You can’t go wrong with attachment parenting. It may be a relatively new practice in the Western world, but this type of parenting embraces the ancient art of maintaining a deep bond with your baby once he or she leaves the womb, allowing them to experience the world with a steady physical and emotional attachment to their parents. At its core, this style of parenting is as good for babies as it is for the earth. As a mother who is raising a toddler in this fashion with a newborn baby on the way, here’s why I believe attachment parenting is an amazing gift to children and the planet!
Some of the mainstays of the attachment parenting philosophy are: co-sleeping, babywearing, breastfeeding, parental interaction in place of toys, a gentle, realistic approach to discipline, and a back to basics mentality that puts the parent-child relationship above all else.
My daughter is almost three years-old, and I can honestly say that for the first two years of her life, I wondered whether I was doing the right thing by practicing attachment parenting. I have the luxury of working from home, so I have been able to dedicate this time to her upbringing; and while I have always known in my heart that I am making the right decisions raising her, there have been many naysayers, which have included close family members, along the way. Here’s a sampling of what I’ve been up against. “Co-sleeping? You’re asking for trouble!” “You’re her slave!” “You need to get her out of that baby carrier, stat!” “Just let her cry, it’s good for babies to cry.” Thankfully, my husband and I have always been on the same page with regard to our parenting choices, and we have been each others support system when times are tough.
And the full circle result has come to fruition. We have a confident, highly intelligent, loved and lovable, independent and inquisitive little girl who has blossomed due to our commitment to attachment parenting. We not only chose this route for her benefit, we chose it with the intention of preserving the environment as well. Here are five reasons why attachment parenting is good for mother earth:
No Crib Required: You can skip the need for a big clunky crib and co-sleep safely with your baby, or opt for a co-sleeper that attaches to your bed. I wish we had known this beforehand, because we bought the crib and the fancy bedding, and it never got used!
Less Toys, More Parental Interaction: There’s no need to spend money or precious resources on toys with bells, whistles and sirens. What baby most wants is your time and attention, and the precious experience of learning your face and your voice. You can read her The New York Times for all she cares, as long as you’re enlightening her and engaging her with your presence. Not to say a few choice toys won’t be enjoyed and cherished, but you’re by far baby’s favorite playmate.
Getting Back To Basics Requires Less Gadgetry: Baby monitors and bouncy chairs be gone. If you keep your baby close to you at all times, you can do away with a whole category of baby gear designed to take care of your child in your absence.
Breastfeeding Saves Resources: Eliminate the need to purchase formula and the need to wash and use bottles regularly. If you’re able to breastfeed your baby, nursing is the healthiest, least expensive and most eco-friendly way to nourish and bond with your baby.
The Art of Babywearing: Ditch the stroller and wear your baby close to your heart in an organic baby carrier. She’ll love seeing the world from your perspective, and you’ll be able to teach her and share with her much more readily when she is in such close proximity to you. My favorite baby carrier is the ERGOBaby Organic Baby Carrier.
Images: Beth Shea