In the last decades parental care to children has been increasingly delegated to daycare. In the very same years Peter Sterling’s epidemiologic research detected a shift upward in children’s blood pressure; he explained these data with the fact that parental care had been delegated to strangers, hypothesizing some analogous adaptations in babies’ brains. This paper is intended to relate central nervous system (SNC), hypothalamicpituitary- adrenal (HPA) axis and immune system infant development to the processes of the developing mind, hypothesizing the crosstalk between psychic and neurobiological level during early development. Bowlby’s theory of attachment and Mahler’s theory of the separation-individuation process identify a different timing in the achievement of affective maturation. What happens at the emotional and neurobiological level to babies who separate from their mothers and attend daycare at 3, 6, 9, 12 months of age? With a theory of psychic development in mind, we explore Sterling’s hypothesis on the "analogous adaptations in the brain", HPA axis, immune system of the babies who attend daycare early in life by consulting the results of the research on early life stress in animal models.
Keywords: Object constancy, Internal Working Model (IWM), Daycare, Stress inoculation, HPA axis, Immune system.