Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mothering - The Foundation

I am so encouraged and even more convinced that attached/intuitive parenting is the perfect way to raise our daughter after reading an article in May's issue of my favorite magazine, Mothering. Here are some of my favorite key facts from the article.

1. Attachment is the way we relate to the important people in our lives. It is the key element of psychological and emotional well-being, and forms our view about love and connection.

2. The fear that responding to a baby's every need will reinforce needy behavior and produce dependence is a myth; in fact, the opposite is true. Research shows that children who are consistently soothed and comforted and whose emotional needs are dependably met are the ones who emerge with the stability and independence we seek to promote.

3. The three key elements of attachment security are availability, responsiveness, and sensitivity.

4. The human brain adds 70% of its structure after birth. Because infancy is dedicated to an explosion in brain growth and neural connection, the first three years are widely considered the MOST CRITICAL period of neurological development.

5. Babies are not born with an ability to independently regulate their physiological or emotional states, but rely on a caregiver to do this with and for them.

6. When babies are in distress, their brains are at the mercy of these states. This means that all their regulatory resources must be devoted to trying to reorganize and regain equilibrium. These kind of biochemical alterations in a rapidly developing brain can have lasting consequences in the infant, "states become traits"; in other words, the effects of early relational traumas become part of the structure of the forming personality.

8. Over time, elevated cortisol levels (due to stress) add up to changes in brain chemistry in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, and affect how a person is able to handle stress in the future. It is believed that this baseline functioning is largely set by six months of age.

9. Night waking in infancy is not a bad thing, especially from the point of view of survival, optimal development, and emotional development. Night waking appears to serve several protective, reparative, and attachment functions. Infants enter REM sleep first, have shorter sleep cycles, and spend much greater amounts of time in light/REM sleep; by thus spending less time in deep sleep, they get greater brain stimulation, and more access for breastmilk and maternal presence.

10. Healthy attachment, via attuned parenting, equips human beings for resilience, success and emotional, psychological, and physiological well-being.

I hope someone is as encouraged by these facts as I was when I read them. The sacrifice of being responsive and sensitive to your child's cues is frequently overwhelming . This is especially true in our culture where parents are taught to detach themselves from their babies at birth.

I know a lot of people with severe anxiety, stress and depression.....wonder how they were mothered?

I know some people with self-esteem and commitement issues....wonder how they were mothered?

I'm a know-it-all who is obsessed with preaching to my blog readers.....maybe it's Robb's fault.



lsprad said...

This is great! Makes me want to copy it to my blog for all MY readers too! And ya...I say blame it on Robb! =)

Anonymous said...

Good post Whitt. Very interesting also helps when both parents are engaged in the rearing...I love Robb's famous quote. "I've had him for six you take him the rest." Yeah right...every day when I see Sambo react to his Ma especially seeing his eyes light's like her six months just started. We all have learned alot from Robb!

Marc and Laura Rose said...

Yes, I am very encouraged by the article - love it! Tell your mom thanks for giving you the know-it-all trait :)