Attached at the Heart: Eight Principles for Raising Connected and Compassionate Children 3rd Edition

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Praise for Attached at the Heart


“Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker are seminal voices in the planetary conversation about how to create secure, enduring and healthy bonds with our children. Bonds that can last an entire lifetime.”

—Alanis Morissette, Grammy-award winning artist

“This book deserves a permanent place on our shelves and in our hearts. For the good of children and families everywhere, thank goodness for Attached At The Heart.

—Mayim Bialik, Ph.D., Neuroscientist, Author, Actress (Blossom, Big Bang Theory, Call Me Kat), Jeopardy! Host


Attached at the Heart is a gift for all of us looking for practical information on how to strengthen the emotional connections in our families, a powerful and undeniable influence towards achieving a compassionate world.”

—Marian Tompson, CoFounder, La Leche League International 


“In my mind, no two people anywhere on the planet have worked and sacrificed more than Barbara and Lysa to promote healthy and happy attachment relationships between mothers, fathers, and their infants. Their book provides careful and accurate if not cautious recommendations about infants and their caregivers that closely follow more balanced scientific findings—and not simply those that support their own personal philosophies or political agendas—a description accurately applied to more traditional medical authoritative associations. I recommend their book without hesitation and with much enthusiasm.”
—James J. McKenna, PhD,  Director Emeritus,  Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory, University of Notre Dame

“This thought-provoking anthology has been intelligently organized into eight principles that guide readers on a journey of discovery—sometimes reassuring and sometimes a reality check! The authors have managed to make a précis of academic research findings with a light touch and merge them with years of personal experience and of helping count-less parents through Attachment Parenting International (API)."

—Sir Richard Bowlby, Bt, son of Dr. John Bowlby, MD


“This is a wise and nurturing book for parents, helping them nurture their children according to their emotional and developmental needs. A much-needed guide to attuned parenting. I highly recommend it.”

—Harville Hendrix, PhD, coauthor with Helen LaKelly Hunt, Giving the Love That Heals: A Guide for Parents

Attached at the Heart is the first book to present attachment theory in an accessible and contemporary way. Its eight principles are critical guideposts by which parents can light their way to a healthy relationship with their children.”

—Peggy O’Mara, editor and publisher of Mothering magazine

Attached at the Heart is a breathtaking wake-up call for parents and children everywhere. With stunning acuity, scientific insight, and a rare passion, authors Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker unlock the keys to creating compassionate, connected families."

—Lu Hanessian, author of acclaimed memoir Let the Baby Drive: Navigating the Road of New Motherhood former NBC anchor/syndicated columnist and parent educator

Attached at the Heart communicates an enormous spectrum of information that is valuable and inspirational to parents and professionals. It defines attachment parenting in the most comprehensive and profound way. Attached at the Heart is an indispensable primer for any new parent.”

—Isabelle Fox, PhD, Being There: The Benefits of a Stay-at-Home Parent

“Just as the breastfeeding world changed its message from benefits of breastfeeding to the harm of not breastfeeding. Attached at the Heart offers parents insight into the damage done to our children, our families, and our society by normative abusive parenting. Parents will read this book and understand how abusive parenting has been passed down for generations. Parents will get the help they need to break the cycle and create peaceful, loving families.”

—Barbara A. Hotelling, MSN, WHNP-BC, LCCE, CD (DONA), IBCLC Women’s health nurse-practitioner and former chairwoman of the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS)



Exciting new additions to the Third Edition of Attached at the Heart!


  • Research in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Positive Childhood Experiences (PCEs) have changed the way we understand the impact of our life experiences. We know there is a lifelong correlation between our physical and psychological health from adverse experiences before the age of eighteen. What is new is our understanding that positive childhood experiences and other relational buffers in a child's life can help mitigate ACEs.


  • Emotional regulation of the baby’s intense emotions is only possible if the parents are emotionally self-aware and are then able to identify their need for self-regulation first. This book offers trauma informed strategies to help parents regulate their own emotions such as “Heart-focused Breathing” and other calming techniques.


  • The microbiome of an infant’s gut is determined by the way a baby is born and that can determine the child’s lifelong health. Vaginal birth is the primary way that the baby receives gut bacteria from the mother, providing a powerful head start for their immune system. Breastfeeding and skin-to-skin holding are additional ways of “seeding and feeding” the bacteria in the gut known as the microbiome.


  • “Breastsleeping” is a new term coined by infant sleep researchers Dr. James McKenna and Dr. Helen Ball to describe the unique protective relationship between a breastfeeding mother and her baby during slee


  • One of the biggest challenges for parents is infant sleep. In their attempt to find solutions, parents are often confused by the terms sleep training versus sleep education. Attached at the Heart defines the two different approaches. Sleep training is behavioristic in its approach and can involve the baby crying-it-out while ignoring the infant’s emotional or physical need for nurturance at night. Sleep education on the other hand takes a more developmental approach by helping parents understand infant sleep architecture and sleep patterns. Parents are encouraged to respond in a developmentally appropriate way to their baby at night to meet their physical and emotional needs.


  • More guidance and strategies have been included for working parents to help keep the attachment strong in spite of separations. The book includes ways to facilitate loving transitions to other caregivers. The term “alloparent” is defined as a caregiver in a child’s life who can be a family member or someone who becomes like a family member.


  • Epigenetics is the study of the powerful influences that nature, nurture and environment have on our DNA. Our DNA is not our destiny but what we eat, the environment in which we are born and other lifelong experiences all impact the expression of our genes for generations to come. The good news is that it is also reversable!


  • Children and adults are suffering from what is called “Nature Deficit Disorder” Exposing our children and encouraging them to play out in nature, whether in the backyard, a park, or in the woods, is of vital importance for healthy development and positive mental health.



barbara-nicholson.jpgBarbara Nicholson, MEd, CEIM, is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University and cofounder of Attachment Parenting International/Nurturings. A former teacher of special education, she was a La Leche League International support group facilitator for over twenty-five years, and is an educator in Infant Massage. She now trains professionals to teach the Attached at the Heart Parenting Education program that she developed with Lysa Parker. She is the mother of four grown sons and lives with her husband in Nashville, Tennessee.





lysa-parker.jpegLysa Parker, MS, CFLE, CEIM, is a graduate of the University of Alabama with a degree in Education and a Master’s in Family Studies. She is a Certified Family Life Educator and Educator of Infant Massage. Lysa co-developed and currently trains professionals in the curriculum based on the Attached at the Heart book. She is the mother of two grown sons and grandmother of four grandchildren. Lysa resides with her husband in the Huntsville, Alabama area. 




Authors: Barbara Nicholson, Lysa Parker

Copyright: 2024


Total Pages: 368



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