Sunday, August 22, 2010

Attachment Parenting ... what does it mean?

The Attachment Parenting Book by Dr. William Sears and Martha Sears, is my favourite book on the principles of attachment parenting. They make it clear that attachment parenting (AP) is not a new style of parenting, but is an old way of caring for children. Dr. Sears best describes it when he says, “attachment parenting is what parents would do naturally without the influence of experts,” (p.26).

Dr. Sears and his wife base their book on studies that confirm that good things happen when mothers and babies are permitted to be in sync with one another. Attachment parenting is about responding appropriately to the needs of your baby and knowing when to say ‘yes’ and when to say ‘no’. It is not ‘spoiling’ a child, as some critics may argue. When you spoil a child it is a result of an inappropriate response. When a young baby’s needs are met they build trust with their caregiver, making it easier for them to deal with the “no” when they are older. An attached parent also gains the good sense of appropriate times to say “no” when the child is older.

Attached parents shape their children’s behaviour by encouraging positive behaviour, are quick to intervene and gently correct behaviour problems. Attachment parenting is an easy way to connect with your children and family. You grow as a family and become a more competent parent. Trust yourself and your baby and you will shape each other’s behaviour, feel loved, confident and secure to explore the world together.

Too many people label attachment parenting as being a "granola" type of parenting.  I'd love to hear what any of you think of the Attachment Parenting theory?  What does it mean to you?
Reference: Sears, W., Sears, M. (2001). The Attachment Parenting Book: A commonsense guide to understanding and nurturing your baby. Little Brown and Company: New York.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Why Choose Co-Sleeping?

Co-sleeping can be safe and beneficial as long as you take precaution when sleeping with your baby. Some babies have died while co-sleeping with an irresponsible adult; however keep in mind that a higher number of babies have died while sleeping alone mainly from SIDS (Fleiss, 2000). Research shows that co-sleeping assists in regulating an infant’s breathing pattern and body temperature. In addition, older co-sleeping boys between the ages of six and eleven had higher self-esteem than those that do not co-sleep, meaning that co-sleeping can affect independence, self assurance, confidence, self-reliance, intimacy and self-esteem as your child grows. Co-sleeping is an easy way to reach these positive goals that each parent naturally wants for their child.

So, how do you make co-sleeping safe? Here are a few tips:

• Sleep on a firm mattress that fits tightly in the frame, with no cutouts at the head or foot of the bed. You don’t want any places where a baby could slip down into a crevice – NO WATERBEDS!

• Do not wrap your child in blankets or cover their heads;

• No adult in the bed should smoke, take drugs, be obese, or be on any medication;

• No adult in the bed should drink alcohol – not even one drink! This is a potential danger to your baby;

• Clear the area where your baby will sleep from pillows, and never lie them face down on the bed;

• Seek a doctor’s advice if the baby has a fever

Fleiss, P.M., (2000). Sweet Dreams: A pediatrician’s secrets for your child’s good night’s sleep. Lowell House: Illinois, USA.

Canadian Pediatric Society, Recommnedations for safe sleep environments for infants and children:

What do you think and what is your practice with your kids?  I know that I have co-slept (and still do at times) with both my boys while breastfeeding at night as well as early in the morning.  There is nothing like cuddling up with your kids in bed.  I find it to be such a precious time!