Discovering Me

Attachment Parenting

on October 1, 2015

I learnt recently that during the first few months of an infant’s life, a mother and baby bond through taste, smell, body temperature, touch, voice tone and looking at the face.

The early development of the right side of the brain (the Right Orbital Prefontal Cortex for those interested!) occurs from birth onwards.  Its development is strongly influenced by the emotions experienced during those early stages of bonding or attachment with the primary caregiver, usually the mother.

What I found most interesting is that most of the neurological development that happens during the first 18 months of life, influences that part of the brain that controls the way we handle situations and cope with things later in life. This development is largely determined by the type of stimulation an infant receives during that time.

Strong evidence of this has only recently become available through brain imaging technology, which allows researchers to see what part of the brain is activated under various conditions and how different activities stimulate the brain.

What the brain imaging studies have shown is that during this kind of bonding, the mother’s pleasure and interest in the baby triggers changes in the baby’s unconscious state.  For example babies love to look at faces, and a mother and baby will spend many hours of a day gazing at each other, and from a very early age they will perceive information from that activity.  When the mother’s joy and interest in the baby is perceived, endorphin levels, feelings of joy, have been shown to rise in the baby’s brain. Very often the feelings are mutual in this bonding process too.

The left hand of the brain discerns words, but the right side of the brain listens for voice tone in the bonding process. Just as with faces, the baby will mostly respond to the tone that communicates interest in them, a tone that indicates a desire to be with them.  The joy that the baby experiences not only motivates them but is also shown to be essential in brain development, and increases the ability to deal with stress in later life. This type of bonding also causes a baby to be like the person who demonstrates great pleasure in them.

Although the greatest growth in the right side of the brain occurs in the first few months of life and then stops, it’s quite cool to know that the area in the right side of the brain that is related to joy and bonding, retains the same potential to grow throughout your life as it did when you were born, given the right stimulation.

Why am I writing all this?  Well the other day I was thinking about my motivation for writing a book.  As with the ‘mother daughter diary,’ my intention is that the reader will feel loved and feel good about themselves. Through my writing I want to create pictures in the mind, of the love that God has for us, that ‘pleased to be with us’ love that produces joy.  The day I was thinking about that, I came across this information about how joy stimulates the brain and strengthens you.

We were designed to be loved and accepted as we are. I find it exciting to think that the perceiving of those feelings; that we make another feel good by just being ourselves, is what makes us who we are. Our identity is intended to be found in the one who is pleased with us!

To feel and experience unconditional love is powerful and transformative no matter what age we are. We can only bond when we realise God’s desire for us and his pleasure in us.  He always wants to be with us, no matter where we are, he always delights in his children.

Further reading:


2 responses to “Attachment Parenting

  1. Adele says:

    Wow! This is life changing stuff! I must admit I’ve thought a lot about my relationship with my kids in those terms but not my relationship with God. Thanks for sharing. Lots to meditate on.


  2. Yes certainly got me thinking. Thanks for taking the time to comment.


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