Attachment Parenting is a trend from the USA for a better bond with the baby, from the very first minute. What does attachment mean in German? How does the needs-oriented parenting method work in practice? And is the style suitable for you and your child? This and much more you will learn in this article.
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Attachment Parenting: What Is It?
With the birth of your first child, everything changes. Just like all other new mothers, you want to do everything right when it comes to parenting. One term you’ll come across again and again as you research books, magazines and the internet is attachment parenting.
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Attachment, in German bonding, deals as a parenting style with the methodical promotion of the mother-child relationship. The attachment method begins right after birth and refers primarily to the first years of life. It can be applied in different ways, but also until the child reaches puberty. What exactly does Attachment mean in relation to your baby? How is Attachment Parenting applied as a parenting style in theory and practice? And what do critics have to say about needs-based parenting? Discover the answers to all these questions and find out for yourself what lessons Attachment Parenting can teach you for your situation!
Parenting With Attachment – What Does It Mean?
Parenting methods are a dime a dozen! Every generation of young mothers is interested in new, modern ways to turn babies into happy children and successful adults. Some of these methods are short-lived trends, while others stand the test of time. The latter includes Waldorf education, but also Attachment Parenting. Needs-based education originated in the United States in the 1940s. It was finally brought into a unified concept by William Sears, an American pediatrician. Attachment is translated in German as the words Bindung, Verbundenheit, Zuneigung, but also Anhänglichkeit. The baby and the mother are physically closely connected. This is also how the emotional bond is supposed to develop and grow. Followers of Attachment Parenting see the parenting style as a particularly natural way of everyday life with the baby. Dr. Sears herself also calls Attachment Parenting parenting by instinct. If a mother with an infant were on a desert island, without the advice of her mother-in-law, from television or from parenting books, she would apply the Attachment Method all by herself and without guidance.
The 7 Principles Of Attachment Parenting
The Attachment Method rests mainly on seven guidelines, also called Baby-Bs. The name comes from the fact that in the English listing, each principle begins with the letter B. This is not the case with the Attachment principles in German. Nevertheless, the name Baby-Bs has also become accepted by many mothers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
The 7 Baby-Bs are:
- Bonding (physical contact after birth).
- Babywearing (carrying).
- Bed Sharing (closeness while sleeping).
- Belief in your baby’s cry (paying attention to baby’s cry).
- Beware of baby trainers (beware of sleep training).
- Balance (balancing needs).
1. Bonding With The Baby
In Attachment Parenting, bonding between mother and baby refers primarily to the period immediately after birth. According to the teachings of pediatrician Dr. Sears, this is where the foundation for further bonding with each other is laid. You should be very close to your infant immediately after delivery and intuitively form the first contact. Having the baby placed on your chest, seeking eye contact, and petting are some of the elements that go along with bonding.
Breast milk contains everything your baby needs in the first few months in the world, all experts agree. Dr. Sears goes one step further and believes that breastfeeding is an important factor for you to learn about your baby’s signals. Your maternal feelings are stimulated even more and the bond, the attachment, intensifies. Breastfeeding takes place whenever the baby asks for it. Many mothers who practice Attachment Parenting breastfeed significantly longer than other women. Dr. Sears himself developed his method primarily for the first year of life. Children who are breastfed until kindergarten age do occur in some families, but they have only a limited connection to the actual principle of Attachment Parenting.
3. Carrying The Baby
Carrying the baby close to the body is the third, important point in the Attachment Method. With wraps & co you strap your baby to the front or back of you, while you do the housework with your free hands. Even walks are done in the sling instead of putting the baby in the stroller. Babywearing and being permanently close to mom’s – or dad’s – body builds trust in the child and sensitivity to baby’s needs from your side.
4. Proximity During Sleep
The attachment method provides for a family bed, i.e. the baby sleeping in the parents’ bed. Alternatively, a crib can be chosen. A no-go in Attachment Parenting, however, is the baby’s crib in its own room, separated from mom and dad. Physical contact with the baby should also be maintained during the night to avoid fear of loss.
5. Recognize And Pay Attention To Your Baby’s Cries
Babies cry and scream due to hunger, tummy aches, wet diapers, or a feeling of abandonment. In attentive Attachment Parenting, you learn about the different types of crying and immediately address your baby’s needs. Simply letting the baby cry does not exist with this parenting method.
6. No Sleep Training
Attachment Parenting strictly rejects sleep training. Sleep training is the process of working towards a regular sleep routine for babies and toddlers. This should help children to sleep through the night more quickly.
7. The Right Balance Between Mother And Child
The last point of the seven Baby-Bs deals with the balance between the needs of the child and those of you as a mother. Your feelings must not be neglected in Attachment Parenting. Ideally, the mother-child relationship is harmonious and balanced.
Attachment Parenting In Germany: Late Trend, Great Demand
The first works on attachment were translated and published in German only late. The parenting trend made it across the pond from the U.S. primarily through prominent women. Hollywood stars like Alicia Silverstone and Mayim Bialik talk openly about the benefits of attachment parenting in interviews. Books on Attachment in German are now being published by major publishing houses. Likewise, several Attachment Parenting organizations have formed in German-speaking countries. The choice to the method of Attachment is suggested in German, however, mainly through blogs. Attachment Parenting is popular almost exclusively among well-educated women with a high social standing. Most followers live in the USA and Canada, followed by European countries such as Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands.
Attachment Parenting In The Criticism: This Is What The Opponents Say!
As with all parenting topics, there are critical voices about the Attachment Method. The criticism refers both to the method itself and to its implementation in practice. Very often, opponents of Attachment Parenting do not refer to Dr. Sears’ books and teachings, but to the much more radical interpretation of his message by some Attachment Parenting supporters. Attachment Parenting around the clock is not suitable for single mothers and mothers who need or want to return to work fairly quickly. In countries such as France, where crèches and other forms of external childcare are very popular, attachment parenting has therefore not caught on as a trend. Feminist voices criticize that some adherents propagate an outdated role model in which the woman must stay at home with the children at all costs and is only concerned with the role of mother. Moreover, those who take the guidelines and rules of Attachment Parenting as strict dogma can quickly become burned out. For some mothers, the pressure arises to be perfect. Every sleepless night and every cry, seemingly without reason, is interpreted as a personal failure. Attachment Parenting then has the exact opposite effect it is supposed to have. Another criticism states that the Attachment Method harms the child. Mothers cannot let go, are only more fixated on their child and prevent the child from making contacts outside the family. Strict proponents of Attachment Parenting usually also advocate other parenting styles, such as anti-authoritarian methods or unschooling. Criticism therefore usually goes in several directions at once.
Needs-Based Parenting In Your Everyday Life: What You Can Learn From Attachment Parenting
Every parenting style and every parenting guide has its advantages and disadvantages. Are you interested in Attachment Parenting? Then try out the guidelines without any stress or pressure. Find out which elements are good for you and your baby and which you don’t agree with. In this way, you will find your very own parenting style step by step.