Understanding the needs and cues of the baby

Divya Deswal talks about bonding, attachment between mother and baby, and understanding the cues of the baby

We think that the baby is born and the parents are the ones to look after it. What we don’t understand is that just as parents gestate the baby, the baby gestates the parents. Attachment is a two-way process. It is a relationship, the development of the relationship between the parent and the baby, and it takes place over a period of time and depends on the consistency of response.

As the baby makes the cues, talks in his language reach out, and communicates to his parents. The parent responds it gives the baby many, many clear signals. Number one, I’m safe. Somebody is here for me. Number two. When I say it is heard, that is a huge life-changing belief for any human being to have.

And number three, I am capable of eliciting a response, which means I am worthy or capable of looking after myself, even though I’m asking somebody else to do it. Makes him feel like a really powerful CEO of a company that can make everybody run around to his demands. What is really therefore important is parents understand the cues of the baby.

If he cannot speak his language, we will probably never understand what he’s saying. The majority of us are told that our baby has a very simplistic mode, eat, poop, sleep, and cry. What we don’t understand is that they are very sophisticated, very nuanced human beings. Do you know what is the first imperative of the baby when he’s born – to make a social bond. As the baby looks into the eyes of his mother or his father, his entire social brain turns on. They’re not just feeding machines that just need to be looked after. When the baby then, interacts with his parents something changes in their brain, and the process of attachment begins, which is slightly different than what is called bonding. Bonding is a very intense experience when the baby’s just born and there’s a lot of hormones that are connecting the two. Let’s say bonding is the first step in an attachment.

A secure attachment is vital for both the physical and mental health of the baby.

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