Attachment Parenting

I’ve always been fascinated by parenting theories, and eager to learn and practice them for myself. Although my son is only two, I have already learned a lot about parenting, and my partner and I have continued to refine and adjust our strategies as we go.

From the beginning, we were attracted to the attachment parenting style. This is a model for approaching parenthood that supports a strong and loving attachment between parents and children as a primary focus of parenting. It includes some specific practices that support and encourage children’s emotional development and a strong bond.

The eight principles of attachment parenting defined by Attachment Parenting International are:

  1. Prepare for pregnancy, birth, and parenting
  2. Feed with love and respect
  3. Respond with sensitivity
  4. Use nurturing touch
  5. Ensure safe sleep, physically and emotionally
  6. Provide consistent and loving care
  7. Practice positive discipline
  8. Strive for balance in your personal and family life

The first principle means being mindful about choices during pregnancy, birth, and parenting. It means considering what is best for both the mother, baby, and family as a whole. Many attachment parents choose to hire a midwife for care during pregnancy and to have a natural birth, because of the many benefits both offer. Attachment parents are also encouraged to be mindful as parents, by being aware of developmental stages of childhood and always seeking to learn and grow in parenting skills.

The second principle means breastfeeding on-demand and for an extended time when possible, or bottle feeding with love as an alternative. It also means respecting children’s signals regarding when they are hungry and full, and practicing good nutrition for the whole family.

The third principle means responding to baby’s cries (as opposed to letting babies “cry it out”), as well as responding sensitively to older children’s emotions and needs.

The fourth principle means offering plenty of physical affection and touch through baby-wearing, snuggles, hugs, physical play, and even baby-massage. These forms of loving contact help strengthen the parent-child bond.

The fifth principle means considering co-sleeping, if it suits your family and you can do so safely. Attachment parents are also discouraged from sleep training, especially forms involving “cry it out” methods, because of the potential negative emotional and physical effects.

The sixth principle means considering having one parent stay home to care for the children, or as an alternative, choosing a caregiver who can bond with the child and provide consistent care. It also means keeping schedules flexible, and limiting separations.

The seventh principle means using positive discipline tools that are kind and respectful, enforcing reasonable limits, and keeping communication open. Attachment parents are discouraged from using punishment, threats, or bribery to control behavior, and physical punishment especially is never used.

The eight principle means taking time to care for your own needs, as the parent, as well as establishing boundaries that respect the needs of all family members.

I like attachment parenting because it frees parents to love and attach to their kids as they are designed to do, rather than following society’s pressure to focus on early independence. Interestingly, one of the purposes of attachment parenting is to build a strong foundation of security from which children can eventually launch themselves into independence.

As I’ve experienced the ups and downs of parenthood over the past few years, I have come to realize that adopting an attachment parenting philosophy has one very big benefit; it changes your perspective in a way that allows you to be the best parent you can be.

What I mean by this is simply that when you choose to be an attachment parent, you choose to accept your child’s needs and your responsibility to meet them, with joy and purpose rather than reluctance. You can take it in stride or even find yourself enjoying the precious time with your child when they are demanding a lot from you.

You are happy to be a parent meeting your child’s vital needs during those hard times; when you’re nursing your baby every hour because that’s what he asks for; when you have to sit in the church nursery with your toddler during service because she isn’t emotionally ready for separation; when you go to sleep at night right next to your squirmy, warm, beautiful child, because he wants to sleep in your bed; and when you resist the temptation to punish your kid for misbehaving, and instead push yourself to find positive discipline strategies that work without harming anybody’s dignity. Parenting becomes the beautiful, challenging, purposeful adventure that it was meant to be. That is why I am an attachment parent, and why I hope more and more parents will adopt these principles for their own families as well.

My Experience with Different Types of Midwives

Although there are certainly many articles on the internet explaining the practice of midwifery and different types of midwives, I wanted to contribute my own experience on the subject.

The two types of midwives available in my area, in California, are direct entry midwives and certified nurse midwives, or CNMs. When I was pregnant, I started out with a CNM at a birth center, but later switched to a direct entry midwife. Here’s what I learned through the process.

CNMs are certified as nurses, as their title may suggest. They are commonly found in hospitals and birthing centers. Direct entry midwives have birth training adequate to be certified by a governing board such as the North American Registry of Midwives or the American Midwifery Certification Board, and may have the title of CPM (certified professional midwife) or CM (certified midwife)—these types of midwives most commonly attend home-births or births in a birthing center.

Certified Nurse Midwives

Originally, I chose to use a birthing center which employed several certified nurse midwives. I found the birthing center to be a very appealing environment, and I felt more secure using a midwife who was also a certified nurse. Birthing at the birth center seemed like a safer way to have a natural birth.

