The Mother and Her Newborn: Mutual Caregivers



    Corresponding author
    1. Gene Anderson is Associate Professor in the Department of Maternal–Child Nursing of the College of Nursing at the University of Illinois at the Medical Center, Chicago. She teaches, has her own projects in perinatal research and supervises the graduate thesis research projects of 25 nurse-midwivery students. Dr. Anderson was educated at the University of Wisconsin and has had experience on a general obstetrics unit and in a high-risk nursery. She is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Association, the Council of Nurse Researchers, the National Perinatal Association, the Society of Research in Child Development, Sigma Xi, and ANA.
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Address reprint requests to Gene C. Anderson, RN, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Maternal-Child Nursing, College of Nursing, University of Illinois at the Medical Center, P. O. Box 6998, Chicago, IL 60680.


The concept of the mother and her newborn as mutual psychophysiological caregivers is discussed, with references to the supporting literature. Facilitating self-regulatory mother-newborn interaction from immediately after delivery onward is presented as the optimum approach to enhancing the benefits of mutual caregiving, and this approach is contrasted with current practice. The author also addresses reasons commonly given for denying self-regulatory mother-infant interaction and outlines relevant ongoing research activity at her institution.