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Attachment parenting

Baby Steps

Wednesday, February 19, 2014    

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Attachment parenting has been a method touted by several celebrities and mothers who want the ultimate bond with their babies. Developed by American paediatrician and author William Sears, it holds that the bond a child forms with caregivers during childhood has lifelong consequences and as such parents should be sensitive and emotionally available parents.

Attachment Parenting International (API), a worldwide educational association for this style of parenting, says the method "focuses on the nurturing connection that parents can develop with their children".

"That nurturing connection is viewed as the ideal way to raise secure, independent, and empathetic children. Proponents of this parenting philosophy make the case that a secure, trusting attachment to parents during childhood forms the basis for secure relationships and independence as adults."

API identifies eight principles of attachment parenting:

I. Prepare for pregnancy, birth and parenting -- eliminate negative thoughts and feelings about pregnancy.

2. Feed with love and respect -- breastfeed on demand

3. Respond with sensitivity -- consider all expressions of emotions, including repeated tantrums, as real efforts at communication.

4. Use nurturing touch -- maximum skin-to-skin touching (joint baths and using baby slings, for example)

5. Ensure safe sleep physically and emotionally -- co-sleep

6. Provide consistent, loving care -- there should be the nearly constant presence of a parent.

7. Practise positive discipline -- redirect and guide even the youngest of babies to model positive behaviour.

8. Strive for balance in personal and family life.

What are your thoughts? E-mail clarkep@jamaicaobserver.com.

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