy, and cranky because he ate too much, too fast. 

As we started to adapt and use “bottle nursing” techniques, his stomach problems improved dramatically. He wasn’t fussy after eating and he stopped spitting up so frequently. Now we always ensure that we are listening to his cues, doing paced feedings, and switching sides to mimic breastfeeding. 

#3: Respond with Sensitivity

With attachment parenting, it is vital that you start building a relationship filled with trust and empathy as soon as your baby is born (or earlier!). This is the aspect of attachment parenting that I am most drawn to. I see so many parents that are frustrated with their children because they are not positively responding to them. Using sensitivity with children has always earned me the title of “child whisperer” and it is a key aspect of my parenting with Baby J.

Why it works for us:

It is important to me to listen to my child and respond appropriately and consistently. Babies and children have big emotions and they don’t always know how to regulate these emotions. They need our help to learn how to respond to the ups and downs that they face. 

We should show our children that we are listening to what they want and need. Then we need to show them that we will respond consistently and fairly to them. It’s not fair to Baby J if I am patient and understanding when he struggles to nap during the day but then angry and short-tempered when he has the same challenges at bedtime. 

I also think it is important to respond sensitively to my child’s needs. When he is feeling confused, frustrated, or hurt, he might not make the best decisions. But I should be there to support him and show empathy towards his challenges. Likewise, when he is happy and excited, I should show my support and share in this happiness. 

#4: Use Nurturing Touch

This has been such an enjoyable area for me to explore and embrace. When Baby J was born, people often told me that I shouldn’t hold him too much if I didn’t want him to be spoiled. When I tried to heed this advice, I felt so unhappy and unsettled ignoring my baby’s cues. Baby J also struggled because he was missing his mom and needed physical interactions for security and stimulation. When I learned to ignore this advice and listen to my instincts, we both became much happier.

Why this works for us:

Baby wearing became a lifesaver early for us. We certainly experienced the “fourth trimester” with Baby J. It was obvious that he needed to be held close for the vast majority of the day and was craving personal touch. Even on super cranky days, I could wrap him up and hold him close. He would instantly settle down and soothe himself to sleep. You could tell that this helped him to feel safe and secure.

It is also important to us to have many as physical interactions throughout the day as we can. At our house, that includes a TON of snuggle time and being held quite a bit. It also means that Baby J gets sensory massages (read about how we add this to bathtime!), hugs, and so many kisses.

I also love that we are able to add physical touch into our play time. Baby J gets to kick off of my hands, rub my face, and grab my clothes. We wiggle his legs and rub his back and belly. There are so many ways to incorporate physical touch into your baby’s routine and it is so beneficial for their development (physical, emotional, and social!).

#5: Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally

Embracing this principle was the other main area that allowed me to truly start to enjoy parenting and get rid of all of the mom guilt I had been facing. Again, well-meaning people would either tell me that my baby needed to learn to sleep on his own right away. Or they would share stories of the dangers of co-sleeping.

With attachment parenting, we recognize that babies need us during the day and during the night. They get hungry, lonely, scared, hot, cold, etc. and they haven’t learned what to do when they encounter these emotions. I broke some of the typical sleep rules. Instead, I embraced that babies need help from their parents, which sleep training often ignores these needs. 

Why this works for us:

When I finally “gave in” and allowed Baby J to sleep on my chest in bed, we were able to bond, get some sleep, and decrease our frustration. Beforehand I started by doing a LOT of research about co-sleeping. I was nervous and certainly didn’t want to put my baby in danger. There I discovered that there is no evidence that co-sleeping is dangerous as long as neither parent is under the influence (of alcohol, drugs, medications, etc) and you take the necessary precautions.
  

Best of all, once we started bed-sharing, I was no longer frustrated with him for waking up every time that I put him down. And he was no longer scared and lonely every time that he woke up alone.

It seems that many people will tell you that you shouldn’t bed-share because they will never learn to sleep on their own. And I have also found this to be incorrect. We developed a bedtime route and followed it every night. It included always trying a few times to have Baby J sleep in his own bed. At around 4 months, he was ready and he started sleeping on his own. We didn’t have to become frustrated or overly exhausted trying to make it work. Instead, we followed his cues and listened to when he was ready.
 

*As a reminder, this website is for informational purposes only. You should discuss your parenting choices with your healthcare provider and make informed decisions that are best for you and your family.

#6: Provide Consistent and Loving Care

It is very important for children to regularly and consistently bond with someone that strengthens their attachment relationship. This can be mom, dad, grandparents, their daycare provider. Whoever can provide this relationship for them.

Why this works for us:

Fortunately for us, I am currently able to stay at home and can always quickly and consistently respond to Baby J’s needs. When Baby J is bored, I can jump in and play with. We can talk all throughout the day. Anytime that he is tired, I can bond and help soothe him to sleep. I am consistently a person in his life that he can count on to be responsive to his needs. And that is super important for a baby. 

You don’t have to be a stay-at-home parent in order to be this person for your baby. As long as you are always responsive and sensitive to their needs, you will be able to increase that attachment relationship with your child.

#7: Practice Positive Discipline

This is another one of the reasons that I am so drawn to attachment style parenting. Instead of reacting to a behavior, this style focuses on discovering what lead to that behavior. Also, instead of punishing your child, you focus on communication, growth, and improved respect between the two of you.
 

Why this works for us:

I want to build internal discipline and compassion toward others. Because Baby J is still little, we don’t deal with discipline yet. But we will as he gets older. Instead of parenting in a way that makes Baby J scared of mom and dad punishing him, I want him to think about his actions. I want him to develop his own conscience and internal discipline.

Likewise, I don’t want to focus on yelling at mistakes or belittling him when he makes a bad choice. This not only diminishes our relationship. It also teaches him that this is how you treat people when they mess up. That’s not the behavior that I want to role model for my son.

Instead, we know that we will parent positively. We can discuss his actions and associated consequences. Then we can help him to understand better choices in the future. We can intentionally listen to what his actions are telling us. This will help us to understand that all of his “behaviors” are his attempts to communicate something with us. We just have to identify what that is.

#8: Strive for Balance in Your Personal and Family Life

Because it is so important to be positive, supportive, and responsive with attachment parenting, we need to find our own balance. You can’t be emotionally responsive or empathetic if your life is in chaos and you’re surrounded by stress. 

Why this works for us:

We’ve spent too much time trying to be “yes” people and spread ourselves far too thin. It is so hard not to always give to other people. You want to help when you can. And you hope to accomplish so many things every day. But that’s not always possible. Trying to do too much means that you no longer have anything left to give your family.

We realized that in order to be the parents that we wanted to be, we had to reign ourselves in. I could no longer work 80+ hours a week and still be a responsive parent. It wasn’t possible to go to every single gathering and obligation without feeling stressed and overburdened. We decided it was time to prioritize ourselves and find the perfect balance between our obligations and our personal life. This means that we are prioritizing ourselves and preserving enough energy to be responsive and supportive to Baby J.

As you can see, I have found so many benefits to the attachment parenting style. It aligns particularly well with my personal preferences and parenting philosophy. For me, the best part was that embracing this style of parenting allowed me to let go of the extra worries and guilt. Once I did this, I was truly able to embrace being a parent and really start to enjoy everything about parenting.

Do any of the principles of attachment parenting attract you? How do you implement these in your life?

Please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear if you use any of these methods with your little people!

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