The early months of an infant’s life are the time to establish a strong baby-parent bond, which actually becomes the foundation for all of your child’s deep friendships and intimate bonds, throughout the rest of his life.
The best thing to do to nourish that bond? Respond quickly to his cries. Your predictable support during these early months grows your infant’s trust and feelings of security.
In fact, in 1972, Johns Hopkins’ researchers, Sylvia Bell and Mary Ainsworth, found that babies who received a near-immediate, tender response to their cries - during the early months - were more poised, patient and trusting of their mother when tested at one year of age.
Bell and Ainsworth’s observation became the basis of a new area of understanding, called attachment psychology. This teaches that a rapid, sympathetic response to a baby’s cries is the very glue of strong family values. When your loving arms cuddle your baby or warm milk satisfies him, you’re telling him, “Don’t worry. I’ll always be there when you need me.”
Fortunately, it’s impossible to spoil a baby during the first 6-9 months of life! Remember, at birth you abruptly stopped your baby’s daily feast of rocking, holding and rhythmic sound. One mom joked, “No wonder they cry. Like entering a detox program, we make our new babies go cold turkey from the 24/7 snuggling they had in the womb!”
Keep in mind, you don’t have to go cold turkey. Holding, swaying and shushing… using a swaddle, sling, skin-to-skin, the 5’s or SNOO smart sleeper…all of these methods of 4th trimester care will remind your baby of the womb and make his transition to our great, big world less jarring. Using gentle sleep cues for nights and naps will help him nod off more easily and give him the confidence that he’s safe while he sleeps. When you teach him healthy sleep habits in stress-free, little baby steps, his faith in you will grow and grow.
Did you know? SNOO smart sleeper re-enforces the bond you’re building by quickly responding to your baby’s fussing all through the night, with gentle rocking and shushing, to help soothe his cries and lull him back to sleep. Learn more!