ABSTRACT

This chapter explores some of the theories and characteristics of the nature of the early relationship between a mother and her baby in relation to attachment behaviour. Some of the implications for midwifery practice are discussed, including the possible effects of antenatal screening tests, the type of birth and the effects of early separation if the baby requires special care. The implications for babies whose mothers are depressed are considered. Early detection and appropriate care for these women may be important in helping to facilitate the relationship and enable the mother to understand her baby’s behaviour. The woman’s own experience of mothering may also affect the way in which she relates to her baby, and in cases where difficulties are evident specialist support may be beneficial.