Introduction (representing the nature half of the debate) and sociologists (repre-
senting the nurture half of the debate) agreed was the premise that
babies loved their mothers because mothers were the source of
sucking and hunger satisfaction. Usually at odds with each other’s
perspective, both agreed that mothers nurtured these natural needs,
and that feeding and sucking were the primary force behind an
infant’s bond to the mother.

Bowlby, Spitz, and Ainsworth began discussions on the impact
of relational factors as important parts of healthy development.

Their work was furthered in 1958 by that of the psychologist Harry
Harlow, now famous for his study of rhesus monkeys. Harlow ques-
tioned the psychoanalytic community’s long-held belief that the
reason babies loved their mothers was connected to feeding (1958).

(I explain his experiments involving infant monkeys and their
mothers in chapter 1.) Harlow’s work opened the door to consider-
ing relationships in the early months and years of life.

Feeding practices, bonding, rooming in, and other attachment-
related issues became hotly debated in professional circles and
neighborhood parent groups as researchers, clinicians, and practi-
tioners in the 1950s and 1960s spent more and more time focusing
on the importance of early relationships. Contributions of people
like John Kennell and Marshall Klaus in the United States and Dr.

Frédérick Leboyer in France had powerful and positive effects on
changes in birthing practices.

In the United States at the time, many practices in childbirth
and infant care prioritized efficiency over the best interests of
infants and families. New mothers were urged to bottle-feed their
infants. Marketers went so far as to promote stuffed toy bottle props
to free mothers from hours of holding and feeding their new infants.

Automated swings and audio cassettes of lullabies were offered to
replace long hours of rocking and singing. These “improvements”
may have allowed the new parents to know the exact per ounce
intake at a feeding, and the swings were definitely a blessing for
busy moms who could not manage older children and a crying
infant at the same time. However, these ideas did nothing to pro-
mote positive outcomes for babies. The renewed energy and focus
on supportive practices for families and babies of the 1970s were an
overdue improvement.