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Attachment Parenting

I have always thought that parents are instinctively attached to their babies. Apparently not everyone shares that point of view. In one of his many baby books, Dr. William Sears introduces a concept he calls “attachment parenting,” wherein he teaches new parents how to develop a connection with their new baby, just in case they don’t know how to do so on their own.

Dr. Sears’s grand theory can be boiled down to one sentence: When your baby cries, it’s always for a reason, and you should attempt to stop the crying, no matter what it takes. To assist parents with this task, he furnishes an elaborate set of rocking and jumping methods as well as an intricate square-dance routine. Unfortunately, I have encountered many parents who followed this philosophy and literally drove themselves and their baby crazy with guilt and frustration when it didn’t work. And it will never work as well as he suggests.

There’s no question that a young baby’s cries often indicate hunger or a need for closeness, and that need should be tended to. But you’ll find that no matter how loving a parent you are, Lucy will cry sometimes simply because she needs a release. She can’t talk. She can’t exercise. She has no creative outlets. So how does she blow off steam? By crying and flailing about. Attempting to suppress that crying at all costs worsens the problem by denying her a natural soothing mechanism. Ultimately, the obsession with avoiding crying will make the whole family anxious and unhappy. I assure you, you are attached. Just trust your instincts.