Emotional Attachments: Busting the Many Myths of Bonding with Newborns

It
is emotionally vital for babies to form a strong attachment bond with their
main caregiver, but there are many myths surrounding emotional cues and
attachments. Here’s the truth behind some of the common rumors, along with
advice that might help you bond with your new baby.

Why is attachment so important?

John
Bowlby’s pioneering work on how infants attach to their caregivers shows
that when a baby’s needs are met, the baby is more likely to feel cared for and
understood, growing up into a happy, confident child. In contrast, babies and
young children who have insecure attachments to their caregivers learn the
lesson that they cannot expect their needs to be met and may experience difficulties
relating to others in life.

Is love enough?

Many
parents think that as long as they love their children, a secure attachment
bond will necessarily form. However, your baby responds more to your behavior
than your emotions in early life, so love alone is not enough. You need to look
for your baby’s cues, respond to their needs and keep your own stress under
control (as babies are observing your cues while you observe theirs). This can
sound like a tall order, especially for mothers suffering from the baby blues, but
you may be surprised by how quickly you learn how to read your baby’s signals.
Look at their facial expressions, remember the noises they make when they are
hungry or tired, and keep track of types of touch and movement that seem to
soothe the baby.

Do you have to pick up on all of your
cues?

It’s
natural to worry that you might not understand every single one of your baby’s
cues and that you might therefore facilitate the development of an insecure
attachment. Thankfully, you can maintain a strong and loving bond with your
child be responding to the majority of their signals and by always attempting
to repair any disconnect that you notice. Being a perfect parent is not
required. Just be responsive, attentive and willing to self-monitor.

How can parents calm themselves in
stressful times?

Since
stress responses are a key part of secure attachment bonds, it’s vital for
parents to spend time taking care of themselves in order to manage their
negative emotions. For example, make sure you regularly get some time off to
rest or pursue your other endeavours, as constantly working to care for your
baby can result in a short temper. It can also be meaningful to spend time away
from your baby choosing new clothes or toys, or visiting an ornament
shop
where you can pick up treasured mementos. The trick is to know when
you need a break and to take measures to ensure you get that break. If you feel
upset or angry while caring for your baby, try to take slow, deep breaths and
get your mood on an even keel before you actively interact with the child.

Amanda Meeks is a stay at home mom and avid writer. She enjoys covering
a variety of topics to post on the web. You can read her interesting articles on many websites and blogs.

 
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2 Comments

  1. lil_lady_dz
    January 22, 2015 / 4:29 am

    My sister is expecting her first child shortly, it is great to know the truth behind some of the common rumors with advice I can pass on to her. Great post for newbie moms.

  2. Anonymous
    January 22, 2015 / 8:34 pm

    I am one of those who failed. I thought we bonded – at the time – I responded to her cues (I thought, anyway), interacted with her, spent most of the day with her, and breastfed her until she was 2 1/2 years old. She is now 35 and hasn't spoken to me in over 10 years, except to ask for money. My only child!

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