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(p. 281) The End of the Digestive Process 

(p. 281) The End of the Digestive Process
Chapter:
(p. 281) The End of the Digestive Process
Author(s):

Donald W. Winnicott

DOI:
10.1093/med:psych/9780190271350.003.0053
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date: 20 July 2018

In this broadcast and paper for mothers, Winnicott describes the experience of the baby’s eating and its bowel motions. In a baby the guts are about twelve feet long. At first we need not expect the baby to hold its food in the rectum. By leaving the matter to your baby (although helping in so far as the baby cannot manage alone) you are interested because you love your baby in the way mothers do, so what is important to the baby is important to you. So the mother adapts to what the baby’s bowel activity requires and responds with love to this early phase. A less ‘adaptive’ mother is a mother who practically never let any of her babies have a natural motion because she had a theory that the motion in the rectum poisons the baby in some way or other. This mother was always interfering with each baby’s rectum with soapsticks and enemas, and the result was more than chaotic.

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