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Building a secure attachment bond

Attachment is the unique emotional bond between babies and their primary caregivers. A secure attachment bond, based on a focused effort to meet our baby’s needs, ensures our baby feels safe and calm enough that his or her nervous system develops in a healthy way. 

A secure attachment bond creates a strong foundation for cognitive, social, and emotional skills. These lead to important developments like an eagerness and capacity to learn and trust, healthy self-awareness, emotional regulation, a positive sense of self-worth, and the ability to empathize and cooperate well with others.

These are ways to build a secure attachment bond with our baby: 

HOLD, CUDDLE, AND ROCK OUR BABY

Touch provides a reassuring sense of safety.

MAKE EYE CONTACT

It’s important to look into our baby’s eyes when feeding, playing, changing, and bathing, and sharing facial expressions of joy and excitement.

CONNECT WITH OUR BABY

by smiling, singing, storytelling, reading, or talking in a warm, soothing tone of voice. Watch and listen to our baby. We can practice being fully present with our baby, without distractions, by trying to notice early “cues” such as back arching, hand sucking, and grunting, to understand how our baby communicates her needs.

COMFORT OUR BABY EVERY TIME SHE CRIES

When our baby cries, it’s a signal that she needs us for food, sleep, comfort, or reassurance. It’s a myth that we’ll spoil our baby by tending to her needs. Babies need attention every time they ask for it.

MAINTAIN REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS OF OUR BABY

Babies can’t soothe themselves or explain their needs using words until they’re older than one year.

NOTICE WHEN WE ARE HUNGRY, ANXIOUS, FRUSTRATED, OR TIRED

It’s important to pay attention to and take care of our own needs. We may need to ask for help from others, and that’s totally okay.