by Lacie Rader
Attachment parenting styles vary from family to family but everyone who takes the approach is totally opposed to cry it out. Based around Dr William Sears’ seven “B’s” – birth bonding, breastfeeding, bedding close to baby, babywearing, belief in the value of baby’s cries, balance, being wary of strict training. “We answer each of our newborn’s cries by responding with food, cuddles and singing,” says Lacie Rader in Attachment Parenting. “We do it consistently, promptly, at any time of the day, regardless of our own current state or needs.” You may be accused of creating needy, anxious, sleepless babies. It’s not easy or always enjoyable, she acknowledges. Few parents go ‘all in’ with attachment parenting, but some of its core principles have become mainstream, especially baby-wearing, extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping, which should always be done safely, using a wahakura or baby basket to give baby its own selfcontained sleeping space within the family bed. Another option is a cot that attaches to the side of the bed, so baby is always within arm’s reach.
real parents say
“I took an attachment or gentle parenting approach to sleep with my two boys. I followed their cues, learning to recognise when they were sleepy and focusing on our relationship. I couldn’t handle leaving my baby crying. I read books by Pennie Brownlee, Dr Sears and Magda Gerber. I also read up on safe co-sleeping. I’m interested in infant brain development and how stress affects babies’ growing brains. Learning about that helped me think about the long game and understand that babies are not meant to sleep through the night at first. They have tiny tummies that need filling up every few hours. Letting go of unrealistic expectations about sleep while trying to get as much as possible seemed to help. I sometimes wonder if I made it hard for myself, if I should have found a way for them to sleep on their own, in their own room, but it’s just for a short time. Both boys are bigger now and go to sleep happily and sleep through. They like it if we lie with them. It’s no trouble. I like it. It’s peaceful.” Lucy, mum of two, Auckland