Neonatal-Maternal Attachment and Self-compassion in Postpartum Period


1 Department of Midwifery, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery School, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Care Research Center, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran


Background: between mother and her neonatal reflects the quality of maternal emotional feelings and behaviors toward her baby. This attachment emerges in behaviors, which indicate the mother’s attention and care. Self-compassion is the extension of compassion to oneself in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering. Regarding this, the aim of the present study was to determine the relationship between maternal-neonatal attachment and self-compassion in postnatal period.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted on 335 primiparous women, referring to health care centers in Mashhad city in 2014. The study population was selected using the cluster and convenience sampling methods. The research tools were maternal/neonatal demographic form, self-compassion scale, and neonatal-maternal attachment questionnaire. The data were analyzed by Pearson correlation coefficient and linear regression model in SPSS software (version 22).
Results: The results of the Pearson correlation coefficient test showed a positive correlation between the total score of maternal-neonatal attachment and self-compassion in postpartum period (r=0.22, P=0.012). Accordingly, as the score of self-compassion increased, the maternal-neonatal attachment score also enhanced.
Conclusion: As the findings indicated, there was a correlation between self-compassion and maternal-neonatal attachment in postnatal period. Therefore, the provision of caregivers with education regarding psychological problems by community health midwives during postnatal period can be effective in the early diagnosis and identification of such disorders


1. Mohamadirizi S, Fahami F, Bahadoran P. The effect of E-Learning education on primipar women’s knowledge about neonatal care. Iran J Neonatol. 2013; 4(1):24-7.

 2. Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BM. Nelson textbook of pediatrics. 17th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders; 2004. P. 157-61.

3. Carter-Jessop J. Promoting maternal attachment through prenatal intervention. MCN Am J Matern Child Nurs. 1981; 6(2):107-12.

 4. Colin VL. Infant attachment: what we know now. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services; 1991.

5. Pillite A. Maternal and child health nursing: care of the childbearing & childrearing family. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2003. P. 201-26.

 6. Lawson K, Turriff-Jonasson S. Maternal serum screening and psychosocial attachment to pregnancy. J Psychosom Res. 2006; 60(4):371-8.

7. Foster SF, Slade P, Wilson K. Body image, maternalfetal attachment and breast-feeding. J Psychosom Res. 1996; 41(2):181-4.

8. Bowlby J. Attachment, separation and loss. New York: Basic Books; 1969.

 9. Cranly MS. Development of a tool for the measurement of maternal attachment during pregnancy. Nurs Res. 1981; 30(5):281-4.

10. Fleming AS, Ruble DN, Flett GL, Shaul DL. Postpartum adjustment in first-time mothers: relations between mood, maternal attitudes, and mother-infant interaction. Dev Psychol. 1988; 24(1):17.

 11. Mohamadirizi S, Mohamadirizi S, Khani B. Prenatal optimism and its relationship with fetal and maternal characteristics in primiparous women. Int J Pediatr. 2015; 3(5.1):897-901.

 12. Muller ME. Prenatal and postnatal attachment: a modest correlation. J Obstet Gynecol Neonat Nurs. 1996; 25(2):161-6.

13. Oppenheim D, Koren-Karie N, Sagi-Schwartz A. Emotion dialogues between mothers and children at 4.5 and 7.5 years: Relations with children’s attachment at 1 year. Child Dev. 2007; 78(1): 38-52.

14. Neff KD. The development and validation of a scale to measure self-compassion. Self Identity. 2003; 2(3):223-50.

15. Adams CE, Leary MR. Promoting selfcompassionate attitudes toward eating among restrictive and guilty eaters. J Soc Clin Psychol. 2007; 26(10):1120-44.

16. Leary MR, Tate EB, Adams CE, Allen AB, Hancock J. Self-compassion and reactions to unpleasant selfrelevant events: The implications of treating oneself kindly. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2007; 92(5): 887-904.

 17. Neff K, Rude SS, Kirkpatrick K. An examination of self-compassion in relation to positive psychological functioning and personality traits. J Res Personal. 2007; 41(4):908-16.

