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By Nelle Nix
Pregnant with her first child, Gaelen Billingsley spent hours handcrafting a beautiful wooden crib for her new baby.
That was before the mom-to-be heard about attachment parenting.
Once she had “devoured” several back issues of Mothering Magazine, a leading proponent of this parenting style, which is sometimes referred to as “instinctive care,” she put her lovingly constructed crib aside. Instead, she decided, her baby would sleep snuggled close to his mom and dad in their king-size bed.
“It just made so much sense,” Billingsley says. “It was a huge ah-ha for me. I remember thinking, ‘Of course, this is the way it should be done.’”
What Billingsley had discovered – and what more and more parents across the nation seem to be tuning in to – is an approach to raising children called attachment parenting. Often too narrowly understood to mean a set of specific parenting practices – such as co-sleeping, carrying the baby for long periods of time close to the parent’s body and extended breastfeeding – advocates define attachment parenting as a nurturing style of parenting aimed at creating an early, strong emotional bond that leads to a secure and enduring relationship between a child and his or her parents.