Why your baby needs so much attention

Your baby’s natural need for attention, explained.

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Does it feel as though your baby is demanding more attention of you than you can possibly give? Is your brain frazzled from the constant crying? 

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Your baby craves your attention for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, your baby needs your attention for his physical development and to make sure his needs are met.

Your baby also needs your attention for healthy psychological development. Your baby is born with the need to be loved, to feel emotionally secure and valued.

That’s why he calls for your attention; it’s a natural reaction because he realises it’s the only way he’ll get to feel comfortable and satisfied.

Building a bond

Bonding – the emotional connection that forms between baby and parent during the early years – provides the basis for your baby’s future relationships. And the only way you and your baby can form this psychological bond is by you giving him your attention.

Positive attention

Your baby quickly learns that your approval for his good behaviour makes him feel good (he loves it when you smile lovingly at him).

In fact, his desire is so strong that if your positive attention is given to something he does (for instance, he makes a loud noise with a rattle), then the chances are he’ll do the same again the next time. He thinks, “Mum made a lovely fuss of me the last time, so I’ll do the same this time!”

Negative attention

An infuriating characteristic of many babies, however, is that they think, “Any form of attention is better than no attention at all.”

This explains why a 9 month old may cry, no matter what you do to soothe him. If he’s learnt that crying brings you to his side, he may turn on the waterworks just for that purpose. The fact that you may be tense, tired and annoyed doesn’t really make a jot of difference to your baby. He thinks, “I’d rather mum was here, even if she is angry, than I was here on my own.”

Mum’s story

“She loves a fuss!”

“Georgina will do anything for a ‘well done’ and clap of your hands. My husband and I really sound foolish at times with seal like clapping to praise our daughter. But she thrives on it and it’s worth it see her beautiful smile!”

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Maggie, 29, mum to Georgina, 8 months

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