The Mothers Matter team have spent the last two days speaking to politicians about Mothers Matter - in particular the importance of empowering mothers to make an informed choice about their postnatal care and why it matters.
We talked about many different aspects of how the right postnatal care can positively impact on the health and well-being of a mother, her baby and family, but one of the areas that the incredible Mothers Matter team spoke so eloquently and passionately about was the
importance of “attachment”.
Many of us don’t even stop and think about attachment. It’s not one of those things on the baby checklist – no one measures it like they do a baby’s head, no one shows us how like they do with breastfeeding or bathing, no one checks on it like they do a baby’s weight, eyes and ears. Yet, it is possibly the single most important thing that needs to happen to make sure our babies have the best possible start in life.
The attachment bond that is formed in the first few hours after the birth of a baby is the deep, lasting relationship that will shape your baby’s lifelong development.
Attachment teaches your baby to trust you, to communicate their feelings to you, and to eventually trust others as well. It causes the parts of your baby’s brain that are responsible for social and emotional development, communication, and relationships to grow and develop in the best way possible.
Without it - it’s unlikely that your baby will learn how to have a healthy sense of self and how to form loving, empathetic relationships. Without it - you compromise your child’s ability to connect and be responsive to others. Without it - you are setting your baby on a negative trajectory that will have an impact on the rest of their life! Without it – it’s hard to know how we can make New Zealand the best place for our children.
It is so simple and the first 48 hours after the birth of a baby, those postnatal hours which a woman is entitled to receive, are exactly the hours that we need to make sure the attachment bond is formed.
If we don’t the Mothers Matter team are adamant in their beliefs that the first 48 hours of a baby’s life are the critical hours to ensure that mothers form a loving attachment to their baby and identify those mothers who don’t so that we can intervene when it matters, not when its too late.