By Gemma Fisk, Certified Infant Sleep Consultant
How do we create a secure attachment?
Creating a secure attachment with your baby will help them to feel safe and loved but above all it contributes to your child having healthy emotional, social and cognitive development. This is so strong that it will see them through until adulthood.
Secure attachment is built through many different ways but the main one is ‘responsiveness’. By responding to your child’s needs you are building your bond and helping them to feel loved, protected and safe. Once this foundation has been set, your little one will begin to feel confident and safe enough to become more independent and explore for themselves.
A secure attachment is also built through responding to needs such as:
- breastfeeding (bottle feeding works too)
- eye contact
The newborn days are a great time to spend lots of time caring for your baby and despite a common myth, you cannot spoil them by responding to their needs.
Being responsive is what building a bond is all about.
So what does this have to do with sleep?
Children whom have a healthy balance of security and support from their responsive caregivers, have shown through studies to be the most emotionally stable children.
A baby or child that does not know how to fall asleep independently (without a sleep crutch such as feeding, rocking, holding) will experience frustration when left to fall asleep. They may not have learnt how to regulate their emotions at this stage and could feel quite distressed - even if they are extremely tired and that is all they want to do!
For that reason, building this foundation in the early days is very important when it comes to teaching your child to sleep independently once they are ready. If your baby is 18 weeks old, you can begin to teach them to fall asleep through gentle techniques assured that they feel secure that you are always there to respond if he feels unsafe or unsure.
Where to get help?
The modern world we live in today sees more and more working mums juggle the balance between parenthood and working hard to provide for their families - we are very busy people! Raising a family is the most amazing thing but it can be hard and very exhausting. A lot of parents rely on regular nap times and bedtimes to get some work done or to have some much deserved time to themselves.
There are plenty of gentle techniques that can help your little one to sleep better – please reach out if you would like some support on the best method for your child. You are not alone!
Gemma is a Mother and Certified Infant Sleep Consultant based in Hong Kong that works with children aged from newborn to 6 years old. She believes firmly in a holistic and gentle approach to help our children to sleep better through plenty of love, comfort and reassurance.