Stages Of Attachment Of The Infant 's Attachment

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Stages of attachment. Another of Bowlby’s contributions is his proposal that the infant’s attachment to caregiver develops in stages attuned to the infant’s cognitive and emotional development. As described by Broderick & Blewitt (2015), a bond emerges from the affect between mother and child in the first two months as the infant signals their needs by clinging, smiling, and crying. During this stage infants are not yet attached to anyone and do not discriminate between caregivers. Between their second and eighth month, infants become increasingly preferential of one caregiver, most often the mother. The primary indicator of the emerging attachment is whether or not the 7-8 month-old infant protests when separated from their caregiver, and whether they greet the caregivers return with happiness. Soon thereafter, the infant should begin to develop additional attachments with their fathers, grandparents, babysitters etc. By 18 months most infants are attached to multiple caregivers (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015, p. 135).
Attachment is a system. As mentioned previously, Bowlby also argued that attachment is a system. Expanding on this, Bowlby proposed that the system serves three purposes; 1) It maintains proximity between infant and caregiver, nurturing the emotional bond – In attachment theory this is known as proximity maintenance, 2) It provides the potential for on-going protection – known as a secure base, 3) It creates a haven for the infant when distressed –
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