The relationship between an infant and its mother is the single most important and enduring relationship for a child to develop in its life. But sometimes mothers do not develop an attachment to their babies, which may sometimes lead to emotional or physical neglect.
While there are many factors associated with maternal neglect, there is evidence that breastfeeding may have a protective effect. Promoting breastfeeding may be a simple and natural way to strengthen the mother-infant bond.
Maternal neglect represents a fundamental breakdown in the relationship between a mother and her child. My colleagues from The University of Queensland in Australia followed over 7,000 women and their children over a 15 year period. Full Entry »
It is impossible to measure a mother’s influence on her baby’s life. And for most mothers, interacting with her smiling baby is an intensely pleasurable and rewarding experience in return.
It is during these repeated moments of 2-way communication that “attachment” is born. Attachment is the formation of enduring bonds, initially between parents and their infants, but ultimately between siblings, peers, romantic partners, spouses and the rest of our social world. The initial attachment bond between mother and infant is believed to be a foundation upon which future relationships are built.
Differing patterns of attachment in infancy reflect a baby’s response to his or her world, whether it be predictable and comforting, or chaotic or dangerous. Infants have an amazing ability to adapt to their caregiving environment, which may be protective in the short term, but may have harmful consequences in the future.
To better understand the mother-child attachment relationship, my colleagues and I asked first-time mothers to view photos of their own babies and other infants while lying in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner, which measures blood flow in the brain. Full Entry »
Pregnancy is a time of many emotions that change at the drop of a hat. It can also be a time when some women may experience more serious emotional symptoms that need to be treated. Estrogen and progesterone levels approach their highest peak in the last trimester of pregnancy only to fall precipitously after delivery. These hormonal changes are responsible for the mood swings common in late pregnancy and postpartum. The combination of fatigue, fear and hormones can get the better of anyone.
The baby blues affect up to 80% of all women who deliver a baby. Baby blues symptoms are similar to the premenstrual symptoms that many women experience. The blues come on about 3 days after delivery and should go away by 2 weeks postpartum. A mother may feel fearful, irritable and anxious about her responsibilities as a mother. She may complain of moodiness and break into tears for no reason. But she also experiences periods of pleasure and enjoys her new baby. Her appetite is good, and she is able to sleep when the baby sleeps. As a matter of fact, she is desperate for sleep and falls asleep easily.
One of the most frightening things about the baby blues is that many women don’t expect them and aren’t sure what is happening or why. Full Entry »
Like a breath of fresh air, the doors are now completely open at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. This grand opening marks a new beginning for Texas Children’s Hospital, mothers, babies and their families. As we begin delivering babies, caring for mothers and offering services for women of all ages, we’re building on the strong foundation provided for so many years by our world-class medical team at Texas Children’s.
The Pavilion for Women, led by world-renowned OB/GYN-in-Chief Dr. Michael Belfort, now offers a full continuum of care for mothers and their babies — from pre-conception to post-delivery. Symbolic of the continuum is the innovative circular bridge linking the Pavilion with the Clinical Care Center and West Tower of Texas Children’s Hospital. This bridge provides a quick and convenient route for a team approach to specialized care. This means faster, safer and better results for moms who deliver their babies here.
Despite all the excitement surrounding the opening, the Full Entry »
If there is one thing I know for certain in the 20+ years I have been a nurse at Texas Children’s Hospital, it’s that our patients touch our hearts and affect our lives in ways they may never know. I recently met a patient that had a particularly profound effect on me.
Last spring, the McPhetridge family was ecstatic when they found out that they were expecting twin girls. The couple’s joy soon turned to fear when they learned that both of their babies had identical form of truncus, an extremely rare type of congenital heart disease.
The diagnosis is daunting for one child, but to have twins with the same condition was overwhelming. The health of both their baby girls would have to be monitored throughout the pregnancy and a major heart surgery performed on each baby within the first few days of life. The diagnosis was so serious that the Full Entry »