Meerkats snuggling (hotblack, Morguefile)
Mother holds child, they hug (psymily, Morguefile)
| Attachment Parenting
parenting is not permissive parenting. It is not about abdicating authority as
a parent, but about responding to the legitimate biological needs of a baby. It
is firmly based in the sciences of anthropology and psychology and specifically
on the theory of attachment." (Peggy O'Mara; article previously posted 7 October 2013, accessed 27 August 2015)
includes anything that promotes healthy bonding between
parent and child. Here are ancient practices that an attachment
parenting family can adopt. Remember most of these have been used
largely successfully and safely for perhaps millions of years:-
for conception, pregnancy, birth, parenting. For example, personal relationships need to be as healthy as possible.
- Prenatal Bonding.
We need to be welcoming the consciousness that is incarnating. We need 'prenatal care', not 'prental scare'. This is
the time when women have the most influence on the world, and also on
men. They have the power to change the world. She can fill her baby with Love & Light. Also see Natural Pregnancy.
home birth. In a nest with people around with
whom mother feels comfortable.
Feed on cue (babies do not manipulate or demand!). Extended
for at least a year.
Make it safe physically and emotionally. At least in the same
room, by the bed, if not in the bed. [Avoid co-sleeping if overuse
drugs like alcohol, as these drugs disrupt attunement to baby's needs.]
sleep training. Work with the natural rhythms of the babe.
stand unmoving outside the door of a crying baby whose only desire is
to touch you. Go to your baby. Go to your baby a million times." (Peggy O’Mara)
such as a
sling. I found this to be excellent for socialisation, as
baby is involved in all adult interactions at eye contact level. It is
also great for the father to feel really involved!!
It's practical, soothing for all and hugely reduces baby's crying.
Read more: Science of Babywearing (includes infographic of 23 evidence-based benefits); Benefits of Babywearing and Types of Carriers.
of nurturing touch. 'Touch is the first sense
we learn as a baby. It's how we first communicate... And it's vital for early
development. "It can stabilise their heart rate. It can improve their
weight gain. And some studies for low birth weight babies even suggest that the
time they stay in hospital can be reduced if they have lots of touch
stimulation. It's really forming the first part of social bonding” [Rebecca
Slater, Professor of Paediatric Neuroscience].' (BBC, 2m21s, posted 5 October 2020, accessed 7
October 2020) This is the Culture of Touch.
caregiver(s) for at least first four years of life. This necessitates
stay-at-home parenting, and consistent loving care.
Avoid stressful events when childrearing, such as building projects and
moving home. Cultivate relaxation and peaceful, harmonious
such as the The Three C's of Alfie Kohn (content,
collaboration, choice). Children are consulted and informed. Parenting
is not confrontational or adversarial or a power struggle.
The art of distraction is very helpful! Natural consequences is
preferred to harsher methods. See if you can get children to see what
it might feel like if they were on the receiving end. Teaching by
example is great.
"Trust and cooperation create a stronger bond than fear and control."
sensitive to baby's
and child's cues. Adopt child-appropriate responses. Avoid regimens,
tap into the rhythms and enthusiasm of the youngling. This is natural
or instinctive or intuitive parenting.
is never left alone, always within sight or hearing range.
- Socialisation is more natural,
as part of daily life, with a wide variety of age groups, as would
happen in a village. Baby and child are innately social.
They do not require years of socializing and discipline to become
is not so
much child-centred (yet it is child-led). Baby is a passenger here to
observe and learn about life. Parents get on with life activities. This
is about community and connection.
vaccination and drugs (for parents and baby). We used flower essences,
homeopathy, organic foods (as much as could afford), magical bullets for babies.
circumcision. No male circumcision. No FGM. See here, here.
weaning, and the resultant likelihood of proper spacing of babies. Three years apart helps avoid sibling rivalry. A minimum two years (WHO, 2005)
reduces risk for all. It will also allow mother to naturally restore
her emotional, physical and nutritional resources.
toilet training. This can be from birth - when it is called Elimination Communication or The 'Nappy-Free' Method or 'Baby-Led' Potty Training
- which would be the sort of way we have done it for millions of
years. This will enhance bonding and be far less costly - see BBC video (posted and accessed 11 April 2017). Otherwise, cloth nappies will assist child-cued toilet training, as well as protecting the
- Home education in a natural way, like lifelong learning (also see here and here and here).
Education becomes a lifestyle. It tends to be child-led and holistic
with a natural
emphasis on life skills and emotional intelligence. Respect their right
to develop at their own pace, whilst providing opportunities and
material for learning about life. It is about partnering and
connection, not adversarial or involving power struggles.
'Village' is vital.
This is a small community of supportive people. This includes extended
family and community. Whilst the baby's greatest need is others
(especially the nurturing mother), the mother's and parents' greatest
need is others (in the form of a village). There is an African proverb:
"It takes a village to raise a child."
The sources of
these practices are from John Bowlby,
Continuum Concept, Dr Sears, Attachment
Parenting International, Wikipedia
Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children,
as well as my own experience and thought.
want stress-free hang-around time with undistracted parents.
there emotionally for your children. Speak to them, find out what's
going on in their lives, even if they seem disinterested. Listen to
them, laugh with them. Put family
TV and computers promotes attachment to parents and peers, family and
friends. Also see here, here, here.
natural stimulation such as appropriate physical and mental exercise
assists bonding. The dog whisperer Cesar Millan
talks about how a dog needs these every day to be
balanced, and before the owner gives the calm-submissive dog
affection. Affection and love need to be available at all times for
children, but sufficient exercise and stimulation for all are important
to assist family bonding.
together, ideally in nature, is very bonding.
note, we did
quite well, but our relationship obviously wasn't perfect (we are now
divorced), we had a very stressful lifestyle (we lived in a country
where crime was rampant, whilst doing a huge building project and then
emigrating, etc.), and we had no extended family and little village
(her parents had abused her and she cut off from them during the first
pregnancy, whilst my father was dead and I am distant from my mother).
We had some trying times and we did and do practise many of the above.
The fact that it was strenuous and demanding for us without a support
network of family or friends was - and is - disappointing. But I would
it again - the attachment parenting lifestyle - as best I could. And I
continue to practise it, as it is a lifestyle, and a way to bring about
What is Attachment Parenting? by Peggy O'Mara [external link]
Babies Not Jails
Natural Family Living
Birth & Evolutionary Psychology
Understanding the Continuum Concept
The Origins of Human Love and Violence by James W Prescott
Culture of Touch
Women & Failure