All infants have an inherent need to attach to their parents or primary caregivers. In fact their life depends on it. Not only is the helpless infant dependent on parents for food, shelter and safety, but infants are also born needing much more in order to feel securely attached in relationships. We know that infants need their parents to provide affection, soothing, containment, stimulation and emotional regulation. In fact the way in which these needs are met or not met will form a template or “working model” for how we will view all other relationships throughout our life.
When these needs are met on a consistent basis the infant will form a secure bond with the caregiver. This allows them to feel safe in the world, safe in relationship to others and safe to experience their feelings. When their needs are not met, infants develop an insecure style of attachment which leaves them feeling unsafe in the world. So, they are unable to regulate emotional distress, unable to allow their needs to be known, and unable to form secure bonds with others.