Show Summary Details
Page of

(p. 87) The Relationship of a Mother to Her Baby at the Beginning 

(p. 87) The Relationship of a Mother to Her Baby at the Beginning
Chapter:
(p. 87) The Relationship of a Mother to Her Baby at the Beginning
Author(s):

Donald W. Winnicott

DOI:
10.1093/med:psych/9780190271381.003.0009
Page of

date: 13 December 2019

In a mother’s relationship to her baby, Winnicott describes two distinct kinds of identification involved at the start: the mother’s identification with her infant and the infant’s state of identification with the mother. In the expectant mother, there is an increasing identification with the infant and then the normal mother’s recovery from her preoccupation with her infant provides a kind of weaning. When the mother-infant couple is in good working order the infant’s developing ego is strong because it is supported. What Winnicott calls physical and emotional ‘holding’ relates to the mother’s capacity to identify with her infant. The mother as an object for the baby, presenting or realizing (making real) the infant’s creative impulses towards her, initiates the infant’s capacity to relate to objects. Through the evolution of the experience of the nursing-couple, the mother, through different kinds of identification, meets and transforms the infant’s original state of undifferentiation.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Clinical Psychology requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.