Pathways to Wellness

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Love builds brains

 An infant is completely dependent on adults to meet basic needs.  A baby's world is filled with new, interesting and sometimes scary possibilities.

It's much easier and less frightening to explore this world if the child knows there is an adult on whom they can depend.  This adult – usually the main caregiver – acts as an anchor or a "human security blanket".  It's safer to explore the unknown when you have an adult who has your back.  This is the essence of attachment.

Learn more about the science of "serve and return" interactions with baby at It starts with relationships.

When we think of attachment (or bonding) we often see a picture of a smiling mom and cooing baby in our mind's eye.  But attachment is just as much, and possibly more, related to how a caregiver responds when the baby is upset, hungry, sad, frightened, or in pain.  Often babies communicate these emotions to their caregivers by crying.  Even if you don't know why a baby is crying, it's always important to hold and comfort them.  You can't spoil a baby by picking them up – love builds healthy babies and healthy brains.  Get some tips by watching this video on Attachment/Relationships in the Healthy baby, Healthy brain series by Health Nexus, Ontario.


And here are a couple of short booklets on parent-child attachment from the Canadian Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development.

Parent-Child Attachment

Aboriginal Parents: Attachment

L'attachement parent-enfant

Learn about your baby by following their lead.  Babies show their interest by smiling, reaching out, running after or grabbing things.  You can tell when they are not interested because they will look away, cry, or fidget.  By following your baby's curiosity and adding to the experience by talking or joining in the fun, you can have fun and learn together.  Here's another great video on Listening to your Baby.


The safety and security that comes from attachment to a caregiver opens the door for a child to learn how to comfort themselves and control their behaviour, emotions and attention.   Children who learn to control themselves are better able to learn; they are able to pay attention to the world and the people around them rather than their own distress.  Parents play an important role by staying calm when things start heating up, and modeling self-control and problem solving.

Helping your child cope is another great video.  We didn't want to overload your browser, so please go to the link below.

Learn more