The Importance of Bonding

Bonding is crucial in the development of a baby.  This deep attachment does not always occur immediately, although I know that some mothers feel instant bonding after giving birth.  I suffered postpartum after my first child was born; I cringed at the crying and was extremely exhausted from his lack of sleeping and constant need to eat!   When it was time for my husband to return to work, I cried out in desperation, “Why didn’t we just get a puppy!”  Eventually, about three months later, the bonding clicked–I was in love with my boy, couldn’t imagine life without him.  Just by taking care of him and meetings his needs, I became his mommy, his number one fan, and his caregiver:

  • bottle  feedings (rubbing his back)
  • rocking him
  • singing, reading, and talking to him (holding him close/eye contact)
  • constant eye contact during diaper changes
  • giving him baths (skin to skin)

According to Kids Health on “Bonding with your Baby”, scientists have discovered that bonding is crucial for a child’s emotional, cognitive, and social development.  The bonding relationship between a mother and her child (dads, too) is the first model of an intimate relationship; a strong security and high self-esteem are the final results from bonding.

But what about bonding and adoption?

Bonding with your newly adopted child is critical, and THERE ISN’T AN AGE REQUIREMENT!  We adopted both of our daughters (2008, 2011) when they were close to three.  Daily, meeting your child’s needs (like the above list) is so important.  I am still looking for ways to keep the skin to skin contact ever-present.

  • sitting on my lap while eating
  • going in the pool (forces the child to cling to you)
  • baths/showers
  • playing baby
  • planting gardens on their bellies
  • combing their hair

For the most part, adopted children have not had this stage met.  If we want our children to grow up and have a healthy relationships, including a successful marriage, then, we must be always looking for ways to facilitate bonding and meeting this need daily.   I was reminded of this tonight when my oldest, who will be seven shortly, said, “Mom, I am trying to decide if being a baby is more fun or being a little girl?”  Immediately, I pulled her close to me, snuggled down in bed with her, and pretended to feed her a bottle.  She sighed deeply and began to share her heart with me.  I knew, then, that we had reached the needed “intimate” level which was calming and soothing to her.

Does this really work?

Tonight, my youngest refused to go to sleep for daddy.  She waited for mommy to come home.  As I rocked her, holding her little body close to mine, she played with my hair, touched my face, and tried to plant a garden on my arm.  We kissed, hugged, giggled, and looked deep into each other’s eyes; finally, it happened . . .  “Mommy, I’m tired.  I want to go into my room to sleep.”

And . . . after fourteen months of refusing to sleep in her “scary room” as she likes to call it, my little one fell asleep!


“Doing” the Bottle

Bunk Bed Bash or Not

For more information on bonding and attachment: go to The Heart of the Matter seminar.



  1. I really enjoyed reading this! Thank you for sharing it on the Holt forum.

    • Thanks for this post! We are in the early stages of the aoopditn process. Still researching countries but being led over and over back to Ethiopia. The books you mentioned are on my list to add to the growing stack on my night stand. Reading blogs and being a member of several yahoo groups has really helped us learn how to prepare ourselves.

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