Parenting

Journal Studies

While maternal touch predicts mother-infant reciprocity, which is linked to positive child cognitive, language, and social-emotional development, the incidence of all forms of nurturing touch decrease through the infant’s first year, especially after six months.

Oxytocin levels rise in both mothers and fathers who provide high levels of affectionate touch but not in parents who provide less nurturing touch.

Skin-to-skin contact lessened the mother’s stress and postpartum depression symptoms within the first month after childbirth.

While low-income, ethnic-minority families displayed less sensitivity overall to their children, positive father involvement and close mother-father relationships were especially beneficial in the case of maternal risk.

A mother’s emotional goals predicted her sensitivity to infant distress more so than her own emotional reaction. In addition, her prenatal ability to detect an unfamiliar infant’s distress was associated with more maternal sensitivity with her own infant.

Breastfeeding changed the mother’s brain, activating brain regions associated with empathy, greater maternal sensitivity, and mother-infant bonding.

Early mother-infant skin-to-skin contact predicted later maternal sensitivity.

Child emotional eating is correlated with minimizing and non-reasoning, punitive parental responses, which are in line with authoritarian and permissive parenting styles but not authoritative styles.

Breastfeeding for longer was associated with more maternal sensitivity, more attachment security, and less attachment disorganization, but bottle-feeding did not necessarily harm the mother-infant relationship.

While more research is needed, the benefits of responsive feeding on child nutrition and growth are expected to be as great as responsive parenting is to child outcome.

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