Monthly Archives: March 2011

The Way We Hold Our Babies

It turns out that as important as the skin-to-skin contact we have with our babies in their early years, is the way we hold them.  Unrelated to handedness and widespread across cultures, mothers cradle their babies on the left side.  Even chimps and gorillas favor the left arm hold.  Why, you ask?  Apparently, a few researchers have found that the left-cradling tendency promotes right hemisphere-to-right hemisphere communication between mother and child (Manning et al., 1997; Harris, Almergi, & Kirsch 2000).

The right hemisphere is not only deeply connected with the autonomic nervous system, but is also specialized in perception, the recall of spatial patterns of touch in nonverbal memory, and facilitates affective information necessary for normal brain maturation.  What’s important to know about the right hemisphere is that as the dominant emotional processing center, it controls vital functions that enable human beings to maintain a homeostatic state to support both survival and help cope with stressors. Right hemispheric dominance in terms of facial recognition, emotional information processing, and limbic system homeostasis suggests that both emotional and social intelligence—intrinsic to the development of courage—are dependent on right hemisphere stimulation and maturation through secure attachment

From the first moments that an infant is held, the holder is not only engaging the already on-line limbic system’s amygdalae (hence an infant’s early startle response); but right-to-right hemispheric communication also supports analysis of information conveyed directly from the body.  That is to say, when an infant is experiencing discomfort, or some immunological response, his/her cues to us are best received and recognized through right-to-right hemispheric communication. Schore (1994) proposes that secure attachment relationships directly influence the development of right brain psychosocial–neuroendocrine–immune communications which, in turn, directly affect a child’s coping capacities.  Think back to the first moments that you held your child, did you hold them with your left arm or your right?
The early days of holding our infant are the basis for the earliest learning of what is now commonly known as emotional intelligence (Salovey & Mayer, 1989/1990).  Emotional intelligence refers to a set of skills associated with the processing of emotional information, accurate perception and appraisal of emotions in oneself and others, appropriate expression of emotion, and the adaptive regulation, planning, and motivation associated with emotions in such a manner as to enhance living.

Emotion is the linchpin that enables us to adapt psychologically, physiologically, and behaviorally to have the courage to meet the challenges in our lives. 

The next time your daughter is playing with her dolls, if she does that kind of thing, check out how she holds her doll.  Not your son, though, this appears to be a uniquely maternal instinct. 
Tonight, cuddle up with your child in your left nook, gaze down into his/her eyes reflecting love, read or tell a story, and watch the images formed from the words dance in your child’s eyes and imagination.  Delight in, celebrate, and rest easy in the wisdom of Mother Nature and the strength of your secure attachment to one another. 
Upcoming post:  Ways to stimulate right-brain development that don’t just include cuddling ‘n snuggling!
Sources: 
Harris, L., Almergi, J., & Kirsch, E. (2000). Side preference in adults for holding infants: Contributions of sex and handedness is a test of imagination. Brain & Cognition, 43, 246–252.
Manning, J., Trivers, R., Thornhill, R., Singh, D., Denman, J., Eklo, M., & Anderton, R. (1997). Ear asymmetry and left-side cradling. Evolution and Human Behavior, 18, 327–340.
Salovey, P., & Mayer, J.D. (1989/1990). Emotional intelligence. Imagination, cognition, and personality. Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 9, (3), 185–211.
Schore, A. (1994). Affect regulation and the origin of the self: The neurobiology of emotional development. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Schore, A. (2001). Effects of a secure attachment relationship on right brain development, affect regulation, and infant mental health. Infant Mental Health Journal, 22, (1-2), 7-66.

Raising a Leader

It’s funny how talking can bring things into action. Since Lisa and I began working on this project about teaching our children courage, we’ve naturally been discussing the topic with our kids. I’ve been sharing more stories with a courage theme with K., and Lisa and I have both talked with our girls about what we call “courage challenges.” Everyone has a different discomfort zone, and the more we can find ways to push against our own boundaries and limitations, the stronger our courage becomes.
“But why keep doing more courage challenges?” K. wanted to know. “We already did one last week.”

