How does the first hour of a child's life affect his entire future?

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 19.10.2021

All iLive content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies. Note that the numbers in parentheses ([1], [2], etc.) are clickable links to these studies.

If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please select it and press Ctrl + Enter.

The first hour of a child's life is greatly underestimated by both doctors and parents. Parents simply do not learn that from the first hour after the birth of the baby depends on his relationship with his mother, and his sense of security throughout life. What should be the first hour of a child's life, so that he grows confident and successful person?

trusted-source[1], [2], [3], [4], [5]

The first minutes after childbirth

These are the most important minutes for mom and baby. At these moments, the first contact between mother and baby should take place. He defines their relationship for life. For the mother, this communication is important in order to awaken her maternal instincts. For the baby - because at that moment he captures the image of the mother, this phenomenon is called imprinting (from English "capture", "seal"). And for a newborn, his first contact with his mother is important to form his feelings of affection and love as such.

What is imprinting a newborn?

When a child is born, his nervous system and many other systems have not yet formed to the end. Therefore, a person is referred to as immature. And that is why the first few minutes and hours of the child's life, scientists have almost never explored. But all the salt is that it is these first hours that form the mother-child relationship for life. The mother's first contact with the child forms her maternal instinct, and the child's sense of security in this new world for him.

Imprinting for a child who has just been born - the ability to remember, print in memory the distinctive features of people and phenomena that he sees. Therefore it is very important that the child sees his mother within the first hour after birth. According to studies, the child in the first hours after childbirth is able to very well distinguish and imprint objects that are at a distance of 25 cm from his eyes. This is the distance at which the mother holds the baby in her arms during feeding. This discovery - imprinting - was shown to the world by Konrad Lorenz, an Austrian physiologist and Nobel laureate. He investigated this phenomenon in animals and applied it to a person in 1935.

Lorentz singled out the so-called sensitive period in the first 24 hours of a newborn's life, during which the child should develop a stable relationship with his mother and capture her image before her eyes. And without contact it is impossible. If there is no such contact, it is very difficult to form a child's sense of security in the world around him. He can grow restless and weak. Conversely, if it is possible to communicate with the mother and the child on the first day and especially the first hour after the birth of the baby, he will grow self-confident and able to love. His attitude to the mother throughout his life will be positive and mutual, because on these first days the mother accordingly forms a maternal instinct.

The first hour of a child's life and his influence on the rest of his life

The first hour of a baby's life should consist of several phases, which follow one another in strict sequence. These stages can not get ahead of each other, because otherwise full-fledged imprinting does not occur. If a woman's birth takes place naturally and during the first hour the baby remains with her, all the processes of mother-child communication take place automatically, they do not need to be regulated artificially. If a child is born by the method of cesarean section, initially these connections are largely interrupted. With natural childbirth, before reaching the world, the baby gets a large dose of maternal hormones, which are very good for strengthening his immune system and have a great influence on the behavior of a small person. If these hormones are not received by a person because of the interrupted or incomplete process of childbirth, his behavioral reactions are also violated.

Stages of imprinting

There are two stages of imprinting. They occupy the day after birth. These stages are extremely important and can not be confused. Primary imprinting is the first 1-2 hours after delivery. It is divided into the first 30 minutes after delivery and the next hour and a half. The whole life of the baby and his relationship with the mother are completely dependent on the first half hour after birth. If at this time of contact with the mother does not occur, the second stage of imprinting does not occur, and after it there is not yet another important stage - secondary imprinting, which falls on the first day after childbirth.

So, the first 60 minutes after delivery, or the time of primary imprinting. Physicians divide them into 4 important time units.

The first quarter of an hour after birth is a relaxation or a revival

At this time, the first contact of mother and child will take place. The child was born, spent a lot of time and effort on it and now must regain strength. He must scream to run the lungs, and lie at the feet of his mother to regain strength. At this time, the child can snore, sneeze, even cough - his respiratory tract is thus released from accumulated mucus. And the child adapts to the new temperature environment and air. Mom can at this time feel it, massage the back, thus helping to breathe.

This is of great benefit: first, there is the first tactile contact, which allows mother and baby to recognize each other (as in animals, when they lick the newborn animals). Secondly, the child has a feeling of safety from the touch of the mother. And, thirdly, the child has a blood flow, respiration is restored.

