What attachment parenting IS:
A way to form a lasting, loving connection between you and your children.
A nurturing, gentle, and compassionate method of parenting and relating to your babies and children.
A way to build a foundation of trust, understanding, and mutual respect between yourself and your baby that will last throughout childhood and into adulthood.
A natural and instinctual method of responding to and interacting with your babies and children.
A validating approach to parenting that encourages you to follow your baby's cues and trust your own innate ability when responding to your child.
A way to help fulfill your baby's needs through nurturing touch, responsive feeding, close physical contact, gentle guidance, and empathetic communication.
A style of parenting which fosters security, self-esteem, inner harmony, and independence in your children.
What attachment parenting is NOT:
A strict set of rules you have to follow.
Attachment parenting has several guidelines suggested to help you foster the natural connection you already feel for your child. They aren't rules, and you don't have to do all of them in order to be an attached parent! The spirit and basis of attachment parenting is cultivating a deep and trusting connection between you and your children. Things like breastfeeding, babywearing, and cosleeping are all tools which can help you feel closer to your baby and to be naturally and more easily responsive to their needs; but you needn't practice all of them in order to practice attachment parenting.
A method of parenting that you can only practice with babies.
The ideas behind attachment parenting transcend babyhood. You don't have to start only when your child is a baby, nor feel like you've missed out! The principles of nurturing touch, empathetic communication, and gentle discipline can be put into effect at ANY TIME in your child's life. EVERYONE benefits from being truly listened to, understood, and respected. You may even find yourself attachment partnering! ;)
A parenting method only for at-home mothers.
While having consistant, loving care is critical for every baby and child, there's no reason that care needs to come from ONLY mom! Fathers, grandparents, siblings, and care givers can all care for babies in an attached way. You only need the desire for connection, a willingness to honor baby's cries as valid communication, and the ability to respond with sensitivity, empathy, and love to the wide range of childhood emotions - even the more challenging ones. Babywearing can actually HELP caregivers more effectively and responsively care for babies, while getting other things done! I know many parents who brought their babies to work in a sling (myself being one of them!), or who were able to reconnect lovingly at night after work, through breastfeeding and a family bed.
Attachment parenting is, at its core, a method for relating to babies and children in gentle, nurturing ways, in an effort to form a lasting, loving, joyful connection with them. It's easy to do, feels good, and is wonderful for your children - AND for you!
For more information about attachment parenting - what it REALLY IS, and how you can bring it into your life with your own children, grandchildren, or other children you care for, please check out these wonderful articles (listed alphabetically, except for NPN... because I write there, too!):
NaturalParentsNetwork.com: What is Attachment Parenting?
AskDrSears.com: What AP Is: 7 Baby B's
Attachment Parenting International: What is Attachment Parenting All About?
TheBabyBond.com: Bonding Matters… The Chemistry of Attachment
DrJayGordon.com: Flower Shop (Why You Should Attachment Parent)
GreenChildMagazine.com: How Does Attachment Parenting Foster Independence?
GreenMomHappyMom.com: How to Balance Work & Attachment Parenting
The Hippie Housewife: Attachment Parenting (Series)
MommaJorje.com: WHY Attachment Parenting?
Our Crazy Corner of the World: What AP Looks Like
Radical Ramblings: Attachment Parenting is for Everyone - Really!
True Confessions of a Real Mommy: 7 Principles of "Too Lazy"
TheVerigatedLife.com: Five Truths About Attachment Parenting
VibrantWanderings.com: Why Practice Attachment Parenting (Series)
Do you have a favorite post that describes attachment parenting in an uplifting and positive light? Please share!