Attachment Parenting

by on May 2, 2012

in Weekly

Attachment parenting (AP) refers to a specific style of parenting. It usually involves very intentional tools to connect and bond with a baby—such as skin-to-skin contact, co –sleeping, carrying the baby and responding to a baby’s cry immediately.

Needless to say, attachment parenting will always be controversial.

Pioneers in the area such as Dr William Sears (see and his wife Martha who have written extensively on this topic are very careful to remind parents that attachment parenting is not a set of rules. They see it as a tool or an approach to connect with a young child or baby; to develop trust  between a parent and the child and to lay the foundation for future issues such as effective discipline and mutual trust. Some experts also refer to it as “responsive parenting” (meaning the skill to read a baby’s needs and responding to her in a way that instills trust)

Skeptics, on the other hand, claim that (AP) is wrong because the baby does not learn that there must be boundaries; that a mom may become overly available; that doing “double shifts” will exhaust a mom who must wear many hats in 24hours; that it may lead to anxiety, guilt and depression and that a culture of total motherhood should not be seen as the ideal. They claim that some moms end up neglecting their husbands completely.

Negative health consequences (mostly anecdotal) for the mom may be fatigue, sleep deprivation, a weaker immune system due to stress,  an increased risk for depression, and weight gain if she were to eat for comfort to deal with stress. However no definitive studies have confirmed that.

Meanwhile the debate will continue between individual pediatricians such as Dr Sears, whose books are very influential and bodies such as the Canadian Pediatric Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics (Both these organizations strongly discourage co-sleeping) Personally I favor a balanced approach between  two extremes: being overly available versus allowing a baby to cry himself to sleep.

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