Attachment parenting (AP), a phrase coined by pediatrician William Sears, is a parenting philosophy based on the principles of the attachment theory in developmental psychology. According to attachment theory, a strong emotional bond with parents during childhood, also known as a secure attachment, is a precursor of secure, empathic relationships in adulthood.
Attachment parenting describes a parenting approach rooted in attachment theory. Attachment theory proposes that the infant has a tendency to seek closeness to another person and feel secure when that person is present. In attachment theory, children attach to their parents because they are social beings, not just because they need other people to satisfy drives and attachment is part of normal child development.
Dr. Sears’ attachment tools, also known as the seven B’s, is a style of caring for your infant that brings out the best in the baby and the best in the parents. The B’s include birth bonding, breastfeeding, baby-wearing, bedding close to baby, belief in the language value of your baby’s cry, beware of baby trainers and balance.
Dr. Sears reminds the parents of his patients that AP is a starter style, and that there could be medical, environmental, or family circumstances that could prevent parents from practicing each of the seven B’s, and that they are to be a tool to get parents off on the right start. It’s not to be considered a strict set of rules, but encourages responsive parents by recognizing their baby’s cues and level of needs.
He again emphasizes the phrase “tool” over “steps.” A tool can be individually chosen based on its usefulness, whereas a step implies that each must be used in a correct order to get the job done. He encourages parents to stick with what’s working and adjust those tools that aren’t. This process will help parents design their own parenting style unique to them that helps baby and parents plug into one another.