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Blog post we love badge jpgEditor’s note: Attachment Parenting International (API) is so grateful to the parents who share their experiences on this blog. Many of our writers have their own personal blogs where they share more about their unique brand of Attachment Parenting. We want to take the opportunity to highlight blog posts beyond API that capture the essence of API’s Eight Principles of Parenting:

Today, we want to recognize a post written by Krystal Newton, a stay-at-home mom to 2 boys, on her blog, Mommy Laughs:

“I have been parenting the only way that feels right, and it just so happens to fall into the Attachment Parenting message. When I wrote this blog post, I wanted to reach out to women struggling with making the decision to breastfeed long-term. I want them to see that it’s a beautiful relationship and an opportunity to just take a step back, to settle down, and to have a few peaceful moments with your child.” ~ Krystal

krystal newton, mommy laughs, preschool post highlightI Breastfed My Preschooler For Selfish Reasons

… I don’t breastfeed my 3 year old for the nutritional benefits (though those are a plus) or to make a statement. I don’t breastfeed him, because it’s the only way I know to comfort him or because I refuse to let him grow up. I breastfeed my 3 year old, because in those short quiet moments, I have the ability to pause my hectic life and love him, snuggle him, and reminisce on our journey. It forces me to slow down and notice the little things: How his hair sweeps over his eyebrows, how the dimples in his hands are disappearing, how he smirks in his sleep, and how beautiful he is. These quiet snuggles are less frequent as he grows so incredibly independent. While the benefits of extended breastfeeding are endless, my reasoning for choosing to let Colton decide to wean are somewhat selfish in that I love nursing him just as much as he does…

Read the entire post here, and enjoy!

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pixabay - rio olympcsAn American competitive swimmer, 31-year-old Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, having won 28 medals, most of them golds. I believe he was raised with Attachment Parenting — and this parenting approach helped get him to the podium.

As we know, Attachment Parenting (AP) is a continuum of parenting behaviors centered on strong, healthy emotional bonds. The result is not only a compassionate, insightful child with a natural inclination for healthy relationships, but also — and this is sometimes the best-kept secret of AP — self-confidence and a defined sense of self and talents.

Healthy self-esteem naturally flows out of a healthy parent-child relationship where the child feels free and safe, emotionally and physically, to learn and grow and develop his talents and strengthen his more challenging areas of temperament.

Attachment Parenting is not, in itself, breastfeeding or babywearing or cosleeping. These are choices of some parents to provide a more attachment-based family environment, but these parenting behaviors are not what define Attachment Parenting. Rather, AP is about the attitude that a parent comes with into the parent-child relationship.

Michael Phelps was diagnosed at age 9 with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Through my own and others’ parenting experiences with ADHD, raising children in an authoritarian (“do as I say, or else”) or a permissive (“do whatever you want”) do not work with ADHD. The authoritative parenting style — which includes parenting approaches, like AP, that take parent-child attachment into account — is a must for any spirited child.

In this Editor’s Pick, I want to highlight an article from ADDitude magazine, which spotlights Michael’s mother and her attitude toward parenting a child with ADHD.

Spiritedness — temperamental traits that we find challenging in our children — can test even the most patient, creative parents. ADHD is like a collection of certain temperamental traits that many parents, teachers, and others find very challenging — and a diagnosis often carries an assumption of low potential in that child. The hallmarks of ADHD — inability to regulate focus, impulsivity, hyperactivity whether physically or mentally, low frustration tolerance — as a set can, under certain circumstances, lead to a higher risk of problems in school, on the job, in relationships, and in life in general. But the key word here is “certain” circumstances: ADHD doesn’t guarantee a child a life of low potential.

Michael’s mother, middle school principal and single parent Debbie Phelps, certainly didn’t let ADHD hold back her parenting potential, either — as her son’s success not only in the pool, but in life as well, can attest.

“It just hit my heart,” Debbie told ADDitude. “It made me want to prove everyone wrong. I knew that, if I collaborated with Michael, he could achieve anything he set his mind to.”

The article goes on to explain some of the ways Debbie problem-solved to help Michael develop his natural-born talent of swimming while tempering some of the sharper edges of his ADHD tendencies. One of my favorite examples she provided was her response when Michael moaned about hating to read: She cued into his interests, handing him books about sports and the sports section of the newspaper. And then when her son had problems focusing on his math homework, she had him practice with word problems focused on swimming, like “How long would it take to swim 500 meters if you swim 3 meters per second?”

I know — we all know, whether we’re raising a child with ADHD or not — that working positively on a child’s more challenging temperamental tendencies is not always a quick or easy process…especially for the parent…especially if he or she was raised with yelling, threats, and punishments or an otherwise authoritarian (“do as I say, or else”) parenting style. But it works.

What I don’t like is that, in ADHD circles, positive discipline is referred to “behavior therapy.” That makes it sound like positive discipline — and Attachment Parenting as a whole, as positive discipline is a part of AP — is a treatment or something for special circumstances, rather than a parenting approach that is appropriate for all children, whether they have an ADHD diagnosis or not.

But Debbie Phelps refers appropriately to her child-rearing choices with Michael as “good parenting,” rather than behavior therapy. That’s a start to normalizing positive discipline — and Attachment Parenting — because it is, after all, the way to raise kids that research shows leads to best child outcomes, biologically…in other words, normal.

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WBW 2016: A look ahead…to October

August 8, 2016
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World Breastfeeding Week: I’m a huge proponent of breastfeeding, but my favorite word in that phrase is “world.” This observance brings the world together each year through a theme that is timely for all, from the wealthiest to the least developed nations. We are all in this together…promoting and protecting this sometimes-underestimated key to sustainable […]

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WBW 2016: A story of working and breastfeeding, and staying determined

August 6, 2016
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Editor’s note: Yesterday, we read 5 tips for breastfeeding mothers returning to work outside the home. For this day of World Breastfeeding Week, we share another breastfeeding mother’s story of working and child-led weaning: My daughter recently weaned after 3 and 1/2 years of nursing. We did baby-led weaning, so there were no tears shed […]

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WBW 2016: 5 tips for a strong nursing relationship while working away from home

August 5, 2016
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Editor’s note: Among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals central to World Breastfeeding Week this year is a call for better workplace support of breastfeeding women. Certainly employers have a large part to play in meeting this goal, but women also need step up to advocate for themselves, their babies, and their right to express breastmilk […]

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WBW 2016: Historical trauma, breastfeeding, and healing with Camie Jae Goldhammer

August 3, 2016
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Editor’s note: Attachment Parenting International hopes you enjoy this throwback Thursday post, originally published August 7, 2015. It remains a great example of breastfeeding as part of sustainable development, the theme of World Breastfeeding Week this year: It is often noted that part of what makes breastfeeding so challenging at times is that in our […]

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Thank you, La Leche League

August 3, 2016
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Mary White, Edwina Hearn Froehlich, Mary Anne Cahill, Betty Wagner Spandikow, Viola Brennan Lennon, Mary Ann Kerwin, Marian Leonard Tompson — while these 7 names may not ring a bell, what they did has influenced so many lives all around the world. These 7 ladies founded La Leche League International (LLLI). It’s because of LLLI […]

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WBW 2016: What does breastfeeding have to do with sustainable development?

August 2, 2016
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Sustainable development — that’s a mouthful. Breastfeeding isn’t usually what comes to mind when we think of sustainable development, but according to materials from the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action — which coordinates World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-6 — it should: In September 2015, the world’s leaders committed to 17 goals aimed at ending poverty, […]

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