Ema-laps: vastastikune võrgutamine

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The infant, a very active little being

Lulu is hungry, and like all infants who come across this uncomfortable feeling, he starts to fidget, squirm and cry loudly to get the attention of the person best qualified to ease his tensions and give him satisfaction: his mom! Far from being passive, a newborn is immediately in communication and exchange. Even if he is born immature and dependent on those around him for his survival, even if he cannot move independently, every baby comes into the world with great intelligence potential. He recognizes the smell, the milk, the voice, the language of his mother and develops effective means of action to act on his world in order to transform it according to his needs. The famous English pediatrician Donald W. Winnicott has always insisted on the proper activity of the infant. According to him, it is the baby who makes his mother, and you only have to watch a child gaze into his mother’s eyes as he sucks, smile at her when she leans towards him, for understand how he struggles to please her …

Already a great seducer!

Emphasizing how active a child is from the first weeks of life does not in any way minimize the essential role of adults who take care of them. There is no such thing as a baby all alone ! We cannot speak of a newborn without taking into account the environment in which it is born. To grow and flourish, he needs arms that cradle him, hands that caress him, eyes that look at him, a voice that reassures him, a breast (or a bottle) that nourishes him, lips that him. embrace… All this he finds at his mother’s house. Totally under the spell of her baby, she goes through a special period that Winnicott called “Primary maternal concern”. This special psychic state, this “madness” allowing her to feel, guess, understand what her baby needs, begins a few weeks before the end of the pregnancy and continues two or three months after childbirth. Connected to her infant, able to identify with him, the young childbirth can bring “at about the right time” what is necessary for her child. This “roughly” is fundamental for Winnicott, who speaks of a “good enough” mother and not of an all-powerful mother who would fulfill all of her baby’s desires.

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Being an attentive and “ordinary” mother

To be a good mother, therefore, it is enough to be an ordinary mother, attentive just enough but not more. This is reassuring for all those who doubt, who wonder if they will get there, who have the impression of not understanding their little one. A newborn baby’s crying does not have thirty-six meanings, and you don’t need to be fluent in the “baby” to understand that it is saying, “I’m dirty” or “I’m hot” or “I’m hungry” or “I want a hug”. The most immediate – and obvious – response to all his requests is to hug him, check his diaper for dirt, feel his body temperature, offer him something to eat. Be careful, giving him the breast or bottle should not become a systematic response. A baby may cry because he is bored and needs contact. After a few weeks, thanks to repeated interactions, he sends signals that his mother deciphers better and better. Those who fail to do so are parasitized by too much outside information, too many different opinions. The solution is simple. First of all, trust yourself, stop intellectualizing, do what you feel even if it does not correspond in every way to the prescriptions of pediatricians. The advice of girlfriends, mothers and mothers-in-law, we also forget!

The looks, the smiles… essential.

Since a little human is immediately sensitive to words and music, his mother can calm him down by talking to him, by singing. She can also soothe his crying by placing a hand on his back, wrapping it tightly. Everything that physically holds him reassures him. This “holding”, as Winnicott calls it, is as much psychic as it is physical. All the little acts that surround breastfeeding, grooming, changing it, the way a mother manipulates the body of her child during the care she lavishes on him, are significant, like a language. The looks, the words, the smiles exchanged during these moments together are essential. In these moments of sharing, each becomes the mirror of the other. The day and night routine, the monotony of meals, baths, outings that come back periodically at the same time allow the child to find landmarks and to be secure enough to begin to open up to the world that surround it.

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