Elsie June Mobbs was an Australian clinical psychologist and lactation consultant, notable for her pioneering work commencing in the 1970s on human imprinting and the emotional development of children during the first six months of life. Elsie’s contributions to science include:

  1. The discovery of the process by which imprinting operates in humans and other mammals (an oral-tactile process),
  2. Identification of the first phase of emotional development in humans (Latchment), and
  3. Extending Sigmund Freud’s concept of displacement to understand how babies transfer their oral-tactile imprint from the mother’s breast to a unique decoy, such as a thumb or dummy.

Elsie also summarised the diverse range of perinatal and paediatric implications arising from this fundamental research.

Elsie passed away in 2012. Her work has been continued by her husband Dr G A Mobbs.


  • Mobbs, Elsie J; Mobbs, George A; Mobbs, Anthony E D (2015). “Imprinting, Latchment and Displacement: A Mini Review of Early Instinctual Behaviour in Newborn Infants Influencing Breastfeeding Success”. Acta Paediatricadoi:10.1111/apa.13034.
  • Mobbs, Elsie J (2011). Latchment before Attachment The first stage of emotional development: Oral tactile imprinting. Sydney: GT CRARF. ISBN 978-0-646-55818-9OCLC 733766553.
  • ILCA Conference San Diego 2011 “Oral tactile imprinting precedes attachment behaviour”
  • Mobbs, Elsie J (2010). “Short Stature and the Relationship to Male Mental Health Status”. In Nass, Ruth; Frank, Yitzchak. Cognitive and Behavioral Abnormalities of Pediatric Diseases. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195342680OCLC 436968431.
  • Mobbs, Elsie J (2009). “Human Imprinting and Oral Tactile Fixation on a Decoy”. The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry 10: 115. doi:10.3284/wfsbp.2009.1.
  • 2008 Velb-ILCA conference Vienna  “Human Imprinting: Sigmund Freud Update”
  • 2008 Perth WA  “Thumb and dummy sucking give evidence for human imprinting” International society for research in human milk and lactation conference
  • Mobbs, Elsie J (2007). Thumb-sucking and dummy-sucking: evidence for human imprinting. Westmead: GT CRARF. ISBN 9780646470832OCLC 225085772.
  • Mobbs, Elsie J (2007). “Thumb-sucking and Dummy-sucking: Evidence for Human Imprinting”. Breastfeeding Medicine 2 (3): 188. doi:10.1089/bfm.2007.9985.
  • Mobbs, Elsie J (2007). “Thumb-sucking and Dummy-sucking: Evidence for Human Imprinting”. Aust N Z J Psychiatry 41 (2): Suppl A243–A358. doi:10.1080/00048670701724647.
  • Mobbs, Elsie J (2005). The psychological outcome of constitutional delay of growth and puberty : the psychosocial outcome of male maturational delay short stature 63 (Suppl 1). Hormone Research Karger: Basel,. doi:10.1159/isbn.978-3-318-01225-5.
  • Mobbs, Elsie J (1990). “Sucking and Milk Production”. Medical Journal of Australia 152 (11): 616. PMID 2348798.
  • Mobbs, Elsie J (1990). Human Imprinting (M.A. thesis). University of Sydney.
  • Mobbs, Elsie J (1989). “Human imprinting and breastfeeding”. Breastfeeding Review 1 (14): 39–41. OCLC 60624494.
  • Mobbs, Elsie J (1988). “Human imprinting and breastfeeding: Are the textbooks deficient?”. In Llewelleyn-Jones, Derek; Abraham, Suzanne. Proceedings 16th Annual Congress Australasian Society for Psychosomatic Aspects of Reproductive Medicine Polkobin, New South Wales, March 1989http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn1366606: Ashwood House.
  • Mobbs, Elsie J (1973). “breastfeeding-rooming-in-demand-feeding-and-houses-of-correction“. The Medical Journal of Australia 2: 339.
  • Mobbs, Elsie J; Mobbs, George A (1972). “Breastfeeding-Success or failure due to attendants not to prevailing fashion“. The Medical Journal of Australia 1: 770.

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