A child with attachment disorder did not successfully complete the bonding cycle in those first few years of life. An important part of therapeutic parenting is regression – which takes the child back to redo those critical first years. Even if the child is 5, 10, or 15, they need to go back and redo that cycle.

Here you will find fun and healthy ways to help your child bond.

Help for Infants and Toddlers with Attachment Disorder

News for Moms – use smiles, food, eye contact, touch and motion to help that avoidant baby!!

Babies – treat now, not later!! Have that baby that won’t look at your face, even if standing on your head? Will look at your mouth or nose, yet not your eyes, especially when you are holding them? That baby that won’t snuggle deep in your arm? That baby that you don’t FEEL cares if you are around or not, or seems to care until you pick them up? Doesn’t cry or coo? Frets and whines a lot? Very withdrawn or passive? Has poor muscle tone? Slow to creep, crawl or sit up? Is called a “too good baby”? Has no joy that touches their soul? Has a history of multiple caregivers and or neglect? Or chronic inconsolable pain?

If so, your baby or toddler most likely has signs of attachment disorder. If not helped, there is GREAT danger for their emotional healthiness, as well as the lives of those they touch. By age 5 they can be hurtful to pets, have frequent lying, be extremely manipulative, devious and destructive. It only gets worse. ACT NOW!!

There is help out there, and the sooner you start, the sooner the baby can get on with its job of being the center of the known universe. It works, I know from personal experience. There is no quick fix, and it can take years for total recovery, yet the longer you sit and do nothing, the more damage is done. Love alone with babies with attachment symptoms is not enough!!!! And yes, a few month old baby CAN BE DAMAGED!!! My daughter was 16 weeks old with many of the above symptoms when we got her. I know of others. I will use the name “baby and toddler” as one as well as “Mom” meaning the primary caregiver.

What Can You Do?

  1. YOU, AND ONLY YOU, WEAR YOUR BABY!! Carry them with you wherever you go, and whatever you do. Attach them to your bodies (unless dangerous). A great baby carrier is one that the baby can have skin to skin contact with you – Baby Trekker (1-800-665-3957) is a great one, and DHS bought mine! (Tank tops are great to encourage skin to skin contact). Carry the baby on your hip; tie to your body under a sweatshirt, front carrier, or in your arms. The more contact the better. These babies were not held enough. Hold Them!!!! A LOT!!! ALL THE TIME!!!! For the rare times the baby is not in your arms, have them in the same room as you are in.
  2. YOU ARE THE ONLY CAREGIVER!! You always bottle, feed, bath, dress, change and do most of the play. If friends and family want to help let them walk the dog or clean your house, wash bottles or do laundry, bring food or make you tea. No baby-sitters and no sending the baby away for respite. Until your baby is firmly emotionally attached to you. NO ONE the baby doesn’t see daily should hold or even touch them, and even those that the baby sees daily should hold them at a very minimum.
  3. KEEP THE BOTTLE AS LONG AS POSSIBLE –EVEN LONGER! You, not the baby, hold the bottle. I hold the bottle with my chin so I have two hands to snuggle my baby close to me. Hold them the way a nursing mother does – chest to chest, close to you with as much skin to skin contact as possible. Always insist your baby look in your eyes and when they do, instantly put the bottle in their mouth and tell them good job!! Keep looking at their eyes so when they are ready for eye contact, you don’t miss it. Rub them gently, rock, sing.
  4. BATHE WITH YOUR BABY, this encourages skin to skin contact in a nice relaxing warm fun way.
  5. A LOT OF FACE TO FACE baby games and funny faces and TONS of smiles and kisses!! Paint bright circles around your eyes. Close one eye, then the other, rapidly blink, then change speeds, all the time with funny noises. Cover both eyes, then one, and so on. Have the baby sit on your lap, and if this is too hard for them at first, lay them on a bed to do it. Then slowly trick them into letting you touch and hold them!! Keep it fun for them.

Credits: Used with permission from:

Beth McCann
Bucksport, ME

This treatment and paper have been approved by Dr. Dan Hughes, attachment specialist.