Script for "Meant to Be Held" Video:
The BABY BOND: Meant to Be Held
There are those who have said that babies should not be held often... that their cries for attention are merely means to manipulate their parents. There are those who have said that babies should not be held often because they need to develop independence.
Quite contrary to the popular idea that babies are out to control their parents, babies are truly helpless immature beings with feelings and instinctual drives for survival and social imprinting, designed to develop powerful bonds with their primary caregivers.
Babies thrive when they are tenderly cared for, nursed, and closely nurtured.
In fact, it has been found that the level and quality of maternal care, especially during the earliest months, provides an incredibly consistent indicator of a child's future behavior and socialization.
Well-bonded, securely attached children are more responsive to parental requests, a kind of “dependence” that is preferable.
The outcome of DETACHED parenting is most clearly seen during adolescence when poorly attached children often exhibit highly destructive behavior toward themselves and others.
Furthermore, many adult diseases, both mental and physical, as well as the now common inability to form long-bonded marital or partner relationships, stem from this lack of strong early attachment.
Leaving babies crying alone in cribs and otherwise maintaining physical distance through propped bottles, playpens, and plastic baby carriers, contributes to poor attachment. Those who study the functioning of our nerves and hormones have now demonstrated that a hormonally conducted bonding occurs when parents consistently touch, protect, and care for their baby, and that the infant's brain patterns are permanently altered by bonding patterns between parent and child.
Most would agree that children probably do not consciously remember the way they were treated during early infancy, BUT, it can be shown that while the specifics may be lost, unconscious memories are developed on neurological and biochemical levels from birth – a baby's brain develops according to its environment, from day one.
And, as far as the coveted independence goes, it has been shown that those who receive the most affection early on display the highest levels of independence as adults.
It has been proven neurologically and biochemically that the health, behavior, intelligence, and success of our children, and the adults they become, can be positively influenced by the earliest parenting choices.
When you pick up a crying baby, you provide security and comfort and build the baby's trust in her caretakers. An infant who is fed when he is hungry feels satiated, loved, and respected, and trusts that he is safe. A baby whose parents respond to her feelings knows she can confide in them.
I once witnessed an older pediatrician strongly disapprove of the way a toddler clung to his mother and demanded that she hold him while the doctor examined him. He said to the mother, “It all starts the first day you pick him up when he cries.” My only answer to this is, “Yes, it does.”