Exactly what is meant by responsive, loving and consistent care?

The kind of behavior that shows loving care is based on a response to the emotional – not just physical - needs of the baby. Typical behaviour involves:

  • Snuggling cooing, cuddling, making him smile and laugh
  • Calming the baby when he’s stressed –  eye-to-eye contact with gentle murmured conversations (it is not what you say but how you say it - tone of voice and facial expression)
  • Responding appropriately.  A baby has a repertoire of behaviours, such as smiling, making eye contact, reaching out etc., designed to stimulate interaction with others. The appropriate response is to engage the baby in pleasurable exchange. This is sometimes referred to as ‘attunement’
  • Don’t be too intrusive.  Sometimes an over-stimulated baby will ‘withdraw’ and avoid stimulation. At these times the appropriate response from the carer is also to withdraw from stimulating activity and be calm.
  • Mirroring. Reflecting back to him what he is feeling but making overwhelming feelings more manageable i.e. if he’s really upset keep calm, speak quietly, coo and gently rock him. Show him how to cope