In order to assess mother-infant bonding difficulties observe the quality of the mother and baby interaction
Observing the Parent-Infant Relationship:
1. Be aware of what is a good enough interaction:

    • Parent is attentive and responsive to infant
    • Some eye contact between them
    • Empathy for and ability to reflect infant’s feelings
    • Sensitivity to infant through immediate and appropriate responses to its cues
    • Parent’s response is paced to infant’s cues
    • Emotional engagement with the infant and enjoyment
    • Expectancy of interaction
    • Infant is interactive, engaging cries when distressed and settles when comforted.

2. Indications that the mother-infant relationship is compromised:

    • Parent cannot sooth and comfort their infant
    • Infant is difficult to settle or irritable most of the time
    • Infant and mother avoid looking at each other
    • Parent states that they do not know what their infant wants or needs and cannot understand their infant’s experience
    • Parent is intrusive with their infant: poking, being too close, too rough, or force feeding
    • Infant appears to struggle when held of comforted, often aching his/her back
    • Infant is experiencing serious and continued feeding problems or are failing to thrive
    • There is no joy or mutual reciprocity
    • Parent has difficulty keeping her babies at the fore front of her mind.

Ask the mother about her perception of her baby

    Questions to assess parent’s perception of their baby
    • “What do you notice your baby likes?”
    • “What does your baby need right now?”
    • “How does your baby communicate what they want?”
    • “How do you know when your baby is happy?”

Assess risk to the infant (read more)

    Questions to assess risk to the Infant
    • “Have you had thoughts of harming your baby?”
    • “Have you felt irritated by your baby?”
    • “Have you had significant regrets about having this baby?”
    • “Does the baby feel like it’s not yours at times?”
    • “Have you wanted to shake or slap your baby?”

“Have you ever harmed your baby?