attachment parenting gold coast
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  • Mental Health | Resources
  • 05.12.22

What is attachment parenting?

At Grace Private we know it can be hard for new parents to keep up with all the new terms around childbirth and parenting. One such term is attachment parenting, which is also known as natural parenting or instinctive parenting

Before you decide if attachment parenting is right for you and your baby it’s important to have a good understanding of what it actually means.

What is attachment parenting? 

Attachment parenting goes back decades, but many people believe it has been practiced for thousands of years in non-western societies, it just wasn’t coined as ‘attachment parenting’.

Many parents use this style of parenting without realising it. It’s a parenting style that encourages parents to be more intuitive when recognising their child’s needs and take on a more instinctive approach that does away with scheduled feeds and sleep patterns.

Attachment parenting is about doing what works best for you and your baby, understanding their physical and emotional needs and responding appropriately. There is a strong focus on building a strong attachment between parents and baby. 

There aren’t any specific rules around attachment parenting, however it may include co-sleeping or using gentle and more nurturing techniques to get your baby to sleep, responding to their cries, on-demand feeding and having limited time separated from your child in the first few years. 

Some behaviours of attachment parenting include: 

  • Reading and responding to your baby’s cries and cues. 
  • Wearing your baby in a sling or baby carrier.
  • Not following a set of rules, instead following your instincts.
  • Breastfeeding for an extended period of time – on demand. 
  • Co-sleeping so you can respond to their needs more quickly.
  • Not allowing your baby to cry and not teaching them to ‘self-settle’. 

parenting help gold coast

What are the benefits of attachment parenting? 

Advocates for attachment parenting believe this style of parenting has many benefits, including:

  • It builds a strong bond between you and your child. 
  • It encourages mutual giving between you and your child. 
  • It develops a greater understanding between you and your child. 
  • It provides greater comfort for your baby. 
  • It helps your child learn how to be empathetic and caring towards others. 
  • It helps your child to be confident and express themselves. 
  • It improves your child’s physical and intellectual development. 

What are some potential issues you may face with attachment parenting style?

Like with anything, there are pros and cons. Some potential issues you may face when practicing attachment parenting may include: 

  • Parents and children having less time for themselves.
  • A lack of boundaries and behavioural issues. 
  • A lack of independence and dependence. 

What if you have to return to work? Can you still practice attachment parenting? 

You may be wondering how attachment parenting is possible if you have to return to work? 

If you have to return to work there are many ways you can still practice attachment parenting. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Some workplaces allow new mothers to bring their child to work so they can continue to breastfeed. This is not always possible, so the other option is to express your milk if you’re breastfeeding or someone can bring your baby into work for feeding. 
  • Have another parent or grandparent care for your child while you are at work and continue to practice attachment parenting. 

It’s your choice

Like all parenting advice, it’s important to remember that how you parent is ultimately your decision. Attachment parenting is only one style of parenting and it might not suit everyone. You may want to adopt certain parts of the attachment parenting style and avoid others. We recommend trusting yourself and doing what feels right for you and your baby. 

If you would like some extra advice or would like to speak with someone about parenting, our Grace Private clinical psychologists Karen White and Kerryn Blunt are here to help. Book an appointment today. 

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