Life Style

Intensive mothering: with her baby, 24 hours a day



Since her daughter was born eighteen months ago, Clémentine (1) wears her ” All the time “. “Baby, I put her in a sling and I did everything with her”, says the young mother. “She slept against me during the day and, during confinement, I even kept her in my arms to work, alternating with the dad. We were in total proximity and this melee strengthened our bond. “

Today, we know that an infant needs carnal contact with its mother in a form of “Sensory continuity between fetal life and extrauterine life”, as explained by Bernadette Lavollay, pediatrician and author of Your Baby’s Real Needs (Les Arènes, 2018). “Since attachment theory, the mother-infant relationship has been based on very ‘proximal’, very close mothering. The more a baby is raised in a cozy nest – essentially its mother’s body – the first three months, the more independent it will be. “

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Since the cub is the most dependent on mammals, it needs an attachment figure to survive and develop. ” A baby (all alone), it does not exist “, affirmed besides, already from the middle of the XXe century, the English pediatrician and psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott. Since then, childcare has evolved a lot. We went from a “Time when we put the baby in his bed and let him cry to make him independent quickly” has a “Intensive mothering”, recalls Dr. Lavollay.

Born in the United States twenty years ago, this approach recommends proximity to the infant 24 hours a day to best meet their needs. In addition to daytime babywearing, it promotes exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and mixed breastfeeding up to two years, in accordance with WHO recommendations.

A presence day and night

Clémentine was eager to follow these recommendations but she encountered “Breastfeeding problems” and spent three months expressing her milk, confides the young woman, who had “The impression of not being a good mother“. This feeling, Myriam Szejer, child psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, founder of the association The cause of babies, knows it well. Mothers feel pressure to breastfeed, and this is not the best way to help them, she observes. When breastfeeding doesn’t work, they experience it as a personal failure and can drag that guilt around for years. “

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Close mothering also involves the baby being in the same room as the parents day and night for the first six months to avoid unexplained infant death. “But pediatricians advise against let him sleep in the same bed because there is a risk of suffocation, alert Dr. Lavollay. Although ancestral, this practice is not at all adapted to our lifestyles. Today, we sleep under duvets and we sometimes take sleeping pills which lower our vigilance. “

Eva, 43, mother of a 2-year-old girl, has nevertheless decided to sleep with her baby ” on “ she until her 7e month. “I had a co-sleep bed (open cradle that sticks to the parents’ bed, Editor’s note), but which served me above all as a service “, she testifies. Clémentine also had this kind of bed: “It was easier to wake up at night and this proximity reassured us”, she justifies.

A conflict of generations

Very attentive to her child, the young woman also decided not to use a play park, like many other mothers, to not slow down your motor skills ”. A decision that she “Regret a little “ today, because you had to watch your daughter ” permanently “. Bernadette Lavollay does not understand either that we deprive ourselves of the park: “It is the major security instrument in my whole life as a mother and grandmother, says the pediatrician. Il not only allows you to be in the same room as the baby, but when the baby begins to crawl on all fours, he avoids many dangers. “

The dedication of young mothers sometimes gives rise to incomprehension among the elders. Thus, Antoine (1), just a grandfather, has the impression that his daughter is “Become the slave of her baby”. A conflict of generations also experienced by Clémentine, whose mother ” did not understand “ that she wears ” so much “ her daughter. “The melee between mother and infant is very important for the first three months, but that doesn’t mean that you have to wear it all the time,” also nuance Myriam Szejer. We try to do as in Africa but, over there, it’s cultural, here not. This speech from the United States terrorizes mothers a little with too rigid rules. However, all childcare recipes have their good and their bad side. “

The baby needs socialization very early

Thus, excessive mothering can undermine the couple’s privacy and even undermine the benefits of early socialization of the child. ” In the past, notes Myriam Szejer, when babies lived in homes where there were grandmothers and aunts, they passed very quickly from arm to arm. ” Today, parents raise the child alone and the load is sometimes heavy, notes Déborah Schmidt, nursery nurse at the maternal and child protection (PMI) of Moselle. To the point that some women who “Want to do too well to match the image of the ideal mother, conveyed by society, end up cracking”.

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Child psychiatrist Patrick Ben Soussan sees these excess “ a “Symptom” of our company “Over-information”. “We highlight the slightest discovery without taking the time to develop a theory, he laments. Result: parents are overwhelmed, via the Internet and social networks, with precarious, contradictory information. And feel more and more lost. ” Formerly, continues the author of The Art of Raising Perfect (Im) Children (Érès, 2018), “There was Laurence Pernoud’s book (2). Today there are thousands of bloggers and influencers turning into “life coaches”, and the talk around parenting has become deafening. “

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Prevent unexpected infant death

Risk factors. The main one is lying on the stomach (risk of burial, hyperthermia and respiratory confinement) and on the side (risk of tipping over on the stomach). Baby wedges, head wedges, bed reducers, etc., are not recommended because they can promote tummy tuck. Bed bumpers are also dangerous because they confine the air inhaled by the child.

Preventative measures. It is recommended to lay the infant on his back, in a crib, with a firm mattress, installed in a sleeping bag, without pillow, duvet or blanket and in a moderate ambient temperature (18-20 °). Ideally in the parents’ room for the first six months, but not in the parental bed.

Source: Haute Autorité de santé

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