How we respond to babies matters because emotional health in infants
lays the foundation for healthy relationships in later life.
Isolation, disfunction and distress in society is largely the product of generations of child rearing and birth practices that did not respect babies as people, and undermined the innate wisdom of their mothers.
The baby's first relationship develops in the womb. During pregnancy,the baby responds to both the internal and external environment of the mother. Communicating with the baby in the womb, through thought, touch or voice, and sensing for the baby's response, can begin a dialogue. This develops a bond with the baby, that deepens the attachment when the baby is born.
Immediately after birth, love hormones are present in both mother and baby, to support a deep bonding at their first meeting. If the first moments of contact with the mother are delayed, interrupted or clouded by drugs, shock or pain, the roots of loving and relating are disturbed. When this happens, it is important that mother and baby get the help and support they need to recover and to develop a loving relationship.
Babies cry for a reason. In very young babies crying may relate to
the experience of coming into the world. Excessive crying can be
symptomatic of trauma. If crying seems to have no obvious cause, it is
likely that the baby is releasing tension from fear, frustration,
anger, loss or pain.
We need to be with babies as they cry, and to let them know they are accepted and loved with all of their feelings.
Links and References
Tears and Tantrums
Crying to be Heard
Helping Babies to Heal
Bonding Before Birth
Touch and Attachment