Importance of Mother-Infant Bonding
By Pauline El Kallassi Mansour | 26 Jul 2013 | PARENTING
In the mother’s womb, the fetus (unborn baby) lives in a perfect environment where everything is available: nutrition, optimal temperature and the finest warm psychological envelope. However, upon birth, everything changes. Psychologically, the experience of birth is sometimes described as the trauma of birth since there is separation from the perfect environment.

The newborn baby does not have any experience of the outer-world. All what the baby knows is the experience of the mother’s body. That is why, a newborn baby is said to experience his body as one with the mother. The baby extends the same experience from the womb to the outer world.

Your newborn is totally fragile and dependent.

It is psychologically unhealthy to  separate the newborn from the mother without allowing a certain intermediary period for the baby to adapt to the outer world in a secure manner.

The mother plays an important role in ensuring this security through increased physical bonding during the first months after delivery.  Physical gestures such as holding, physical contact, soothing through the voice such as humming, gentle motion and touching can gradually help the baby to feel his body and sense of existence.

Nevertheless, the mother needs to play this important role. Beware of over-stimulation in the first month since it can be chaotic to the baby.

The saying : “I do not want my baby to get used to holding” is not accurate especially in the first couple of months which are the most essential for the baby at least until the crawling phase. Babies do not get used to holding in the first 6 months since they still need to feel the physical contact and nurture of holding that accompanied them in the womb. They were all the time held inside the mother.

During the first six months after birth:

-          It is psychologically unhealthy to keep your baby alone deprived of any physical contact for a long time.

-          It is psychologically unhealthy to let the baby cry for a long time.

-          It is psychologically unhealthy to disregard your baby’s need.

Your baby is totally fragile and his sense of existence is not built yet. The above actions, if exercised on purpose for a long time, can create insecurity, frustration and deception of the baby from the outer world. The baby would no longer trust caregivers to provide for his needs. This creates a sense of mistrust.

The infant’s needs change with age. Parents should differentiate between their infant’s urgent need of nurture from 0-6 months (crawling age) and their toddler’s need of autonomy at 1 year of age (walking age). Holding after the age of 1 decreases since the toddler is starting to make those first steps. He is curious to explore the outer world and is ready to become autonomous and walk on his own.

 

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