Newborns don't bond immediately with mothers

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by S.A.M., Mar 19, 2008.

  1. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    A misconception often entertained by people is that babies develop a very quick psychological connection to their mothers, perhaps within hours or days of birth.

    Reference:
    Simpson, J. A. (1999). Attachment theory in modern evolutionary context. In: J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver, (Eds.). Handbook of attachment: theory, research, and clinical applications. The Guilford Press.

    http://www.spring.org.uk/2008/03/newborns-dont-bond-immediately-with.php

    What are your experiences in this regard?

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  3. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

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    I would imagine babies develop a connection to whomever takes care of them the most.
    This is why early adoption and surrogate parenting (even by another species) is possible.

    What about the other way around - How long does it take that new mothers develop a connection to their babies?
    How long does it take for a mother to reliably recognize her own newborn?
     
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  5. lucifers angel same shit, differant day!! Registered Senior Member

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    yes babies do bond with mothers straight away, unles the mother has rejected the child, if you breast feed then the bond will be stronger, the child kows the mothers smell and voice, has we all know a baby can hear voices while in the womb, so the child knows the sound of his own mum, and will even after birth search ariound the room for her!

    also when a child crys in a room of other children the mother knows if its her baby! a bit like penguins
     
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  7. lucifers angel same shit, differant day!! Registered Senior Member

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    1. almost staright away, unless the mother has had a trumatic birth, or she rejects the child for some reason.

    2. for me it was straight away, a mother will always unkowingly look for inperfections in her child!
     
  8. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    LA i would sugest that your in the menority. Most mothers seem to go through at least SOME from of PPD or fear in regard to a new child

    Actually there is some evidence that new fathers are also susptable to new baby depression and fear
     
  9. Bells Staff Member

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    I always used to joke that our children only cared about one thing when they were newborns. That was food. Since women tend to breastfeed or they can smell the breastmilk on the mother, they will usually appear to 'bond' with the mother.

    I remember being paranoid before I had my first child, because of this constant belief in society that a mother and baby bond immediately and the mother feels instant love and adoration for her child. I remember asking myself 'what if I am different' and I don't instantly adore and worship my child or bond with it in such a fashion. It got to the point where I'd sit up at night worrying about it. I was scared to even talk about it because there is this perception that it is instant as soon as the mother first lays eyes on her child, blah blah blah... I kept thinking to myself how can I simply adore and love someone I have never even laid eyes on and who I only know through its kicks and punches in my womb and through its sheer weight that I am carrying. So about 2 weeks before I was due, I finally opened up and spoke to my GP about it and she looked at me in astonishment and told me she would be surprised if any woman actually felt that way and that most women and babies take several weeks if not months to bond in such a fashion. I can assure you, those first few weeks with both of my children were nightmarish and after the painful experiences of trying to establish breastfeeding and the complete exhaustion and lack of sleep, I sometimes disliked my newborns intensely. I loved them but I also disliked them at times. So no, the bond was not instant for me. And I have not met a single woman who claimed it was since then.

    Literature that keeps on harping on about the bond that women supposedly have with their newborns can lead to the mother feeling depressed (PND) and anxious that they are somehow bad mothers or not normal. It is perfectly normal for a woman to not immediately "bond" with their babies and vice versa. Not only is the woman having to deal with a screaming and pooping baby that has come out of her body in an experience that is highly unpleasant, the child is also having to adapt to being out of the womb.
     
  10. mikenostic Stop pretending you're smart! Registered Senior Member

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    I was watching an episode of Scrubs the other day. It was the one after Carla just had her baby. She had a nasty case of post traumatic stress disorder where she wanted to just get rid of her baby* because due to the PTSD, she considered the baby a burden.
    Have any of you mothers went through something like that with your children when they were first born?

    *she wanted to throw it out the window; she left it with the neighbor's kid to baby sit it, etc...
     
  11. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    mike you have the wrong disorder.

    PTSD is what solders and people who have witnessed natural disaters or people dying suffer from

    Im asuming your talking about post PARDIUM depression
     
  12. Bells Staff Member

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    Not that bad, no. But then again, sometimes I'd go out for a drive alone while my husband stayed home with the baby.. Even if it was just for 30 minutes but I needed and craved that separation and time alone and quietness for a bit.

