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Health SA Gesondheid (Online)

On-line version ISSN 1025-9848

Abstract

COX, Leigh  and  ROOS, Vera. The experiences of first-time mothers with colic infants who seek help from medical professionals. Health SA Gesondheid (Online) [online]. 2008, vol.13, n.1, pp. 4-13. ISSN 1025-9848.

The purpose of this study was to describe the experiences of first-time mothers with colic infants. The research design was qualitative, exploratory, descriptive and contextual. Data were collected by means of in-depth, semi-structured, phenomenological interviews and a descriptive analysis was done. The results show that the real experience of having a baby did not meet mothers' expectations. Furthermore, colic babies were anxiety-provoking and mothers struggled with feelings of failure. They searched for an explanation for the colic, but felt disillusioned with the medical profession. Mothers exhibited a need for a containing figure. They also reflected on their relationship with their mothers. Mothers felt ambivalent towards their babies and marital relationships became strained. Lastly, mothers renegotiated their identity. Based on the results, suggestions for mental health professions were made with regard to providing parent-child therapy, support for the mother and strengthening the marital relationship. The importance of psychological interventions was emphasised as a source of support for these mothers.

Keywords : infant colic; first-time mothers; parent-infant relationship; psychological support.

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