Mother and baby. A mother plays with her 4-month-old baby girl. The baby is lying naked on a soft, white towel, laughing and looking at her mother's face. Her mother is smiling back and holding her hands. Frequent eye-to-eye and physical contact between a parent and baby helps to establish a strong psychological bond, an essential part of a child's emotional development. Lack of bonding is thought to increase the risk of neglect or child abuse, and may lead to emotional problems in adulthood, such as depression. Most studies suggest that fathers or working mothers can bond just as well as non-working mothers, as long as they are loving and consistent.
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