By Georgina Anderson, 28th August, 2014.
Becoming a new mum bring in the birth of a new relationship…A relationship of care giving your precious baby. This care giving process will become a strong foundation in the attachment experience with your baby.
So what is Attachment? Why is it important in the early years of babyhood? Attachment has been described by well know practitioners such as Dr. John Bowlby and Psychologist Mary Ainsworth as the emotional tie between mum and baby; the affectionate tie and bond a person forms to another specific one and the lasting psychological connectedness between them.
Attachment a baby forms with mum is seen as the baby’s desire to be close to mum as well as experiencing distress upon separation from mum. Attachment is primarily important because it provides protection of your baby and helps increases your baby’s chances of survival. Baby experiences mum as a base from which to explore her environment and develop…giving your baby free, secure, happy and safe babyhood. So how does attachment forms in the first 2 years of your baby’s life?
The development of a baby’s attachment occurs over 4 stages during the first eighteen moths of life. These stages can overlap into each other. In the beginning-stage one, baby naturally cries and fuses to attract attention of mum and rewards her with cooing, snuggling and smiling when she responds positively. Before too long- stage two, baby begins to develop a sense of trust in mum’s sensitive and timely responsiveness to her needs and begins to prefer attention and care of mum.
At around seven to eleven months- stage three- baby develops a strong preference for mum and can resist going to anyone else, even dad or other close family members. This stage can reach an all-time peak around eighteen months of age. However, after about nine months- stage four, baby’s strong development of attachment to significant others who also attend with care like dad, siblings and grandparents will become more and more evident.
The style of attachment your baby develops also has lasting impact on all their development, self esteem, school experience and peer relationships. Baby’s attachment style also impacts their ability to adjust in growing and changing situations, their capacity to experience emotional and psychological health and wellbeing, their choices of romantic partners later in life, the parenting they provide to their children in the next generation, longevity and much more!!! In other words, attachment is babyhood has a profound influence over the course of one’s life span development
Research has found that mums who feel emotionally secure have more capacity to be consistently available to meet the emotional needs of their baby.
Secure mums are more likely to have presence and resilience in dealing with increasing demands of their baby.
If you have been feeling anxious since you had your baby or feeling distant and disconnected rather than closely bonded, my next article on ‘Attachment from mum to baby- how to help your baby feel secure’ is for you. This next article will assist you in understanding more about your own feelings as a new mum, what your baby is feeling and help you adequately meet your baby’s attachment needs. This will give your baby the best gift in the world; A secure foundation from which your baby develops a loving, enjoyable attachment to you.