Babies deprived of love and affection in their first year could be at risk of poor brain development and social skills, a British child psychologist has warned. Particularly babies of mothers with mental health problems were often at greatest risk
Addressing the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dr. Cheryl Power said babies of mothers with mental health problems were often at greatest risk because health professionals often focussed on the mother's problems, ignoring the impact on the children themselves.
For the brain of the infant to develop, it must be exposed to stimulation and social interaction.
"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."
Hence health workers should focus on the whole mother-baby relationship, Dr.Power urged.
Sue Gerhardt, author of Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain, has warned that parental misinformation or lack of ability to cope with caring for an infant could set up lifelong handicaps in the children.
Other experts have pointed out that proper brain development in children and infant brain development depends upon activating the brain cells that form the brain structures that comprise the self esteem centers in the brain.
Deep within the child's brain stem is an evolutionally ancient structure called the locus corelueus, which is strongly activated by positive "high intimacy relationship moments". This arousal triggers norepinephrine, which is released into the blood as a hormone and into the brain as a neurotransmitter bathing the brain and heightening its attention. When this happens events and thoughts are most likely to become fixed in memory.