A mother responding to her crying infant immediately causes a bond called as a ‘secure attachment’ between the mother and baby. This is what is necessary for a mother to form a lasting attachment with her child; but this myth was recently debunked, reported the DailyMail.
A research conducted by a team at Lehigh University in Bethelem, Pennsylvania revealed that it is not how quickly the mother responds to the cries but rather the degree of response is what matters. Immediately holding the baby but not calming and reassuring the baby will not be effective. The mother must cradle the baby and soothe him/her chest-to-chest till the baby is calm.
Furthermore, the study also revealed that mothers have to succeed only 50% of the time for a bond to form between mother and child. The results of this study would come as a sign of relief to low-income family who struggle to balance family and work life.
A ‘secure attachment’ is a bond that allows baby to feel comforted and secure with their primary caregiver. And this bond is important as it is critical to the child’s future emotional development. The study proved that sensitivity (responding promptly) is not key to developing the attachment.
This study, which was published in the journal ‘Child Development’, examined 80 pairs of mothers and infants from low socioeconomic status. The babies were around 4.5 months old at the time of commencement of the study and followed their progress till 12 months.
They observed how the mothers responded to the babies, both when they cried and didn’t cry during recorded sessions at their homes. It was then determined that securing base provision was eight times more effective than securing attachment through sensitivity.
“What we found was that what really matters is not really so much that moment-to-moment matching between what the baby's cue is and how the parent responds,” said lead author Dr Susan Woodhouse, an associate professor at Lehigh University.
“What really matters is in the end, does the parent get the job done - both when a baby needs to connect, and when a baby needs to explore?” added Dr Woodhouse.
She also said that the findings prove that you don’t have to do it right 100% of the time. Babies are very forgiving and getting it right only sometimes is sufficient.
You don’t have to be perfect, just good enough for the baby....