I remember the day I left the hospital with my tiny twin boys like it was yesterday.
Walking alongside my husband, with our boys safely buckled into their pram, we ventured into the unknown together.
I’d experienced an emergency general anaesthetic caesarean and felt a little guilty about the fact that I didn’t have that “instant love” experience that all the books talk about. Illogical questions, like “What happens if I don’t bond with them?” were lurking around in my mind.
That was over thirteen years ago and in that time we have managed to bond pretty well!
The attachment relationship is very important to development. For a child to develop within their potential, they need an adult in their lives who is able to understand them and nurture them, as well as reading and then meeting their needs.
Key occupations in the early days include:
When you are trying to work out a baby’s needs (are they hungry, wet, hot, cold, tired?), you need to be sensitive to the baby’s body movements. This can give clues as to whether the baby is settled and content or in discomfort.
If a baby is in discomfort there are three strategies you may try:
These will help to nurture attachment while meeting the baby’s needs.
How do these three strategies work?
Staying emotionally regulated helps the sensory/emotional regulation of a baby.
A baby’s central nervous system is trying really hard to process all the new sensations that they are experiencing, while they learn to cope with the highs and lows the stimulation they are exposed to.
Don’t be alarmed when a baby turns their eyes away from you many times during your shared activities. This is not because they don’t like spending time with you – it is because constant eye contact is very intense and emotional. Gaze aversion helps the baby to keep their nervous system regulated and settled.
Article courtesy of:
Carolyn Lotawa, BHSc (OT), NZROT, Ass Dip SS (Child Studies),
Lindsay Mawdsley, BHSc (OT), PGCert (OT), NZROT