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Separation After Childbirth

Updated: Jul 4, 2022

The bond parents make with their children after birth is crucial to ensuring strong brain

development and adaptation to the new world around them. A newborn child may have

imprints of separation when they’re taken away from their parents after birth. Whether it

be to get washed, measured and weighed, or other forms of testing, a newborn child

being separated from their parents, even for just a short period of time, can lead to

childhood trauma.

Premature babies, for instance, are separated from their parents and are cared for in

neonatal intensive care units. Twenty or forty years ago these facilities weren’t designed

to keep close contact between parents and their children. Parents had perhaps a few

hours a day to visit and spend time with their child. Children might have been separated

from their parents for weeks or even months. However, nowadays most neonatal units

are more focused on ensuring parents bond with their child frequently and in close

proximity, as research has shown the importance this bond has on early childhood

development. A strong parent-child bond requires love, comfort, warmth and

connection. The child will hold onto these attributes as they grow and will eventually

pass them along to their children.

If pain and isolation are present from the start of the child’s life, and these feelings are

left untreated, the child could perceive this as their “norm” and always remember the

the pain of the separation from their parents. Sadly, newborns who spend more time with

machines, lights and incubators, rather than with their parents, will become closer to

machines rather than people.

The following often occur later in life for newborns that are separated at birth from their

parents for an extended period of time: