Dr Sears believes that close attachment promotes positive infant and parent behaviour that will lead to a place of positive life-long growing together.
Many prospective parents are intrigued by the principles of attachment parenting. They’ve heard of the benefits and it seems to be right up their street.
But what do the professionals say? Is there any science and research to back up the perceived benefits of parenting
in this manner?
Let’s start with the man himself – Dr Sears. William Penton Sears is an American paediatrician and author of several parenting books. For many people, he is the pinnacle of attachment parenting.
As a doctor, he is educated to an extremely sophisticated degree. He has the educational and first-hand clinical experience that makes his voice worth hearing. According to his website, www.askdrsears.com
, attachment parenting implies opening your heart and mind to the individual needs of your baby. He believes that if your parenting life begins in this way you will “develop the wisdom to make on-the-spot decisions about what works best for both you and your baby”.
That is a pretty confident and reassuring statement from a doctor who deals with parents and children every single day.
Dr Sears believes that close attachment
promotes positive infant and parent behaviour that will lead to a place of positive life-long growing together as parent and child. It tunes in to the needs of your baby and helps you to connect with the nurturing side that will lead to a happy and confident child.
In terms of chemistry attachment parenting does in fact release “feel-good hormones”. It helps the body to have balanced levels of cortisol. This hormone is released by the adrenal glands and it plays a major part in the emotional responses of human beings. Having balanced levels of cortisol will help a parent and baby cope better with stressful situations. This is imperative at a time where stress levels may be at an all-time high and sleep levels are at an all-time low.
Chemistry also shows that babies or infants who do not have a strong bond of attachment become accustomed to low hormonal levels and as a result can become apathetic. They may grow to be children who are chronically anxious and their familiar environment is one fuelled by high levels of stress. This science also suggests that the physical presence of a mother is important for keeping a baby’s behavioural chemistry balanced.
Oxytocin is considered to be the feel-good hormone. It is the hormone that helps us to experience relaxation and love. This hormone is released in large amounts when a woman is breastfeeding. It encourages maternal behaviours and a level of caregiving responsiveness that makes for a much happier mother and baby. While breastfeeding a mother is likely to feel more relaxed and more capable even when faced with stress and sleep deprivation.
When your infants grow to become older children and eventually adults they are more likely to demonstrate high levels of sympathy and trust. This can dramatically impact their confidence and happiness levels in general day to day life as well as when it comes to making big decisions and future plans. Children who have grown up with a strong bond of attachment are likely to become adults that develop meaningful and respectful relationships with their peers, employers and partners.
Attachment parenting has so much to offer parents and children. Even science says so.
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.