AHS Weekly Wellness News: Mother-Child Bond


A mother’s well-being is directly linked to her children’s Baby coos. Mom coos back. Baby’s wet and cries. Mom changes baby’s diaper. Such serve and return exchanges are the foundation of early childhood development.
But what happens when baby coos or cries and Mom can’t respond?

“Any chronic stressor in the family—violence, addiction, depression or ill health—that prevents serve and return between a mother and a baby has a tremendous effect on a child’s healthy brain development,” says Nicole Letourneau, Norlien/Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation research chair in Parent-Infant Mental Health and RESOLVE Alberta director.

This is one of the major reasons a woman’s health is so closely tied to her family’s health. When mothers thrive, their families thrive and vice versa.

“A mother has the initial biological attachment, but all of the people around the mom make the attachment happen,” Letourneau adds. “An important concept is that society helps parents raise their children by putting in the supports to do that.”

Beyond their close, immediate family and friends, women in Alberta have several supports, including public health nurses, women’s doctors and prenatal programs. Community groups offer play groups where mothers can meet other mothers in their neighbourhood.

“Growing evidence shows that better post-partum nutrition helps the mother’s body recover from pregnancy and childbirth,” says behavioural scientist Bonnie Kaplan of Pediatrics and Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary and the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

“Being a mom—breastfeeding, maybe rushing to work, holding two jobs—is so exhausting, that moms need to be optimally healthy,” she adds. Nutritious food helps new moms through the stress of a new baby and the changes in their relationships.

A healthy mom in turn feeds her child nutritious food, laying the foundations for long-term good health. The cycle is complete when healthy parents pass on their healthy habits and choices to their children, the next generation of parents.

Source: Apple Magazine