The first post partum hour: a descriptive study of the activities of the newborn, the mother, the father, and their interaction
1990 (English)Report (Other academic)
The main aim of the present study is to examine the absolute first contact between the newborn and its parents during the time that the infant is lying on its mother's chest and abdomen immediately after birth. This examination is done in two ways: by seeing (observing) the first contact between the newborn and its parents. Hie activities of the infants, the mothers, the fathers, and their interaction have been observed, described, and analysed; and by hearing (listening to) how the parents verbalize the process of giving birth to and having a child. Another aim of this study is to test the theory of the normal autistic phase, which Margaret S. Mahler et al (1975) has theorized. In order to accomplish these aims, videotape recordings were made of twelve newborns and their parents starting immediately after the infant was delivered and the midwife had placed it on its mother's chest and abdomen. Later, these videotapes were systematically analysed. All the infants were very active and also remarkably bright and lively directly after birth. Most of them became relatively calm when they were placed on the mother's chest and it seemed as if they were carefully trying to adapt themselves to their new surroundings. Hie infants varied as to degree of activity, but all infants followed a strict process of development during their first hour of life, which consisted of the following stages: birth cry, rest/passivity, awakening/eye-to-eye-contact, mouth movements, crawling movements, grasping movements, seeking movements and finally sucking its mother's breast. Hie interaction between the newborn and its parents started immediately after delivery. Hie most common and clear response of the newborn infant to the parents' activities was direct reactions to touch. When the infant cried or whimpered the parents tried to comfort or help it in various ways, for example the mother rocked and cradled the infant or answered it with baby-talk, other sounds or words. The mother and the father sometimes tried to verbalize the infant's cry or whimpering by talking for the infant. The processes of the newborn and their parents were mutual and parallel. This early non-verbal interaction between the newborn infant and its parents could in psychological terms be named an early "coining" or emotional imprinting, in which both the infant and the parents confirm each other. The newborns own capacity of intentionality and early interaction through movements and sounds contradicts a normal autistic phase, in Mahler's full sense of the word, during these infants' first hour of life.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet , 1990. , 79 p.
, DAPS-report, ISSN 0349-6554 ; 33
Birth, Newborn, Infant-parents, Interaction, Intentionality, Margaret S. Mahler's theory of the normal autistic phase
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-61650OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-61650DiVA: diva2:571279