Saturday August 13, 2022

Maternal bonding from mother’s social network helps child’s dev

Published : 27 Jul 2022, 01:53

Updated : 27 Jul 2022, 01:55

  DF Report

Photo: THL.

Strong maternal bonding and support from maternal social network have a very positive impact on the young child’s psychosocial well-being, according to a recent longitudinal study by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

Psychosocial well-being of a two-year-old refers to, for example, a sense of security that allows the child to approach the world with curiosity and experience feelings of success and joy from this, said the THL in a press release on Tuesday, quoting the study.

This supports children’s age-appropriate efforts to become independent and the development of a balanced emotional life and good behaviour.

Mothers’ negative expectations regarding their ability to take care of their baby during late pregnancy and their weaker bonding to the baby at the age of 3–8 months were reflected in the child’s weaker psychosocial development up to the age of two.

In such cases, the child’s behaviour conveys that they do not trust that their needs are met and that they can rely on a parent in any situation.

The new study confirms the previously observed link between maternal bonding and the child’s good physical, psychological and social development. The new study, however, is broader than previous studies in terms of the number of participants and the follow-up period.

The study also shows that a mother’s stable and close relationships with her spouse and other adults contribute to the well-being of a young child.

Lack of intimacy, distrust and anxiety in the mother’s adult relationships were reflected in the child’s greater emotional problems at the age of two.

The results of the study emphasise the importance of identifying challenges observed in the mother-baby relationship before the birth and during the first year of the child’s life.

Mothers who are identified to have challenges in maternal bonding during pregnancy and after childbirth should be provided with support in strengthening the relationship.

“In addition to monitoring the relationship, attention should also be paid to the quality of the mother’s adult relationships and the family environment before the baby is born. By supporting mothers’ social networks and strengthening their bonding with their baby at an early stage, it is possible to positively impact the child’s social and emotional development,” said Principal Investigator Lecturer of the University of Helsinki Erja Rusanen.

The study was carried out in Central Finland by collecting data from mothers at four different times- during the third trimester and when their child is 3, 8 and 24 months old.

A total of 1,667 mothers participated in the study and 943 of them responded to the surveys in each of the four times.