Attachment & Attunement: How Does It Affect Your Baby's Sleep?

Attachment & Attunement: How Does It Affect Your Baby's Sleep?

The bond between you and your child is one of the most special in your life. You love your child and want the best for them as they grow up and become successful adults. The nights of comforting your sweet baby may seem long, but enjoy them while they are still little, as they will grow up in the blink of an eye!

As you were preparing for your little one to come into the world, you probably thought about how you and your baby would bond. What would your relationship look like as they grew older and started to form their own personality? What kind of support would your child need from you?

The fact that you were thinking and proactively planning for the relationship you will have with your child already shows that you are a fantastic parent. Let’s keep chatting about the bond that will develop between you and your child and how it can impact certain areas of their life.

What Is Attachment?

Basically defined, attachment is how we feel emotionally connected to other people. We have different emotional attachments to those in our lives, from our parents, friends, and partners. Each relationship has its degree of attachment and emotions we equate to each person.

With our children, their attachment starts when the emotional bond is created and nurtured as we provide for their basic needs. Our babies depend on us for food, clothing, bathing, and comfort during the early stages. They are unable to perform any of this care for themselves, and as a result, they become attached to the person or people who take care of them.

The attachment that forms between you and your baby starts even before they are born. Babies are known to recognize their parents' voices in the womb, and as they get older, you can see a preference for those they know.

As your baby gets older and their emotions develop, they will look to you for emotional support when upset, scared, or mad. As a parent, you will also help build those happy and fun times that are important for well-rounded emotional development.

Children need these opportunities to bond with their parents, and it allows them to be more happy, self-reliant, and emotionally stable.

Understanding the Attachment Theory

A baby’s attachment is so strong with their parents or caregivers that an entire theory has developed around the attachment that a baby develops.

The theory was formulated by a psychologist named John Bowlby. The widely held belief about attachment at the time was that babies were attached to their parents or caregivers through feeding and physical care and that this attachment was learned. When babies were removed from their parents, their fussiness was attributed to the fact that they had lost their source of nutrition.

Bowlby believed that attachment was linked to far more than just babies only caring about their food source. He viewed that babies formed attachments to their parents or caregivers as an emotional anchor. They sought their parents when they were sad, frightened, and just needed general comfort. Instead of attachment forming due to sustenance, babies developed attachments because of their emotions as they felt cared for by their parents.

The theory also suggests what can occur later in a child’s life when they have formed a successful attachment with their parents.

What Is Attunement?

Attunement is our ability to be aware of and respond to our child’s needs. You are “in tune” with what your baby needs by providing physical care, like feeding and bathing. You know what routines work best and keep them in check, so your child is well-rested and receives the nutrition and physical activity they need on a daily basis.

You can also be tuned to your baby emotionally. You know when they are scared and how a sweet cuddle and their pacifier is what your baby needs to feel better. By showing your baby that you are attuned to their needs, both physically and emotionally, their attachment to you will grow stronger.

You can be especially attuned to your baby’s needs to foster that attachment to grow in the early days. Your baby will be too young to start any type of routine, and they will also need to eat every three to four hours. During this period, you can show your baby that you are there for them, and this will pave the way for them to know that they can count on you when they need emotional support.

Don’t fret if you do not feel a “natural attunement” occur when you have your baby. It isn’t a case of you being magically gifted with the prowess of anticipating your baby’s every need the moment you lock eyes for the first time. It takes patience, trial and error, and deep understanding.

Attachment, Attunement & Sleep

When it comes to your baby’s quality of sleep, there is an understandable urge to want your baby to sleep through the night as soon as possible. It’s hard for us to function when we are sleep deprived, and in the early days, you’ll likely be stifling a few more yawns than usual.

Some parents may worry about utilizing sleep training for their baby when it comes to attachment and sleep. Since part of sleep training is the expectation that your baby will cry for you to come to comfort them to sleep, parents may worry that this may affect the attachment their baby feels for them.

Of course, there are different ways to sleep train with varying amounts of involvement. You can be as involved as you want and take as much time as you need. If you feel like you started too early, you can pause and try again in weeks.

Don’t feel like you have to find one method and stick with it perfectly. In fact, that may not be the right method for your baby, and you may have to try other methods until you find that perfect fit.

There is also the fact of life that you won’t be able to comfort your child every moment they experience being upset. It’s important to teach your child how to be resilient and that they can learn to self soothe themselves.

You’ll also likely make your child upset later in life when you tell them “no” to things they want to do. Telling your child that they cannot do something or have something will not break the attachment they feel towards you.

Likewise, sleep training your baby will not cause them to feel like they are uncared for. In fact, sleep training your child is one of the best things you can do for them. We all function better with a good night’s sleep, and you will be able to be the best parent you can be when you aren’t busy yawning or pouring extra cups of coffee.

Creating a Bedtime Routine

One of the best ways you can share some one-on-one emotional bonding with your child is during their bedtime routine. Bedtime routines are vastly important for making sure that your baby can unwind and get ready to sleep for the night.

Having a predictable routine helps them feel safe and secure, which are key emotions in their attachment to you.

When it comes to bedtime routines, Little Yawn Collective is the perfect accompaniment in helping your baby feel cozy and snoozy. Our melatonin-free sleep solutions encourage restful ZZZs.

The Snooze Bundle is a powerful companion when combined with the power of your consistent bedtime routine. Each product is also infused with our signature NaturalSnooze fragrance, containing proven ingredients that help fall asleep and stay asleep.

Our products are specially formulated to be gentle and soothing for your little one. They are pediatrician-approved, so you have peace of mind.

Conclusion

Feeling the bond with your baby is one of the most special relationships one can have. You are already doing a fantastic job, and through all the days and nights of caring for your baby, they will know that you are there for them every step of the way. It is easy to feel a little overwhelmed with theories explaining attachment and attunement, but just know that you’re already doing all the right things to help your baby’s attachment to you be a strong one.

A full night’s sleep is essential, and here at Little Yawn Collective, we know that bedtime can be challenging. Check us out, and see how we can help make bedtime a breeze!

Sources:

Attachment | Psychology Today

The importance of early bonding on the long-term mental health and resilience of children | PMC

Attachment Theory | Simply Psychology

The Power of Attunement | Child Development Institute

Does attachment parenting preclude sleep training? | Family Sleep Institute

When and How to Sleep Train Your Baby | Cleveland Clinic

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