    A newborn baby is a horror in those first 12 weeks or so. It is a burden in that you do not sleep. I remember averaging about 10 hours sleep a week when I had my first child... in the first few weeks that is.. then he settled down. Post natal depression is horrible.. you can't control it and there are some women who get to the point where they do want to harm their child and some unfortunately do. Some women don't want to have anything to do with their children at first.

    I doubt any woman would feel any bond when she has not slept in days. I know I sure as hell didn't. I would have done anything and everything to protect my child from harm and in some ways, I guess that is the beginning of "love", but I really disliked my children sometimes when they were newborn. I was lucky in that I never felt the need or desire to harm them or anyone else (I've heard of some women simply having to stop themselves from hitting their child and then ringing up their husbands or partners in tears). But there were days when I simply wanted them not there and on those days, I would feed them, express some milk and go out for a little bit while my husband stayed home.. go and do the shopping or just go for a drive or have a coffee or quick lunch with a friend or something... then I'd come back refreshed and get back into it.. Sometimes, you need some time to yourself and a newborn does not allow that to happen and that is when it is time to take a step back and have someone stay with the child while you do something for yourself for an hour or two. Some days my husband would take the baby out to the park after I'd have fed him and expressed some milk to take with him, while I stayed home and caught up on some much needed sleep. As I said, you need a break sometimes.
     
  13. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    puke at one end, poop at the other.

    And ohhhh those diaper stink bombs!!!!!!!!

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  14. Bells Staff Member

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    Bleh.. Not just that, sometimes it would leak out of the nappy and go everywhere.:bawl: Ugh..
     
  15. Pete It's not rocket surgery Registered Senior Member

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    My friend has a lovely stories of a dear toddler who managed to take off their poopy nappy and proceeded to paint the wall with it!

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  16. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

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    So the notion of this "immediate bond" seems to be more of a reflection of a particular societal value, a how-things-should-be, and not how they are.

    For comparison, other examples of such societal values are "Women are equal to men" (in moral theory yes, but not IRL practice), or "There is enough food for everyone on this planet" (if that were so, then why are so many people hungry?).
     
  17. lucifers angel same shit, differant day!! Registered Senior Member

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    i havent had anything like that, far from it, from the first time i saw my little ones i loved them and wanted to do everything for them, but my friend had a baby, and it wouldnt stop crying, and my friend would be awake all night and pace the floors and in the end she hung the child out of the window saying to her husband "i want him gone, if you dont shut up i'll drop you" she suffered from severe postnatel depression
     
  18. Bells Staff Member

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    Of sorts, yes. There is intense pressure on the expectant mother. Not just from herself, but from outside sources as well. I think the belief of the "bond" stems from the way in which society views the woman and the mother as being caring and maternal. So she is expected to instantly "bond" with the child and supposedly know what to do and how to do it.. It is apparently all supposed to come naturally. In the end, new mothers end up feeling as though they are somehow failing their newborns and failing at motherhood. This unrealistic expectation, coupled with the hormonal changes the woman is experiencing (the high immediately after childbirth and the withdrawal symptoms she might feel as her body adapts from no longer having to carry a child as well as the hormones stimulating the breastmilk) can lead to PND.

    I mean honestly, who in their mind could expect someone to instantly "bond" with a completely new and screaming individual on such a level? It is completely unrealistic. Instead of the word "bond", they should use the word "adapt", because having a new child takes adaptation to the changes in one's life to a whole new level. Not only must the child adapt to its new life, the parents and the mother needs to adapt to the child. My mother often jokes that the first photo of my first born and myself, taken just after he had come out and was lying on me, showed a good portrayal of a new mother.. my son with all the gunk still plastered from the womb, screaming blue murder and me, looking like a deer caught in headlights. I must admit, those first few minutes seemed surreal to me. I didn't feel any sense of 'bonding'... All I felt was 'what in the hell am I supposed to do now?!?'..

