While I was pregnant with my first baby, I wanted to breastfeed – but because I would save money and because breastmilk has superior health benefits to formula. At that time, I didn’t know anything about attachment or how important breastfeeding behaviors are to the mother-baby emotional bond – that breastfeeding is the very model of attachment, as explained by Attachment Parenting International’s co-founders Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker in their book, Attached at the Heart.
So, then my daughter was born prematurely and due a variety of problems, I found I could not breastfeed. I had to pump and feed her my breastmilk through the bottle. By all accounts, at least according to my original reasons for breastfeeding, I should’ve been content – I was still saving money and still giving the health benefits of breastmilk to my baby. But I felt like I was missing something, though I didn’t know what. When my second baby was born and I was able to breastfeed, I realized just what was missing.
I had been looking at breastfeeding as filling purely a physical need, when it is so much more – it provides mothers and babies an emotional connection with one another that can’t be replicated in any other way.
When I first came to Attachment Parenting, I viewed each of the Eight Principles of Parenting as separate entities – like I could do one or a few but not have to do the others, too. (When you’re new to this parenting approach, especially coming from a background that is so foreign to the concept, it can be difficult to trust that this parenting approach will work for you. And trying to think of all Eight Principles is perhaps a little overwhelming at first, too!) The further into my parenting journey I go, though, the more I realize how all the principles weave together and rely on each other. It’d actually be very difficult, perhaps impossible, to just pick out one or a few principles and not do the others, too.
Continue reading “Celebrating the Model of Attachment – World Breastfeeding Week – August 1-7, 2009”