To achieve this goal attachment oriented parents use certain methods they believe increases the bonding between parent and child, which is believed to sets the stage for a more secure relationship later in life Some of the methods used in attachment parenting homes are:
- Shared Sleep/Co-sleeping/the Family Bed - which refers to the practice of sleeping within arm's reach of your baby. It is believed that it encourages responsive parenting and parent - child bonding.
- Babywearing - Many people believe babies spend too much time in carseat carriers, strollers, portable play yards. To maintain closes connection attachment parenting advocates advocate the importance of carrying your baby in your arms as much as possible. Slings and front carriers are common accessory to those practicing attachment parenting.
- Breastfeeding: Attachment parents acknowledge the known benefits of breastfeeding. They believe that, in most cases, breastfeeding encourages healthy physical, emotional, and mental development.
Attachment parents recommend treating children with kindness and with respect so as to encourage a sense of dignity and mutual admiration. Attachment Parenting International identifies eight principles of their philosophy. However, what they can be boiled down to this:
- Work at making informed decisions throughout a child's life, beginning with pregnancy. Example: An attachment parent might seek out multiple opinions on a child's medical issue and would be open to learning about alternative methods of treatment. They would use the knowledge they learned to make a decision with which they are comfortable.
- Be as prompt and consistent in responses to your child's needs for nutrition, sleep, discipline, and physical/emotional connection. Example: Attachment parents try to respond to their child's needs quickly and predictably. Misbehavior is best corrected promptly with a discipline that "makes sense" to the child.
- Avoid aggressive techniques in favor of gentle, responsive ones. Example: Spanking and sarcasm are better replaced with gentle discipline and sincere correction.
- Value consistency in care from both parents and from a few carefully chosen caregivers. Example: Parents are a joint force in parenting and unite in their parenting practices.
- Balance personal needs and family responsibilities. Example: Attachment parents understand the need to nurture their own individuality. By taking time for themselves, they can re-energize. Example: Having a date night or time for a personal hobby is at matter of self-preservation.
- Some believe that attachment parenting is very demanding on the parents and may be mentally, emotionally and physically draining.
- There is little research available to support or refute their ideas.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics does not support co-sleeping, though it does strongly encourage room-sharing due to risk of SIDS.