10 Ways to Increase the Bond with Your Baby
An amazing article was printed about the science behind the attachments between mothers and their babies. The study performed and written about discovered that, by the age of one, babies and mothers have already developed the bond that will have effects on the lifetime of their relationship. Not only that, but this attachment (or lack thereof) plays a role in every relationship the child will have throughout his or lifetime. Heavy stuff, right? No pressure there, right? Good news (or not good?) is that if your child is older than one, the damage (only slightly kidding) is already done. If you are pregnant or have an infant or baby at home, there is still time to really make a conscious effort.
Then again, with my personality, maybe less effort leads to better results? I am a total Type A and, it seems, the more children that I have, the more I follow my own instincts as opposed to society’s expectations. I stopped caring about what other moms thought of me, how they may (or probably don’t – because who has time to?) judge me in my parenting imperfections, and that the only thing that matters is the childhood I am supporting for my children – and that they know just how much they are loved – and having all of the safety and happiness be felt so thick that it’s basically tangible.
We have 4 children, ages almost 7, almost 5, 2.5, and 4 months. I (sometimes) have hard days, as you can imagine. I (sometimes) suck as a mom, as you can relate. But I am always striving to do good by my family – and for myself. If I have done nothing else right in this world, I know that I am doing motherhood as right as I possibly can. I do not want perfection, I want realism. I want REAL LIFE. I want a true connection with each of my children.
So this article struck a cord with me. The study may jolt a lot of mothers a bit, and everyone may get their panties in a wad somewhat – and probably become all high-and-mighty-high-horse-riding, but if you separate yourself as a mother and just read the science, it makes sense. Young toddlers were placed in a room with a stranger, toys, and their mother. The mother stepped out, leaving her purse behind to show she would return. The little ones reactions were observed – everything from hysterical crying to not caring and just playing with the toys. Upon her return, the children either needed to be consoled, were easily dismissed by the mother, or did not really care either way.
The mother then left a second time and the process was repeated. The mothers were told to act as normal as possible. Typically, our society leans toward wanting toddlers to be independent and able to be gone from mom – it’s just plain easier. Not only that, but people see it as a sign of maturity or intelligence. How wrong we are. There is just so much more to it. There is a connection between a mother and her child, one that can be- and should be- so much deeper that what our society supports. I’m talking about a true attachment. There was one child who wanted her mommy back, and was scooped up into those loving arms without a word being said. The mother and daughter both just held each other and patted one another on the back – a mirror image of one another. THIS is the attachment that creates a maturity and true confidence in our children. And science is now proving it.
So what can we do to deepen our connections? In my situation, I feel as though listening to my gut is the answer. We moms have a sixth sense – and it should never be shut down. Before I list ideas for you, hear this: You cannot create or strengthen a bond built on perception. What I mean is that doing this for ‘show’ will come back to bite you in the ass as your child grows (and in every one of his relationships). You must truly want this. It may mean reevaluating your relationship with your mother - and then the relationship with your partner and your friends. Sorting your emotions and heartaches and insecurities will help you to build a stronger foundation with your child. If your baby is no longer tiny, there is ALWAYS time to rebuild and work on things. By being honest and open with your older children, you will make forward progress. And what more does our world need right now other than forward progress?
10 Ways to Increase Your Attachment
“Attachment Parenting” is a parenthood style – and while it has attachment in the title, it is not exactly what I am talking about, although it embodies so much of the overall goal here. You will find that your family will create its own parenting style, so don’t worry about that.
1. Trust Your Gut. -It doesn’t lie. Your gut says to keep baby close at night, keep him close. Your gut says to hold him – so hold him.
2. Open Bed Policy. -You search your whole life for the perfect partner to share your bed, no one wants to sleep alone! This tiny being that you birthed needs you to be close. Keep him within an arms-reach at night, and once he is older, allow him the ability to snuggle with you whenever he feels the need.
3. Hold (or WEAR!) Your Baby. -Feeling your touch is something your baby needs all throughout the day (and night). Babywearing keeps baby near your heartbeat and close to your skin, while allowing you the ability to still use your arms.
4. Nonverbal Communication of Love and Safety – Breastfeeding, kisses, hugs, snuggles, interaction and inclusion.
5. Be Consistent. -Babies thrive on routine. No one is perfect and most days are crazy, but keeping your time with your baby consistent is key.
6. Be Present. -Learn your baby’s cues and signs. Be there for him and use your whole body to show that you are there. Sit on the floor and hold him while he cries. Lay with him in bed when he drifts to sleep.
7. Only Leave Baby With Consistent and Loving Cargiver(s). -Make sure you trust and love the caregivers, and try to stick with the same people. Hopefully people who believe in strengthening the bonds and not breaking them.
8. Give Freedom. -SOLO Exploration grants trust and earns respect. These tiny humans will grow to be amazing people. We want them to succeed within themselves and within their relationships. You will be there when he falls, but he needs to fall to learn.
9. Let Baby Lead. -From starting foods, to taking steps, your baby is his own individual – respect him. Let his body be his guide, while you support and encourage as he goes.
10. LOVE. Just LOVE. -Be real. You cannot spoil a baby. Read the full article HERE