“Courage is like a muscle. The more you use it the stronger it becomes, so that when you have really big challenges as an adult you’ll be able to face them and do what you know is right and good.”
“So what have you done as a grown-up that needed courage?” she asked me, not surprisingly.
I resisted the temptation to ask if she thought adopting an 8-year-old from a foreign country as a single mother might take a bit of steel. Instead, I reminded her that I had raised a guide dog puppy.
This is something I did in my early thirties. I think there was some magical pay-it-forward thinking involved, the belief that this good deed would protect me from losing my eyesight, one of my irrational fears. I volunteered as a “puppy raiser” for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, and spent just over a year with a beautiful yellow lab named Wheaton. My job was to socialize her, teach her basic obedience, expose her to a wide variety of experiences so that when she was old enough for her serious training as a guide dog, she would be ready-steady. I loved walking her around town: she had a cape that identified her as a guide dog in training, and I fancied it made her look like a four-legged superhero.
The almost unanimous response to what I was doing was, “I could never do that. I just love dogs so much, it would be too hard to give the dog back.”
I was always at a loss to find a polite reply. I love dogs too, you know! So much! After all, guide dogs should be raised by people who love dogs and respect their potential. What really surprised me was the general unwillingness to take on something that would be hard. Many things are hard! Most things worth doing are hard! I knew from the start that it would be hard to give the dog back; indeed, when I got the call to bring Wheaton back to the center to start her training as a guide dog, I was heartbroken. But when I went to her graduation ceremony, and saw her guide her new owner across the stage, my heart was repaired. I promise you, it was fully repaired by that sight.  I realize that many people already face huge courage challenges every day, and I can understand them not wanting to take on another.  It’s the people who aren’t being challenged (or challenging themselves) that I wonder about.

So this was the story I shared with K. I had already shared much of it with her before. She nodded. “I want to do it,” she said. “That will be my courage challenge.”
“Okay,” I replied.
“Really? We can do it?” She was clearly astonished at my readiness to agree.
“I think you understand what’s involved.”
“We have to give the dog back, I know. I’ll probably cry a lot more than you did. I’m just a kid.”
This kid has already had a lot of loss in her life, more than most 11-year-olds, but her heart is very strong. She is not afraid to cry.  Looks like emotional courage to me.

Introducing Courage Challenges

As a trained child/family therapist, parenting coach, and family life educator, and most importantly, a parent of two kids, I can relate to the kind of heart-centeredness required to be a loving influence on others.  When I act from a place of love, I am effective in my work and my parenting.  Not only does parenting require listening to the wisdom of our hearts and loving our children completely, it also requires our bravery to allow our children the opportunities to take on life tasks without our protection, constant hovering, and/or insulating them from the consequences of their behavior or choices.  We can’t teach our children about courage through lectures, as much as we can show them through our actions, supporting them as they face challenges in life, and by offering opportunities to build their courage muscles—let’s call them courage challenges.

I liken the process of learning to be courageous in life to the mathematical and structural configuration of a helix.  Picture it as a spiral journey up the ladder of courage.  It’s a cycle that continually brings us to places within ourselves where we may be afraid, in order for us to gain confidence and competence in slaying any number of inner or outer demons.  We continually bump up against those fearful, vulnerable places within our own minds and hearts, and each time we become a little bit braver to tackle those fears we move up a level. 
Each time we face some emotional, spiritual, physical, moral, intellectual, or social challenge that demands us to be courageous, we grow in confidence.  Courage is a step-by-step process that we can teach through our words, our actions, our stories, and the invitations we extend to our children to be brave.
During school vacations, sometimes at a loss for what my kids and I are going to do with the endless hours of unscheduled time, we make a list of all the things we want to try, do, be during the vacation.  During Christmas break one year, my daughter wanted to freeze maple syrup to the freshly fallen snow on our back porch (without help from anyone)—a kind of Quebecois candy she’d shared with French friends of ours one magical winter’s night.  During a summer break, my son wanted to return to our family’s hometown to see the train tracks where his great uncles narrowly escaped the two police squad cars chasing them, when the then-youthful group of boisterous boys had dared each other to hijack a hand-propelled railcar, or jigger, one fateful afternoon…only to discover the jigger’s brake broken, and the story of their escape on the front pages of the next morning’s newspaper.  I wanted to ride one of the oldest, ricketiest wooden roller-coasters in Canada, and thus the scariest, to remind myself how brave I can be and show my kids that adults can be fun and not just white-knucklers in life.  I wanted to sit beside my son, let go of the safety bar, and ride the ups and downs with our arms raised in pure joy!

Dr. Lisa’s Parenting Tip:

Move out of your comfort zone—Give yourself and your child a courage challenge
What is something you’ve been afraid to try?

