by Ann Douglas
Teaching new mothers who are dealing with postpartum depression how to relate to and respond to their babies' cues can help to lay the groundwork for healthy mother-baby attachments.
How do you teach tuning into "channel mom"?
That's the key finding from a study conducted by researchers at the University of Alberta and the University of New Brunswick. The research was reported in the March 2007 issue of the Journal of Affective Disorders.
The eleven pairs of mothers and babies involved in the study participated in weekly sessions over a five-week period.
The mothers were taught about child development and infant behavior and provided with tips on how to read and respond to their babies' cues.
The babies involved in the study clearly benefited from the support their mothers received. While just 39 percent of the babies showed interest in their mothers' facial expressions when the group started, just five weeks later, 67 percent of the babies were similarly tuned in to their mothers' facial expressions. This was an important stepping stone to forming healthy attachments with their mothers.
The study suggests that intervention focusing on what moms do with their babies, instead of how they feel, can be effective in increasing their babies' positive responsiveness and overall outcomes.
These lessons are an essential part of treatment when new moms are diagnosed with postpartum depression.
What do you think of the study? Have you been there, done that? Shout it out!
Ann Douglas is the author of numerous books about pregnancy and parenting including the bestselling "The Mother of All Pregnancy Books." She regularly contributes to a number of print and online publications, is frequently quoted in the media on a range of parenting-related topics, and has appeared as a guest on a number of television and radio shows. Ann and her husband Neil live in Peterborough, Ontario. with the youngest of their four children. Learn more at her site, having-a-baby.com.
Copyright © Ann Douglas. Permission to publish granted to Pregnancy.org.
- Interventions with Depressed Mothers and Their Infants: Modifying Interactive Behaviours. Vivienne Jung, Robert Short, Nicole Letourneau, Debra Andrews. Journal of affective disorders 1 March 2007 (volume 98 issue 3 Pages 199-205 DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2006.07.014). Accessed May 9, 2012.