Here are their answers:
Dr. Bergman’s Analysis:
Father starts to make a loud monotone note
- … immediate response to noise = startle, Moro … = fright.
- 4 seconds later: extensor arm, fingers splay = vigilance, seeking
- 5 seconds later: grasping, clutching, no eye contact, eyes closing – state of fear
- 2 seconds later: Tachypneoa, rapid breathing = appraisal affirms continuous threat
- 9 seconds later: Continuous fast breathing but otherwise still = shifts into freeze state
- 7 seconds later – Still breathing hard, still tense and clutched, eyes closed = sustained freeze
- 3 seconds later Yawning sign (actually more like a slow gasp)… not sleepy in baby = distress signal
(may reflect an autonomic auto-equilibration) warning signal ended no longer in freeze
- At the end: Searching for eye contact – back to vigilance, still in fear .
Scientific evidente of the interpretation:
And why was the baby crying in the first place??
Jill Bergman’s analysis:
The father doesn’t look at the baby
Doesn’t make eye contact
Doesn’t notice the baby’s face,
Doesn’t speak quietly
Doesn’t contain her flailing arms…
He just overwhelms her with a VERY loud noise.
Baby’s arms jerk, stay extended
Tries to find comfort searching for contact with her hands
Shuts her eyes tight to “hide”or dissociate from the noise which she cant avoid
Eyes scrunched in avoidance
Very fast breathing
I think baby is in panic mode
Yes she has become conditioned to it, trained to shut up. “Maybe” she has got used to the very strong vibrations
Does go quiet (in panic as can’t get away)
But I think baby goes quiet for the same protest- despair- dissociation as with the “vacuum cleaner trick” freeze response.
Even with the best of intentions, we adults can make mistakes and misinterpret the effects of our actions (= did she really fall “asleep?”). The mind and needs of babies are very different from those of adults. That is why it is important not to apply standard “recipes” when we take care of our babies, although they seem to “work”. We need to remain in emotional synchrony in order to intuitively and faithfully perceive what our baby feels, needs and communicates to us without words.
About the authors
Dr. Nils Bergman is a pediatrician, specialist in perinatal neuroscience and internationally renowned for his contribution to the scientific evidence of Kangaroo Mother Care and skin-to-skin contact between a mother and newborn. He’s teacher in Terra Mater and will participate in the seminar Neurociencia y Epigenética del Nacimiento: aplicaciones clínicas.
Jill Bergman is, among many other things, teacher and counsellor on the Neuroscience of the caring for their newborn babies.