It need not be unsafe, which would be more like a dare.  A dare is more of a bold action, one for the thrill and/or fear it evokes (like hijacking a jigger)—whether or not you actually complete the dare.  A dare is often posed as a challenge to prove one’s courage.  A courage challenge, on the other hand, is an opportunity to learn something new, try something you haven’t yet, or stretch yourself in ways that have scared you, even a little, in the past.  Courage challenges are also meant to be fun! 
Tailor-making courage challenges for our children, with their input, can help you strengthen aspects of who they are that may need strengthening.  Activities everyone can be involved in planning and completing…and a chance for our kids to see us being silly, adventurous, and even downright brave. 
As a primer for this activity, start with your five primary senses:  touch, taste, smell, sight, hearing. 
Taste:

(Is there a restaurant you haven’t tried yet?  An ethnic food that you’d like to introduce to your child’s palate—the human palate is developed primarily in the first three years of life, so there is no time like the present!)

Touch:
(Gather together a handful of different textured household items into a bag.  Allow your children to explore and guess the different items in the bag, whilst blindfolded or with their eyes squeezed shut.) 
Smell:
(Maybe, like me, you are the one person in your family that everyone gets to smell if the milk is past due or if the sewage pipe is leaking again in the basement.  If so, you can skip this one and have a blast getting even!  Or better yet, take a trip to the local florist—especially in winter—and smell all the different kinds of flowers, see if you and your child can even name a few.) 
Sight:
(Get up early, earlier than you’ve maybe been up in awhile—before the coffee is even made— and witness a morning sunrise.  Go on a night walk, with or without a flashlight, and feast your eyes on the moon.)        
Hearing:
(Swap your iPod for the day with your teenager.  Ask for some feedback from someone you trust about one thing that they might consider you could improve about yourself, e.g. being more punctual or becoming a better listener.)

First Steps on the Path

Copyright Andrey Voznjuk, Dreamstime.com
I wanted to get back to that bit about navigating the neighborhood, because I think it’s a really big topic — walking alone is a life skill that takes some courage, but parents can start doing this with small steps.  We’ve already talked about the 5-minute courage work-out on this topic, but this merits even more attention.  Let’s Talk the Walk!

I think parents and kids can take their first steps on the path just start by walking together, the earlier the better. Walking side by side allows for storytelling and conversation without eye contact, letting the child’s gaze wander freely to bring the rest of the world into the conversation. There are wonderful tales, both religious and secular, that have to do with walking, and as a child listens she can imagine herself as the walker in the story. If they live in a town or development with blocks of interconnected streets they can make a regular walk with their kids, teaching how to cross streets safely, how to notice street signs, making a guessing game of which direction to turn at the next intersection in order to return home. Once there is a regular, familiar route, the child can be the leader – follow the leader is fun for a reason!

After a while, families can look for ways to vary the route just slightly, going the opposite direction, perhaps, or adding one extra block, or going at twilight. Parents can talk about how the child will walk alone in the future, tell stories about their own (hopefully positive!) experiences of walking alone. Children can learn to establish landmarks: the big pine tree, the house with the pink garage, the playground, the gas station. Parents can model how to take joy in the surroundings, admiring architecture or holiday decorations or gardens or clouds. They can listen for birds, identify smells, crunch icy puddles – bring all their senses to the experience of walking.

K. and I did this every day walking to and from school in second grade when we lived in a different house farther away. We reached a point when I could send her ahead to the next intersection to wait for me. We reached a point when we could split apart and reconnect by going different ways around the block, and we often made it into a race! These were moments for lavish praise and admiration. These were the times when I could point out her courage. “I am proud of you,” and “That was brave of you,” are encouraging, literally putting courage in. I would talk about the places she’d be able to walk to on her own in fifth grade, in sixth grade, and higher. I kept talking about the longer walks that lie in the future, about the allure of independence.

I suppose if a family is geographically challenged to find a convenient walk (either by living in the countryside or in a large cosmopolitan area), they could take this routine to the supermarket, which is generally laid out in a grid pattern of long streets (the aisles) and avenues (the wider front and back areas). While shopping together they can talk about how the child will help in the future by going down some aisles alone to get favorite items. As K. and I did, they’d reach a time when the parent can wait at the end of the cereal aisle and let the child venture alone to fetch the Cheerios and return triumphant. If a family is geographically challenged, they might try to find a neighborhood that is walkable and visit often – a neighborhood that has a convenience store or playground would be perfect. Instead of parking as close as possible to the public library, they can park farther away and walk to it from different directions. If they make these walks purposeful, the child will be able to accomplish a meaningful task. After all, the ultimate goal is to be able to walk alone with intent – to get somewhere in life.

