At some point in motherhood, you will hear about the term attachment parenting. It may seem obvious because it is something simple to put into practice, but the expression has some basic principles for the little one to grow up with a bond and a strong emotional connection with the parents.
The term was coined by American pediatrician William Sears. According to theory, attachment parenting in early childhood is critical to secure, empathetic relationships in adulthood. Based on this, the non-profit organization Attachment Parenting International (API), founded in 1994, created eight principles, which work as tools for this style of creation with consistent and loving care with the needs of the little one.
According to API, nurturing with attachment should not be seen as a rule, but as guidance for a healthy and secure attachment between children and their parents or guardians. But as not everything is a flower, this behavior generates doubts and controversies among parents.
Because of the name, the theory can be misunderstood as a permissive and overprotective upbringing, making children emotionally dependent. To avoid misunderstandings, let’s explain each of the eight principles of attachment creation. Check out!
Eight Principles of Creation with Attachment:
1- Preparing for pregnancy, birth and rearing
That’s where it all starts, right before the baby is born. In addition to the type of delivery, preferably humanized, it is the moment where parents reflect and resolve issues about their own childhood so as not to pass it on to the little one. The stage also consists of studying nurturing philosophies, breastfeeding, understanding the doula’s work, preparing for delivery and postpartum, and learning about routine newborn care.
The first principle of attachment parenting is about research, preparation, and flexibility, after all, parents will have information, not experience.
2- Feeding with love and respect
Creating with attachment emphasizes the importance of a diet based on love and respect. The idea is to create a bond through a balanced diet, from breastfeeding to the introduction of food, reinforcing meals as moments of family union.
Some recommendations are: breastfeeding on demand, researching and evaluating the use of a pacifier, bottle and other teats, introducing solid foods only when the baby shows signs of being ready and not according to age, and gently weaning.
3- Always respond sensitively
This is a central point of creating with attachment. Soft responses teach values of empathy and compassion in everyday life. Part of it is about not denying requests for affection, like the lap. In addition, the third principle points to the baby’s crying as a way of communicating needs, drawing attention to the care of fighting or punishing rather than trying to understand. Here, dialogue prevails.
4- Using affective contact
It is the visible principle of the creation of affect. He talks about skin-to-skin contact as a benefit in child development, the affection of breastfeeding, hugs, cuddles, massage and even the use of slings.
The fourth principle shows the importance of contact with the child for the intellectual, motor, faster weight gain, improved body temperature, heart rate and quality of sleep. And, of course, all this love only reinforces the affection between parents and children.
5- Ensuring safe sleep, physically and emotionally
“How to make the baby sleep through the night”, search! Well, in creating attachment, it’s better to forget about this idea, which causes frustration especially in first-time parents. Attached parenting shows that babies need the assurance of loving parents to feel secure at night, improving their sleep.
Cosleeping techniques are encouraged (as long as they are responsible), which is nothing more than parents sleeping next to their children. It doesn’t just have to be in the shared bed, it can also be with the mini crib in the parents’ room or some piece of furniture attached to the couple’s bed in the baby’s first months.
However, the real purpose of this principle is to make nighttime routines more relaxing by creating healthy sleep habits. For this, parents should help the little one understand the signs of tiredness, create a sleep routine and, when it comes time to transition from crib to bed, be calm and respectful.
6- Consistent and loving care
This principle is often very misinterpreted, but interpretation and common sense are required. It deals with the importance of the consistent presence of a caregiver for the child’s development. Even if it’s not the parents, there’s always someone to take care of.
For mothers who need to return to work, beware of guilt. The idea is not to bring a heavy burden on motherhood, but to aim for quality time in the presence of the little one, this includes constant and loving interactions, for as long as possible.
Another highlighted point is the care in the frequent changes of caregivers so as not to harm the bonding process.
7- Practicing positive discipline
This can be the most challenging part of creating attachment. Unlike authoritarian, punitive and aggressive discipline, positive discipline has as a rule to treat the little ones as we would like to be treated. That is, controlling excesses of anger and offering empathy, kindness and affection.
It’s not about saying “yes” to everything, let alone not setting limits. Positive discipline involves using techniques such as prevention, distraction, and substitution to guide children out of harm’s way and to safety.
For this, it is worth looking together for solutions to unmet needs and even tantrums. Talking, listening, and apologizing – on both sides – are all part of creating with attachment.
8- Keeping the balance between personal and family life
It is now that many criticize creation with attachment, saying that children will be spoiled. In the last principle, the theory shows the importance of balance. Parents will not be able to meet the needs of the little ones if they do not take care of themselves first. Everyone needs to be emotionally healthy, as much as possible.
In this part, the support network comes in to share the weight of the routine, in addition to the awareness of not having to handle everything. You need to create realistic goals about your routine, prioritize your moments with your loved ones, not be afraid to say no, take time to take care of yourself and seek help whenever you need it.
The purpose of creating with attachment
Attachment creation is intended to form self-confident, secure, empathetic, and emotionally mature beings. A child raised with attachment tends to build a healthy relationship with himself, reproducing the pattern in his relationships in the future. Furthermore, because they have received affirmative words and gestures, they will be less insecure adults, who need less external validation and approval.
So, do you agree with creating with attachment? Which principle is most important from your point of view? Leave it here in the comments!
Oxytocin: understand the role of the “love hormone” in motherhood
7 tips for coping with the end of maternity leave
Child tantrum: everything you need to know about this behavior!