When we think about attachment parenting being an instinctive and primal thing it is no great surprise that many animals in the wild demonstrate the same parenting principles.
Have you ever noticed how instinctive and primal parenting can feel? All of your preconceived ideas and notions could fly out the window the minute your baby is placed upon your chest.
There may be a very sudden and real yearning to do things in a particular way and that way might just surprise you.
A lot of people who practice attachment parenting didn’t necessarily plan to do so. In fact, many have never heard of the term before and simply embody it’s principles because they feel right. When they meet their baby they may end up approaching the baby’s care in an entirely different way than planned. The way they choose to feed their baby, approach the area of sleep and everything in between can take a major turn upon meeting their child.
When we think about attachment parenting being an instinctive and primal thing it is no great surprise that many animals in the wild demonstrate the principles of this parenting style in the very same way. They do not have the textbooks, Public Health Nurse, apps or birth plans but when you think about it we have a lot in common with them when it comes to caring for our young. If it’s good enough for animals in the wild then it’s good enough for us.
Let’s start with milk. You won’t see a pig with a bottle in it’s hand. Hand? Paw? Hoof? You won’t see them with a bottle. They’ll be feeding their babies the way nature intended and they don’t even have a Lactation Consultant on standby. They know how to feed their babies, the babies know where the food is and that is how they are fed. It’s simple and amazing really. Sticking with pigs for a second (I do love pigs) – they actually love to snuggle too. They are often found wrapped up in each other simply being close.
Many animals behave in a way that they want their offspring to behave. They do not send mixed signals and act one way but demand that their young act another way. This can be especially difficult for humans when it comes to feeling empathy or sympathy when our children are having a tantrum or “acting out”. We tend to join them, lose our minds and make things ten times worse instead of responding sensitively.
According to farmers calm and easy going cows tend to breed calm and easy going calves. They mimic the behaviour of their parents in this very way. These animals understand that their offspring rely on learned skills to survive and all skills are learned from watching the mother. Many animals show love by being playful with their children. Within days of giving birth they can be seen running around chasing their offspring in joyful play. It really shows how natural it is to teach and show the experience of joy.
And let's talk about that fourth trimester for a second. For many wild animals, there is a period of time where they do not share the baby with anyone. They actively keep them away from the herd hiding them in long grass. When the time is right they join the herd and begin to integrate once again, but generally, it’s not immediately. We could definitely take a leaf out of that book.
Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.