Human babies, unlike other mammals rely entirely on the love and care of the caregiver. Yet after my daughter was born, just a few days old, (with positive intentions of course), I heard from my parents that “if you give the baby too much attention or tend to their every cry and coo you will spoil her.” “Don’t pick her up too much because, she will not want to come down from your lap.” The norms regarding parenting and the best methods for parenting change over time as new research data reveal what the previous generations may have done incorrectly. At that time I wondered - why is it that this being, who from early conception has been a shining star in the world of her parents, is suddenly viewed as “a brat” for wanting love and care. Is that not the primary goal of all of our lives? To be loved and cared for by our loved ones? Is it not the best feeling in the world to be held by someone we love? Then why do we suddenly become so technical when it comes to babies? Let me share my experience with attachment parenting!
“The human need for love, acceptance and community are universal”- said Joani Mortensen. If we need to start listening to the cues from our babies and from our bodies; parenting would be just a tad bit simpler. Before delivery, my OB GYN told me about the importance of skin to skin after birth and I must say, it was the most memorable two hours of my life. The importance of skin to skin right after birth is to create space for imprinting between mother and child. This phenomenon is seen in nature where mother and child spends uninterrupted time together, grooming and nursing. Those initial hours would be the platform for a lifetime of connection. We continued to practice skin to skin, nursing and baby wearing, which all aided in building the connection. Other ways I practice attachment parenting is by baby wearing whenever we are out so there is constant physical touch. These things are sometimes not possible for some parents due to logistics but even a little is better than none.
My belief is that when it comes to parenting, the easy way is not always the best way
Why is the connection so important you ask? You carried the baby for nine months and gave birth and that should be enough right? Unfortunately it’s not. We are geared towards finding the convenient way to do things to ease our lives. My belief is that when it comes to parenting, the easy way is not always the best way. You will know you are doing the right thing when the baby is calm, happy, fed and reciprocating affection. I admit, I had some fears about attachment parenting, especially after I began working and had to have my daughter go from being with me 24 hours a day to being away from me for almost 11 hours at a stretch. Despite the fear of thinking it would be difficult for my daughter to transition into an unfamiliar environment, I have seen the opposite. When there is a secure attachment with the caregiver, children feel comfortable being independent because they know mama is going to come back. It makes them social, calm and their behaviour manageable.
Azalea has now developed into a social, friendly and adventurous child because she is not stressing about the basic necessities of life: love, comfort and support. She taught me to use my instincts and listen to my body and it yielded a strong and nurturing relationship between the two of us. This technique can be followed not only by mothers but fathers, close family members and friends who have regular interactions with the child. It takes a community to raise a strong, self-aware child and science shows that, it is the strong family bond that results in raising an independent adult who has fewer risks of addiction, trauma and social anxiety. So for parents who rely solely on helpers to raise their children, bring your children into your arms and give them the connection that they crave. Put away your devices and listen to what your child is asking from you. Cancel a busy weekend and spend time at home with the ones who matter the most. The first few years will fly by in the blink of an eye but the impact on children will continue for the rest of their lives.