Attachment. What is it and how does it work?
The need for safety and security is an innate biological function. Like the need to eat and breathe, our need to feel safe and secure is a protective factor - an evolutionary development to protect us from predators. A strong attachment to a caregiver ‘protects’ the baby from harm. It’s why a baby wants to be close to you - and why they will call out for you if they sense you’re not nearby (hunger and discomfort are also reasons). If you take a deep dive into attachment theory, you’ll find several types and models of attachment. Securely attached children have a strong attachment to their parents, but they also feel safe to explore their world. It’s a ‘I’ll wander, but I know you’re always there’ view of the world. Insecure attachment is complex, but can be identified by separation anxiety - a fear of ever being away from the parent, extreme clinginess and distress (note: clingy babies are totally normal!).
A baby comforter isn’t a trick or gimmick. It doesn’t use light, or sound, or even really the material it’s made of to ‘make’ baby feel better. What occurs when a baby attaches to an object is that they transfer the feelings of safety and security that come when they are near their parent to the object. So that the same soothing qualities of being near a parent occur when baby has the ‘transitional object’.
This helps with sleep, as baby doesn’t need to be in your arms or on top of you in order to feel secure and safe enough to fall asleep. Their comforter IS you for all intents and purposes. When baby wakes during their sleep cycles, instead of calling out for a parent, they just snuggle their Blankie.
Biologically, babies develop separation anxiety around 8 months when their brain understands object permanence. This means that they understand that you continue to exist even when they can’t see you. That you might ‘be’ somewhere else. This can trigger anxiety and a need for closeness and security. At the same time, a baby’s motor skills have developed in such a way that they can control their arms and legs, that they can roll and move about.
This makes it safe for them to use a breathable comforter in their cot.
If your baby has a comforter or security blanket, it means that they have a secure attachment with you, and that they’re able to explore their word without fear and anxiety. This special friend can also therefore help during other transitions, such as going to daycare or sleeping over at Grandma’s.
We made Kippins from pure, organic cotton that can be worn down your top regularly to smell like you. This helps the attachment process - a little piece of you in a snuggly, cute and Kippiny form.