Who are the founders and advocates for attachment parenting? While we all know of Dr. William Sears, less heard about are the driving forces for change and acceptance of this lifestyle – the women throughout the years who are the voices and faces of Attachment Parenting.
Attachment parenting (AP) was developed in the 1980s by William and Martha Sears. Most advocates for attachment parenting know of them, but may not be as familiar with Martha’s lifelong contribution to AP education and lifestyle. Not only did Martha co-author the popular The Attachment Parenting Book, but 25 other parenting books as well. She is the mother of eight children, a registered nurse, a former childbirth educator, a La Leche League leader, and a lactation consultant, and a popular lecturer and media guest drawing on her eighteen years of breastfeeding experience.
Although Martha is one of the most well known and influential women behind AP, there have been many more advocates over the years who have joined and added to the push for gentle parenting.
Jan Hunt, who campaigned not only for attachment parenting but also for unschooling, published her essay collection The Natural Child: Parenting from the Heart the same year as the Sears’ released their book.
Naomi Aldort, a parenting advisor, published her book Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves – a favorite among many AP parents.
Jean Liedloff studied the Ye’kuana people in Venezuela and later recommended to Western mothers to nurse, wear their infants, and to cosleep with them. She caused a stir by a creating and advocating for a continuum concept; later authoring the book The Continuum Concept. This concept is: “the idea that in order to achieve optimal physical, mental and emotional development, human beings – especially babies – require the kind of experience to which our species adapted during the long process of our evolution.” ContinuumConcept.org
Meredith Small, anthropologist and author of Our Babies, Ourselves; How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent shares her findings in the new science of ethnopediatrics; joining pediatricians, child-development researchers, and anthropologists across the country who studied if how we parent is based more on culture or biological needs – and why culture isn’t the best indicator of parenting.
Developmental psychologist Aletha Solter published her book The Aware Baby, advocating attachment parenting, extended breastfeeding, and abstinence from punishment. She stresses that in order to heal from stress and trauma, the child’s emotional expression must be encouraged.
Below are two of the most popular attachment parenting information and blog sites:
Attachment Parenting International (API) in the US, established in 1994 by Lysa Parker and Barbara Nicholson.
Attachment Parenting UK (APUK) in Britain, established in 2012 by Michelle McHale.
Many celebrities also attachment parent and their outspokenness on it over the last decade have helped to keep AP in the public consciousness.
Author of Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way and outspoken advocate for breastfeeding, child-led weaning, and other AP practices, Mayim Bialik shared why she chose attachment parenting with TIME saying, “I saw it matters that very small people have a voice.”
In an interview with Essential Baby, singer Pink said, “I support attachment parenting 100 percent and have a very happy and healthy little girl to show for it.”
Writing an article on The Huffington Post, Alanis Morissette said, “I personally believe that the attachment stage, done well, can circumvent countless addictions later in life.” She also has had a home-birth, breastfeeds, and baby-wears.
Famous for the main song in Juno, singer Kimya Dawson said, “I couldn’t imagine putting my baby in a crib, and I knew that I wanted to cloth diaper, and feed her healthy foods,” according to an interview with Babble.
Is there anyone we’re missing? Who would you list as an influential woman for attachment parenting?