There is no right or wrong way to parent your children. However, there are different styles that have developed over time. Attachment parenting and baby-wise parenting are two very contrasting but very popular parenting styles coined by William Sears and Gary Ezzo, respectively. You may not even realise that you have a certain style or you may have elements of both styles in your daily routine. Whatever the case, it’s always fun to see where you relate.
Your style of parenting often comes from how you were brought up, what you saw in other families and what you have been taught. You may try to stray away from your upbringing if you had an unhappy childhood or you may try to duplicate your childhood for your children. Below is a brief outline of attachment vs. baby wise parenting.
- Attachment parent involves ensuring that the child’s needs are met, regardless of what this takes.
- There is little structure in attachment parenting as the baby is the boss, letting the parent know what he wants and when. The parent is able to determine what the baby wants through cues (tired signs, hunger signs, etc) rather than following a set routine designed by the parent.
- It promotes co-sleeping, rocking to sleep, extended breastfeeding, demand feeding and baby wearing.
- Attachment parenting focuses on the idea that a child needs to feel safe, secure, peaceful and trust in a parent
- It is child centred
- Attachment parenting focuses on setting gentle guidelines and limits.
- Methods that result in tears, separation or anxiety in the child, even for a brief moment, is frowned upon. This includes any CIO method.
Baby wise parenting focuses on keeping a baby on a schedule that is Parent Directed rather than baby led. Generally speaking, a baby will feed every 2.5 to 3 hours and nap at certain times during the day.
- It focuses more on keeping the peace within the entire family as a unit but also in the husband-wife relationship.
- Rather than being child-centred, baby wise parenting is focused on family-centred.
- Baby wise parenting suggests sticking to a feeding schedule, waking time and naptime during the day in order to get your baby on the same page as you and better adapted to your life.
- Baby wise parenting does not depend on props to help baby feel secure, such as baby wearing, extended feeding, nursing, rocking or co-sleeping. All of these are seen to further confuse the baby and cause unnecessary insecurity
- Baby wise parenting usually comes with plenty of tears along the way as the baby adapts to the new way of life and the structure but in the end, it is meant to provide a child with confidence and individuality as well as relational security.
Most parents fall in the middle and this is okay too. After all, you may enjoy having a structure but you also may choose to rock your baby to sleep during these nap times. Regardless of how you parent and how you choose to raise your children there needs to be a balance between children exploring, learning and making choices, and having loving boundaries within which to make those choices and discoveries. Finding what works for you and for your family is all part of the fun of becoming a parent!