Eating Difficulties in Infancy: An Indication of Psychosomatic Pathology

  • Vlasta Polojaz
  • Filiberto Donzelli
  • Adriana Lis
  • Andrea Pasqui


An infant manages to survive and grow thanks to the care guaranteed him by his environment, represented during the first few months of life principally by the mother who manages to provide for infant’s needs, making use of that capacity of being able to relate —which is a fundamental characteristic of the “Primary Ma-ternal Preoccupation”1. At this point, the father exists only in that he provides affectionate support to the mother during her withdrawal from external interests, and in her investment in her world represented by the new unit as formed by her and her baby. For the infant, his father begins to exist later, when in the symbiotic phase, a distancing from the mother occurs. Then, the infant is able to recognize his father, even if only as an extension of his mother. The definitive recognition of the father is possible after the mother has been accepted as an external object by the aby: at that point, the baby can accept the triangular situation2. Maternal care is, initially, physical care, directed towards the baby’s body and his/her needs. It is really thanks to her support and investment that the process of body-mind integration is possible, which represents the nucleus of the baby’s basic mental organisation3.


Eating Disorder Maternal Care Psychosomatic Symptom Mother Earth Affectionate Support 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vlasta Polojaz
    • 1
  • Filiberto Donzelli
    • 1
  • Adriana Lis
    • 2
  • Andrea Pasqui
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of PaduaPadovaItaly
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of PaduaPadovaItaly

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