Of course the ideal is living within walking distance of school. Even if bus service is available, I suggest trying to walk at least once a week. Those walks will become precious, especially if they are a challenge to fit into the schedule. Since Lisa and I live within walking distance of each other, it has been a pleasure leave the car at home and escort the kids back and forth, and see them more and more able to manage this together and alone.

Copyright Jacques Kloppers, Dreamstime.com
K. and B. were very excited by the courage challenge I offered when I gave them a map with an address to find, and handed over my cell phone and $6. They came back from the deli they found there with pizza, garlic bread and French fries. I congratulated them on their successful lunch adventure and also offered some grapes.

I’ll try to keep adding complexity and variety to K.’s walks as she grows older – walking at night, walking in the rain, walking in the woods, walking a new neighborhood using a street map. Step by literal step, she’s developing the courage to walk alone, facing the road ahead with a joyful heart.

5-Minute Courage Workout: A Fate Worse than Death

Compiled and written by Lisa and Jennifer:

Given that public speaking is well known to be #1 on most people’s list of dreaded activities, let’s start with how to coach your child to give a speech, so that standing in the spotlight doesn’t feel like a fate worse than death!

Here’s our 5-Minute Courage Workout on Public Speaking by age range, and remember, all workouts are more effective when followed regularly!

Grab Some Lion’s Whiskers Today!
  • Toddler: start with your favorite nursery rhyme. Make it a game of call and response.  For example, teach “Itsy-Bitsy Spider”, sing it a few times, then start taking turns with the lines with your child.  Both of you stand in front of a mirror and now play the game!
  • Preschooler: introduce “Roses and Thorns” at dinner time.  What was your best thing about today?  What was your worst thing? Model respectful listening and taking turns as the center of attention.
  • Early elementary student: offer your child the opportunity to say the dinner blessing.  Print off or write out a few possible dinner verses, blessings, or graces.  Have your child cut them out, put them in a grab bag for some mystery, and pull one out at dinner to say standing at the head of the table. 
  • Upper elementary student or ‘tween: on your way to school together, or returning home at night (or another convenient time), ask your child to read out loud to you from the book they are reading.  At your next family gathering, ask your child to retell a favorite myth, legend, fable, or family story. 
  • High schooler or teen: play “After-Dinner Speeches” at a family gathering. Everyone writes down the title of a fictitious speech (such as “How snow contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire”; “How spaghetti was discovered”; “My most successful invention”; “If teens ruled the world”), and puts them in a hat;  the first speaker pulls out a topic at random and delivers a 2-minute speech with no hesitations or repetitions, and then passes the hat to the next person.  Don’t worry if you don’t know a thing about your ridiculous topic!  The goal is to deliver the speech with so much authority and poise that you impress everyone with your amazing knowledge and confidence!
The problem with fear is that it stops you in your tracks.  A powerful way to conquer a fear is to break it into manageable steps, move forward through it, gain momentum, and celebrate your success!  For example, asking some children to deliver an unscripted speech might take social courage, but for others it might take more intellectual courage.   Review the Six Types of Courage to figure out which types your child needs to complete this workout.

If you want more 5-Minute Courage Workouts…

Here’s our 5-Minute Courage Workout on Navigating the Neighborhood5-Minute Courage Workout: Talking Dirty, and our 5-Minute Courage Workout on Playing With Fire.

