API Mission Statement: Our Mission is to educate and support all parents in raising secure, joyful, and empathic children in order to strengthen families and create a more compassionate world.
The Eight Principles of API
(8 Principles for older children linked at the bottom)
1. Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting
Become emotionally and physically prepared for pregnancy and birth. Research available options for healthcare providers and birthing environments, and become informed about routine newborn care. Continuously educate yourself about developmental stages of childhood, setting realistic expectations and remaining flexible. Read More
2. Feed With Love and Respect
Breastfeeding is the optimal way to satisfy an infant's nutritional and emotional needs. "Bottle Nursing" adapts breastfeeding behaviors to bottle-feeding to help initiate a secure attachment. Follow the feeding cues for both infants and children, encouraging them to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. Offer healthy food choices and model healthy eating behavior. Read More
3. Respond With Sensitivity
Build the foundation of trust and empathy beginning in infancy. Tune in to what your child is communicating to you, then respond consistently and appropriately. Babies cannot be expected to self-soothe, they need calm, loving, empathetic parents to help them learn to regulate their emotions. Respond sensitively to a child who is hurting or expressing strong emotion, and share in their joy. Read More
4. Use Nurturing Touch
Touch meets a baby's needs for physical contact, affection, security, stimulation, & movement. Skin-to-skin contact is especially effective, such as during breastfeeding, bathing, or massage. Carrying or babywearing also meets this need while on the go. Hugs, snuggling, back rubs, massage, & physical play help meet this need in older children.
5. Ensure Safe Sleep Both Physically and Emotionally
Babies and children have needs at night just as they do during the day; from hunger, loneliness, and fear, to feeling too hot or too cold. They rely on parents to soothe them and help them regulate their intense emotions. Sleep training techniques can have detrimental physiological and psychological effects. Safe co-sleeping has benefits to both babies and parents. Read More
6. Provide Consistent Loving Care
Babies and young children have an intense need for the physical presence of a consistent, loving, responsive caregiver: ideally a parent. If it becomes necessary, choose an alternate caregiver who has formed a bond with the child and who cares for him in a way that strengthens the attachment relationship. Keep schedules flexible, and minimize stress and fear during short separations. Read More
7. Practice Positive Discipline
Positive discipline helps a child develop a conscience guided by his own internal discipline and compassion for others. Discipline that is empathetic, loving, and respectful strengthens the connection between parent and child. Rather than reacting to behavior, discover the needs leading to the behavior. Communicate and craft solutions together while keeping everyone's dignity intact. Read More
8. Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life
It is easier to be emotionally responsive when you feel in balance. Create a support network, set realistic goals, put people before things, and don't be afraid to say "no". Recognize individual needs within the family and meet them to the greatest extent possible without compromising your physical and emotional health. Be creative, have fun with parenting, and take time to care for yourself. Read More
Have an older child? Check this out:
The Eight Principles of Attachment Parenting for the School-Age Child
Naperville API is a local chapter of Attachment Parenting International (API)
API is a 501C3 non-profit organization that offers local support groups, online support, API Links (a free monthly E-newsletter), ASK API Teleseminars, API Speaks BLOG, a book club, and a website full of research being conducted by API's Research Group, and experts in the field of attachment.
The essence of Attachment Parenting is about forming and nurturing strong connections between parents and their children. Attachment Parenting challenges us as parents to treat our children with kindness, respect and dignity, and to model in our interactions with them the way we'd like them to interact with others. Every family is unique and each family needs to find their own voice in their parenting journey, which is why API has developed the Eight Principles of Parenting.
At Naperville API we encourage every family to listen openly take the tips and ideas that work for their family and throw away the rest.