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June 9, 2010

A Loving Gaze Builds Trust: Pinky McKay

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — charndra @ 4:47 pm

Find out more about Pinky’s popular teleseminars – click here…

A Loving Gaze Builds Trust

By Pinky McKay

I love watching parents and babies interact, especially the gazing that goes on between mother infant pairs. It is like a secret, intimate language between lovers as each looks at the other as though they are the most wonderful person in the whole world. And this is exactly how it feels when mother and baby are perfectly attuned to each other.

Sadly though, many parents and particularly mothers, are being given advice that interrupts this exquisite bond. I have had mothers call me knowing intuitively that something is amiss as they say, my baby won’t make eye contact. At first I was baffled the baby concerned looked directly at me and smiled (so, thankfully, nothing was intrinsically wrong). I then discovered that the mother had a normal drug-free birth and no separation afterwards, so bonding at birth had been optimal mothers and babies are biologically, hormonally primed to fall in love after a natural birth. Apart from distress about her baby’s lack of eye contact, the mum wasn’t exhibiting any symptoms of chronic postnatal stress or depression. So what, I wondered, had happened to create a breakdown in the connection between mother and child?

It turned out that this mother and others I have met with a similar reaction from their babies since had been religiously following a very strict sleep training regime that advocated avoiding eye contact with her baby. Although it is wise to keep bedtimes calm and gentle, imagine how you would feel if your partner repeatedly avoided your gaze. How do you feel when people avoid eye contact with you?

Eye contact is an important element of parent child bonding and the development of trust between parent and child: your face is the most potent visual stimulus your baby encounters, and as you and your baby gaze into each other’s eyes, endorphin levels rise in your baby’s brain, producing feelings of joy. Your own endorphin levels will rise and, in turn, you and your baby become emotionally synchronized.

According to Margot Sunderland, Director of Education and Training for the Centre for Child Mental Health in London and author of The Science of Parenting (Penguin), face to face conversations between you and your baby and the subsequent release of optimal hormonal levels into your child’s brain will help develop pathways in your child’s higher brain that encourage social intelligence, the ability to form relationships. Ms Sunderland says, the ability to light you up is the very basis of your baby’s sense of himself as lovely and lovable.

Fortunately, with a little time teaching these mothers to read and respond to their babies cues and, with interaction such as baby massage and games that involve face to face contact, they and their babies are soon engaging with each other again. So, please be reassured, if you have been trying to follow a rigid baby care plan but feel it is interrupting the bond between you and your child, it is never too late to make changes. Above all, you haven’t irreparably damaged your relationship with your child, but please, look into your baby’s eyes and say, I love you. And wait for her to meet your gaze.

Pinky McKay is an Internationally Certified Lactation Consultant, infant massage instructor and author of Sleeping Like a Baby and 100 Ways to Calm the Crying. She is offering a series of supportive teleseminars for mothers, you can also find out more about these at her site.

For her Free Report on 10 things you must know about breastfeeding before you have your baby visit Pinky McKay to discover more about Breastfeeding Simply.

Find out more about Pinky’s popular teleseminars – click here…

1 Comment »

  1. […] A Loving Gaze Builds Trust: Pinky McKay […]

    Pingback by Breastfeeding Simply | Good Parenting Fact 101 — August 31, 2010 @ 12:26 pm

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