    It has only been in the last few years that the literature about motherhood has started to address the unreal expectation of "bonding" and are now telling women that it is perfectly natural to not have such feelings towards a new child.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2008
  19. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    bells i wonder why there is so much literiture and resurch on PPD and so little on the experiances of new fathers. I have herd stories that it is just as hard for them because for starters unlike new women there is no "PPD" to explaine there own feelings and they have just as high expectations on them from surprting there partner in what she is going through to there own adaption to having a new child sharing there life to the lack of sleep that both partners have. There is also the lack of surport from the wider comunity because and health proffessionals specifically
     
  20. lucifers angel same shit, differant day!! Registered Senior Member

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    i fell in love with my kids straight away! you see i lost 3 children before my first, 2 before my second and 4 before my 3rd child, and there was no way i wasn't going to do my job and not look after them, yeah i felt worried! "what if i screw up, what if they dont like me"
     
  21. BigBlueHead Great Tealnoggin! Registered Senior Member

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    Are you sure you're talking about babies here?

    IRL practice nobody is equal to anybody else. "Moral theoretical" equality is maintained (to whatever degree it is) as part of a social contract, not as part of a pretend airy-fairy delusion.

    Huge amounts of food still rot in train cars, both in North American and Russia, usually because there is no buyer for them. It's likely that if this food was given away for free to the "hungry nations of the world", they would be more than happy, but this does not happen. Furthermore, many of the "hungry" are hungry because of mismanagement rather than simple lack - starving countries are not run by starving governments.

    Don't oversimplify these issues, you're doing yourself a disservice. Same goes for mother-child "bonding", as there could easily be reasons why mothers and babies don't come immediately into contact with one another - how many babies are born with surgical assistance these days?

    Have a look around sometime at the damage done by "assisted birth" using foreceps, and see if there might be very understandable reasons for Post-partum depression in women who have this procedure. Like that their backside gets ripped in half.
     
  22. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

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    In effect, there isn't enough food in the world for all. Be that because not enough is produced, or that not enough makes it to the final destination - whatever the reason, there just isn't enough of it where it's needed.


    I don't think there ever was a time when childbirth was a particularly pleasant experience. Think early C-sections done without anaesthetics, for example.
    Then there is the issue of whether the child was planned and wanted, or whether there was doubt whether to keep it at all.
    Other possible medical, social, financial risks and insecurities triggered by pregnancy, childbirth and raising the child.
    These factors are always present, to a lesser or greater extent.

    Given this, I suspect the positive evaluations like "Having children is beautiful," "Mother and child bond right after birth" might be examples of some kind of compensation for these risks, insecurities and other inconveniences related to pregnancy, childbirth and raising the child.
     
  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    It's "postpartum," all one word, from Latin post partum, "after birth." It used to be used generally for conditions occurring after birth, but now "postnatal" has supplanted it in most usages except this one.
    A psychotherapist explained to me that this is an instinctive reaction but there's also an experiential aspect to it, it's not just automatically bonding to "your flesh." He and his wife adopted a baby. He saw the door open and the nurse walked in carrying a baby and he said to himself, "Oh how nice, that seems like a fine baby," and she first she gave it to the mother and he said, "Oh cool, the missus seems to really like him," and then the nurse let him hold it and he was thinking, "Yeah this will work, I can get into this parenting thing,"... and then the legal representative walked in and came up to him and said, "Well then, Doctor Shrinkum, this is YOUR SON."

    He just fell apart. He had to sit down. He said he'd never known feelings like the ones that were sweeping over him, and even as a shrink he had no idea it would be like that.

    Babies bond to their parents in different ways, depending on the species. Many mammals, especially predators, have very acute senses of smell. A baby dog or cat picks up his mother's odors (as well as her pheromones, which are sort of "unconscious odors") and associates that smell with the joyful experience of being fed, warmed, cleaned and cared for during the long period before his eyes open.

    Birds have very poor senses of smell, even compared to humans, and most species don't open their eyes for several days or longer, like dogs and cats. They have no idea who's feeding them. When their eyes finally open and they see that giant bird sticking food in their mouth (often by regurgitation), they say, "Oh boy, that's my mom!" (Or dad, many species such as parrots share parenting duties.) That's the way we raise tame birds. We take over the feeding when their eyes open and they think we're the mom and dad, so for the rest of their life they're comfortable around humans. The biologists who were raising condors had to put condor puppets on their hands and hide behind a screen, so the chicks wouldn't "imprint" on humans.

    The job of "wet nurse" was common in earlier eras, especially among the wealthy. A lactating woman was simply hired to feed the baby. I can't find any information on the type of bonding that might have occurred in these relationships.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2008

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