Effects of a mother-infant program on positive feelings of new mothers : a pilot investigation

This investigation focuses on a particular method of parent education which attempts to enhance new mothers' positive feelings in the maternal role as a means of promoting optimal mother-infant interaction during the first six months of life. Ten volunteer, middle-class mothers and their healthy first-born infants were involved in an eight-week educational program which provided psychological support as well as information to the parent-participants. The program is described in terms of physical setting, procedures, objectives, methods and role of the leader. Details of the process and content of the group meetings are discussed. Changes in the mothers' feelings in regard to their: 1) enjoyment of the baby; 2) self-confidence as a parent; 3) self-identity are examined. Evaluation tools are: 1) a log of the meetings; 2) mothers' written and oral comments; and 3) a pre-test/post-test inventory. Self-evaluated changes in the mothers' feelings are compared with changes in the feelings of mothers in two control groups. It is tentatively concluded that this parent-support approach is effective in enhancing new mothers' self-confidence in the maternal role. Recommendations are made for related studies and for replication of this study with a large number.