Baby

Safe attachment - how to build?


A secure bond doesn't happen overnight. This is a developing partnership process between parent and child. Over time, interpreting signals, understanding crying and responding to the needs of a child becomes easier. Initially, therefore, the most important thing is patience with the baby and with himself.

Learning to recognize the directions sent by the child

Each of the children is unique, so the same signal can mean something completely different in the performance of different babies. Therefore, the parent's first task resembles that of a detective who, using residual information, tries to guess what is going on through trial and error.

  • Answer the look. Research indicates that the response to a look has a great impact on the development of secure attachment. Respond to the child's gaze, and when looking in a different direction, look there too, check what interests them. When the child looks away, look away too.
  • Look at the facial expressions of the child and the movements of his body for clues. For example, a child can improve body position, change facial expressions, move his arm or leg in response to your voice, showing that he is cold or needs a hug.
  • Familiarize yourself with the different types of sounds that a child makes and their meaning. For example, a short low cry can mean "I'm hungry" and a variable whimper "I'm tired".
  • Pay attention to the kind of touch your child likes. Virtually every touch gives the newborn information about life. The more tenderly you touch them, the more the toddler perceives the world as a pleasant place.
  • Pay attention to the types of movement, sound and surroundings that the child likes. Some babies like the movement of rocking or being worn, while others soothe the sound of soft music or changing environments. One child only fell asleep in the car, so parents often wanting to put them to sleep, took them on short trips.

Sometimes the child is cranky no matter what you do. For example, when teething, sick or undergoing some major developmental change. When this happens, parents should try keep in touch and soothe your child. It is important, however, for them to understand that this is a difficult period that will pass and, above all, does not mean that they are bad parents. Forbearance makes it easier to remain calm, love and caring, and these benefit the child, even if he continues to cry.

Fun, laughter and conversation with a baby

Laughter, touch, fun and interaction are as important for the child's development as sleep or eating. Body language, tone of voice, loving touch - all this is a way of communicating with your toddler.

When you see signals that indicate that the child wants to play, just relax and enjoy the exchange of smiles, sounds and funny faces.

Toys, books and music can be helpful in starting the game, but often it is enough to have fun in a boo or a funny change of voice. However, the baby's nervous system is developing dynamically, which is why the toddler gets tired quickly. So you should also pay attention to the signals that the child needs to withdraw from play and rest. Parents often initially experience discomfort associated with the fact that they do not know how to play with the child. However, the most important thing is that they do not cease in their efforts. Of course, when the child is ready to play.

An excellent opportunity: feeding and sleeping

Many of the early signals sent by the infant concern him physiological needsand sleeping and eating. Changing the feeding frequency or adding a little time to rest at the right time can strongly affect a child's ability to come into contact.

A child deprived of proper rest cannot be calm, alert and ready to contact. Babies sleep a lot, even 18 hours a day during the first few months. Hence, sleep signals appear surprisingly often. Often a tired child reacts with excessive vigilance and moves feverishly. It's easy to confuse such behavior with an invitation to play, but it is a signal that the nap time has already passed half an hour ago.

Famine also causes many early baby signals. Scheduled feeding schedule is helpful, but accelerated growth and developmental changes make the baby every few weeks needs changes in the schedule. That is why it is important to pay close attention to the hunger's unique signs of toddler.

Parent good enough, not perfect

You don't have to be the perfect parent all the time to establish a good bond with your child. Just try and do not worry about the fact that you do not always know what the toddler is up to. This response to interaction attempts and the desire to see and repair a missed signal makes the bond secure rather than insecure.

Secure attachment requires understanding of the signals sent by the child through about 30% of the time, not all the time.

You don't have to be the perfect parent develop a bond with an infant. The process of establishing a secure bond goes well until you notice that a signal has been missed by you and you continue to investigate what the baby needs. In fact, being aware of the fact that something has gone wrong and trying to fix it can actually strengthen your relationship with your newborn baby.

Being a parent of an infant is often referred to as the most difficult thing to do in life. It's unbelievable how much energy and work such a small creature may require. However, no one can be fully present and attentive 24 hours a day. Every parent needs help and supportand to remain calm and involved.

Challenges for establishing a secure bond

Certain phenomena and situations can make establishing a bond with a baby more difficult. Some of them are on the side of children, some on the parents' side.

Most babies are born ready to bond with a carer. However, sometimes problems can arise. Difficulties in establishing relationships may arise in the case of:

  • Damage to the child's nervous system
  • Prenatal and perinatal difficulties
  • Infant health problems
  • Premature babies in intensive care
  • Children separated from parents after birth
  • Babies who had several carers

Parents who have not experienced a safe bond as babies themselves may have difficulty establishing it with their own child. Other challenges for parents include:

  • Depression, anxiety, emotional problems
  • Alcohol or drug addiction
  • High stress (financial difficulties, lack of support, overwork, etc.)
  • Situations of neglect or chaos in one's own childhood
  • An environment that does not evoke a sense of security
  • Mostly negative memories of my own childhood

Of course, the above-mentioned difficulties do not diminish the chances of establishing a secure bond. However, help may be needed. In the case of infant difficulties, it is worth as soon as possible consult a problem with the pediatrician or specialist in early intervention. In turn, parents can benefit from psychological help and support.

Facts and myths about attachment

Myth: My child is attached to me because I gave birth to him

Fact: Babies have an independent nervous system that may be different from yours. What gives you pleasure will not necessarily make your child pleasant. So, to understand the individual needs of your little one, you need to watch and listen to the signals they send.

Myth: Answering every child's need is coddling
Fact: On the contrary, the more you respond to your baby's needs, the less spoiled the child will be in the future. Bond creates trust, and children who are securely attached tend to be more independent.

Myth: Safe attachment and love are the same
Fact: Mother and baby attachment occurs instinctively, but loving a child, unfortunately, does not guarantee secure attachment. It develops based on your ability to deal with stress, respond to your child's signals and your ability to calm him down.

Myth: I have difficulty reading the signals and non-verbal cues sent by my child, and I can't always determine what he wants. So it's certainly not securely attached.
Fact: Understanding all baby signals and needs is not only unnecessary but also impossible. As long as you keep the ability to recognize a break in contact and strive to improve contact, the relationship between you and the child can even be strengthened due to bonding.

Myth: An attachment reaction can only occur between a biological mother and her child
Fact: The infant becomes attached to the guardian who devotes the most time and care to him. It does not have to be a biological mother. Could be a father or adoptive parent. However, studies show that an infant abandoned by the first guardian is able to create an attachment relationship to new people no more than twice. Hence, the adoption of an infant should be an irrevocable decision.

Myth: Children can develop a secure relationship with several people
Fact: Babies establish a secure relationship with only one person - the one who spends the most time caring for them. However, they can also bond and love other people who care for them.

Myth: Safe attachment is a one-way process that focuses on accurately reading the child's signals
Fact: Attachment is a two-way interactive process in which your child reads your signals and you read it.