||This article may require copy editing for sentence fragments etc. (November 2014)|
There are thousands of potential factors, both physical and emotional, that can influence the mother-child bonding process. Separation anxiety disorder is a condition in which a child becomes fearful and nervous when away from home or separated from a loved one -- usually a parent or other caregiver -- to whom the child is attached.  Many new mothers do not always experience the "instantly-in-mother-love" emotions. Bonding is a gradually unfolding experience that can take hours, days, weeks, or even months to develop.
The maternal bond between a human female and her biological child usually begins to develop during pregnancy, with the pregnant female normally adapting her lifestyle to suit the needs of the developing infant. Beginning around 18 to 25 weeks, the mother also can feel the fetus moving, which can enhance bonding, as she can see her baby during an ultrasound scan.
The developing fetus hears the mother's heartbeat and voice and may respond to touch or movement. By the seventh month of pregnancy, two-thirds of women may report a strong maternal bond.
Mothers who did not want the pregnancy typically have a lower quality relationship with the child. They are also more likely to suffer from post-partum depression or other mental health problems, and less likely to breast-feed the infant.
The process of childbirth usually greatly adds to this bond - though that is not always the case, as every birth and every mother is unique. Situational factors may include a traumatic birth, the pregnant woman's own mother's parenting style, experienced stress, social support, and the influence of her spouse.
The emotional bonding theory first appeared in the mid-1970s, and by the 1980s bonding had become an accepted maternity term, after which the process became analysed and scrutinised to the point of creating another term - poor bonding.
Production of oxytocin during childbirth and lactation increases parasympathetic activity, thus reducing anxiety and theoretically fostering bonding, so it is generally understood that maternal oxytocin circulation can predispose women to form bonds and show bonding behavior.
Moral side effects of oxytocin
In addition to being responsible for the close bond between a mother and infant, breastfeeding, and the group cohesion, a carefully controlled study exploring the biological roots of immoral behavior demonstrated that oxytocin promoted dishonesty when the outcome favored the closely bonded groups to which an individual belonged instead of just the individual. A real world example of this effect can be seen when parents lie about their address to gain admission to better schools for their children. According to the lead author, the study shows that oxytocin leads people to bend the rules for people they care about.
- Human bonding
- Paternal bond
- Cinderella effect
- Mother's boy
- Haptic Medicine, Babywearing, Co-sleeping
- ="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maternal_deprivation">Maternal deprivation
- Winkler J (2000). "[Development of the maternal bond during pregnancy]". Cas. Lek. Cesk. (in Czech) 139 (1): 5–8. PMID 10750284.
- "Family Planning - Healthy People 2020". Retrieved 2011-08-18.
Logan C, Holcombe E, Manlove J, et al. (2007 May [cited 2009 Mar 3]). "The consequences of unintended childbearing: A white paper". Washington: Child Trends, Inc. Check date values in:
- Cheng D, Schwarz E, Douglas E, et al. (March 2009). "Unintended pregnancy and associated maternal preconception, prenatal and postpartum behaviors". Contraception 79 (3): 194-8. doi:10.1016/j.contraception.2008.09.009. PMID 19185672.
- Kost K, Landry D, Darroch J. (Mar–Apr 1998). "Predicting maternal behaviors during pregnancy: Does intention status matter?". Fam Plann Perspectives 30 (2): 79-88.
- D’Angelo, D, Colley Gilbert B, Rochat R, et al. (Sep–Oct 2004). "Differences between mistimed and unwanted pregnancies among women who have live births.". Perspect Sex Reprod Health 36 (5): 192-7.
- Else-Quest, NM; Hyde JS; Clark, R (2003-10-01). "Breastfeeding, bonding, and the mother-infant relationship". Merrill-Palmer Quarterly. Retrieved 2008-03-13.
- Shalvia, C. K. W.; De Dreu. "Oxytocin promotes group-serving dishonesty". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 111 (15): 5503–5507. doi:10.1073/pnas.1400724111. Lay summary – BBC News (2 April 2014).