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The neutrality of this article is disputed. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. William Sears advises mothers to carry their baby on the body as often as possible. In family sociology, attachment parenting is considered to be the most striking manifestation of intensive mothering or New momism. William Sears came to the term “attachment parenting” in 1982 by reading Liedloff.
Initially, he referred to his new philosophy as “the new continuum concept” and “immersion mothering”. When he published his book Creative Parenting in 1982, the concept was largely elaborate already. I realized we needed to change the term to something more positive, so we came up with AP, since the Attachment Theory literature was so well researched and documented, by John Bowlby and others. In 1993, William Sears and Martha Sears published The Baby Book which became the first comprehensive manual for AP-parents and which was occasionally dubbed “the attachment parenting bible”.
In the same year as Sears and Sears’ Attachment Parenting Book, Jan Hunt published her essay collection The Natural Child. Hunt who sees herself as a child advocate, campaigned in this book not only for attachment parenting, but also for unschooling. Like before him the founders of attachment theory, Mary Ainsworth in particular, William Sears teaches that a strong mother-child-attachment emerges from contingency, that is of emotional attunement of mother and child, which again is based on the mother’s sensitivity. William Sears strongly believes in the existence of child rearing practices that support “babyreading” and that augment the maternal sensitivity. The methods of attachment parenting include seven practices resp. Sears form a “synergetic” ensemble and that are based on the child’s “biological needs”.
Until 1999, Sears named only five Baby Bs. The last two were only added in 2001 with the publication of the Attachment Parenting Book. William Sears postulates the existence of a brief time slot immediately after birth during which the newborn is in a “quiet alert state” and particularly accessible for bonding. William Sears argues that breastfeeding greatly accommodates mother-child-attachment because it triggers the release of oxytocin in the mother which supports her emotional bonding with the child, notably in the first ten days after childbirth. While breastfeeding for only a few months is the cultural norm for Western Society, what we know about breastfeeding in primitive cultures and weaning times for other mammals that human infants were designed to breastfeed for several years. William Sears advocates extended breastfeeding, since he is convinced that breastfeeding supports attachment even of older children and that it is a valid instrument to comfort older children or to bring mother and child together on turbulent days.
Neither does he object nighttime breastfeeding of toddlers. In poor countries, the advantage of breastfeeding over use of infant formula is undisputed, especially due to the limited availability of clean drinking water. Nonetheless, the WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months and complementary breastfeeding in the first 2 years for all countries. Since breastfeeding studies are, for ethical reasons, never conducted as randomized controlled trials, critics have repeatedly suspected that studies may have produced the superiority of breastfeeding as an artifact. William Sears’ assumptions about the benefit of breastfeeding for the attachment have been studied. However, the study showed no effect of the feeding method on the attachment quality. Sears advises mothers to wear infants on the body as many hours during the day as possible, for example in a sling.