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What Infant Attachment Means for You

by John Surr
March/April 2012
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/what-infant-attachment-means-for-you/5020450/

You probably remember from your child development courses a lesson or two on John Bowlby’s theories (1969) about how an infant starts a love affair with her mother at birth. Bowlby’s theories have been strengthened by recent research that now emphasizes the importance of the attachment process to child development generally. Siegel (2010, pp. 3-4) describes infant attachment this way:

“We connect with each other through a give-and-take of signals that link us from the inside-out. This is the joy-filled way in which we come to share each others’ minds.”

We in child care play very important roles in building positive attachment outcomes. Although a child’s first attachment normally is with her mother, the same process happens with us as caregivers.


Meet Jane, a typical baby. Shortly after her birth, Jane:

• Gazed into her mother Mary’s eyes
• Watched and understood the subtle but universal changes in Mary’s facial expressions
• Felt, smelled, and tasted her familiar body
• Listened intensely to the familiar tone of Mary’s voice
• Expressed her pleasure with this experience with her whole body.

Mary responded in kind, welcoming Jane into this life, and so they began a dance of attachment experiences together. Attachment scientists call ...

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