The Mother magazine is the only publication in the UK dedicated to attachment parenting. Editors of The Mother, Paul and Veronika Robinson, practised attachment parenting when raising their daughters. Attachment Parenting is a philosophy which draws on attachment theory. This is covered in developmental psychology, and is recognised as important for children to develop strong and healthy emotional bonds with their parents (and caregivers). The impact of this secure foundation is life-long. When children have a secure attachment parenting upbringing, they grow up to enjoy healthy relationships. Their ability to connect with others, as well as being empathic and understanding of people in their world, is a natural consequence of attachment parenting.
Attachment parenting is when parents follow their instincts and breastfeed full-term (that is, until the child is ready to wean), share the family bed (co-sleep), demonstrate communication which is at all times respectful of parent and child, provide warmth and love, respond quickly and fully to a child’s needs.
Attachment parenting is respectful and honours every member of the family. This is non-violent parenting at its most optimal. The Mother magazine’s ethos is about encouraging parents to honour their children with respect, kindness, love and compassion. In short, it’s about demonstrating to our children how we relate to other people.
Although the term attachment parenting may be fairly new, the style of parenting is as ancient as our distant ancestors and ancestresses. When we follow our biological instincts, and meet the biological needs of our children, we’re following an ancient timeline of secure parenting. Modern medicine, science and psychology show that this style of parenting is best for all children.
There are some keys points to attachment parenting, and these include:
Preparation for parenting
Attachment parenting encourages self-awareness and conscious conception. Preparing for pregnancy and birth (emotionally, psychologically and physically) helps parents for the longer journey of parenting.
Nature designed not only the perfect food when she created Mother’s milk, but also the perfect way for mother and child to bond. Breastfeeding is essential for meeting a baby’s nutritional and emotional biological needs. Attachment parenting recognises that a mother can ‘tune in’ to her baby, and feed on cue (that is, when the baby puckers his lips or sucks on his fingers), rather than on demand (when the baby cries or screams). Attachment parenting is about listening to the needs of the baby as he grows into a child, and acknowledging the child when he has had his needs met, even if this takes several years.
When, as parents, we’re attuned to what our children communicate, then we’ll always respond to their needs in the right way. We build a strong foundation at birth, and even in pregnancy. Our children come to trust that their parents will always be empathetic and sensitive.
At The Mother magazine, we encourage constant touch between parent and child, because humans are a ‘continuous contact’ species. Touch is vital to our health and well-being. ALL babies need to be touched. This is important for them to have their needs of affection, movement, security, contact and stimulation. Breastfeeding provides a wonderful, natural way to help meet this need. We also advocate massage, baby-wearing, and the family bed for co-sleeping.
Unlike many parenting guidelines, we recommend sharing sleep with babies and young children. Even during sleep, a child has needs which must be met, such as temperature, loneliness, hunger and fear. Sharing sleep allows children to feel safe and secure, and ensures parental bonding.
A constant caregiver
Attachment parenting is firmly based on the principle that all young children need the physical attention and presence of a constant, responsive, respective and LOVING caregiver ~ this is usually and ideally the parent. Children can form bonds with non-parents in a strong, attachment way, and it’s important that this person can stay with the child for a long time. We recommend limiting separation between mother and child for at least the first 3-5 five years of life.
When attachment parented in a secure and loving family, children develop their own inner discipline. They discover what it is like to be kind, loving, compassionate and respectful.
As parents, we’re models of peace and balance. When we meet our own needs for rest, creativity, quiet, fun and nutrition, then we become better parents.