Building Love and Trust
Beyond providing for the baby’s most basic needs such as food and shelter, a nurturing family helps the baby to feel safe and secure. The loving interaction between the baby and his parents forms the foundation for feelings of trust and attachment.
Questions to Ask
- How are things going for you and your baby?
- What do you find most rewarding about him?
- How does he respond to you?
- What do you think your baby is trying to tell you when he cries, looks at you, turns away, or smiles?
- What have you found to be the best way to comfort your baby?
- Are you reading to your baby? Singing to him? Talking to him?
- When social milestones occur, such as eye contact, smiles, cooing, or separation anxiety, point them out to parents and explain that these are ways their baby shows his growing attachment to them. Describe ways parents can help their baby achieve social milestones.
- Using the guidance below, help parents understand their role in promoting a secure attachment.
Guidance for Parents
- Your baby has his own way of letting you know how he is feeling and what he wants. Watch him to learn how to respond to him and take care of his needs. In a short time, you will understand what your baby is trying to tell you when he cries, smiles, puts his fingers in his mouth, reaches out, or turns away.
- When you touch your baby, you make him feel secure and loved. Touch him often during the day - when you feed him, hold and carry him, cuddle with him, change his diapers, and rock with him.
- Your baby enjoys looking at your face. You can “speak” to your baby through your facial expressions. Send him cheerful and loving messages by looking into his eyes and smiling during feedings and other activities. If you are feeling sad or stressed, try not to express these feelings when you are with your baby.
- There are many ways that you can connect with your baby every day:
- Hold, cuddle, and rock with him
- Read to him, play music and sing to him
- Talk to him while dressing, bathing, and feeding him
- Imitate the sounds and movements he makes
- Spend time playing simple games with him such as pat-a-cake and peek-a-boo
- Always try to comfort your baby but understand that he may not always be consoled. It may help to:
- Leave his fingers uncovered so he can suck them if he wants to
- Touch or stroke him gently and speak to him in a soft voice
- Rock with him and sing to him softly
- Use a soft infant carrier to keep him in close physical contact with you
- Be consistent and predictable in the way you respond to him
- As your baby forms a strong attachment to you, he may begin to feel concerned or uneasy when he is separated from you. Give him a comfort item such as a blanket or favorite toy. This will help him feel secure and safe when you are away from him.