Respond with Sensitivity

Build the foundation of trust and empathy beginning in infancy. Tune in to what your child is communicating to you, then respond consistently and appropriately. Babies cannot be expected to self-soothe, they need calm, loving, empathetic parents to help them learn to regulate their emotions. Respond sensitively to a child who is hurting or expressing strong emotion, and share in their joy.

Journal Studies

Weisman, O., Zagoory-Sharon, O., & Feldman, R. (2013). Oxytocin administration alters HPA reactivity in the context of parent–infant interaction. European Neuropsychopharmacology23(12), 1724-1731.

While low-income, ethnic-minority families displayed less sensitivity overall to their children, positive father involvement and close mother-father relationships were especially beneficial in the case of maternal risk.

A mother’s emotional goals predicted her sensitivity to infant distress more so than her own emotional reaction. In addition, her prenatal ability to detect an unfamiliar infant’s distress was associated with more maternal sensitivity with her own infant.

Breastfeeding changed the mother’s brain, activating brain regions associated with empathy, greater maternal sensitivity, and mother-infant bonding.

Early mother-infant skin-to-skin contact predicted later maternal sensitivity.