A leading child health expert has warned that babies need who lack love and stimulation in their first year risk poor brain development and social skills.
Dr Cheryl Power, a clinical psychologist, says infants of mothers with mental health difficulties could be at risk. This is so because health experts often focus on the problems of the mother, making the infant 'invisible'.
Power believes this isolated approach could have a damaging effect on babies' health.
Power explained her findings at the Royal College of Psychiatrists' annual meeting in Liverpool.
"The infant needs to be exposed to stimulation and social interaction to enable their brains to develop," The Telegraph quoted Power, as saying.
"Mothers with mental health difficulties are compromised in how they are able to provide stimulation and how they are able to interact with infants. That will influence how a baby's brain develops," she said.
"If the mother can be successful in the social role of being a parent they are more likely to recover from their mental health difficulties and that's going to have a major impact on the development of the infant," added Power.