When it comes to optimal psychological development, it has been shown over and over by researchers that following nature’s powerful plan works best.
Recently, a name has been given to this natural parenting style: Attachment Parenting.
Babies are born with dynamic tools to communicate their vital, basic needs.Parents become wired neurologically and hormonally during pregnancy and through prolonged physical contact with the newborn to know how to provide baby’s needs.
Infants universally will
cry when laid down alone, when in need ofstimulation for brain development, when hungry, and when in need of loving. This desperate cry invokes a strong desire in the parent to provide. Acting on the instinctual craving to hold, protect, and comfort the child sows the seeds for life-long trust, and plants the image in the child that they are worthy of care and attention.
The baby care practices that attachment parents have found to provide optimal physical and emotional health and intellectual development include:
• Responding to baby’s cries
• Holding and carrying baby closely much of the day
• Nighttime parenting promoted by flexible sleep arrangements, especially sharing sleep with baby
• Exclusive breastfeeding on cue
• Continued breastfeeding beyond solid foods; avoiding forced premature weaning
• Speaking to and interacting with baby frequently, responding to cues
• Interpreting exploration as mind development rather than as “naughty behavior”
• Validating baby’s feelings
• Enriching dialog and guidance as opposed to violent discipline or meaningless dogma
• Non-violent toys and play
Respecting the feelings and needs of every member in the household is just as important, albeit giving baby some priority.