Attachment Parenting

Before considering sleep. It’s a good idea to consider attachment and where a child may be in terms of this during the early years. This can be observed with age, sleep habits, closeness ect. Its great to understand how and why our babies attach in the early years, so we can better support families to maintain this and feel confident allowing us to give advise, and confident that this can be maintained during sleep interventions and training.

During consultations we may come across forms or attachment through feeding, co sleeping, clinginess and the need for parents to be close. That’s why as a sleep consult it is important I understand how it is I can work with this to help maintain the bond through these signs.

In the first year babies attach through senses. Babies like to be able to see us, feel us, hear us, smell us. Babies crave that closeness from there care givers and need it while they sleep. Explaining why independent sleep can be harder to achieve during the first year. Using sensors to support your baby with sleep can help babies to feel safe and secure. Things like comforters can help with this.

During the second year babies attach through sameness. Babies start to copy what we do and like to be more like us. When it comes to sleep, we can teach our children a lot easier using bedtime routines and wind down routines that are kept the same. This draws on seminaries to support settling and sleep.

During the third year babies attach through a sense of belonging. This is when children have a strong drive to be a family unit. When it comes to sleep children will like to know we are close and accessible. Something as simple as letting them sleep with something of yours could make a difference.

Parents may feel conflicted with what settling technique to choose and be hesitant to choose old school styles such as cry it out. This I feel would be because they want to maintain the attachment to their child and for them to not feel as though they are neglecting there needs. Attachment parenting come from a parent’s ability to respond to stress. Therefore some old school styles may not work. It also comes from how the child is responded to when distressed and important for children to feel safe and secure. If children are left in a state of fear this can lead to behavioural issues in the future, again why some parents will be hesitant to use old styles. Parents may also feel a sense of loss as their child begins to learn to fall asleep without there help. This is why as a sleep consultation it is important to be able to support clients to find techniques that suit there lifestyles and there sense of attachment with there little ones to maintain there bond. We can do this by looking at the child’s age, looking at the lifestyle, asking the parent about the child temperament ect.

As a sleep consultant, I think its important we allow parents to feel respected when choosing to keep there bonds through things like co sleeping or breastfeeding or even feeding to sleep. Active listening to the parents thoughts and concerns and letting them know that they have a right to how they feel and keeping the bond and also exploring healthy sleep habits are both very possible. An important part of attachment parenting, is the child knowing they are able to rely on there parents or caregiver and responding with a nurturing approach. Many mothers or caregivers who are still choosing to feed during the night find its much easier to have their child close by or even in the same bed. This is a clear example of something I may observe during a consultation and my approach would be to respect this and discuss expectation of the child during intervention. Sleep training and closeness is clearly possible for some babies. Others may be stimulated by the presence of there parents. But either way, as a consultant, it isn’t my job to interfere with a child and parent bond. It is my job to listen to concerns and give advise where needed. The bond between a parent and child is something very special and something as a mother myself I can understand why parents may feel conflicted when choosing to sleep train. It is a huge adjustment not only for a child but also for the parents aswell.

To conclude, Attachment parenting is an important part of parenthood and an important part of relationship building for a child. It is important children feel safe and nurtured. Letting a child ‘cry it out’, can conflict children to feel they can not depend on us during times of distress. With all of this being said, it is very possible for parents to maintain there bond and connection during the early years, and also have great sleepers. Its important looking at age we discuss expectations in terms of attachment in the early years, and also look at what is possible moving forward. Using active listening, and also respecting any concerns that may arise during intervention.

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