It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men – Frederick Douglass
Today marks the third year of my Journey as a Spoiled Mum. 1095 days of my life into Attachment Parenting and still going strong.
Exactly three years ago, on February 11, I delivered my son alone with my husband in an unassisted planned home water-birth which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The experience led to a whole avalanche of maternal instincts which kicked in right after he was born: I held him close naturally, had exclusive skin-to-skin bonding, breastfed immediately, and soon co-slept and baby worn him around. I naturally did everything possible to make him feel safe and secure. However, I soon realized following maternal instinct goes against modern practices where birth is heavily medicalized, where babies are often separated from their mothers immediately after birth, and where formula milk is sometimes forcefully suggested.
To this day, I have chosen to follow what my inner-voice is telling me. I listen to the needs of my child and respond to him promptly and consistently without thinking twice about it. In fact, I practiced Attachment Parenting before knowing such concept existed. To me, Attachment Parenting is simply about understanding the natural needs of my child and ensuring that he grows in a safe and secure environment. In a research essay, Dr James McKenna explained that increased sensory contact and proximity between the mother and infant induces potentially beneficial behavioural and physiological changes in infants. Closeness is indeed as essential for a child to thrive as much as it is necessary to fulfill maternal instinct. Babies do not “learn” to become independent when they are separated from their mother, they remain vulnerable and helpless. Similarly, as they grow older, they do not learn from unquestioned obedience, but from gentle reasoning and guidance.
Securing and maintaining a strong bond with our children is our primary work as parents. The first three years of life is the most critical period for a child, and serves as a template for how he will perceive the world around him for the rest of his life. By not acknowledging the needs of a child, we are only teaching him a cruel and heartless lesson that he is not important, that he does not matter, that he cannot make a difference and should only count on himself to survive. Love and compassion are the key ingredients for a thriving, happy, and successful childhood. Attachment Parenting involves a lot of perseverance and endurance, but as most parents can testify, time flies when you have to attend to the needs of a little one. Attachment Parenting is akin to “Busy Parenting”, but as with most things in life, the effort is worth the reward. Nothing can replace the sparkles in the eyes of your child when he looks at you with his cheeky smile and infectious laughter.
Happy 3rd Birthday my boy. I love you more every day.