The Forgotten “B” of Attachment Parenting

Although Attachment Parenting(AP) is not a new concept, it does seem to have picked up steam in the realm of mainstream parenting over the past few years. Minivans everywhere are adorned with decals that declare there is a "breastfeeding, baby-wearing, bed-sharing mama" on board.

In fact, when you read the title of this post, those three things are likely the first (perhaps even the only?) B's that came to mind. But there is a lot more to AP than breastfeeding, baby-wearing, and bed-sharing.

According to Dr. Sears, there are "7 Baby B's," or attachment tools for parenting:

  1. Birth Bonding

  2. Breastfeeding

  3. Baby-wearing

  4. Bedding Close To Baby

  5. Belief in the Language Value of Your Baby's Cry

  6. Beware of Baby Trainers

...and now that you see them written out, you're probably nodding, "yes, yes, those make sense and sound about right for AP." But the seventh B, the oft forgotten B, may surprise you:

     7. Balance

Say it with me again: balance.

You see, AP is often portrayed, much to its disservice, as sacrificial parenting. As "all-or-nothing" parenting. And, while there are certainly some sacrifices (I think that's just true of parenting, period), AP is flexible. Indeed, one of the reasons AP promotes being wary of baby trainers is due to the rigidity of a lot of training plans.

The purpose of AP is to promote connection to your baby, to help you learn to read your baby's cues and respond accordingly and, key word here, appropriately.

Here’s the truth: 

  • Appropriately responding to your baby doesn't necessarily mean picking up your baby every time they cry.

  • It doesn't mean never peeing alone because your baby should be held.

  • It doesn't mean forgoing showers for days on end because your baby cries when you leave their sight.

As much as holding and feeding and soothing and sleeping with your baby are a part of promoting attachment, so is taking care of yourself; as your connection with your baby grows and deepens, they are learning just as much about reading your cues as you are about reading theirs. If you run yourself ragged, your baby will feel that, too.

When it comes down to it, AP is supposed to be instinctual parenting, or trusting what you know about yourself and your baby in order to make the decisions that are right for your family.

Which means that although there are seven B's here, not all seven may be right for you, or right all of the time, and that's okay! They are tools meant to make this whole parenting gig easier! So toss them in your parenting toolbox and take them out if and when the occasion arises.

But don't forget that last B, that seventh B is key.

Attachment Parenting not right for your family? Still trying to figure out what your parenting style is? We can help. There is no one perfect way to parent, but there are a million good ways—and we bet you're a natural! Let us help you find your groove. #postpartumdoulasdothat