Separating infants from their mothers is stressful to the baby. Researchers measured heart rate variability in 2-day-old sleeping babies for one hour each during skin-to-skin contact with mother and alone in a cot next to mother’s bed. Neonatal autonomic activity was 176% higher and quiet sleep 86% lower during maternal separation compared to skin-to-skin contact.
It is standard practice in a hospital setting, particularly among Western cultures, to separate mothers and their newborns. Separation is also common for babies under medical distress or premature babies, who may be placed in an incubator.
Humans are the only mammals who practice such maternal-neonate separation, but its physiological impact on the baby has been unknown until now.Read more at Biological Psychiatry