Natural Parenting, or Attachment Parenting as its also known has lots of connotations for different people, but essentially its just about keeping your baby or toddler close to you, responding effectively to their needs, and using instinctive, natural tools and feelings to parent your child. Very often NP/AP includes breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing, baby led weaning, and using cloth/reusable nappies, but there are no set rules – its not an exclusive club; just a set of simple ideas. To read more about the benefits of attachment parenting see this article from Dr Sears.
Many people who don’t use NP/AP believe that it would be difficult, time consuming, that you lose your own free time, you dont get a break, etc etc…. personally I find Natural/Attachment parenting convenient, easy and beneficial for our family for many reasons. Here are 5 reasons why it works for us:
1. Co-sleeping = no sleepless nights. Win!
My babies have been tucked up (safely) next to me all night, meaning when they stir with hunger they don’t have to fully wake to cry for food, and I don’t have to get up either. Its horrible having to get out of your nice snuggly warm bed in the middle of the night; I love having my baby right next to me, knowing she’s safe, warm, comforted, and well fed. We wake up happy and well-rested in the morning.
2. Breastfeeding = less faff. full stop.
No scrubbing bottles, no sterilising, no warming milk, no storing, measuring and mixing powder and water, no getting up at night to make up bottes… I have nothing against bottle feeding and I understand that some people just cant breastfeed, but honestly Im so glad that I can because its soooo much less hassle than bottle-feeding. Breastfeeding and co-sleeping work really well together too.
3. Babyled weaning = happy family meals and hot dinners for you!
Babyled weaning is essentially allowing your baby to feed themselves as they transition onto solid food (rather than pureeing and spoon feeding). You can find out more about BLW by reading the excellent book. BLW encourages positive feeding habits, natural portion control and a taste for lots of flavours and textures. It is less hassle and cheaper too; you don’t have to make special food as your baby can just have some of your dinner and you can all eat together, which is great for family bonding. And if you’re really lucky you’ll be able to eat your own dinner while its still hot because baby will be busy eating their own!
4. Responding to cries = secure, independent children…
For reasons unbeknown to me many people seem to think that by cuddling your baby, picking them when they cry, reassuring them when they’re anxious, or settling them to sleep when they’re tired, that you will ‘spoil’ your baby, that they will be clingy and fussy and never ever be able to leave your side. Its just not true. AP children develop an inner security and attachment to you which will allow them to engage with the world effectively and independently. As Dr Sears says, “Spoiling happens when a child is put on the shelf, left alone, forgotten about–the way that food spoils.”
5. Baby wearing = happy baby & free hands for you.