“Attachment is a relationship in the service of a baby’s emotion regulation and exploration. It is the deep, abiding confidence a baby has in the availability and responsiveness of the caregiver.”
— Alan Sroufe
Elizabeth A. Carlson L. Alan Sroufe, W. Andrew Collins, Byron Egeland The Development of the Person: The Minnesota Study of Risk and Adaptation from Birth to Adulthood. 2010.
Attachment speaks to the degree of emotional security experienced and internalized by an infant or child, based in the fundamental understanding of the consistent availability and positive emotional nurturing received by that baby/child and given by their dominant carer and nurturer - a mother.
Secure attachment is experienced by an infant/child who exists in an environment of natural nurturing and open availability and responsiveness by a carer that meets all the physical and emotionally natural needs of that infant/child in a positive, gentle and emotionally enjoyable way. Secure attachment is experience as empathy, compassion, responsiveness and validation, and translates into a infant/child's mental understanding that he/she is loved, protected and of importance. It forms the basis of a child's understanding of their own importance and degree of 'wantedness'- which in turn shapes their sense of self and future self concept.
There are many tools a mother may use to shape their infant's future ideals of self value and breed a secure attachment and breastfeeding is one such fantastic tool. The act of breastfeeding ignites bonding and compassion as both benefit from the release of hormones whose evolutionary role is to facilitate bonding between a mother and infant. Breastfeeding also requires the availability and consistent responses of a mother and such are key elements of enhancing secure attachment. A mother's choice to breastfeed her infant, and become a responsive empathetic caregiver as she does, can have a significant impact on her child's emotional development and understanding of healthy positive relationships going forward.
Studies show that securely attached children have higher chances of becoming confident, independent teens and adults, have higher levels of self esteem, show greater eagerness to try new things and approach challenges and enter into more emotionally stable and healthy relationships.