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Study: Overnights away from home affect baby’s attachment

Babies who spend one night a week away from mom develop insecure attachments, researchers say.

By Kristin Wong Jul 19, 2013 5:19PM

A study from the University of Virginia recently found that babies who spend even just one night a week away from their mothers develop insecure attachments.

Overnights away from baby effect attachment / Jamie De Pould/Flickr/Getty Images MSN Living: 5 worst money mistakes parents make

Researchers analyzed data from a study titled, “Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing.” That study examined 5,000 children from 1998 to 2000. Researchers interviewed parents of children between the ages of 1 and 3. They assessed those children at age 1 and again at age 3.

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For couples who didn’t live together, 6.9 percent of infants who lived primarily with the mother also spent at least one night a week with their father. Forty-three percent of those infants who had weekly overnight visits were insecurely attached to their mothers. Research adviser Robert Emery said:

 “I would like infants and toddlers to be securely attached to two parents, but I am more worried about them being securely attached to zero parents.”

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Read more about this study here.

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Photo: Overnights away from baby affect attachment, study suggests. / Jamie De Pould/Flickr/Getty Images

Jul 23, 2013 8:13AM
This article is ridiculous, blaming the time apart for insecure attachment, not the parenting involved.  I work rotating 12 hour shifts, sometimes up to 84 hours a week.  I am often gone multiple nights but my baby is very securely attached to me ...because when I am home he knows he is my priority.  I have been away from him for 5 weeks straight due to my job, when I got home, as always I spent as much time with him as I could and our close relationship picked right back up.  Blame the parents, not the institution.
Jul 19, 2013 9:55PM
I find it ridiculous that so many of the comments on this story are so freaking defensive.  People can't handle the truth.  kids need their parents together, and when that's not desirable(since it's often possible), they need a stable environment and they need a secure attachment to a consistent caregiver, be it mom, dad, granny, or cousin Suzy.  Adults too often drag kids through THEIR mess, when what is needed is for adults to actually be adults, put aside their differences,  and put the needs of innocent minors first.
Jul 19, 2013 9:46PM

Divorce courts will be FLOODED on Monday morning with manipulative ex-spouses waiving this article in a judge's face to site why their EX should be denied overnight visitation. Very sad.


Jul 19, 2013 9:38PM

This is absolute BS!!!! My children spent nights away from me as babies and they are all just fine.


Geeze please do a study that actuall is worth something!!!!

Jul 19, 2013 9:27PM

Does this article impugn the role of fathers in child-rearing, or does this article over-glorify the female's role in child-rearing?  Or does it simply state a fact that all infants, babies, toddlers, children, pre-teens, adolescents, and adults have some 'attachment' issues to deal with?

Jul 19, 2013 9:24PM
OK, so let me get this straight..

Option 1: Work as hard as you can to provide a roof over your kids head, food on the table and other things. Spend time with them when you can.  You're bad for not spending enough time with your kids.

Option 2: Don't work, rely on others to provide for you. (spouse, family, friends, government aid) Spend a bunch of time with your kids. You're bad for being a mooch and not contributing to society.

There's no winning.
Jul 19, 2013 9:23PM
Silly attempt at spin.  Separated children actually learn to navigate on their own at a much earlier age which make them more confident and independent. 
Jul 19, 2013 9:17PM
Now some pop culture shrink is going to recommend that children of parents that are divorced should not be allowed overnight visitation with their fathers and family court judges will begin ruling in favor of this. It will become more difficult for divorced father's who want to be a part of their children's lives.
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