Yes, breastfeeding is important. However, attachment to another human being is crucial for the emotional and physical health of a child. Erroneously the focus is on the physical aspect of feeding without understanding the emotional aspect of breastfeeding.
Most mother’s today have to return back to work after a brief 3 months maternity leave. They plan on how to continue giving their child nature’s goodness. Instead, they should focus on attachment and who will be feeding the little one.
Attachment And Your Baby
According to Jean Liedloff, author of the Continuum Concept in order to achieve optimal physical, mental and emotional development, human beings must be held, cuddled and held close as babies. In short, they must be securely attached to another human being, though not necessarily it need be the biological mother.
Professor Allan Schore author of Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self has been a pioneer in the study of child development. His research on the relationship between secure attachment and its effect on brain development has shown that feeling bonded with one’s mother is the cornerstone of mental-well-being. A child’s brain develops best only when there is constant and positive interaction with its primary caregiver.
Moreover, recent studies have shown that attachment is also critical for the physical health of a child. Individuals who were insecurely attached at both were four times more likely to report physical illnesses at age 32 than those who were continuously secure early in life. Insecure attachment puts one at risk for developing chronic illnesses like recurrent ear infections, asthma, cystic fibrosis, epilepsy, failure to thrive, congenital heart disease.
Children Need Caring Adults
In his book, When the Body Says No: Exploring the Stress–Disease Connection, Dr. Gabor Maté summarizes the effects of childhood trauma and adversity on later health problems. He asks his patients this very pertinent question When, as a child, you felt sad, upset or angry, was there anyone you could talk to – even when he or she was the one who had triggered your negative emotions?
And according to him in all the years of clinical practice, including a decade of palliative work, he has never heard anyone with cancer or with any chronic illness or condition say yes to that question.
Good Enough Caring
Dr. Donald Winnicott coined the term good-enough parent. He noted that children actually benefit from mothers who fail their children sometimes. Good enough parents do not strive to be perfect parents and do not expect perfection from their children
Hence working mothers dependent on child care facilities need to check out whether carers are good enough. Whether they respond appropriately when a child is hungry, hurt or sick. Carers need not be hovering around constantly but have to be attuned and love taking care of kids. As parents, you need to accord the person caring for your child respect and love. Remember, all relationships should have equal serve and return or else one of the parties will end up feeling exploited. You definitely don’t want your precious baby in the hands of a disgruntled person. They need someone with whom they feel loved and safe. Secure attachment is necessary for the long-term development of human being.
Child The Family And The Outside World by Donald Winnicott