18. Neff KD, Kirkpatrick KL, Rude SS. Self-compassion and its link to adaptive psychological functioning. J Res Personal. 2007; 41(1):139-54.

19. Neff KD, Hseih YP, Dejitthirat K. Self-compassion, achievement goals, and coping with academic failure. Self Identity. 2005; 4(3):263-87.

20. Bushman BJ, Baumeister RF. Threatened egotism, narcissism, self-esteem, and direct and displaced aggression: Does self-love or self-hate lead to violence? J Personal Soc Psychol. 1998; 75(1): 219-29.

21. Sedikides C. Assessment, enhancement, and verification determinants of the self-evaluation process. J Personal Soc Psychol. 1993; 65(2): 317-38.

 22. World Health Organization. WHO recommendations on postnatal care of the mother and newborn. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2014.

 23. Thom D, Rortveit G. Prevalence of postpartum urinary incontinence: a systematic review. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2010; 89(12):1511-22.

24. Mohamadirizi S, Kordi M. The relationship between multi dimensional self compassion and fetalmaternal attachment in prenatal period in referred women to Mashhad Health Centres. J Educ Health Promot. 2016; 5:21.

 25. Cohen JS. Mindfulness and self-compassion in the transition to motherhood: a prospective study of postnatal mood and attachment. [PhD Dissertation]. New York: Columbia University; 2010.

26. Kordi M, Mohamadirizi S, Shakeri MT, Modares Gharavi M, Rashidi F. Relationship between social anxiety symptoms and eating disorder symptoms in referred nulliparous women. Iran J Obstet Gynecol Infertil. 2014; 17(109):9-15.

27. Kordi MA, Mohamadirizi SH. The relationship between mindfulness and maternal attachment to the fetus and neonate in prenatal and postpartum periods: a cross sectional study. Koomesh. 2016; 17(4):e829-35.

28. Saeedi Z, Ghorbani N, Sarafraz MR. The effect of inducing self-compassion and self-esteem on the level of the experience of shame and guilt. Contemporary Psychol. 2013; 8(1):91-102.

29. Abolghasemi A, Taghipour M, Narimani M. The relationship of type "D" personality, self-compassion and social support with health behaviors in patients with coronary heart disease. Quart J Health Psychol. 2012; 1(1):5-19.

30. Andrade S, Atkins M, Battersy S, Buchanan P, Cowbrough K, Duncan J. National institute for health and clinical excellence. a peer-support programme for women who breastfeed commissioning guide implementing NICE guidance. Bristol: University of The West of England; 2008.

 31. Sandbrook S, Adamson-Macedo EN. Maternal-fetal attachment: searching for a new definition. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2004; 25(1):169-82.

 32. Zare H, Mehmannavazan A. The effectiveness of encouragement training on promotion of general self-efficacy and resiliency of female-headed households. Woman Fam Stud. 2015, 3(1):37-57.

33. BrockieMilan H, Kamarzarrin H, Zare H. Effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy in the improvement of coping strategies and addiction symptoms in drug-dependent patients. Res Addict. 2014, 8(30):143-55.

34. Wren AA, Somers TJ, Wright MA, Goetz MC, Leary MR, Fras AM, et al. Self-compassion in patients with persistent musculoskeletal pain: relationship of self-compassion to adjustment to persistent pain. J Pain Sympt Manage. 2012, 43(4):759-70.

 35. Nagata M, Nagai Y, Sobajima H, Ando T, Honjo S. Depression in mother and maternal attachmentresults from a follow-up study at 1years postpartum. Psychopathology. 2002; 36(3):142-51.

 36. Vakilian K, Khatamidoost F, Khorsandi M. Effect of Kangaroo mother care on maternal attachment behavior before. Biom J J Hormozgan Univ Med Sci. 2007; 11(1):57-63.

 37. Cassano CA, Maehara SJ. Japanies and Brazilian maternal bonding behavior to word preterm infant: a comparative study. J Neonat Nurs. 1998; 4(1):23-2.