A recent study of 14 000 children in the United States found that as many as 40% of children don’t develop strong emotional bonds, or what psychologists call a ‘secure attachment’, with their parents.
A secure attachment bond develops from your ability to respond sensitively to your baby’s cues, to successfully soothe your baby, and to manage your stress.
Essential aspects of a secure attachment are availability, predictability, consistency and sensitivity, and these can be expressed uniquely, depending on your personality and match with the infant, says Katharine Frost, educational psychologist and head of Ububele Umdlezane Parent-Infant Project.
Bonding by responding sensitively to your baby’s cues, offers a powerful emotional immunization against the challenges of life.
7 benefits of bonding for your baby:
Children who have a secure attachment bond with their primary caregiver are more likely than insecurely attached children (those whose primary caregivers bond poorly with them) to:
- Be happy
- Have substantially greater emotional and mental health
- Have higher self-esteem
- Bounce back quicker from life’s setbacks
- Have better parental relationships
- Be kind and empathic
- Have greater problem solving skills.
- “Almost all aspects of human life are improved with a secure attachment relationship established at the beginning of life – including aspects of physical health and cognitive development,” confirms Frost.
Research shows that mothers who develop a secure attachment bond with their babies have an increase in the brain chemicals to do with wellbeing and the experience of pleasure.