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Introduction. The mother’s mental pathology can potentially affect early interactions between the mother and the baby. “Infant withdrawal symptoms” are considered to be a warning sign with regard to the psychic distress of infants. No study has yet explored the “infant withdrawal symptoms” experienced by infants who are admitted with their mother to mother-baby units (MBU). The study has two purposes: 1. Exploring factors that can be associated with infant withdrawal symptoms when admitted with their mother to an MBU during their first year of life. These factors can be social and demographic, economic, environmental, related to the family or to the mother’s mental pathology. 2. Exploring the impact among the same population of infant withdrawal symptoms in terms of childcare options, schooling and psychic care between the ages of two and five. Method. This study includes 34 mothers and children admitted to an MBU and who have benefited from a film relating to mother-infant interactions. The videos have been coded using the Alarm Distress Baby Scale (ADBB). Univariate analyses have allowed us to test correlations between infant withdrawal symptoms and socio-demographic, economic, environmental, as well as factors related to family and the mother’s mental health. The evolution of childcare options, schooling patterns, as well as psychic treatments between the time the children left the hospital and the time of the evaluation have also been analyzed. Results. The results show that 35% of the children who have been admitted to an MBU experienced infant withdrawal symptoms. Mothers’ psychiatric history is significantly associated with babies’ emotional withdrawal. Children between the ages of two and five years who experienced infant withdrawal symptoms during their initial care tend to need more frequent psychological assistance than children who did not show any withdrawal symptoms during their joint hospitalization. Conclusion. Infant withdrawal symptoms seem to be an interesting indication of children’s distress when admitted to an MBU.


  • infant social withdrawal
  • mother-baby unit
  • infant development
Laurie Tonnadre
Antoine Guédeney
Hélène Verdoux
Anne-Laure Sutter
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
Latest publication on cairn or another partner portal
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
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