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What Is Attachment Parenting?

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An Updated Look at Attachment Parenting

Sears is the pediatrician who popularized attachment parenting. He has streamlined its principles into what he calls the "7 Baby B's" or "Attachment Tools":

  1. Birth bonding. Sears acknowledges that the now-or-never idea of attachment doesn't hold true. Adopted children, foster kids, and infants in intensive care can all learn to form healthy relationships as adults later in life.
  2. Breastfeeding. While still advocated, breastfeeding is now understood to benefit a mother as well as a baby. It does this by producing increased levels of her "bonding" hormones, prolactin and oxytocin.
  3. Baby-wearing. Sears focuses on "baby-wearing" to promote attachment, frequent touch, and parents' sensitivity to an infant's cues of needs.
  4. Bedding close to baby. While Sears still advises sleeping close to babies, his attachment parenting model more fully acknowledges the need for parents to get a good night's sleep.
  5. Belief in the language-value of your baby's cry. Sears' attachment parenting model strongly advises parents to respond to their babies' cries and not let babies "cry it out."
  6. Beware of baby trainers. Sears continues to discredit what he calls "convenience" parenting. Convenience parenting, he says, puts a parent's ease and convenience above an infant's feeding cues or emotional bonding needs. An example might be parent-scheduled feedings.
  7. Balance. Sears' advice on attachment parenting still includes strong advice to parents to balance parenting, marriage, and their own health and emotional needs.

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