Bonding is the emotional tie from parent to child that is manifested by parental feelings of warmth, love, sense of possession, devotion, protectiveness, and concern. The parent takes pleasure in interaction, accepts impositions and obligations, and feels a sense of loss when the child is absent.

There has been significant interest in the medical literature over the past 3 decades regarding how mothers bond to their newborns. Klaus and Kennell were the primary proponents of a bonding hypothesis that “there is a period shortly after birth that is uniquely important for mother-to-infant attachment in the human being” and that “skin-to-skin contact is necessary” for secure bonding.

Such concepts were derived from earlier studies describing the attachment behavior of infants to mothers. Bowlby’s primary assertion is that children’s experiences of interpersonal relationships are crucial to their psychological development. A key concept is the presence of a “sensitive period” in the first...

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