How to Raise a Securely Attached Child

Written By

Jess VanderWier
November 21, 2018

This article has been reviewed by Nurtured First’s team of child development experts.

When I had to wean my baby on to a bottle, I was told it would impact our attachment. I was told that we wouldn’t bond as easily.
When I sleep trained my baby, I was told that my baby would become less attached to me. I was told that I would be ruining her ability to bond for life. Multiple people told me this even though they had no idea about the impact that sleep deprivation was having on me.  The internet sucks sometimes. What these people didn’t know was that breastfeeding and not sleep training were ruining my bond. Making me cringe around my baby, and making me not love being a mother.

If we are practicing attachment parenting to the point where no one is happy, and our mental health is impacted, then it’s truly not working.

At its scientific core, attachment means that a baby or child has a deep abiding confidence that their caregiver will be responsive. A child that is securely attached has a sense of safety, security, learns how to regulate emotions, and has a secure base that they can explore from.

Attachment is very important for kids, but attachment and breastfeeding or attachment and cosleeping are not mutually exclusive.

Ways we help our child develop a secure attachment

  • Cuddles, eye contact, undivided attention, and play.
  • We allow her to have a range of emotions and talk her through them. She knows she can be happy, mad, sad, and frustrated with us there.
  • She gets to spend time with trusted family and friends, so she can learn how to trust others in her life.
  • We control our emotions and model talking out difficult emotions already.
  • Also, we allow her to explore without hovering, to understand natural consequences. All while knowing that we will always still be there when she is done exploring.

The concept of attachment parenting is very trendy these days, and there is really nothing wrong with it. Expect that women who cannot breastfeed, have to sleep train, or go back to work, feel like they are not getting the attachment with their child that they should be.

Attachment is love

In the simplest form, attachment means love.

Loving your child best, meeting their needs, and showing up for them every day. It’s as simple as that. So yes, I have a formula fed, sleep trained baby who has a secure attachment.

Let’s quit the mommy shaming and understand that each of us is walking our own journey in motherhood. We all have different kids, so parenting is going to look different. Instead, let’s encourage each other to be loving and kind to ourselves and our children!

I’m owning my motherhood. And no longer worrying about what others have to say about the choices that are right for my family.

No, I’m not an attachment parent, but I’m raising a securely attached kid.

Article By

Jess VanderWier
Jess is a seasoned Registered Psychotherapist with a deep commitment to enhancing emotional well-being in children and families. Holding a Master's in Counselling Psychology, Jess has extensive clinical experience in guiding parents through their children's intense emotions, sleep struggles, anxiety, and other challenges with empathy and understanding. In addition to individual sessions, she is known for her work educating parents on social media through @nurturedfirst. Outside of her professional life, Jess enjoys the peace of nature hikes and spending as much time as possible enjoying her family.