Quiet Alertness

Lisa’s list of the 7 Baby Bs may be poignant for adoptive parents to read – it certainly was for me. There is so much I don’t know about my daughter’s first 8 years, let alone her first eight hours, eight days, eight weeks or eight months. Were these 7 Baby B’s part of her life? What if they weren’t? What do I do? Is it too late? If these foundations of attachment are not solid will my daughter develop courage? My own emotional courage as a parent is put to the test in moments such as this.
Upon reflection, however, I remembered an observation I had made some time ago. My mother and sister and I were visiting old colonial towns in Mexico. It was Holy Week, and many families were out and about, watching the religious processions and enjoying their holiday. After a few days it dawned on me that I never saw any children either in strollers or prams, and then it also occurred to me that I never saw any children having fits or hysterics or being scolded, and I seldom saw babies crying. Everywhere I looked, babies and toddlers were being held and carried, either by parents or aunts or uncles or grandparents or older siblings. Now, to be sure, these almost medieval towns were unsuitable for such wheeled transport, and no doubt the cost was also prohibitive for many families, too. But I think, as well, that they just wanted to hold and carry their babies, and I saw a lot of “quiet alertness” in those children.
As in Mexico, so it is in Ethiopia, and all over the developing world where the terrain is usually even less suitable for strollers and prams, and people have even less money. The babies are held and carried. Period. Baby-wearing is the only option! As for bedding, one of the other B’s in Lisa’s last post – let me just say that “co-sleeping” is not a parenting choice where houses typically have only one or two rooms. It’s just what happens.
In my journey as a single mom I am called to bring my own quiet alertness to the fore, to notice the signs of attachment in my girl and find ways to support that process as we become a family. Thankfully, this much I can read between the lines of my daughter’s story: I know that her first years must have been spent in her birth-mother’s arms or within easy reach. Once upon a time, when the Lovely K. was small and her own heroic journey was just beginning, there was another mother who held her, and didn’t let go until she died.

Courage In Action

For all our readers in Upstate New York, here’s an opportunity to be inspired as a parent and learn more about two mothers who decided to embrace courage instead of fear, in the face of the devastating deaths of their husbands on 9/11, through supporting Afghan widows.  

Special Film Event – This Saturday and Sunday, March 26 &27, 2011:    Beyond Belief

Film (92 mins.) followed by Q & A with Susan Retik

All proceeds donated to Beyond the 11th non-profit organization.
Susan Retik and Patti Quigley were both pregnant when their husbands were killed on 9/11. Family, friends, and support from around the world enabled them to rebuild their lives. Choosing to transcend the prevalent response of anger and violent retaliation, they founded the organization Beyond the 11th to reach out to Afghan widows with whom they felt a kinship. In 2006, Susan and Patti traveled to Afghanistan to meet their Afghan counterparts and see firsthand the work of the organization they founded. Beyond Belief documents this journey. Beyond the 11th is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that empowers widows in Afghanistan who have been afflicted by war, terrorism, and oppression. It supports programs that enable widows to support themselves and their families by providing grants to partner NGOs in Afghanistan and funding education and incomegeneration opportunities that are sustainable and culturally appropriate.
 

If you would like further information about the film events contact Lisa: info@drlisaparentcoaching.com

You can also rent this movie at your local video store, or order it on Netflix or Amazon. 
Prepare to be inspired by how it is possible from out of the ashes of devastating loss, great courage and humanitarianism can emerge! 

Two showings of the film: (Tickets available at the door)
March 26, 2011

First Unitarian Universalist
Society of Albany (FUUSA)
405 Washington Ave
Albany
6:30 pm

March 27, 2011

Gannet Auditorium, Skidmore College
815 North Broadway
Saratoga Springs
3:30 pm

Suggested donation: $10
All donations are 100% tax deductible.  If you are unable to attend the event, consider a donation through http://www.beyondthe11th.org/

Bonding with Baby

“When a child walks in the room, your child or anybody else’s child, do your eyes light up? That’s what they’re looking for.” Toni Morrison

Not long after my husband and I brought our newborn son home from the hospital, I was breastfeeding on the couch watching an “Oprah Winfrey Show” segment on the Nobel Prize-winning poetic genius Toni Morrison.  She mentioned the importance of loving connections between parents and children by uttering this quote and parenting challenge. 

Jonathan Fitch, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It was easy for me to gaze upon my newborn boy with loving, lit up eyes in those early days and months.  I was, at the time, blissfully unaware of the complicated hormonal soup we were all swimming in together. Instinctively responsive as I was to my son’s face shape, button nose, and round captivating eyes, I was unaware of how our intense mutual gazes were actually causing endorphin levels to rise in us both.  Endorphin release produces feelings of joy, love, and euphoria associated with ensuring healthy development.  My son’s eyes rewarded me biochemically and my visual and nurturing motor responses quickly conditioned to his proximity seeking cues (particularly at around eight weeks when visual acuity improves and a critical period of visual cortex development occurs).  By three months, my son’s gazes and smiles showed me his interest in play, his cries and disengagement of attention his disinterest. 

