The Importance of Maternal Bonding

There would be no infant without maternal care; the baby survives because the mother or the one who acts as the mother wants it and takes care of it.

The Importance of Maternal Bonding
Maternal bonding is important. Photo by Sharon McCutcheon / Unsplash

Human beings are the only ones who are born in helplessness, that is, newborns cannot fend for themselves, we need someone else to help us survive. Without maternal care, there would be no infant; the baby survives because the mother or the one who acts as the mother wants it and takes care of it.

The mother supports the child, literally holds it, carries it, lulls it in her arms, and helps it sit up, stand up and take its first steps. To hold implies keeping firm, giving support, to contain the child and its emotions. Holding the child at the beginning implies feeling him, listening to his cries, speaking for him when he is not yet able to do so, and helping him to gradually adapt to his surroundings.

The mother takes care of the child by holding his body, holding his hands, guiding him, offering him food, showing him how things are and how they work, and putting her body to protect him. And then, it will be necessary to help it to get up and walk, to let it go little by little, to stop speaking for it to allow it to speak, to doubt, to feel, and recognize the world by itself.

It is this love with which care is given that makes it easier for the child to get up, walk, and live: at first he/she felt cared for so that later he/she will be able to take care of himself.

This bond with the mother or with whoever acts as such is complex since it goes from a strong attachment, where the baby depends on the mother, to then being able to be autonomous; and it is essential since it is this bond that provides the security and the tools for life, to become a person.

And of course, in this equation, there is a third party, the father or whoever performs this function, who is part of the family and has a fundamental role in the upbringing and essential care of a child.

The bond with the mother is something unique, which has a lot of emotions, closeness, teachings, life experiences, and stumbles, which involves a journey from dependence to independence, a journey of oneself from the vulnerable point where we could not support ourselves and wanted to be attached to mom, to the point where we can move by ourselves, having evolved the relationship, where we are no longer dependent, and we decided to be close, for that love that was and will be.

By Ivette Flores, Psychologist at the Social Assistance Department of the Autonomous University of Guadalajara