Rise and Shine Expo, an informative expo to raise happy and healthy children, was held in Singapore last year. There were more than 100 seminars, workshops and trial classes, conducted by renowned experts around the world, including Dr Bill Sears who gave a seminar on ‘Keeping Your Child Healthy’.
Dr. Bill Sears, one of America’s most renowned pediatricians, is the father of eight children, and author of over 40 books on childcare. He is the Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine. Dr Sears Lean has a series on this blog, covering many aspects of raising healthy kids.
Last week, we covered Dr Sears’ talk on colic and attachment parenting, the latter we will explore more in-depth today.
Dr Sears shared in the workshop at Rise and Shine Expo ‘Attachment Parenting and Handling Gassy and High-Need Babies’ that during his first venture into parenthood, he decided to make a checklist of desired qualities in children who he helped in his practice and asked what the parents do. It turned out that the parents were practising attachment parenting!
To help us all understand what attachment parenting is, especially important given all the misinformation on what it is, Dr Sears shared the Baby B’s of Attachment Parenting:
Birth bonding – keep baby with the mother after birth
Breastfeeding – breast milk recommended for baby’s nutrition
Baby wearing – sling is preferred so that baby can be close to the parent (either dad or mom can baby wear)
Bed sharing – sleeping beside the baby has been studied to lead to better physiology, and the baby experienced more even breathing, better growth, less stress hormones, lower glucocorticoids neurotoxicity.
Believe Baby’s Cries – leaving the baby to cry it out alone leads to prolonged stress, which can damage the hippocampus. It risks neonatal glucocorticoid neurotoxicity which can carry over into adulthood. During infancy, a baby who is carried by parents cries less and has lower risk of this toxicity. Interestingly, babies who cry but do so in the arms of others do not suffer from this effect.
Beware of Baby Trainers – for the same reason above, methods that sought to train babies are to be wary of.
Balance – Dr Sears shared that babies whose parents practiced the above (as much as they can, need not be all if not possible), have been observed to have the Childhood Cs.
Caring kids – play better with other children
Comfortable with intimacy – better lovers
Confident kids – as well as better behaved and more resilient, resourceful, respectiful and thoughtful
Confident parents – these children become confident parents who connect better to their children
I raised a question on how long the Baby Bs can be practised, in particular sleeping with the baby. Case in point – I’ve been sleeping with mine ever since she can’t be swaddled just to watch over the scratching of eczema at night. Marcie is now 4, and we are still sleeping together. Will there be any developmental issues associated with sleeping with a child, who is no longer a baby?
Dr Sears and Martha: Dr Sears and his wife Martha shared that they do not purposely shift their children (they have eight!) out of their bed or bedroom but let the transition comes naturally as an older child start to want to have their own bed/room. This has not been studied and the best arrangement is the one that works for the whole family.
Dr Sears also shared that given that working mothers had less time with their children, practising attachment parenting is even more important. And as an ending comment, Parenting is Giving our Children the Tools to Succeed in Life.
I didn’t get to have Dr Sears vet through this post before publishing, any and all mistakes mine; next week we will tackle more health issues, such as nutrition, colic and vaccinations.