Mon, Jul 24, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Mothers only hold their babies when needed: poll

DOING IT ALONE A survey showed that new mothers, left with the task of caring for their babies, were usually too exhausted to appreciate the time with their infants

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

New mothers in Taiwan usually only hold their babies to fulfill their mothering "duties" such as feeding, a recent study showed.

The survey was conducted by the Research Center for Public Opinion and Marketing of National Chengchi University earlier this month on 804 first-time mothers, who had attended mothering sessions before giving birth.

About 53 percent of the interviewees were housewives, while 47 percent were career women.

According to the director of Chang Gung Children's Hospital's neonatology division, Chou I-hung (周怡宏), babies' physical and psychological development is influenced by how much and how often mothers hold them.

"[A mother's] cuddling is the key to babies' psychological, emotional and personality development," he said.

Tso Miao-ju (卓妙如), a professor at National Defense Medical Center's School of Nursing, advised mothers to hold their babies close as a way of expressing their love and protection through eye contact and physical proximity.

"[The hug] symbolizes a mother's wholehearted welcoming of the baby [into the family]," she said.

However, according to the survey, around 45 percent of the housewives and 33 percent of the working mothers hold their babies only when they need to be fed; very few of them hold newborns purely for emotional interaction.

Although close to 90 percent of those surveyed believed that cuddling helps calm the newborns and enhances the sense of intimacy and trust between mother and child, about half of the mothers said they become exhausted from holding their babies.

More than 50 percent of the interviewees said they did not have any more personal time because of time spent caring for their newborn.

The study showed that mothers remain the primary caretakers of newborns in the family, even when they have to work at the same time.

Less than one percent of the interviewees said their husband take more time caring for the baby in the family.

Half of the mothers surveyed had to spend 12 hours with their babies every day. Meanwhile, around 30 percent spend less than an hour a day holding their children, and up to 40 percent of the career women take less than an hour to embrace their babies, the survey said.

A high percentage of working mothers in Taipei said they did not have enough time to be with their children, while 90 percent of the stay-home moms said they were satisfied with the time they spend holding their newborns.

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