I quickly found that I was not assigned to one particular midwife, but would get whoever happened to be there during my appointment. This may be unique to the particular birthing center I chose, but I did feel that my care was less personalized as a result—undermining one of the main benefits of midwifery as opposed to seeing an OBGYN. Ironically, most people seeing an OBGYN would at least have the benefit of receiving care from a single doctor, rather than a rotating set of doctors, thus giving them more personalized care than I was receiving at that birth center.

I also discovered that my care was very managed at the birth center. There were protocols, procedures, and rules that I was simply told to follow, without a great deal of input of my own preferences or thoughts. This is apparently the usual operating procedure for CNMs. I was told to submit to a pelvic exam during one appointment—not asked, but told. Another time, I was told to submit to a blood draw for blood tests. Neither of those procedures was offered to me for consideration, they were just an expected part of the process, and I was not given an option to decline. I found that this undermined another of the main benefits of midwifery, which is the right to be involved and in control of one’s own prenatal care.

The final straw for me with the CNMs at the birth center was when I was told to make my appointment for the gestational diabetes test. After carefully researching the subject, I found that I have an extremely low risk of gestational diabetes. I had not a single risk factor, other than being pregnant. As such, I spoke to one of the midwives about declining this test, and she agreed that it would be fine. Later, I received a call from the birth center again requesting for me to make my appointment, and when I explained that I would be declining, they put me on hold. A few minutes later, they came back and told me that it wasn’t allowed. I was flabbergasted to hear that I apparently wasn’t allowed to make my own health care choices, but I remained calm as I explained that I already received approval from one of the midwives. I was told that they would get back to me on the matter. A few days later, I received another call from the birth center. They told me that they had discussed my case in their staff meeting, and decided that I would not be allowed to decline the test. I told them I would be finding a new midwife.

At this point, I started to really look into all of the available midwives in my area, rather than only looking for CNMs, which there were only a couple of. That was when I finally came around to the idea of seeing a direct entry midwife, and discovered many benefits to this choice.

Direct Entry Midwives

First of all, with a direct entry midwife I was able to have a home birth without paying any extra fee as I would have had to for the birth center I was at before. I discovered that midwives bring all of the same equipment to a home birth as would be available at a birth center, making it just as safe of a choice. Not only that, but a home birth allows the family to be in a familiar and comfortable environment, and eliminates the need to do anything after the birth other than settle in with the new baby. That being said, direct entry midwives often work at birthing centers as well (my midwife has her own birthing center), and offer that as an option.

Second of all, I was able to choose the one person who would take care of my prenatal needs, and build a relationship of trust and comfortability with that person. There was no shuffling around with a different midwife every month.

Third, I was able to make my own health choices and wasn’t pressured to submit to any procedure. Everything was my choice, and everything was presented as an option, as it should be. I chose to decline certain procedures, such as the gestational diabetes screening, while accepting other procedures such as screening for GBS (Group B Strep). None of my choices felt judged by my midwife. I also was never even offered a pelvic exam until the birthing time, which is good because pelvic exams during pregnancy are not evidence-based or beneficial, and may in fact be harmful (not to mention uncomfortable).

Ultimately, I was very happy with my choice and I highly recommend direct entry midwives as an option for pregnancy and birth care. Not only did I have a much better experience, but I paid less for it, and it was much more convenient to have a midwife who was located closer to me and able to attend my home birth. My midwife happens to see clients at her birth center, but also offers a home-visit option, and many direct entry midwives offer home-visits only. Either way, using a CM or CPM is a wonderful way to receive excellent, personalized, and empowering care during pregnancy and birth. As for CNM care, I can only say that my experience was very negative, but others may find that this type of midwife suits them. Ultimately, the decision should be made with an open, yet discerning, mind.


This is my first official post on my new Mindful Birthing website. How exciting! I created this website as a home base for my new business as a Hypnobabies instructor and Hypno-doula, which I will be starting in mid 2017 after my training is complete. I also hope to use this space as a blog to share my thoughts on the topics of pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. I’ve decided on the name Mindful Birthing because it embodies what I feel is most important in the birth process; being mindful.

Mindful birthing means many things to me. It means carefully considering options throughout the pregnancy and birth process. It means examining your own thoughts and training your mind in a positive way, to achieve the best possible outcomes. It means being present and at peace with the process as a whole.

The mind is a powerful tool to create tangible effects in the body. This is a scientifically studied and proven phenomenon which is the basis for hypnotherapy, and the reason that hypnosis works for improving the experience of pregnancy and birth. This is the beauty of mindfulness; harnessing the power of one’s mind for positive results.

I am so excited for what the future holds as I follow my dreams and start my own business, sharing this power with others and making the world a better place, one pregnancy and birth at a time.