Circumcision: II. Effects upon mother-infant interaction

Early Hum Dev. 1982 Dec;7(4):367-74. doi: 10.1016/0378-3782(82)90038-x.


The effects of circumcision upon mother-infant interaction were examined in an observational study of 59 mother-infant pairs during hospital feedings on days 2 and 3 of life. Each pair was observed during 4 hospital feedings using a specifically designed mother-infant interaction observation system that examined 43 discreet behaviours relating to feeding, gaze, facial expression, vocalizations and touch. The experimental group was circumcised after the second feeding and the control group after the fourth feeding. Analysis revealed no major behavioral differences between the experimental and control groups. Yet, different trends between the two groups were observed regarding two variables shortly after surgery. These differences disappeared by 24 h post-operatively. Differences related to the frequency of feeding intervals and infant availability scores. The study also revealed a surprisingly limited repertoire of behavior exhibited by both the mother and infant during feeding sessions. Our data suggest that circumcision has brief and transitory effects on mother-infant interactions observed during hospital feeding sessions, the only time mothers who are not rooming-in have an opportunity to be with their infants.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Circumcision, Male / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Maternal Behavior
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Sucking Behavior