The Role of Kinesthesia in Pre- and Perinatal Bonding
Publication Date:March 1991
At birth mother and infant are in a common state of "kinesthesia." This constitutes a "kinesthetic bond." It results from the motion tracking between mother and child throughout the pregnancy. They feel each others' motion by means of touch through the uterine wall. If the sensory information they use to define their relationship is disrupted by physical separation after birth, before other sensory modes of relating are established, the relationship may suffer. When parent-infant bonding is understood in this light, movement following skills can be learned to enhance it or repair it when it has been harmed.
Kinesthetic bonding is enhanced when parents become skilled in using the components of space, timing and effort to match their movement to that of their baby. This skill is based on understanding the anatomical and functional characteristics of babies' little bodies. Bonding also benefits when the environment where babies and parents interact is organized to compensate for the difference in scale of their bodies. In this way parents and babies move and interact mutually based on their kinesthetic bond.
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Frank W. Hatch, Ph.D. and Lenny Maietta, Ph.D.
Frank Hatch and Lenny Maietta are partners with two children, Silke and Cerise. They are founders of the Institute for Cybernetic Studies in Santa Fe, New Mexico where they carry out research and develop programs that apply behavioral cybernetic research findings to relationship and skill development problems. They are co-directors of Touch In Parenting Services, a commercial program for teaching parent-infant handling skills. Address correspondence to Rt. 9, Box 86 HM, Santa Fe, NM 87505.