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Q: sensory depravaton and infant mortality ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: sensory depravaton and infant mortality
Category: Science > Social Sciences
Asked by: zugzwang-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 02 Nov 2003 02:04 PST
Expires: 02 Dec 2003 02:04 PST
Question ID: 271836
I remember reading some time ago an article on infant mortal linked to
sensory depravation. As I recall, some time around 1890's in some
corners of the USA, it was believed that coddling a child would weaken
their ‘spirit’ leading later in life to certain ‘vices’ of the flesh.
This ‘idea’ was put into practise within an institution setting for
foundlings and was, it was reported, a complete failure. Although the
infants in care were physically cared for, i.e. they were kept clean,
well feed and clothed, the staff where instructed that they not to
‘handle the child, rock the child, cuddle or in any way that was
deemed inappropriate by the standards set by the institution, but the
babies died.
Subject: Re: sensory depravaton and infant mortality
Answered By: digsalot-ga on 03 Nov 2003 01:04 PST
Hello there

It is quite possible you may have even read more than one article
about the subject.  There is more than one available.  It was
something that happened not just in one institution or locale in the
country.  It was a widely accepted practice at the time.  And the sad
fact is that this philosophy has still not been erased completely from
American society.  As you will find if you read through some of the
resources I will list, sensory deprivation is suspect in crib death. 
Even American society's near universal switch to a stationary crib
rather than a rocking cradle can be traced to this philosophy.

"In 1896, a book called The Care and Feeding of Infants began the
scientific raising of children. The author, L. Emmet Holt,
recommended feeding children by the clock. He felt that too much
handling, cuddling etc., . . . weakened the child. His book
was available until 1935." - From "The
Legacy of Scientific Motherhood"

At the turn of the century, when these new ideas about child-rearing,
such as Holt's, were cropping up, Ashley Montagu wrote  -  "Millions
of mothers sat and cried along with their babies, and, as genuinely
loving mothers obedient to the best thinking on the subject, bravely
resisted the "animal impulse" to pick them up and comfort them in
their arms." Generations ago, mothers intuited that regimented
parenting was wrong, but they were led to believe that child experts
knew better than they. So mothers suffered along with their infants
who cried of hunger, of loneliness, of discomfort, and of sheer terror
at the unresponsiveness of their caretakers."  - Ashley Montagu

In the late 1800’s, Holt, as well as other leading experts, advised
parents and care givers not to pick up babies when they cried, feed
them only by the clock, and never spoil them by handling them too
much.  When these methods were applied in institutions to which
children under one year of of age were placed for any length of time,
the mortality rate was often as high as 100%. - From "The Power of

Later, in the 1930’s, pediatric experts began changing their way of
thinking and promoted “mothering” techniques such as picking up the
babies and cuddling them.  They saw a drop in the mortality rates to
less than 10%.  This led to the basic truth that infants and children
could often literally not survive without experiencing the touch of
other human beings.

You also may be interested in this: - - "The easiest and quickest way
to induce depression and alienation in an infant or child is not to
touch it, hold it, or carry it on your body. Extensive scientific
research has documented that these forms of sensory stimulation
(touch, smell, and movement) during the formative periods of brain
development are absolutely essential for normal growth and the
development of the brain and behavior. