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Baby and Mom bonding after birth. golden hour

Attachment Parenting – Beneficial or Not?

Attachment parenting is the practice of parenting that promotes the attentiveness and responsiveness of parents to their children.

YES, Attachment Parenting Is Beneficial

Attachment parenting benefits

Benefits of Attachment Parenting

There have been numerous studies done that indicate how essential it is for newborns and mothers to share a cohesive relationship full of attentiveness. The benefits of attachment parenting out ways the hardships that can come with it.

“The major benefits occur as the result of the mitigation of potentially overwhelming negative emotional states.” (Patrice Marie Miller + Michael Lamport Commons)

Eliminating stress on your baby is exactly what you do when you respond to their needs. It’s as simple as feeding your baby when they are hungry. This type of responsiveness shows your infant that they are being cared for, which removes the stress they just had. Attachment parenting goes a step further and encourages mother and baby responsiveness by following the 7 B’s which are listed below.

There are many benefits to this type of parenting not only in infants but in children, as well.

“The benefits that are discussed include less exposure to stress, which effects brain development and later reactions to stress. This has been shown to reduce mental health problems in later development.” (Patrice Marie Miller + Michael Lamport Commons)

The 7 B’s

The 7 B’s are seven guidelines that parents can follow that will encourage the attachment parenting style with infants. The 7 B’s were created by pediatrician, William Sears.

1. Birth Bonding

Birth bonding is critical for both mother and baby. Once born, the baby can be placed on the mother’s chest. The baby will gain emotional and physical regulation from the mother’s body.

Most doctors and midwives recommend a period of time after birth that is uninterrupted mother and baby bonding called, “The Golden Hour.” This is where the baby stays on the mother’s chest for at least an hour after birth to gain the bonding between mother and baby that will last for years to come.

“The Golden Hour contributes to neonatal thermoregulation, decreased stress levels in a woman and her newborn, and improved mother-newborn bonding.” (Jennifer L Neczypor + Sharon L Holley).

Engaging in The Golden Hour can include:

  • delayed cord clamping
  • measurements and assessments of the baby taken while on the mother
  • delayed non-urgent testing
  • early breastfeeding

2. Breastfeeding

Early and extended breastfeeding is recommended for both the health of the mother and the baby.

Early breastfeeding is when the mother initiates breastfeeding right after birth once baby is placed on her chest. Early breastfeeding encourages the likelihood of extended breastfeeding while supporting the bonding between mother and baby.

Extended breastfeeding is when mothers breastfeed their infant until the age of two or older. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that babies are breastfed until at least two years old. There are many benefits of extended breastfeeding. Some include:

  • nutritional value
  • immune boost
  • helps with the baby’s brain development
  • decreases the risk of breast cancer in the mother
  • bonds baby and mother

3. Babywearing

Babywearing is beneficial for a newborn and infant by encouraging skin to skin contact. This helps to regulate the baby’s emotional and physical needs while calming both the mother and baby.

Babywearing can be done with the baby facing inward, with the baby facing outward, or with the baby on the mother’s back. This all depends on which carrier you have and how you and your baby best like baby wearing.

I have found that using different carriers for different ages benefits me and my children the best. When they are newborns, I love using an onbuhimo or inward facing carrier. Once older, I like the ease of a ring sling where baby can sit on my hip. Take time to learn what is most comfortable for you and your baby.

4. Bed Sharing

Bed sharing or having bedding close to the mother is important and instinctual for the bonding and safety of the baby.

Having mother and baby sleep close to one another has been found to decrease the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), encourage more bonding, and decrease the risk of attachment issues between mother and baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that babies sleep in the same room as their mother for at least 6 months but more likely a full year to reduce the risk of SIDS.

There are many bassinets that allow baby to sleep on the mother’s bed while still being in a bassinet. These are a great option when wanting to co-sleep but also keep baby in their own bed for safety reasons.

5. Baby’s Cries

Responsiveness to your baby’s cries builds trust between mother and baby. Babies do not cry out of manipulation. A baby’s cries are a need not being met. Whether that is emotional or physical, it is in the best interest of the baby for the mother to respond to those cues.

One study showed that the responsiveness of the mother to the baby has a lifelong benefit well beyond the instant distress of the baby in that moment.

“The parent–infant bond is central to the human condition, contributes to risks for mood and anxiety disorders, and provides the potential for resiliency and protection against the development of psychopathology.” (J.E. Swain, P.Kim, + S.S. Ho).

6. Baby Trainers

Companies, influencers, and authors like to recommend lots of information and advice that does not need to be taken by new mothers. Most of the time this advice is for the convenience of parents, not the betterment of the baby and mother.

It is important for mothers to follow their instincts and natural bonding desires. The benefits of this are far more crucial to both mother and baby in the long run.

7. Balance and Boundaries

Balance and boundaries come down to taking care of yourself as much as you take care of your baby. Don’t forget about your physical and mental needs during this time. Some simple things that helped me focus on my health included:

  • going to the grocery store alone
  • reading a book during nap time and not focusing on tasks that needed to get done
  • having my husband take over the morning routine so I could sleep in
  • taking an uninterrupted shower
  • reading parenting books
  • asking for help when I needed it

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Studies Mentioned In This Post

  • https://www.researchgate.net/publication/270283492_The_Benefits_of_Attachment_Parenting_for_Infants_and_Children_A_Behavioral_Developmental_View
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4319977/
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29223210/

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