After having a baby, I hear a lot about different parenting styles and books about them. Though I don’t know all of them, I do know there are two schools of thought which stand far apart – the baby training style and the err, the non-training style. I didn’t know what the second style was called until I read the book ‘The Attachment Parenting Book’.
The first school emphasizes on training the baby to adjust to your world and the second does the opposite – you getting used to your baby and its schedules. The first time I heard about sleep training the baby, I was aghast! You apparently ‘teach’ the baby to go to sleep by letting him cry in his crib unattended. The baby literally cries itself to sleep while you stand by and watch. How inhumanely and cruel that sounded to me! And what is the big need to teach the baby to go to sleep on its own? Did our mothers sleep train us? Didn’t we learn to sleep on our own? The moment I read about sleep training, I knew I would hate everything about this style of parenting. What that meant was I would like the other parenting style.
Coming back to the book, it is an excellent guide to first time parents. The emphasis is more on mothering, but fathers can read it too, since it has a chapter on attachment fathering. The book advises parents to listen to baby’s cues and attend to it accordingly.
A baby needs to trust his parents and this world before he can get used to it. A mother is the person a baby trusts the most and a mother should never let the baby feel that she is not there for him. I can’t stand the thought of letting my baby cry. I would rush to him and hold him in my arms – I can never spoil him that way, can I? My son cries because he has a need. It could be hunger, sleep, pain, fear and sheer boredom. Can’t infants get bored? Think about it.
We mothers, Indians especially, follow attachment parenting without knowing it. The book emphasizes on creating a strong bond between the baby and the parents. Breastfeeding, babywearing, bonding at birth, co-sleeping – these are some of the things that are discussed in the book. I am a big fan of co-sleeping and I was very happy with the amount of importance the book gives to co-sleeping.
While I agree with most of these ideas, babywearing is something I have a slight objection to. I feel that infants are capable of entertaining themselves and need not be carried all the time. I would leave my son to play on his own and even today he plays with his toys for hours together while I catch up with my house work. Also, if I had worn my baby in a sling for six months, when would he learn to roll over and crawl? Carrying in a sling might be inevitable for high-need babies, but I feel babies should be given some private time of their own. Wonder what Dr.Sears will say to that.
The best thing about attachment parenting is it lets you, the mom, decide what is best for the baby. Only a mom can know what the baby needs. Even today, my husband and my mom can’t differentiate between my son’s different cries. He has a different crying style for all his needs – hunger, sleep, pain, hurt, fear and boredom. My husband wonders how come I know exactly what my son wants. Well, what can I say, I am the mother. I am biologically programmed to understand and cater to my son’s needs. And this is what attachment parenting is all about.