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Our Babies, Ourselves

Posted by Sandra on October 27, 2008

“How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent” – that’s the byline.  This is really a great book, Meredith Small did a phenom job. So I thought I’d note some highlights as I re-read it!

Discussing the evolution of babies, she goes on to discuss birthing practices.  She says, and I quote:

In the 1960’s, a slow revolution in birthing practices began in Western culture.  …the medical establishment realized the importance of physical proximity on the bonding process and babies were not necessarily removed to the nursery.  The feminist movement in the 1970’s, which helped women assert their wishes, furthered that revolution as it gave female nurses and mothers the support to demand that mother and father be integrated back into the early infant experience.  In 1976 two obstetricians, Marshall Klaus and John Kennell, based on their research, theorized that there is a critical early – and limited – period for human mother-infant bonding.  They noted a higher incidence of infant abuse and failure-to-thrive children among premature infants; because the infants were premature and had been sequestered in nurseries and away from their mothers, there had been, these doctors suggested, a breakdown of the normal mother-infant bond.  They found that although 7 to 8 percent of live infants are born premature, 24 to 41 percent of battered were preemies.  They surmised that a critical period of attachment has passed by the time the baby was sent home, and that the mother-infant pair consequently lacked the essential positive bond that links them together in a healthy emotional and physical way.

She goes on to explain that the “rooming in” philosophy got strong around 1978, when mothers were encouraged not to ever send babies to the nurseries, and care for the premature infant is possible, at times, bedside with the mother.

I find this fascinating.  Someday I hope we have even more solid statistics on the benefits of staying out of the hospital altogether, having home births and birthing center experiences.

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2 Responses to “Our Babies, Ourselves”

  1. […] about this great book by Meredith F. Small, Our Babies, Ourselves, but got a little sidetracked!  Here’s the first “installment” that I did a few months ago.  I really highly recommend this […]

  2. […] from the awesome book “Our Babies, Ourselves” by Meredith F. Small.  Here’s my blog #1 and blog #2 about some of the great research and information.  Get this book… you […]

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