Attachment isn’t just a nice fluffy outcome of good parenting. Attachment is an investment in relationship which lasts a lifetime. With 4 out of 10 children being insecurely attached and with the closure of 350 Sure Start Children’s Centres since 2010 the need for strengthening healthy attachments between children and their carers is more important than ever.Attachment Parenting UK is a social enterprise committed to innovative education and inclusive support with an ethos of integrity and personal sustainability. Our unique Positive Discipline Course is a non-punitive, consent-based online parenting course and our social impact measurements show that over 90% of parents feel it improved their relationship with their child. Our experienced in-house coach uses a groundbreaking approach transforming the experience of families. Our online community and membership offers connection, education and belonging. Our 200+ facilitator community runs unique peer support groups to upskill and improve the lives of parents nationwide.
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Michelle McHale, Founding Director APUK
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Michelle McHale is mum to 2 girls age 10 and 8 years and is the founding director of APUK, writer and public speaker. An experienced support group leader herself, Michelle trained with Attachment Parenting International and now manages the thriving APUK community nationwide.
She is the creator of the Positive Discipline Course, the APUK annual conference host and an experienced workshop leader.
Michelle has a 1st class honours degree in English Studies, a teaching qualification and a decade’s experience as a Tour Director leading American high-schoolers on educational tours throughout Europe.
Michelle is bilingual in Spanish, a trained Playback Theatre student and a fellow of the School of Social Entrepreneurs.
Mattesini is quick to clarify: “I don’t think there is any parent who would wisely be looking for perfection. It would be entirely futile. There will be times when babies are crying and all you can do is be present and loving. It is about striving to meet needs.”
People certainly do see it as extreme but you can take what you want from it,” says Mattesini. “For example I disagree that it’s something you can only do as a stay-at-home mum. Out of our core group of 20, 11 of the mothers work in some form either part time or self-employed or in an office. Among them are a nutritionist, a web designer, a herbalist, a maths teacher and an admin clerk.
“We have single and married mothers. Our youngest member is 21 and we have women in their 40s. There are people who are unable to breastfeed or find co-sleeping doesn’t work for them.”
Bowlby proposed the idea that emotional bonding exists across time and space and was not simply dependent on who fed the baby but was based on the sensitive, responsive and loving behaviour of the primary carer towards the baby,” says Michelle Mattesini of Attachment Parenting UK.
Michelle McHale, 40, from Devon also believes prolonged breastfeeding has strengthened her bond with her two children. Michelle breastfed her daughter, Izzy, now eight, until she was five, and daughter, Nevie, now six, until she was three-and-a-half. She separated from her husband in September 2013, but her friends and family were all completely on board with her breastfeeding.
‘I didn’t feel particularly maternal and planned to breastfeed for six months and then go back to my job as a tour director,’ she says.
‘But it turned out that breastfeeding was one of the most natural, useful, enjoyable, peaceful aspects of mothering. It was an instinctive relationship I didn’t want to break.’
So much so, says Michelle, that she decided not to return to her job, but, instead, to spend her children’s early years with them as a stay-at-home mother.
‘With Izzy, it gave us the opportunity to pause in the day and snuggle on the sofa,’ she says.
‘I’m such an energetic, on-the-go type of person, but breastfeeding forced me to sit down and allowed us to bond.
‘Beyond the age of two, it felt less about feeding and more about soothing and comforting. It became a safe place for my girls.’