I get the majority of my information from Dr. Sears (aka the baby whisperer) who has put together a lovely list of the benefits of attachment parenting. To many, it sounds like “spoil your baby and let him run your life” parenting. I come from a family who criticizes such parenting methods, but as science will tell you, this parenting method is actually turning out to be more beneficial to the child and parent. I will start with his “10 Ways Attachment Parenting Makes Disciplining Easier” article. Click here to read the article in full.
1. Attachment parenting promotes mutual sensitivity
2. Attachment parenting produces people who care
3. Attachment parenting organizes babies
4. Attachment parenting promotes quiet alertness
5. Attachment parenting promotes trust
6. Attachment parenting promotes independence
7. Attachment parenting promotes intimacy
8. Attachment parenting builds better-behaved brains
9. Attachment parenting helps you discipline the difficult child
10. Attachment parenting encourages obedience
-It’s awesome: I look forward to our long nights of snuggles and nursing each day, and I love waking up to his sweet, sweet face.
-sleeping stomach-to-stomach actually stimulates breathing. “…the closer baby is to mother’s nose, the higher is the carbon dioxide concentration of the exhaled air, and the concentration of carbon dioxide between the face-to-face pair is possibly just the right amount to stimulate breathing (Mosko 1994).”
-It is neurologically beneficial to the baby (and it essentially cured my own PPD) “Maintenance of critical levels of tactile input of specific quality and emotional content is important for normal brain maturation” (Schore 2001).
-They are less likely to be stressed, now and even later into adulthood. “when babies are deprived of physical contact, they are more likely to grow into aggressive adults. Dr. William Sears suspects that babies thrive better when sleeping with their parents” (Sears)
-I sleep more now than I ever have, even through teething. “Each member of the pair tended to often, but not always, be in the same stage of sleep for longer periods if they slept together.” (Sears)
We do NOT cry it out
-My number one reason for not allowing Ry to CIO is purely based on the fact that it goes against my instincts. I don’t like crying myself to sleep, and I don’t like crying alone, so why should I expect him to?
-Also, I don’t like to think that I can “clock out” and go to bed when I feel it’s necessary. Parenting is a round the clock job, and I will be there for him, as his mother, 24/7.
-I was a CIO baby, and I always remember having a hard time going to bed when I was a little older, and I always remember feeling anxious around bed time. Today, I still suffer from GAD and Panic disorder. I’m not necessarily saying the two correlate, all I’m saying is that I am a CIO baby who suffers from anxiety as an adult. Now, onto science:
-It kills brain cells! “when babies are stressed, their bodies release cortisol into their systems — a toxic hormone that kills brain cells. killing off of baby brain cells can lead to the higher probability of ADHD, poor academic performance and anti-social tendencies, and that human babies are hardwired for hands-on comfort and care.” (Darcia Narvaez)
-Responding to emotional cues is imperative to their intellectual development. “the single most important influence of a child’s intellectual development is the responsiveness of the mother to the cues of her baby.” (Dr. Michael Lewis)
-Disassociative withdrawal “when babies don’t calm down after a couple of minutes, they tend to go into full hyper-arousal and then dissociative withdrawal. This is a common response for a distressed infant” (Perry, 1998)
-Trust issues. "What happens if you “harden your heart,” view the cry as a control rather than a communication tool and turn a deaf ear to baby’s cries? When you go against your basic biology, you desensitize yourself to your baby’s signals and your instinctive responses. Eventually, the cry doesn’t bother you. You lose trust in your baby’s signals, and you lose trust in your ability to understand baby’s primitive language. A distance develops between you and your baby and you run the risk of becoming what pediatricians refer to as a doctor-tell-me-what-to-do. You listen to a book instead of your baby. So, not listening and responding sensitively to baby’s cries is a lose-lose situation: Baby loses trust in caregivers and caregivers lose trust in their own sensitivity." (Sears)
-I’m not even going to go into detail except to say that I have nothing BUT science to back up my decision.
-they work (science)
-vaccines are among the top 5 greatest public health achievements, ever, in the world, period, the end. (science)
-Save money! I used averages for math, and even factored out the cost of breastmilk storage bags and the pumps I have, and I’ve still saved $1,000 than I would if I formula fed (based on average formula costing .19 per oz, feeding Ryder 30 oz a day for a year [our goal])
-Postpartum weight loss: I lost all 60 lbs that I had gained in under 2 months, including the “leftovers” around my abdomen. While my genetics probably played a large role, my mother even admitted I was smaller than she was after her first.
-Breastfed babies are most often larger than formula fed. Ryder has never been less than the 90th percentile for weight. A big baby is a healthy baby!
-Deflecting illness: Ryder, in his seven months, has NEVER been sick. I, however, have come down with numerous things, and he was able to ward off every one of them with the antibodies in my breast milk.
-They’re usually smarter than non breastfed babies. “The researchers found that breast-fed infants with at least one or more of the common variation had IQ scores that were, on average, six to seven points higher than those of nonnursed kids with similar genetics. But breast-feeding did not appear to affect those children (10 percent of the population) with only the less common variant. The scientists ruled out other factors, including birth weight and the mother’s social class and IQ, finding that they had no impact.” (Moffitt)
-Babies are more independent in that they are essentially feeding themselves, which also lowers the risk for obesity. “Breast milk provides your baby with food that is easy to digest and very nutritious, and your child helps decide how much to eat and when to eat it. Both the breast milk itself and the way your baby feeds help him or her to develop healthy eating patterns. Breastfed babies seem to be better able to regulate their food intake and thus are at lower risk for obesity.” (JAMA pediatrics)
-If I’ve been carrying Ryder more often than not throughout the day, he is happier out of the wrap/carrier.
-Hands free! It is literally that “third” arm every mother dreams of having. Put the lil babe high up on your back, and you can essentially do any household chore in the book, while also rocking baby to sleep by your motions. If baby is awake, even better! Stimulating the senses is never a bad thing.
-They learn more, which leads to a smarter baby. "Sling babies spend more time in the state of quiet alertness . This is the behavioral state in which an infant is most content and best able to interact with his environment. It may be called the optimal state of learning for a baby. Researchers have also reported that carried babies show enhanced visual and auditory alertness." (Sears)
-Reduces SIDS risk.Front carrying in the early days reduces SIDS risk (based on the idea that SIDS is caused by neurological immaturity) by more stable heart rates, more even breathing, fewer episodes of periodic breathing, fewer and shorter episodes of apnea, healthier level of oxygen in their blood, faster growth, less crying and increased time in the state of quiet alertness, and better sleeping.
All in all, with Ryder only being 7 months old, I can really sign off on about half of this so far. Ryder has always been a fast learner, and has hit milestones about a month sooner than average (all except rolling over) and even says 2 words, claps and he waves. So these are the what’s and why’s of my doing, I don’t look down at people who disagree or use alternative parenting methods. These are what I think is best, not only in general, but for my family.