Today we get to Baby B #2, Breastfeeding. There is SO much involved in breastfeeding (benefits. how-to, solving common problems, etc.) that if I covered it all here I would probably end up with a whole book! So, I will only discuss breastfeeding as it directly relates to Attachment Parenting.
Breastfeeding as we all know is extremely beneficial to baby's (and mommy's) health, but how does it assist you in parenting your child?
Breastfeeding makes you an expert on your baby. A breastfeeding mother feeds her baby on demand, not on a schedule. This means that she is always looking for those little faces, sounds, and movements that her baby makes when he/she is hungry. By always observing you baby you learn all of your baby's signals. You know if your baby is hungry, tired, needs to be changed, is tired, or just wants attention simply by reading your baby's little signs. This means that a breastfeeding mother will better be able to react according to the baby's actual needs instead of guessing and causing mom and baby to become frustrated. This is where we come full circle, as an extremely upset baby is very difficult to nurse and a stressed out mom can start to have issues with milk production.
Breastfeeding also makes for a more empathetic parent. Breastfeeding requires that you are always following your baby's cues and looking at life through his/her eyes. This ability is very important to an Attachment Parent because an empathetic parent is more likely to react to baby's needs with sensitivity and caring. This ability, again, can only serve to further assist in breastfeeding success because you will end with a happier baby and a less stressed out mommy.
If you formula feed or are an exclusive pumper that DOES NOT mean you can't learn these same Attachment habits!
Here are 3 simple things you can do if you bottle-feed:
1. Feed On Demand- Follow your baby's cues and feed your baby when he/she asks for it. However, tempting it may be, do not put your baby on a schedule.
2. Simulate Breastfeeding- Hold your baby in similar positions to those in which your would nurse him/her. Don't ignore your baby either. Give him/her the same attention you would if your were nursing. Touch your baby, make eye contact with your baby, talk to your baby.
3. DO NOT PROP THE BOTTLE EVER!!! Not only is bottle propping neglectful, but is bad for your baby's teeth and VERY DANGEROUS!
Source: Attachment Parenting by Martha and Willam Sears
Come back for the next Baby B: Babywearing!