Finding the right parenting book for your family can be difficult, especially if you're trying to adhere to a certain parenting philosophy. Attachment parenting books in particular can be hard to come by, since the philosophy is so niche. But there are some helpful options available if you're looking to learn more about how to apply AP in your own life.
Attachment parenting is a philosophy developed by Dr. William Sears, a pediatrician, and his wife Martha Sears, that emphasizes building a strong connection through parental empathy and physical closeness between parent and child, as explained by WebMD. It's different from other parenting philosophies because it's based on a combination of psychological and biological models, as physical proximity is deemed important for a child's development in the practice.
As Dr. Peter Haiman, Ph.D., a certified counselor and expert on attachment parenting, explains to Romper via phone, "We're always growing when it comes to knowledge, but attachment parenting is by far the most up to date scientifically based approach to raising children, especially young children." He describes attachment parenting as an "organic relationship with the child's brain" that allows them to build a connection to their parent through consistent closeness they can count on, and the predictability helps the child form a strong relationship with them thanks to that sense of trust. Attachment Parenting International, a resource for parents who use the philosophy, goes into greater detail on the practices, including the seven "Bs" of attachment parenting.
Attachment parenting isn't right for all families, but it has benefits for those who choose to use it. These books can give you a more wholistic understanding of AP and may help you decide if it would be realistic and beneficial for your family, so read on to find out more. At the end of the day, you just want to find a way to parent that works best for your family.
1. "The Baby Book, Revised Edition: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two" by William Sears, Martha Sears, Robert Sears, and James Sears
The Baby Book (Little, Brown and Company), referred to as the "attachment parenting bible" by many was the Sears' team's first parenting book, in which they debuted attachment parenting to readers. It focuses on infants' basic needs, like eating, sleeping, development, etc., through the lens of attachment parenting, though the text emphasizes that there is more than one way to raise happy and healthy children. It's like an introduction to the parenting style, so it's a great place to start if you want to dip your toes into the AP world. And this revised version encompasses the issues modern parents face as they raise children, so it will be even more relevant than previous editions.
2. "Attachment Parenting: Instinctive Care for Your Baby and Young Child" by Katie Allison Granju, with Betsy Kennedy
Granju and Kennedy turned the theories developed by the Sears into a practical go-to guide for parents in Attachment Parenting: Instinctive Care for Your Baby and Young Child (Atria Books), which puts AP into the context of the everyday. It's incredibly detailed and focuses on listening to your baby as much as possible, covering everything from the importance of differentiating between your baby's cries to feeding based on their cues rather than a schedule. With an introduction by William Sears, the book also contains a list of resources for AP parents, like online archives and support groups, so it provides real life support for parents too.
3. "The Attachment Parenting Book: A Commonsense Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Baby" by William Sears and Martha Sears
The Sears get into the nitty gritty of attachment parenting in this book (Little, Brown and Company), answering questions that were left unanswered in their first publication. It contains the famous "7 Baby Bs" that are key to attachment parenting, and the text addresses the role of a mother versus a father based on their approach, as well as how AP impacts children in the longterm. It's also where the authors cover the importance of sleeping near your baby, a hallmark of attachment parenting.
4. "The Natural Child: Parenting from the Heart" by Jan Hunt
The Natural Child (New Society Publishers) provides a historical context for attachment parenting, arguing that the theory has actually been practiced for most of human history. Hunt connects attachment theory practices from infancy to homeschooling, taking a more longterm approach than some of the other books. It's a great resource if your kids are past infancy and you want to bring in attachment parenting to your home.
5. "Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves" by Naomi Aldort
Aldort also looks at the way attachment parenting can function past infancy in Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves (Book Publishers Network), focusing on the importance of an emotional connection between a parent and a child. It offers alternative disciplinary methods and a show rather than tell model for raising children, taking the Sears' concept of listening to another level.