Does consistent bonding with mom help babies feel more secure?
At a time when an increasing number of families are sharing custody of their children, new research says babies who spend one night a week away from their moms developed “more insecure attachments,” compared to babies who spent every night with mom.
Results from a national study by researchers at the University of Virginia found that infants do better with consistency when it comes to bonding with their caregiver.
“Attachments during that critical first year serve as the basis for healthy attachments and relationships later in life, including adulthood,” said study leader Samantha Tornello in a statement.
Researchers defined attachments as a “deep emotional connection between the baby and their caregiver in the first year of life.”
Study leaders looked at data from a nationwide study of 5,000 children born from 1998 to 2000, that included interviews of parents when the child was newborn then again at ages 1 and 3.
The results showed that 43 percent of infants who spent at least one night per week away from mom were less securely attached compared 16 percent of babies who had few overnights away from their mother.
Study leaders believe that the most important thing is the baby has consistency with being with their caregiver whether it’s mom or dad. It’s the shuffling back and forth between homes that is most disruptive.
“We would want a child to be attached to both parents, but in the case of separation a child should have at least one good secure attachment,” Tornello said. “It’s about having constant caregivers that’s important.”
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