13 Attachment Parenting hacks

pixabay-mom-and-kid-and-mapAttachment Parenting is more than a tick-boxed scorecard of babywearing and breastfeeding. It is so very much more.

Attachment Parenting, for many of us, is a way of life. In its simplest of forms, it’s about choosing connection and respect over convenience and quick-wins.  

The following advice has been lifted — with permission! — from one of my favorite virtual parent support groups. The points summarize 13 Attachment Parenting hacks from real — albeit virtual — moms that might just revolutionize the way you think about parenting:

  1.  “Pause before reacting to anything. The very few genuine emergencies that require instant reactions will get them before you can even think.” (Linda)
  2. “When a kid is upset, don’t try to make them feel better. Just try to make it clear that you get why they are upset.” (Nina)
  3. “Sing and play! Everything is still fairly new and exciting to a child. Let them join in what you’re doing, and join in what they’re doing.” (Jenna)
  4. “A baby is its own instruction manual.” (Lisa)
  5. “Not all kids can cope with choices.” (Linda)
  6. “Laughing together with a child is a powerful way of connecting and a healing tool for both of you.” (Rosetta)
  7. “When in doubt, err on the side of love.” (Marina)
  8. Asking a question and giving a child the power to answer and be heard, is an amazing thing.” (Lily)
  9. “Put a crabby baby into water…let the splashing commence!” (Michelle)
  10. “Make your home a ‘yes’ environment.” (Claire)
  11. Piggy back rides!” (Katie)
  12. “If you can give your children a chance to have control over something, do it.” (Tia)
  13. “Never regard your relationship with your kids as a rivalry (them vs. me). It’s ALWAYS a partnership.” (Bonnie)
 Thank you to each of the moms who offered their wisdom.

The Power of Connection – Guest Post by Nancy Massotto

This year’s Attachment Parenting Month theme is “Relax, Relate, Rejuvenate: Renewed with Parent Support.” We are delighted to kick off AP Month with a guest post about the importance of support by Nancy Massotto, Founder and Director of Holistic Moms Network.


We live in a virtual world.  We connect online, spend hours in front of screens, and “friend” people we hardly know.  But deep inside, intuitively, and especially as parents, we know in our hearts that in-person, face-to-face connection matters.  We know it for our children and carry them, wear them, share sleep with them.  But we seem to be forgetting that in real connection is just as important for adults.  In real life connection and community matter holistically – for physical health, emotional wellness, stress reduction, and spiritual growth.

Yes, in recent years, we have seen a remarkable decline in the social and civic engagement of Americans. Over the past 25 years there has been a 58% drop in attendance to club or group meetings, a 43% decline in family dinners, and a 35% reduction in simply having friends over. Oh, sure, we’re busy. We have other things to do. So what’s the big deal? The problem is that a decline in connection reduces “social capital” or the collective value of our social networks which help build trust and cooperation. A reduction in social capital has been linked to decreased worker productivity, rising rates of depression, higher rates of crime, juvenile delinquency, teenage pregnancy, and child abuse. Social capital is also what makes governments more accountable and responsive to their populace. And, on an individual level, a lack of social capital leads not only to loneliness, but also to a lack of trust among people and an unwillingness to help others. In 1960 55% of American adults believed that others could or should be trusted most of the time while by 1998, only 30% agreed. “By virtually every measure, today’s Americans are more disconnected from one another and from the institutions of civic life than at any time since statistics have been kept. Whether as family members, neighbors, friends, or citizens, we are tuning out,” argues the researchers of the Better Together Report.

Reconnecting through social groups by being part of community, serving on a town committee, organizing a neighborhood block party, supporting local businesses and farms, or singing in a choir can help rebuild our social capital, reaping benefits on individual, group, and national levels (click here for more ideas on building social capital). Being part of supportive parenting group is another way to help recreate community and play an active role in strengthening not only social capital, but your own personal health and well-being. It matters for all of us and for the sustainability of future generations!  In fact, joining a community group could actually cut your risk of dying next year in half.   According to political scientist and author Robert Putnam, being part of a social network has a significant impact on your health. “Joining a group boosts your life expectancy as much as quitting smoking” according to the Saguaro Seminar on Civic Engagement in America published by Harvard University.

One of the biggest challenges – and frustrations – that we have at organizations such as Attachment Parenting International and at the Holistic Moms Network is that we believe in the power of building community. We understand how valuable community is, not only in crisis, but every single day. We recognize the power of connection, the energy behind being supported, and the difference that we can make collectively. We believe that communities are what make our culture successful – and that apathy and a lack of participation is what destroys it. And we see far too much of the latter. Online communities don’t cut it. Facebook friends can’t help you care for a sick child, run an errand for you, or give you a shoulder to cry on. Virtual forums can’t give you a hug, watch your kids while you clean up a mess, or cook you a hot meal in your time of need.

