IT’S bedtime in the family home and the only way your child will be soothed to sleep is if you’ll snuggle up beside them as they fall asleep.
But should you encourage your child to self-soothe and drift off by themselves, or is there a long-term benefit to this close bond?
Where parents were once advised to fit their baby into their busy schedule, attachment parenting revolves around responding to your baby’s needs and having close physical contact with them.
This can take the form of co-sleeping, breastfeeding and baby-wearing, when you carry a child around with you in a harness or sling.
The child-rearing was pioneered by American paediatrician Dr William Sears, and scientists have been debating the benefits over the years.
Some believe that it is the ideal way to raise secure and independent children, but is it best for your baby?
Susan Krauss Whitbourne, a professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, claims there’s evidence that attachment parenting helps kids be successful as adults.
She wrote in Psychology Today: “When you separate the popular exaggerations of AP from the more objectively oriented scientific studies, it’s a sensible approach that fosters physical and psychological health in children.
“We do know from extensive research … that securely attached adults have happier and less conflict-ridden lives. There’s even research to suggest they may be better parents themselves.”
What is attachment parenting and co-sleeping?
Attachment parenting is a philosophy that encourages mothers to build a strong connection with their children through close physical contact and with responsiveness and maternal empathy.
Some believe that it is the ideal way to raise secure and independent children.
It is thought that a strong and trusting attachment to parents forms a solid foundation for good relationships in later life.
It’s estimated that half of all UK mums will share a bed with their baby at some point during the first few months of their little one’s life.
Co-sleeping is when parents sleep in the same space as their baby, whether this is in bed or on the sofa.
According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), Sudden Infant Death Syndrome occurs more often when parents kip with their kids.
And she’s not the only one to write about the positive results of attachment parenting.
Patrice Marie Miller and Michael Lamport Commons at Harvard Medical School conducted a study in 2010 on the child-rearing method.
They said: “[The benefits] include less exposure to stress, which effects [sic] brain development and later reactions to stress. This has been shown to reduce mental health problems in later development.
“Another important psychological benefit is secure attachment, which is the tendency of the child to seek contact with a parent when distressed and to be effectively consoled by that contact.
"The result of more effective emotion regulation and secure attachment … is that children engage more effectively with essential developmental tasks, including peer relationships and schooling.”
And lots of celebrities have got behind the trend too.
Tamara, the millionaire daughter of Bernie Ecclestone, who has an estimated £300million fortune, is also a strong believer in attachment parenting.
Tamara said that daughter Sophia sleeps in her and husband Jay Rutland’s marital bed, and has done since she was six months old.
Tamara said: “She goes in the middle and takes up most of the bed. I just sleep on the side.
“It hasn’t really affected the romance. You learn to adapt and change. Obviously it’s different, but it’s still there and we do still make time for each other. Just not as much.”
Of course, what works for one child might not work for another, so it’s important to respond to your youngster and adapt your style accordingly.
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