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Attachment Parenting Element #1 – Birth Bonding

In many ways, attachment parenting does not mesh well with our modern society. Being pregnant and giving birth are treated like serious medical conditions when in fact pregnancy and giving birth are very natural states and experiences.

C-section rates are climbing by the day as more and more parents are convinced that it is the safer way to go in the face of “complications”. But before I go off the subject too much lets address the matter at hand, having the birth that YOU want and setting the stage for bonding with your baby in those precious first moments of life.

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Dr. Sears and many of his teachings through his vast library of parenting books. It is my humble opinion that every new family should own at least a copy of Dr. Sears “The Baby Book” – Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby From Birth to Age Two.

Sears is also the “founder” of the term attachment parenting and these are his principles that I am breaking down for you in these posts.

So, Birth Bonding according to Dr. Sears:

“The way baby and parents get started with one another often sets the tone of how this early attachment unfolds. Take an active role in orchestrating the birth you want. Take responsibility for your birth, educate yourself, and work out a birthing philosophy with your obstetrician or birth attendant.”

“A traumatic birth or unnecessary surgical birth resulting in the separation of mother and baby is not the ideal way to begin parenting. In this case, part of the energy that would be directed toward getting to know your baby is temporarily diverted toward healing yourself.”

“Feeling good about your baby’s birth carries over into feeling good about your baby”

In the event that you did or do have a traumatic or negative birth experience, I plan to write a post that addresses how to play “catch up” with your baby and help you to establish that bond.

“The early weeks and months are a sensitive period when mother and baby need to be together. Early closeness allow the natural attachment-promoting behaviors of a baby and the intuitive, biological care giving of a mother to unfold. Early closeness gets the pair off to the right start at a time when the baby is most needy and the mother is most eager to nurture.”

“Of course, the process of falling in love with your baby, feeling attached or bonded, begins long before the day of birth and continues long afterward”

I have a very close family member who had an extremely traumatic birth experience with her first child. Although their nursing relationship went just fine and they co-slept, that intense mother-child bond was not there in the beginning. She described it like she was just going through the motions.

This realization did not hit her until the birth of her second child, which although was C-section, it was a planned section but there was no negative emotions or experience associated with the baby’s birth. She chose to have a c-section because she attempted to have a natural, vaginal birth with her first baby. This was her way of having a positive birth experience.

After having a non-traumatic, albeit surgical, birth she realized how much easier she bonded with her baby. She realized how she was projecting her negatives feelings about her birth onto her new baby.

I hate to think how common this kind of story must be, especially here in the states where birth is treated like an inconvenience or yet another medical procedure to go through.

So, the main point of this element is to take responsibility for your baby’s birth. Educate yourself and know your rights as a birthing mom or soon to be dad. You are NOT sick, you are pregnant. Yes, there are exceptions, but if you are a healthy woman with no elements that put you in the “high risk” zone then there is no reason why you can’t have your birth play out the way you choose.

By having a positive, ideally natural, birth experience you are creating an environment for birth bonding.

Tomorrow I will delve into the second element of attachment parenting: Belief in Your Baby’s Cries – Read and Respond to Your Baby’s Cues.

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