It turns out that my style of parenting has a name. It’s broadly known as Attachment Parenting and it was developed by an American doctor, Dr Sears. It’s mostly based on his own observations although there is some evidence to back up the principles. But mostly his ideas just made sense to me. It’s about honing your instincts and trusting your baby can tell you what it needs.
Dr Sears’s 7B’s of parenting are;
- Bonding at birth; preparation and education are key. Take an active role in your baby’s birth to help you get the birth you want
- Read and respond to your baby’s cues; they’re not trying to manipulate you; honestly they’re not. Crying is the only way they communicate.
They have different cries. According to Pricilla Dunstan who developed Dunstan Baby Language http://www.dunstanbaby.com/ we can learn what their cries mean for a greater understanding of our baby’s communication
3. Breastfeeding; a 24 hour milk bar on tap, the composition of the milk changes according to what the baby needs! It’s always a perfect temperature, baby gets anti-bodies, mum gets happy hormones and if you’re having a hard time, seek help. There are several organisations with helplines:
The La Leche League 0845 120 2918
The NCT Breastfeeding Helpline 0300 330 0700
The National Breastfeeding Line 0300 100 0212
Association of Breastfeeding Mothers 0300 330 5453
4. Babywearing; it’s a hands free kit for a baby! Slings are brilliant things I do remember seeing someone wearing a sling many years ago and thinking they were doing so because they couldn’t afford a pram. Believe me, this is unlikely to be true. Whilst brand new slings can start off from about £35 or second hand ones even cheaper, you can pay £100’s of pounds for them. And they get addictive too (just warning you!) A local ‘sling meet’ or babywearing consultant can put you in the right direction.
5. Bedding Close To Baby (or co-sleeping); in our culture, we are often told we must not sleep with our babies. SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is often cited as a reason why not to. But as long as you stick to the ‘rules’, co-sleeping may in fact be safer than having your baby sleep apart from you.
I remember being totally petrified as my first baby wouldn’t sleep anywhere apart from on my chest. She would cry as soon as I put her down even if I thought she was totally asleep. And I absolutely worried about this until a midwife told me this was totally normal!
She slept there, on my chest, for 3 ½ weeks! It’s really common but no-one ever tells you this!
6. Balance and boundaries; This is a big one! Take a night off. Show yourself some self care. If you’re not fine, don’t say you’re fine when someone asks you. What solutions are there? Can you accept help and support from others?
Letting others help you is not an admission of failure! It’s normal! It’s how we’re supposed to be living; in communities where we help each other. Accepting help gives the ‘helper’ a chance to do something good; to earn some good karma.
7. Beware of the Baby Trainers; If it goes against your parental instincts, there’s probably a reason why. Most babies don’t sleep through the night. They wake frequently. Adjust your expectations and seek as much support as you can to allow you to rest
But it’s really about balance. Some people get really into the specifics of attachment parenting and the crunchiness and forget about the balance bit. It’s easy to do. I admire people who are properly hardcore about it all and seem to keep it all together. But for me, maintaining a semblance of keeping it all together was about balance.
Sometimes, I used a pram. Especially when carrying shopping for some distance. When we go away, I use disposable nappies. Sometimes I forget my bags at the supermarket and I have way too many plastic ones that magically accumulate. Plastic toys do sneak into my house. I bought a plastic Peppa Pig dressing table the other day because my 4 year old really, really wanted it. It plays a tune; the same tune over and over again! She definitely doesn’t need it.
Once their basic needs are met, all they really need is LOVE and guidance to reach THEIR full potential.
However, you choose to parent, remember to care for yourself, to find some balance somehow, to trust your instincts in pregnancy, childbirth and beyond because no-one will ever parent the way you do it.
The best advice is to educate yourself the best you can, learn of others opinions and do it your own way anyway!
If you’re in Manchester or Cheshire, you like my style and you’re wanting to learn hypnobirthing or are thinking of having a doula, feel free to contact me. With Love, Kati x