Bonding with my baby seemed intuitive, if not an overwhelming responsibility to do the whole thing “right.”   I was not only led by the zeitgeist at the time “attachment parenting,” but sometimes succumbed to the guilt-inducing messages of some of its followers.  I stressed about the family bed, how long to breastfeed, and the impact of my frustration with the fact that my son didn’t sleep through the night until he was three!  Still, I’m grateful I trusted my gut, imitated what I knew to be true about a healthy mother-infant bond, and followed the attachment parenting advice that fit.  It wasn’t easy, but nothing as worthwhile and important as bonding ever is. 

I learned by trial-and-error that though there are seven identified ways to bond successfully with a baby, love’s resilience forges pathways in the brain and between human beings that we are only just beginning to fully understand.   Most of all, I highly underestimated how powerful those loving, awe-inspiring gazes between us all actually promote and sustain our connection as a family for years to come. 
In my practice as a child/family therapist and parenting coach I continue to learn more about the importance and benefits associated with healthy bonding between parent and child.  I also have the benefit of witnessing the exceptional variety of bonding experiences possible between a primary attachment figure and a child, and the resiliency associated with those bonds promoted through eye contact, touch, smile, movement, feeding, heart connection, and offering comfort during distress.  As a parenting coach I pay close attention to the way parents speak about their first days and months with their newborn.  Not to mention the first experiences as an adoptive parent meeting his/her child, the first family visits as a new step-parent, or the first days as a foster parent. Most importantly, we focus on the quality of the relationship today and how to promote positive communication, trust, mutual respect, and care for one another. 

I witness the benefits everyday with my childrenas our love for them provides the “secure base”  (Bowlby, 1988) from which they confidently and courageously venture out to discover the world…excitedly returning with reports of their discoveries! Parental love also provides the “safe haven”  of comfort and support to weather less successful voyages of discovery, and a place to celebrate curiosity with joy and acceptance (Johnson, 2002). 

These days, bonding in our family looks more like watching our kids do their various extracurricular activities, watching movies together, or spotting them as we climb an indoor rock wall together.  I still frequently hear “Watch me, Mom!”  as I now sit on the sidelines of their lives.  I also do my best to stop what I’m doing when they storm through the door at the end of their day, lift my gaze to meet theirs, and listen as they eagerly share the news of their day.

We all bond in unique ways…the important thing is that we bond!  In upcoming posts you will have the opportunity to read about other parent-child bonding stories.  Please continue to post your comments about how you bond, promote courage, and continue to connect with your child/ren! 

I’ll leave it to Dr. William Sears and his wife, Martha, authors of The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two (1992, 2003), to summarize the seven basics (or B’s) of attachment parenting which I subscribed to as a new parent (though I’m glad to see they’ve added “Balance” to the list!):

THE BABY B’S
1. Birth bonding
The way baby and parents get started with one another helps the early attachment unfold. The days and weeks after birth are a sensitive period in which mothers and babies are uniquely primed to want to be close to one another. A close attachment after birth and beyond allows the natural, biological attachment-promoting behaviors of the infant and the intuitive, biological, caregiving qualities of the mother to come together. Both members of this biological pair get off to the right start at a time when the infant is most needy and the mother is most ready to nurture.
“What if something happens to prevent our immediate bonding?”
Sometimes medical complications keep you and your baby apart for a while, but then catch-up bonding is what happens, starting as soon as possible. When the concept of bonding was first delivered onto the parenting scene twenty years ago, some people got it out of balance. The concept of human bonding being an absolute “critical period” or a “now-or-never” relationship was never intended. Birth bonding is not like instant glue that cements the mother-child relationship together forever. Bonding is a series of steps in your lifelong growing together with your child. Immediate bonding simply gives the parent- infant relationship a headstart.
         
        Johnson, S. (2003). Introduction to attachment: A therapist’s guide to primary relationships and their renewal.
                 In Johnson, S. & Whiffen, V. (Eds.)., Attachment Processes in Couple and Family Therapy. NY:
                 The Guilford Press. (pp. 5-17).

        Schore, A. (2001). Effects of a secure attachment relationship on right brain development, affect regulation, 
                 and infant mental health. Infant Mental Health Journal, 22, (1-2),   
                 7-66. http://www.allanschore.com/pdf/SchoreIMHJAttachment.pdf