Your Newborns Inner-Self Esteem
The worlds of being pregnant and having a newborn are poles apart from one another. If you’re a new parent, you wise up pretty quickly that your busy 24/7 attending to your newborns endless stream of physical needs. And making sure your baby is healthy is important for his or her growth and development. In addition to your baby’s physical needs during the first two years, you need to address your baby’s psychological needs in order that their self-esteem will grow and develop. Newborns have two types of psychological needs, social and cognitive. You’re the principal caregiver for your baby, and their inner self-esteem is dependent on learning to trust and develop a strong emotional bond with you. You need to provide an interesting environment for your child, one that stimulates your baby’s curiosity and motivates them to explore. In this blog post I’ll focus on, social self-esteem and how you can build strong attachments bonds with you baby.
Attachment Theory: Social Inner Self-Esteem
John Bowlby conducted groundbreaking research in the 1950s and 60s that led to a better understanding of infant-mother attachment. The way in which a mother and infant interact with one another, beginning at around three months of age, will eventually produce that child’s model for adult love and intimacy. Via examiner.com
Let me introduce you to John Bowlby, a psychiatrist and researcher who established a theory of child development called, “Attachment Theory”. Two of the main attributes of John Bowlbys theory are:
- The relationship you develop during the first two years of your newborn’s life affects your child’s physical and cognitive development.
- How your baby attaches or bonds with you sets the stage for how your child develops and maintain lifetime relationships.
The essence of Attachment Theory is your child’s proximity to you or one primary caretaker. “When I’m close to my mom I feel safe, happy and secure. When I’m away from her, I feel worried, fearful and unsafe”. When your child was born, you both attached to one another through, sense, sight, touch, and taste. After months of cooing and cuddling your baby, that attachment changes and becomes a strong bond. How do we know this? Because around six to seven months a baby tries to maintain proximity to his or her mother or primary caretaker. Your baby will follow you with their eyes, reach out to you, laugh or smile when they see you approaching. The attachment bond that you create with your baby is so strong if your baby feels it’s at risk he or she will take action. For example, at six to seven months old if you leave the room he or she will become agitated and cry to preserve it. The critical piece to forming a strong emotional bond with your newborn is the quality of your interactions. The nature of your social interactions with your baby must be consistent, dependable and nurturing.
The second person I’d like you to meet is, Dr. Mary D. Ainsworth. Dr. Ainsworth, was a developmental psychologist .She worked closely with Dr. John Bowlby, on separation, attachment and loss. Her work provided the foundation for attachment theory. She carried on his legacy in the United States, conducting systematic studies of attachments between mothers and infants. ”No one had ever looked at that” before Dr. Ainsworth’s work, said Jude A. Cassidy, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Maryland at College Park. Dr. Ainsworth also developed methods for assessing the quality of the mother-infant bond. Attachment theory holds that infants need a ”secure” attachment to thrive, and that ”anxious” attachments can lead to problems later in life. She looked at a way of measuring, which babies were securely attached and which were not. She argued that picking up a crying baby does not spoil the child; rather, it reduces crying in the future. That was a huge controversy over that, ‘It had been thought that picking up a baby spoiled it and led to more crying. Instead, it teaches the baby that the world is a responsive place and leads to less crying long term. These findings had a big impact on how pediatricians advised mothers in the second half of the 20th century. Via nytimes.com
You and you infant have a steady stream of harmonious communication. The more sensitive you are to your baby’s behaviors and the more responsive your infant is to your feedback the stronger the attachment.
5 Newborn Attachment Styles
Crying: When my daughter was one-month hold we took a 5-½ hour flight from New York to Los Angeles. As soon as the plane departed, she began crying. Nothing I did to relieve her distress worked and I could feel the eyes of every passenger glaring our way. I was sitting next to Julie Andrews, (Mary Poppins for God’s sake). She turned to me and said, “Don’t worry, a baby’s cry is always loudest to a mother”. Remarkably, her comment calmed both my baby and me. Your baby’s cry sets off an interactive communication system known as, “distress-relief” sequence. Mothers have a physiological response, one of heightened arousal when she hears her baby’s cry, and she’ll remain in an aroused state until her baby has relief. Not only does the distress-relief sequence help strengthen the bonds between you and baby, but it also helps with your infant’s sociability. Your baby develops a sense of value and control with each interaction. They begin to recognize that they can trigger predictable responses from their environment.
Gazing Mutual gaze begins between the third and sixth week, just before your baby’s first social smile. The gazing that occurs between you and your infant provides one of the most powerful systems for boosting attachment. If babies are unable to manage or maintain mutual gaze due to developmental delays, mothers are likely to feel separated from them.
Responsive Communicating: One of the key concepts in attachment theory is you must use a communication style that elicits a response or signal from your baby to form a close bond. Psychologists observed that mothers communicating with their newborns, both mothers, and their babies’ heads moved in tune with the mother’s voice. If the mother stops speaking, their infant will stop moving and make a curious facial expression.
Smiling: Social smiling begins around the second week and the second month of life. The first type of smile you’ll notice is an exogenous smile. An exogenous smile is when your baby smiles at the sight of a colorful toy or face, something from the outside environment causes your baby to smile. At around four months, infants can distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar faces. You may notice that you baby smiles at you, but your infant frowns at the face of a visitor. This guarded reaction to unknown faces is a key feature in the development of attachment. Also, around four months of age your infant begins recognizing that when they give a big smile someone will smile back.
Crawling and Walking: Between 6 and 24 months, babies start moving around by crawling and walking. You’ll notice your child making sure they’re close to you by following you around the house. Around your baby’s first birthday they’ll begin calling for you when they miss your presence.
Be a parent who’s sensitive to your baby’s attachment styles. Remember to respond appropriately to his or her signals by becoming child-centered. To be, “Child-centered” means that you actively engage, and nurture your baby’s signals (crying, gazing, smiling). Doing this will help your infant establish firm foundations of inner self- esteem.