Quality statement 11: Parent–baby attachment

Quality statement

Parents or main carers who have infant attachment problems receive services designed to improve their relationship with their baby.

Rationale

Problems with parent‑to‑baby attachment may result in the baby developing emotional, psychological or behavioural issues in childhood. Providing family‑based interventions could improve attachment, thereby providing the building blocks for the child to develop healthy behaviours and mental wellbeing.

Quality measures

Structure

Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that parents or main carers with infant attachment problems receive services designed to improve their relationship with their baby.

Data source: Local data collection.

Process

Proportion of parents or main carers with infant attachment problems who receive services designed to improve their relationship with their baby.

Numerator – the number of parents or main carers with infant attachment problems who receive services designed to improve their relationship with their baby.

Denominator – the number of parents or main carers with infant attachment problems.

Data source: Local data collection.

Outcome

a) Emotional, behavioural and social wellbeing of developing babies.

Data source: Local data collection.

b) Parental or main carer satisfaction with services to support parenting skills.

Data source: Local data collection.

What the quality statement means for different audiences

Service providers ensure that parents or main carers with infant attachment problems receive services designed to improve their relationship with their baby.

Healthcare practitioners offer parents or main carers with infant attachment problems services designed to improve their relationship with their baby.

Commissioners ensure that they commission services that have systems in place to offer parents or main carers with infant attachment problems services designed to improve their relationship with their baby.

Parents or main carers who are having difficulties forming a bond with their child are able to receive services designed to improve their relationship with their baby.

Source guidance

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Services to improve parent–baby relationships

Services have the aim of promoting emotional attachment and improving parenting skills. Services should be tailored to the needs of the family and baby and may include the woman, partner and wider family. Services should be sensitive to a wide range of attitudes, expectations and approaches in relation to parenting. NICE's guideline on social and emotional wellbeing: early years provides guidance about the types of services which may provide additional parenting support, for example a series of intensive home visits delivered by an appropriately trained nurse, baby massage and video interaction.

Main carer

For the majority of babies the main carer will be the mother. For some babies the main carer could be a close relative, for example the baby's father or grandparent, or for looked‑after babies this could be a foster parent.

Equality and diversity considerations

In order to promote equality, the parents of babies who are vulnerable to poor parent–baby relationships may require additional intensive support. Services should take into account the parent's first language, and this may influence the interventions to achieve specified goals around the baby's communication, speech and language development.