Mothers who develop postnatal baby blues can influence their children’s ability to talk, a new study has revealed.
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (MPI CBS) in Leipzig, Saxony, Germany have revealed that up to 70 per cent of mothers suffer from postnatal depression.
Their state in some cases can even delay their children’s language development, which the scientists believe originates from the way they talk to their newborns.
The researchers analysed the behaviour of 46 mothers with postnatal mood swings using a standardised questionnaire and electroencephalography (EEG).
In addition, they recorded the reaction of their babies aged between two and six months old while presenting them with different syllables such as “ba,” “ga” and “bu”.
The study showed that children expressed a less mature processing of speech sounds when their mothers manifested negative attitudes two months after delivery.
In contrast, children whose mothers were in a positive mood showed an accelerated development of their so-called Mismatch Response.
They were also able to distinguish between syllable-pitches more easily at the age of six months.
MPI CBS reported that the Mismatch Response serves as a measure of how well someone can separate sounds from one another.
They revealed in a statement obtained by Newsflash: “If this development towards a pronounced mismatch reaction is delayed, this is considered an indication of an increased risk of suffering from a speech disorder later in life.”
Postdoc and professor of development in childhood and adolescence at FU Berlin Gesa Schaadt said: “We suspect that the affected mothers use less infant-directed-speech.
“They probably use less pitch variation when directing speech to their infants.”
Schaad stated that this leads to limited perception of different pitches with children, that is considered a prerequisite for further language development.
She emphasised: “To ensure the proper development of young children, appropriate support is also needed for mothers who suffer from mild upsets that often do not yet require treatment.
“Sometimes it just takes the fathers to be more involved.”
The study was published in the monthly open access medical journal JAMA Network Open on Wednesday, 21st September, 2022.
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Story By: Georgina Jadikovska, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
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