Can a Secure Attachment and Sleep Training Coexist?

Updated: Apr 23

Short answer: YES!

If you want to get science-y with me, keep reading.


We all must have our basic needs met in order to survive. Air to breathe. Water to drink. Nutritive needs. Psychological needs. Sleep needs. These are the basics.

As parents, it is our job to distinguish how to best meet all of these needs for our children. Today I want to focus on two of these needs - specifically sleep and a secure attachment.

There are four categories of attachment - secure, avoidant, ambivalent, disorganized. As parents, we want to works towards developing a secure attachment with our children. You can read more about the four categories of attachment here, in a parenthood article from Also, check out episode 16 of the Coffee & Catnaps Parenting Podcast for my interview with Jennifer Van Rossum, MA, LPC, for our discussion all about attachment (recorded in April 2021).

First, let's discuss what defines a secure attachment between a child and a caregiver. A secure attachment is one that allows the child to feel safe, protected, and, you guessed it, secure! Relationships we have as children will affect future relationships we have in adulthood.

Sroufe, Egeland, Carlson, & Collins (2005) completed a 30-year longitudinal study of the developing person. In the study, the history of attachment was shown to be "clearly related to the growth of self-reliance, the capacity for emotional regulation, and the emergence and course of social competence, among other things."

To sum all that up, working to form a secure attachment is extremely important in helping your child grow and develop into a confident, emotionally intelligent adult who can one day be a positive and contributing member of society.

That's a big responsibility! How do we do this?