How To Be An Attachment Parent From The Get-Go
For many people, attachment parenting starts from the moment they even decide to start trying to conceive a baby. They may have noticed this philosophy of parenting through a friend or family member and saw the benefits first hand. Or perhaps they have done some research and can see how attachment parenting leads to confident happy children. Of course, many people (like me) fall into attachment parenting by accident but for many others, it is a very conscious decision and one that requires a little bit of thought and preparation even during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, there are certain things that you can do to help make attachment parenting as seamless as possible when the baby makes their appearance. For example, you could pick up a baby sling, do some research on safe co-sleeping and read some helpful books and articles about breastfeeding to arm yourself with the facts and knowledge that will give you confidence when it is show time. You can even pop into a breastfeeding support group and join some online forums to start familiarising yourself with the questions and obstacles people experience because knowledge really is power.
Attachment parenting really does start as soon as you decide that this is the way you want to do things. It affects the way you visualise parenting and that is a powerful experience. If your vision of parenting involves baby-wearing, co-sleeping and breastfeeding then this is the reality you will strive to create.
If you give birth in a hospital your attachment parenting will very much take off in there. For example, you may find yourself not wanting too many (or any) visitors during this time while you get to know your baby and soak up some special uninterrupted bonding time with your little one. You may not want to expose yourself to being influenced by family members and friends who may make suggestions about how you should feed and interact with your baby. You may not be ready to physically share the baby with other people yet. Instead, you may prefer a lot of calm skin to skin during this time and that is not an unreasonable thing to want or need after you have given birth.
Breastfeeding itself can be an overwhelming experience at the start. It is important to remember that there will always be a breastfeeding solution to a breastfeeding issue. In the maternity hospital, the midwives are likely to be run off their feet. For this reason, you may want to enlist the help of a lactation consultant that could visit you while you are still at the maternity hospital. Dedicated one-to-one help with getting breastfeeding off to a great start could really make all the difference. It is a good idea to make contact with a registered and certified consultant during the later stages of your pregnancy to “line them up” and keep the communication flowing.
One of the difficulties with attachment parenting in a maternity hospital is the fact that you may be in a room with several other mothers and babies. Each mother will have her own unique experience and baby and it can be difficult to be so close to mothers that are responding to their babies in very different ways to you. Many new mums refer to the upset they felt when other babies on their ward were crying and the mothers did not immediately try to comfort them. Of course, we know that it is none of our business but emotionally it is very difficult to separate ourselves from this situation but we should try to focus on only our baby as much as we possibly can and enjoy attachment parenting from the get-go.
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.