Real people can. Real communities can. And some of our proudest moments come during these times. Whether in illness or injury, or a life-changing event like having a new baby, real life communities rise up to support their members. Members encourage each other through the rough times – the sleepless nights, the breastfeeding challenges, the teen rebellions.

Overcoming apathy is an uphill battle. Constantly encouraging people to participate, to get involved, and to be active is not always easy. We are so insular in our daily lives that we forget how wonderful it is to have that group connection – not only when a crisis hits, but even in the good times. A simple conversation, a shared experience, or a helping hand can make the difference.  I encourage you to be part of it, in real life, in real time, every day.  Find the time, create the opportunity, and be part of a community.  Feed your soul, help another, and make a difference.  It’s up to you.  If we all stop participating, we have no one but ourselves to blame when the communities we depend upon no longer exist.


holistic moms networkNancy Massotto is the Founder and Executive Director of the Holistic Moms Network and mother to two boys. She founded the Holistic Moms Network to meet other parents who shared her passions for living healthy and living sustainably, and to help raise awareness about natural living options

Community Baby

Our community is about to welcome another member in to its midst. One of our couples are expecting their first baby any day; at the moment they are a few days past her EDD. I think babies being “late” is a good introduction to being a parent and how a baby is going to turn your life upside down and how your schedule is about to be arranged, permanently. This baby will be welcomed in to the arms of his/her mom and dad and in to the arms of the whole community in the main community house.

The last baby that was born in that house was my niece. I have been wondering how this baby will be different. Honestly, I have never really liked other people’s kids. Well, it’s not that I don’t like them, it is just that I have never really been one of those types who enjoys everyone’s kids and who can always be found holding or playing with other people’s children. My niece is different. She is just a different kind of mine. My attachment to her is very different from the attachment I have with my son, but it is also very different from any other child I have been around; she is also mine.

This baby that is about to arrive is not mine at all, he/she is not my niece/nephew. I have no relation to this child but at the same time I feel invested in her/his life. I have been at all of the prenatal visits, I will be there when the baby is born, I will hold him/her. and I will watch as the baby grow with my child(ren), my nieces, and my nephews. This baby will be different because I will make a commitment to this child, I will choose to be attached and from the moment that child is born throughout its life I will need to be there.
Continue reading “Community Baby”

Getting Out with a Baby

Having your first baby is a huge adjustment. In a very short time period you go from a young child-free working woman to being alone at home with only an infant for company. For many of us it’s the first time we’ve even held a baby this small, and now we’re solely responsible for keeping the wee bundle alive. It’s sort of mind-blowing if you think about it.

I spent most of my early days with my firstborn Hannah breastfeeding. She would sometimes nurse for 45 minutes or more, so I fed her on the couch while I watched TV. A high point of my day was visiting the bathroom by myself or having two free hands to eat. It was amazing to be totally at the mercy of my baby. I lived and died by her whims (or my best guess as to her whims) in spite of how completely defenseless she was.

I realized very early on in parenting that I had two choices. I could spend my days at home alone watching reruns and feeling sorry for myself. Or I could get out of the house and find someone, anyone, to talk to. Someone who could understand how my world had been totally upended and why I sometimes secretly wondered if was even cut out for motherhood. Given those two options, I chose to get out of the house.

Hannah and I at library babytime
Hannah and I at library babytime

I went online and searched out activities. Pretty soon I set up an informal routine that had me doing something almost every day of the week. We went to library baby time, mom and baby yoga, strollerobics, swimming lessons, church, La Leche League, and community mom-and-baby groups. We went on playdates with much older kids, and visited friends almost any time we were asked. I seized almost any reason to get out of the house and interact with others.

It saved my sanity, it really did. I was still sleep-deprived and unkempt, but I was no longer alone. It wasn’t always easy for me to get myself out the door, and it didn’t come all that naturally to cultivate new relationships. New moms are sort of like 13-year-olds at a school dance. We all want to get out on the floor, but no one really wants to make the first move, so we end up stuck on the sidelines looking at each other. Which is why I think playgroups help, because they provide a low-risk way to interact and meet people.

I still feel like playgroups are saving my sanity 4 1/2 years later. I’ve made some really great friends and cultivated a fabulous support network. I feel like I have more balance in my life – that I’m meeting my own needs along with my children’s needs. I believe we are all the happier for it.

Amber’s daughter Hannah is now 4 1/2 and joined by her 13-month-old brother, Jacob. You can read more of their adventures at Strocel.com.