“Poets, song-writers, and novelists responding to simple observations, sentiments, feelings, and emotions seem better able to describe the importance of maternal love than scientists, lawyers, and the cold-hearted money changers responsible for the fair and equitable distribution of adopted children.” Judith Land
To scientifically investigate the nature of human love and affection, Harry Harlow was one of the first psychologists to demonstrate the importance of early mother and child attachments and emotional bonds on healthy development. Attachment develops due to the mother providing tactile comfort, suggesting that infants have an innate biological need to touch and cling to their mother for emotional comfort and familiarity.
In the mother’s absence, infants turn to inanimate surrogate mothers for comfort when faced with new and scary situations. Studies concluded that touch and maternal contact are more important than food for healthy psychological development. Infants separated from their biological mother automatically seek comfort in the arms of soft fluffy surrogate mothers, even if the surrogate mother never provides food, proving that infants feel an attachment toward their caregiver, a tactile extension referred to as “love.”
Mother-infant attachment does not depend on the mother providing nourishment as much as it does on providing the comfort of body contact. Infants preferred wire mothers covered with soft materials designed for clinging. Wire effigies of a mother that coldly provided nutrition with a nipple and bottle do not satisfy the innate feeling of love necessary for healthy development. The findings prove the value of mother and child bonding during infancy. Children do not live by milk alone, and social isolation for the first six months of life produces severe deficits in virtually every aspect of social behavior. The innate value of warm hugs and spontaneous snuggles is overwhelmingly positive for the healthy psychological development of adopted children.