Epigenetics is for real and babies should not be separated from their mothers at birth, as is still common in hospitals.
German researchers have demonstrated that even "mild" stress in early life can epigenetically damage mammals organisms, making them more stressed for life.
The experiment consisted in separating mouse pups from their mothers for three hours each day for ten days, while a control group had normal motherly care. This did not affect them nutritionally but the animals must have felt "abandoned" (which for a defenseless newborn mammal is the waiting room of death).
The "abandoned" group were less able to cope with stressful situations later in life and had worse memory than the control group.
The experiment did not stop here: they also analyzed the effects at molecular level. They found that the stressed pups produced high levels of stress hormones, which in turn tweaked the gene responsible for producing one of those hormones: vasopressin. This epigenetic alteration produced more vasopressin than usual through the mice's lives, keeping them perpetually stressed.
Using a drug that blocks vasopressin's effects, they tested that it was effectively this altered hormonal procedure which caused their behavioural and memory problems.
The scientists suspect that this also happens in humans, which are not that different from mice after all and on whom there is strong evidence that abuse and stress in infancy leads to later problems through life.
However I'd like to go a step further and again criticise the modern treatment of newborns in so many hospitals, which are often cruelly separated from their mothers for many hours after birth, precisely when they need most the reassuring company, after the heavy stress of birth. I am persuaded that this practice, along with other mistreatments largely product of the medicalization of birth are one of the causes, if not the main one, behind the growth of psychological disorders (psychosis, depression, etc.) among modern populations in the developed world, most of whom have gone through such unnatural hospital births.