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7 ways to Encourage Attachment with your Infant

February 17, 2010

Even if you’ve been parenting your adopted child since birth, it’s a good idea to consider what ways you are encouraging the development of a secure attachment.  Newborns have had nine months to bond to their mother in the womb.  Babies can hear as early as 23 gestation.  Breast milk tastes like amniotic fluid!  When an infant is born, they expect to be birthed into an environment they are familiar with.  An inevitable aspect of adoption is that your newborn has to adjust to a life full of unfamiliar voices and sounds.

If you are planning to adopt an older infant, these ideas will work for you to!  In fact, all of the parenting techniques below can be applied to a child of any age with some age appropriate modifications.

  1. Attend to their needs quickly
  2. Never worry that you are “spoiling” them
  3. Avoid systematic sleep training techniques that involve crying, attended or unattended, that do not consider the child’s individual needs
  4. Hold them often!
    • Keeping baby close helps facilitate attunement
    • Helps infants feel physically safe
    • Reduces the amount of time they cry unattended
    • Consider sensory issues- this may be difficult for some infants
    • Use fun baby carriers like slings and wraps around the house and instead of the infant car seat
  5. Feed in a nurturing environment
    • Do not rush bottle weaning
    • Sucking releases calming hormones
    • Hold and make eye contact while feeding
  6. Night-time parenting is important
    • Consider keeping the infant in a bassinet in your room
    • Facilitates attunement, quicker response time
    • Helps child feel physically safer
  7. Reduce or restrict the number of caregivers, particularly with basic needs activities such as feeding and bathing

I think most of these tips are relevant to ALL parents, regardless of how your children have come to you.

What bonding and attachment techniques has your child enjoyed?


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Robyn Gobbel, LCSW is a child and family therapist in Austin, Texas specializing in adoption, trauma, and attachment counseling.  She is the founder of The Central Texas Attachment & Trauma Center.  

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 17, 2010 11:35 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. We are waiting for a child to join our family and this will be very helpful

  2. March 19, 2010 3:49 pm

    Robyn, congrats to you! You’ve got your blog up and running! And, thanks so much for this post. It’s great information and I’m going to link to it on my blog!

    Tamara G. Suttle, M.Ed., LPC

  3. March 19, 2010 8:37 pm

    Thanks for stopping by Tamara! Your comment has reminded me that it’s time for the blog post about encouraging attachment with a toddler!

  4. June 13, 2011 11:22 am

    Very positive and specific tools. Thanks. Stuart

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