Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Attachment: Talk to Your Baby

     Words have meaning and your baby needs to learn them. Chatter on, in a litany of explanations to all things that are occurring: good morning, it’s time to get dressed, let’s change that diaper, today we are going to Grandma’s, etc.  Your child needs to associate words with action. Building his vocabulary sets the foundation for learning and helps prepare him for school.

To read  Why talking to baby can help build language and literacy competency, See:

He also wants to hear the sound of your voice which will nurture and soothe him. Talking to your baby, lets him know you're nearby, and available to meet his needs.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Attachment: Establish the Primary Caretaker

   In order to form healthy attachments, you must first establish the primary caretaker.  Your child needs to be able to identify you and your spouse in this role.  For the first month or two, you need to be the one who provides, food, comfort, soothing, affection, etc.  During this time, nest with your new baby. Limit outings and establish a calm, predictable routine.

Limit Visitors. Your friends, neighbors, mother, mother-in-law can’t wait to meet the new addition. Initially you need to limit visitations, as you establish yourself as the primary caretaker. Introducing too many people, too fast can disrupt this process and create indiscriminate attachments or indiscriminate friendliness. (Where children are not able to differentiate parents from other adults or understand stranger danger)

If you need help, let friends and family wash dishes, do laundry, make dinner, etc. but limit direct contact with baby while you work on strengthening your relationship with baby.

Spend quality and large quantities of time with your baby. Be diligent in your efforts as this is essential to your child’s emotional health and the attachment process. Once you are established yourselves as the primary caretaker, then you can extend outings and allow secondary caregivers more time with baby.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Attachment: Play with Baby

   Playing with your child naturally builds the parent child attachment. Interact with your baby by smiling and mimicking his coos. Play peek-a-boo, act silly.  When you get a positive reaction from your baby, she’s letting you know that your nurturing techniques were successful. If your child is unresponsive, respond as if he has reacted to you in the way you wanted him too.  Learning preferences takes time. The more your baby associates positive feelings with you, the stronger the developing relationship, the more competent you will feel.

Babies are naturally interested in human faces. Use eye contact in everyday actives with baby.  Most likely when you move around the room and interact with child, she will follow you with her eyes. If a child is uncomfortable with eye to-eye contact they feel threatened. Be careful to avoid excessive eye contact.  Children may retreat, or turn their head’s.  If a child feels you are too close for comfort, let him view you from a distance. He may need more time to develop comfort with closeness. If your child refuses, don’t force it. Instead choose actives that may help strengthen it.  Play peek-a-boo or other games that require brief and lengthening eye contact.  By using play, feelings of threat can be minimized and that opens the child up to attachment.  

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Attachment: Snuggle

   You can’t spoil a baby by holding them too much. Whenever possible wear your baby close to your body. Make eye contact, and show affection, even if your child stiffens or does not reciprocate.

Snuggle older children whenever possible. Hold hands, put your arm around them, snuggle up in a chair and read, or sit a chair and rock.  

If your child cries pick him up. Allowing babies to cry it out is a technique that is not recommended for children without secure attachments. 

If your child has self-soothing behaviors, stay with them during this time. If they rock, hold them and rock them in a rocking chair. This will help your child associate you with comfort.

Skin-to-skin contact can be used to promote bonding with baby.  Lay your baby on your chest to maximize skin-to-skin contact. Allow baby to explore and touch your face. Skin-to Skin contact should be used by both parents when possible 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Attachment: Feeding Your Child

   Mary Hopkins- Best, author of Toddler Adoption Says that “Food is the most essential element in bonding and attachment.”  Put babies’ needs ahead of your own. When possible, follow a schedule based on your baby’s cues. Feeding on your schedule or removing bottles before the baby finishes will not facilitate attachment. The more responsive parents are to feeding cues, the more securely-attached infants become.  Holding, rocking, talking or singing to baby while feeding, will help her associate food with comfort.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Attachment: Be Sensory Rich

Be Sensory Rich: appeal to your child’s senses. 

Children and babies are sensitive to smell, and like most kids can be comforted by a familiar aroma. Babies are sensitive babies, they may be hypersensitive to stimulus. Providing a calm and nurturing environment for the baby may mean you need to incorporate soft lighting. 
Be gentle, speak gently. The volume or activity level in your household may need to be turned down. Talk you your child.  Encourage him to respond to the sound of our voice. Play music, sing, and recite poems or nursery rhymes.  

Monday, February 16, 2015

Building Attachment

     Attachment is a learned behavior that allows people to have significance to one another. It occurs over time through the consistency of the parent to meet the physical and emotional needs of the child. Secure attachment enables a child to develop a sense of safety and security, identity formation, logical thinking, socialization, and conscience.  Having a secure and healthy attachment with your child is paramount. It is the building blocks for all subsequent relationships.

Attachment is a natural part of the parent child relationship. It develops when an infant communicates a need and the parents respond. As these needs are consistently met by the parents, the child learns that he is safe and secure; therefore, he can trust them to respond. Attachment is created through the cycle of consistently repeating itself with the same positive results.

For adopted children there may be breaks in the cycle of attachment, or underlying issues; medical or psychological, that can impede attachment. There are many ways that parents can actively work on building the bonds of attachment. Check back as well explore this topic in depth.