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BARBOSA, Fabiela Aparecida; MACHADO, Lucinéia de Fátima Vidigal; SOUZA, Laura Vilela e  and  SCORSOLINI-COMIN, Fabio. Meanings of maternal care in mothers of toddlers. Barbaroi [online]. 2010, n.33, pp. 28-49. ISSN 0104-6578.

A health infant-mother relationship is considered essential to the constitution of the child psyche and also to the development of the motherhood. This qualitative research aimed to comprehend the meanings of maternal care and the experience of motherhood produced and negotiated by mothers of babies, toddlers and young children. Five semi-structured interviews with mothers, aged from 22 to 45 years, with children aged from zero to five years, were undertaken. The thematic content analysis used psychoanalysis as theoretical framework, especially Winnicott's work. Five main themes were identified in the interviews: professional holding; primary maternal preoccupation; breastfeeding and moments with the baby; anguish and maternal love transformations; and ambivalent feelings toward the pregnancy. Professional's attitudes in the care of these mothers were important so they could feel secure to take care of their children. The ambivalence of these mothers was expressed in the conflict between the desire of being a mother and the changes involved in that. It was possible to conclude that the mothers who experienced the necessary holding in the environment were able to feel the needs of their children and understand the best way to respond to them, promoting the health development of infant-mother relationship

Keywords : Maternal care; Infant-mother relationship; Primary Maternal Preoccupation; Holding.

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