The Psychology of Sex
NEONATAL PARENT/CHILD BONDING. Neonatal pair-bonding between parent and baby involves eye contact and finger contact. In the Handbook of Sexology, Trause, Kennell, and Klaus give information adapted as follows: A mother presented with her nude, full-term infant begins with fingertip touching of the infant’s extremities. Within a few minutes she proceeds to massage, with encompassing palm contact of the infant’s trunk. Mothers of premature infants also follow a small portion of this sequence, but proceed at a much slower rate. When mothers are given their fully clothed infants, it takes several days for them to move to palmar stroking of the trunk. Fathers go through some of the same routine. In home deliveries, where the mother rather than a doctor has been in control, she cradles her infant in her arms immediately after its birth and begins touching its face with her fingertips.
Mothers also show a strong interest in eye-to-eye contact with both full-term and premature infants. “Let me see your eyes,” and “Open your eyes and I’ll know you love me,” are actual statements recorded on tape.
Mothers who had early contact with their infants looked at them significantly more often than did late-contact mothers during a subsequently filmed feeding session at the time of discharge. At age 42 months, the early-contact and the late-contact babies had average IQs of 99 and 85, respectively, and there was a correlation (r = 0.71) between IQ and the amount of time the mothers had spent looking at their babies during a filmed feeding at age one month. Mothers of full-term babies, experimentally given one hour of extra contact with the baby in the first three hours after birth and a total of fifteen hours extra contact in the first three days, two years later conversed differently with their children than did control mothers. They used twice as many questions, more words per proposition, fewer content words, more adjectives, and fewer commands.
Prolonged separation of mothers of premature babies, as compared with early contact was associated with an increased chance that the mother might subsequently give up the baby or obtain a divorce....
Independently of the nutritional principles involved, breast feeding also provides both mother and child with sensuous experience. In the mother this sensuousness may approach the sensuous quality of orgasm. It is a positive factor in the mother-child interaction. The sensuousness of body contact and movement, as in stroking and rocking, is an imperative for the child’s total well-being and, especially. for a healthy psychosocial and erotosexual status in subsequent development.
John Money, Love and Love Sickness: The Science of Sex, Gender Difference and Pair-bonding, pp. 168-169. John Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, London) 1980.