Emotional connection between mother and newborn: A guide to walking the right path

Ingy Deif, Monday 25 Jun 2012

The first interactions of the mother with her newborn marks the foundation of the emotional connections between both and affects the baby profoundly, Ahram Online talks with an expert who sheds light on some of the right steps

photo: Reuters

The emotional connection between mother and child unfolds gradually, it might take longer with some, manifest itself in different forms with others, but it remains a blissful heavenly feeling for most. Talking about cultivating the social abilities and the psychological stability of a newborn might raise some eyebrows, but experts say that deeply rooted emotional aspects of person start from the earliest moments after birth.

"Your baby develops rapidly not only physically but also emotionally, and every step of the way is highly dependent on what you do as a mother. We stress that  studies prove that happiness and security  depend on two main pillars which are expressing  love and interacting playfully with the child," says Dr Heba Essawy, professor of psychiatry , Ain Shams University. She stresses that the every mother should marvel at the experience of developing the emotional  connection between herself and her newborn, a connection that goes a step further with every interaction that takes place and that  goes both ways from the mother towards the baby and vice versa .

Dr Essawy gives what she describes as the three golden rules that would initiate and then maintain the spark of instant emotional connection between a mother and her baby:

The first moment after the birth, the mother should embrace her baby and breastfeed her, hold her near her heart as the familiar sound of the beats plays a significant role soothing the baby.

Starting from the very early days of the baby's life, the mother should always talk to the child, even sing to her, and maintain eye contact, as this would help develop a bond between both of them and reinforce the first social capabilities.

The baby starts to smile within the first weeks as a sign of her feeling a sort of comfort and inner security. This is enhanced by security, so the mother should never let go of the baby quickly, not switch on bright lights suddenly, or expose her to high pitches of music or noise. Each shudder or startle, even if not obvious to the eye, can affect her on the long run.

Dr. Nadia El Bardeesi supervises antenatal classes offered at a number of medical centers. She criticises the older generations' misconception  regarding the emotions and needs of a baby. "Our parents  limited the needs of the baby to just needing a remedy because of being colic or a feeding because of being hungry or wanting to change a diaper, and things of that sort. They did not think of the little being developing emotions from the very first days of his life," says El Bardeesi .

She assures new generations of mothers that a baby is capable of emotionally bonding with and feeling her mother's interactions , stressing that  early signs of emitting a smile at  around five weeks or responding by physical reflexes are a major sign. She agrees with the recommendation of instant breast feeding that boosts oxytocins in the mother thus bonding her with the child emotionally, and stresses the importance of facial expressions and sounds by the mother.  Finally she adds that research has proved that in addition to the effect of soothing aroma of the mother and her milk, a child is also soothed and comforted by other scents like vanilla, lavender, and baby products.

 

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photo: Reuters
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