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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Feed with Love & Respect: Beginning the Attachment Process

Principle 2 of Attachment Parenting : Feeding with Love & Respect

"Whether a parent is breastfeeding or bottle feeding, the purpose of this chapter is to help you understand how feeding your child enhances your future attachment relationship" (p68).

Feeding your child is more than just providing nourishment, it goes back to the old adage "food is love". Whether we are satiating our crying infants, or providing a meal at the family dinner table- it should be a time of love and connection.


(one of my fave pics, from the post Breastfeeding, My Daughters, and Body Image by The Leaky B@@b)

The reason breastfeeding is used as the initial attachment model, is because by sheer design, it provides the necessity of mom and baby to be close and touching. Touching creates bonding. Make sense?
Baby feels the warmth of your body, the softness of your skin, and can hear your heartbeat, similar to his/her experience in the womb. Since there are no ounces to measure, mom follows baby's cues on when s/he is hungry and when s/he is full.  (My own tip * NEVER wake a sleeping baby to eat. I find this utterly ridiculous! Barring any obvious medical condition, a "normal" baby will wake when they are hungry. Believe me.)

There are obviously nutritional and physiological benefits to both you and your baby when you breastfeed, as well as the facts that nursing is FREE, and always ready (versus needing to make a bottle) which are some added perks :)

You can breastfeed as long as at some point previously, you have passed a placenta. Use the Supplemental Nursing System to get started. 

Bottle Nursing

Yes, I said bottle-nursing. The theory? Create the same bonding experience as with breastfeeding, but with a bottle! In other words, hold the baby close to you, maintain eye contact, and read the baby's cues for when s/he is done eating, etc. Again, barring some kind of medical condition, there is no magic number of ounces your baby must eat at each feeding. S/he will let you know when they are hungry, and it will be quite clear (either by protest or by puking) that they are done :)

*My own tip: feeding schedules don't work. Baby will tell you when they need to eat and when they're done. Showing them you care about and understand their cues, lay the foundation for a strong attachment relationship later on.

*Check out my bottle recommendations at my NurtureMe Store


"A father's relationship with the baby is unique and extremely important to the child's overall development. It is important that fathers...know that they can still develop a close relationship with their baby in many ways other than feeding- such as holding or burping the baby...bathing the baby, changing a diaper, practicing infant massage, taking walks or naps together, and playfully interacting with the baby. Also, when a father nurtures the mother, he nurtures the baby" (p78).


"Feeding time is the ideal time to take a break, rest, and refuel...Just as a baby flourishes when fed by his mother, the new mother flourishes when nurtured by her partner...Mothers need frequent rest, plentiful fluids, and adequate nutrition" (p78).

The Family Table

 (Sirois family Thanksgiving 2010)

Mealtime is a time to connect, nourish, and yes, nurture :) but not just for infants cradled in our arms. The family table is a great way to connect, communicate, nourish, and nurture EVERY member of the family! Sharing wholesome, healthy meals in a calm and relatively quiet (that's right people- turn off your TV's and computers and cell phones!) environment provides for a daily strengthening of your attachment relationship.

We are just teaching our toddler how to communicate at the dinner table. We make sure to sit down to eat together every night, and now even baby A has her place at the table in her highchair, and now we are barely sitting down before our toddler starts with "so mama, how was your day? what did you do today?", etc. And we go around the table and everyone asks/answers the same questions :)

Please share how you get your family to participate in dinner discussion? Do you sit together for meals nightly/weekly/never?

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