What Is Attachment Parenting?
A little look at the gentler parenting practices
From the moment we pee on a stick and find out the reason we are so moody and bloated, is because a tiny little human has started to form in our womb, we begin to think about the kind of parent we want to be. There is nothing more personal than parenting…
There is nothing people love more than to judge the parenting choices and styles of others.
If you ever want to open yourself up to the most unsolicited and unwanted advice you’ll ever receive: Get pregnant. Because from the moment you tell the world your happy news, someone will have something to say, a stranger on Instagram, your family, your friends with children. They will be queuing up to tell you exactly how you should raise your child.
I don’t think you truly know how you’ll be as a parent, until your little one arrives. No amount of advice from anyone can prepare you for just how much your life will change when that bundle of joy comes storming straight into it.
I was convinced I’d be 100% eco mama, fully sustainable everything…. No plastic, all cotton nappies, cooking amazing vegan meals for my son from scratch every single day, absolutely no screen time before the age of 1, no phones in the same room… it was all a nice dream… and whilst I try as hard as I can to be on point with my morals, I’ve realised a) all of the above is impossible because I’m absolutely fucking knackered 99.9% of the time and b) sometimes there are a few great plastic toys, some really nice plant based nappies and an hour or two of Peppa Pig never killed anyone.
I read a lot about parenting styles when I was pregnant: What works, what is recommended, what do the blogs say… the truth is? They all say something different depending on who wrote them… why? Because parenting is NOT a one size fits all exercise.
For those of you reading this, thinking the same things I was as an expectant mother: What type of parent SHOULD I be? I’m not going to tell you how you SHOULD be, I’m going to tell you what I do, you can then decide if you like my style.... or if you think I’m bonkers…
I didn’t even know my style of parenting had a name until I read about Attachment Parenting and thought, ‘Hey that sounds a lot like me’. Coming under the umbrella of ‘gentle parenting’ and walking hand in hand with intuitive parenting, ‘Attachment Parenting’ works on the theory that by responding quickly and consistently to your child's every need, and being constantly emotionally available, you will create a strong, stable, empathic, peaceful and confident child, that has no fear of being abandoned of left.
The goal is to create a strong emotional bond with your child that embodies trust and love. I had never heard of this parenting style, it is simply how I ended up parenting. It felt RIGHT to me, I respond ALWAYS and straight away to every cry, I engage with my son on every level, I try to be present in every moment so he doesn’t feel left or ignored or like I’m not meeting his needs. He cries - I pick him up, I feed him, I rock him, I talk to him.
Obviously this is hard when, for example, he is in the buggy and its raining and he is crying his heart out to be picked up… or at 4 AM when I've been trying to rock him to sleep for 2 hours and he just wants to be held…. but I try my hardest to make sure I meet his demands.
My belief is that we have children for our own convenience in this day and age, we expect them to fit in to our lives, the animal instinct has disappeared from humanity. A mother deer would never leave her baby to cry to TRAIN it to sleep, would never ignore her fawn because she wanted to scroll Instagram in peace…. I never want Roman to feel like he is an accessory to my life, a burden on my gime or like I am exasperated by his existence… how DARE he keep me awake when I have work in the morning?! He is my BABY, my world, I’d rather stay up all night every night to keep him happy then allow him a moment of sadness…. (Of course there are moments when I am SO tired and frustrated I do say ‘for fuck's sake GO TO SLEEP and SHUT UP’) but most of the time I am patient and calm. I know he can’t communicate in any other way than crying if he needs me. He is a happy little boy so when he cries OF COURSE I respond, something is GENUINELY bothering him.
Attachment parents tend to believe in a family bed (I do but Roman does now have his own room), are usually part of the anti-vaccine movement (I was, but only because of all the chemicals, Roman is vaccinated though... because I’d rather chemicals than him die of an illness) and homeschooling (which I don’t have an issue with but I’d rather he went to school and made friends).
I never planned to be this kind of parent, it’s just how I felt in my heart. Some people believe that attachment parenting is too gentle and can create children without the proper boundaries in place, or children that are sheltered by their parents. I’d love to prove those people wrong.
The one thing that always rings true for me about being a mother is that my instinct is EVERYTHING; if something feels wrong, it is wrong. Mummy knows best, and only YOU, mummy, will know what is best for your baby.