Parenting, Parenting Tips

The 8 Basic Principles of Attachment Parenting

3 Comments 06 April 2012

Teen_Mom_Parenting_400From natural births to co-sleeping, learn what defines this growing style of parenting in the book, Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way.

So what is attachment parenting really about? Attachment Parenting International (API) identifies AP as guided by eight principles. The practical application varies greatly but it often looks something like this:

1. Birth: Prepare for birth and become educated about natural birth options and their benefits for baby and mother.

2. Breastfeeding/breast milk: A human mother’s milk is the optimal food for human babies, and bottle feeding should mimic as many aspects of breastfeeding as possible.

3. Be sensitive: Respond sensitively to your children.

4. Bonding through touch: Use physical contact such as baby wearing, breastfeeding, and massage to convey tenderness, love, and affection.

5. Bedding: Parent your children at night as well as in the day, looking to safe co‑sleeping as an option.

6. Be there: Ensure consistent parenting by a primary caregiver or a trained and sensitive substitute.

7. Be gentle: Use positive discipline, forgoing corporal punishment.

8. Balance: Balance your needs with those of your child.

It should be noted that no one does all eight perfectly, nor do you have to subscribe to all of them to benefit from these principles. These are simply guidelines that can serve as a jumping-off place for your decision-making. There are families who differ in many aspects of these principles, and there are no “attachment police” who revoke your membership if they catch your child asleep in his own bed. In addition, attachment parenting is not, contrary to popular belief, a parenting style just for people who are wealthy or who are at‑home parents, nor is it for people with an abnormal or superhuman amount of patience. It is for people from all walks of life who seek to parent gently and who believe that an independent adult is one who was allowed to form a healthy dependence and attachment to her caregiver in her formative years.

Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way

Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way

Mayim Bialik


Mayim Bialik, Ph.D., is perhaps best known for her lead role as Blossom Russo in the 1990s television sitcom Blossom, and she currently appears on the top-rated comedy The Big Bang Theory. Bialik earned a B.S. from UCLA in 2000 in neuroscience and Hebrew and Jewish studies, and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA in 2007. She designed a neuroscience curriculum for homeschoolers in Southern California, where she also teaches middle and high school students. Married to her college sweetheart with two young sons, Bialik is also a Certified Lactation Education Counselor. Visit her at

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  • Megan

    This all sounds really nice… but it lieu of all the Autism news buzzing around, this just doesn’t seem plausible with autistic children, or other special needs children for that matter. What are your suggestions for those parents?

  • Cecily Wicks

    Balance your needs with those of your child.

  • The Mommy Psychologist

    As a child psychologist and a mom, I must point out that the title attachment parenting is misleading. Attachment parenting is not the only theory of parenting which results in children developing a secure attachment with their parents or caregivers. Many other theories of parenting result in secure attachment relationships. The only reason attachment parenting is given this title is because it was based on the principles in attachment theory. There are multiple other theories available as well that are just as effective in developing well adjusted, loved, and happy children. I recently addressed some of the critiques of attachment parenting here if you are interested:


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