The Attachment Cycle


The Attachment Cycle is something you know expertly.  You might be asking how that is possible when you’ve never heard the term before.  It’s true, though. You are a mom.  It is actually one of things you do best and most frequently.  The attachment cycle is all about regulation.  You are a regulator.  Not the referee type.  (though you may feel like you do that all day long, too).  😉  The calming, soothing type.  Here’s how it works.

This is how mommies and babies are made to interact and is often referred to as “instinct.”  Like many things, however, we only learn about it when something has gone wrong or has broken.  I’ve had to learn as much as I can possibly about the attachment cycle.  Due to my daughter’s history before coming home through adoption, completing this cycle in our every day life is one of the most challenging things ever.  Knowing all I can about what it is, what it should be and how to improve it once it’s broken, has been imperative.  This simple, instinctual cycle can be nearly impossible once it has been repeatedly broken in a little life.  If you are struggling with this or interested in Reactive Attachment Disorder, can read more about my journey HERE.

Knowing about the attachment cycle and why it’s important is one of the most encouraging parts of being a mother.  It is a little golden nugget of information that should be a part of all prenatal and parenting classes.  It places value on things that tempt you to feel worthless.  Helping your child regulate when they are overwhelmed by hunger or thirst or a messy diaper or exhaustion or loneliness is a gift.  You are giving your baby the sense that their world is safe and parents are trust worthy.  It is also establishing an emotional foundation for your child’s heart that will have lifelong impact.  It is like a dance.  Your baby cries, you come quickly, and meet her need.  As she is comforted, her little body regulates.  She is calm until the next need arises.  You repeat this all day long, every day.  It sets an internal rhythm for her heart.  So in other words, changing those poopy diapers will impact how she will be as a friend, mom, wife and functional adult.  Don’t laugh.  I am totally serious.  I’ve seen the adverse effects of not having those needs met as a baby. It is heartbreaking.

Don’t be intimidated by that impact.  Be encouraged.  You respond to your baby’s cries.  You lovingly come and comfort and meet those needs.  You do it with excellence.  You are an awesome mom that has no mundane task when it comes to her children.  Each little moment matters.  In a simple, easy beautiful gift we are given as moms to know how to comfort our babies.  It whispers to our hearts YOU are meant for this and you are equipped for this. It is incredibly challenging, but it will be worth it one day.

As wonderful as it is, it doesn’t mean it is all of who we are as moms or that we don’t need refreshing from that fantastic, emotional-foundation-building attachment cycle.  So go take a shower and put on a cute dress.  I’ll see all of you fabulous mommas tonight!!!

**If you can’t make it to our Mom’s Night Out tonight, be sure to join us at the zoo tomorrow morning for more fun!!  Check out our Facebook events page HERE.



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Cate Johnson
Cate Johnson has been married to her best friend, Sean, for 12 years. She is the mother to their daughters who came home through international adoption in 2008. They also have a son that came home through domestic adoption in March 2011. The baby is another son, who is biological. Cate is passionate about Jesus, photography, writing and adoption and attachment. She also loves coming alongside prospective adoptive parents as well as those struggling through transition and attachment. Cate blogs about all of these topics and more at Gathered From Afar and Attaching Hearts.


  1. xoxo
    what a wonderful thing to share!! even mommas of typical kids need to know how important this cycle is. just this morning i was thinking what a holy honor to be able to change a dirty diaper on our 3 month old.

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