87. Attachment Parenting

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Having your kid physically attached to you probably doesn't sound like fun, but an American pediatrician, William Sears, promotes a style of parenting that keeps small children as physically attached as possible. This is called attachment parenting.

The idea behind attachment parenting is that if a small baby feels protected and safe by physical contact with their parent, especially their mother, that child will grow up to be a more independent adult. One way parents are encouraged to be close to their babies is by using a sling or a wrap to carry the baby around instead of putting the baby in a carriage. This is often called "wearing" your baby. Parents are also encouraged to sleep with their babies. Parents are too big to fit in a crib, so instead parents are told to bring the baby into the adult bed. This is supposed to teach the baby about sleep regulation as well since the baby will learn to mimic adult sleep patterns. This co-sleeping is controversial though. There are concerns that babies sleeping with adults could suffocate, accidentally get crushed, or fall off the bed. There is also concern about sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, where babies just suddenly stop breathing.

Another marker of attachment parenting is not worrying about spoiling a baby. Many times parents feel that paying attention to a baby's every cry makes them too needy or spoiled. Attachment parenting feels that every baby's cry should be responded to and that the baby should never be left to "cry it out." Instead, the baby should be comforted and crying should be taken as a signal that the baby needs something. Most attachment parents also breastfeed on demand, feeling that not only is this physically healthier, but also promotes a bond between mother and child.

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