To truly transform the world, it's important to start with the smallest among us: the newborn infant. It may seem counterintuitive to focus on something so small, but the truth is that how a newborn is received into the world can have an enormous impact on their future. The experience of birth is a sacred one, whether it's a full-term birth, a premature birth, a medicated birth, a c-section, or a home birth.
The impact of birth on a newborn's future
The way we welcome a newborn into the world can be indelibly etched into their being, shaping their development and shaping the person they will become. It's crucial that we provide the best possible care and support for these tiny beings, giving them a strong foundation from which to grow and thrive.
By starting small and focusing on the newborn infant, we can build a better world for everyone. When we prioritize the well-being of our smallest and most vulnerable members, we create a ripple effect that can spread throughout society, leading to a more compassionate, caring, and just world. So let us remember that every birth is sacred, and let us work together to provide the love and care that every newborn deserves.
The deep bond between mother and child during pregnancy
During the nine months of gestation, the unborn baby begins to form a deep and intimate bond with their mother. As the tiny life grows and develops in the womb, they become acutely attuned to the world around them, particularly to the sound of their mother's voice. The cadence of her voice, though muffled, is uniquely hers and becomes deeply entrained on the neurons that are organizing the developing brain.
But it's not just the sound of the mother's voice that the baby becomes familiar with. They also become attuned to her smell, the food she eats, her mood, and the love that she shares with them. In fact, studies have shown that the prenatal environment can have a profound impact on the baby's development and future well-being.
The importance of prenatal care for a baby's development
This is why it's so important for expectant mothers to take good care of themselves during pregnancy, both physically and emotionally. By maintaining a healthy diet, practicing self-care, and cultivating positive emotions, mothers can help ensure that their unborn child is receiving the best possible start in life.
The continued bond between mother and child after birth: Nurturing development through touch, eye contact, and affectionate words.
And once the baby is born, the bond between mother and child only grows stronger. Through the power of touch, eye contact, and affectionate words, mothers can continue to nurture their child's development and help them thrive. So let us honor the special bond between mother and child, both before and after birth, and do everything in our power to support the health and well-being of our smallest and most vulnerable members.
By Julie Arvan
- World Health Organization. (2019). Newborns: improving survival and well-being. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/newborns-reducing-mortality
- American Academy of Pediatrics. (2018). Effects of Early Adversity on Children's Development. Retrieved from https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/healthy-foster-care-america/Pages/Effects-of-Early-Adversity-on-Childrens-Development.aspx
- Anzman-Frasca, S., Francis, L. A., & Birch, L. L. (2010). Intrauterine experience and infant feeding behaviors: causal chains and complex interrelationships. Journal of pediatric psychology, 35(5), 490-501.
- World Health Organization. (2019). Maternal health. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/maternal-health
- National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2020). Bonding with your baby. Retrieved from https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/bonding/conditioninfo/benefits