If this contact does not occur (and in our maternity hospitals often take away from the mother in the first half hour after birth), then the feeling of safety in the world around the baby is not formed. On the contrary, the message goes: "It's dangerous here! I have no one to protect. "

The first contact of mother and her child after childbirth stimulates her to produce the so-called communication hormones oxytocin and prolactin. Prolactin, in addition, stimulates the production of breast milk, which the mother needs to fully nourish the baby. In addition, the secretion of communication hormones helps mother better understand her baby at the instinctive level in order to better meet his needs when crying.

During the first 15 minutes after childbirth, the baby can not be separated and taken away from the mother, because even the umbilical cord can not be cut at this time. The baby should be placed at the feet of the mother so that the remainder of the blood from the umbilical cord flows into the bloodstream of the baby. This is his blood, which can not be deprived of a newborn - it will give him strength and strengthen immunity. The fact that all the blood flowed from mom to baby can be determined by the fact that the umbilical cord is white. Then it can be cut.

Time for the active phase of the child

This phase occurs 15-40 minutes after the baby was born. It is very important for the child and the mother, because at this time the infant is forming a search, or creeping reflex, and in no case can it be interrupted - this is a huge shock for the baby, which affects all of his behavior throughout the rest of his life. The child should not be turned from the tummy to the back - he should try to crawl to find the mother's nipple. Progressive methods of labor in the enlightened countries of Europe presuppose an obligatory opportunity for the manifestation of the search reflex of the child. He is not taken away from his mother until the child makes an attempt to crawl and find the mother's breast.

As soon as this happens, the child opens his mouth wide and squeezes and unclenches his fists. Mom should properly insert his nipple into his mouth, having first expressed a few drops of milk. This is extremely important for a child who receives nutrition and self-confidence, and this simple action creates a powerful maternal instinct aimed at caring for the child and strong attachment to him.

During the application of the baby to the breast, eye contact should be made eye contact. This is very important for the child:

  • remembered the image of the mother;
  • I learned to look directly into the eyes of another person.

If the visual contact with the mother does not occur, the child, who then grows up, will find his whole life awkward looking into the eyes of another person, his gaze will be running, he will constantly take him away. Few people know that this depends on the first 15-40 minutes after delivery. And that insecurity in itself takes its origin from this moment. To later catch up, it will be necessary to engage in a special kind of therapy (rebuffing), which returns the child to the origins of his birth and the situation associated with this moment. This breathing psycho-technique by the method of the American psychotherapist Leonard Orr, whose goal is to free the child from the psychological trauma received at birth.

The child can not grasp the breast without delay - this can take 3-8 attempts of the mother. All this time she should try to properly insert the nipple into the mouth of the newborn. Finally, he learns to grasp his gums and tongue. On sucking one breast, the baby takes up to 30 minutes, and if this is not enough, then the mother applies it to the other breast. When the baby receives his milk portion, and the mother - his portion of "motherhood hormones", both can move on to the next stage of imprinting - the phase of rest.

Stage of rest

As a rule, it lasts from 1.5 hours to 4 hours. At this time, the baby, sucking milk from his mother, sleeps, and his mother, having received relief, also rests and recovers after childbirth. This is correct, because the organisms of both should get a breather and prepare for the next stage of communication - secondary imprinting.

Maternal communication skills and communication with the child

In the first day after childbirth the baby can not be taken away from the mother, as it was always done in the maternity hospitals of our country, especially during the Soviet era. After waking up after the first healing sleep, the mother and baby should fix the effect from the first contact and get a second contact. This for life strengthens the relationship between them and forms mutual affection. This attachment and relationship are broken if the mother and the baby wake apart from each other. And it is necessary that on awakening the child again receive the mother's breast and eye contact with her.

Mom again teaches the child to take the nipple right into the mouth and extract milk from it. This skill is formed throughout the first 24 hours after delivery. Knowing and sensing that the baby's milk is always there, for the rest of his life he gets a feeling of reliability and security, satiety and well-being. If a child wakes up and does not find a mother or a source of food nearby, he is very worried, feels abandoned and unprotected - and this feeling again remains with him for life.

For my mother - especially the first-born - this moment is also very important - it shapes her attitude to the child, also for life. Many women after the first birth (and subsequent) do not always feel this connection. All because of an incorrect contact. That is why the first hour and the first day of a child's life affect his entire future and his relationship with his mother. Young mothers should know this and give birth in those hospitals where they appreciate the health and psychological state of their and their children.

Translation Disclaimer: For the convenience of users of the iLive portal this article has been translated into the current language, but has not yet been verified by a native speaker who has the necessary qualifications for this. In this regard, we warn you that the translation of this article may be incorrect, may contain lexical, syntactic and grammatical errors.

You are reporting a typo in the following text:
Simply click the "Send typo report" button to complete the report. You can also include a comment.