Attachment begins during pregnancy and further develops when a parent/caregiver responds to a child’s needs in a warm, loving and dependable way.

 

It is important to build a good emotional attachment with your baby. By the end of the first year, your baby will have developed an attachment with their parent/caregivers who have spent time loving and caring for them.

Benefits of Attachment

Your baby will be able to:

  • Develop positive relationships
  • Feel confident and good about themselves
  • Enjoy being with others
  • Share their feelings
  • Deal with stress

Tips on Building a Strong Attachment

From birth babies communicate their needs using a variety of sounds, facial expressions, and gestures. These are called “cues”. Be attentive to how and when your baby is showing different cues to communicate their needs with you.

 

Examples of baby cues What your baby may be telling you
Crying
  • wet, may need diaper change
  • hungry
  • feeling too hot or too cold
Fussing
  • need to be held
  • need to sleep
  • over-stimulated
Cooing/Babbling
  • happy, content
Licking, Sucking
  • hungry

 

Learn more about attachment by watching  Attachment/Relationships, Healthy Baby Healthy Brain (Health Nexus)

Once you understand your baby’s cues, it is important to respond consistently, especially when they are hurt, upset or ill. This will help:

  • Meet your baby’s needs
  • Your baby build a close, emotional relationship with their parent/caregivers

Did you know that a parent/caregiver using an electronic device is like a still face to a baby or child?  Watch the Still Face experiment to learn about the importance of babies’ attachment to their parent/caregiver.

Video: Still Face Experiment, Dr. Edward Tronick

Babies are born with their own unique temperament. Temperament is a set of traits that help us see and relate to the world around us. Your temperament may be different than your baby’s. It is important to understand your baby’s temperament as it cannot be changed.

Your baby wants to explore but at the same time, they may be afraid of being left on their own.  This is called separation anxiety. It is a temporary and normal stage of development starting after 6 months of age.

Follow these steps to help your baby feel secure when you leave:

  1. Tell your baby/child you are leaving and do not sneak out or lie about where you are going
  2. Reassure your baby/child that they will be safe and will have a good time while you are gone
  3. Tell your baby/child when they will be picked up and by whom
  4. Give them something to look forward to when you return, such as an extra story at bedtime
  5. Say good-bye briefly with a hug and avoid giving too much attention to your baby’s/child’s normal protests
  6. Greet your baby/child with love and joy when you return

Remember:

Your temperament may be different than your baby’s temperament and you may have to adapt your behaviour to help your baby handle different situations.

Parenting groups are available. The Make the Connection program promotes positive relationship between parent and infants/toddlers.