Babies are born to connect to other human beings. This is not just because human babies are so helpless and therefore require this connection for their physical survival, human babies need to emotionally connect for their psychological development throughout their lives. Did you know that after World War II many Russian babies and children were left orphans? An institution was built, with heating, clean clothing and adequate food for these children to live. Within 12 months 40% had died!!! Why? The sad reality is these children died because they weren’t given any loving attachment or connection. For all of us to grow into emotionally healthy adults and maintain that psychological well-being, we need to feel “experienced and understood” (Powell, Cooper, Hoffman & Marvin, 2014).
We start this process of connecting from the moment we are born. The baby’s only way to communicate a need is through crying and gaze. As new parents’ when our baby cries we are immediately drawn to provide comfort by picking our baby up. We then use a bit of guesswork as to what our baby is trying to communicate. Are they hungry, uncomfortable or maybe just want a cuddle? Their behavior will communicate whether we’ve got it right. When the mother breastfeeds her baby, the baby will often gaze into the mother’s eyes. Nature is rather clever in that a new born baby can see just the distance between the mother’s breast and her eyes – how amazing is that. Feeding our new born baby, whether the baby is being breastfeed or bottle feed, whether being feed by mum or a significant caregiver, this is one of those great opportunities for the caregiver to fall in LOVE with the child.