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Dev Med Child Neurol. 1983 Oct;25(5):595-600.

Birth and 'bonding' in non-industrial societies.


To determine whether women giving birth in traditional societies maintained early and extended skin-to-skin contact with their neonates and nursed them immediately, descriptions of childbirth in 186 non-industrial societies were examined. Most cultures made no special effort to get mothers in body contact with infants in the minutes after birth: almost always the neonate was bathed, generally by a female birth assistant and in 54 per cent the baby was placed in a cradle or basket. Skin-to-skin contact was uncommon, since the infant was given nude to the mother in only 14 per cent of societies. However, in 98 per cent mother and baby subsequently rested together. In only 27 per cent were fathers allowed to be present during childbirth. Few cultures permitted immediate postpartum nursing, and the first breast-feeding was delayed 24 hours or more in 52 per cent. On anthropological ratings, there was no increase in maternal affection in societies which fostered mother-infant body contact, in paternal involvement when fathers were allowed at childbirth, or in breast-feeding duration in those which permitted early nursing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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