Parents Corner – May Edition
Infant Mental Health Awareness Week: What Do Babies Need Most?
Babies have long been misunderstood. When the field of psychology emerged in the early twentieth century, the earliest psychologists thought maybe infants just needed a reliable food source. Later, psychologists John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth first sketched out the idea of “attachment”. Attachment refers to an infant’s need to connect emotionally with their primary caregiver.
Babies know they are at the mercy of an adult to have their needs met. In the first 18 months of life, infants cannot even carry themselves from one place to another, let alone feed themselves! Babies communicate by facial expressions and movements. These “cues” signal an unmet need. For example, a baby may jerk its body and pucker its lips when it needs the breast or bottle.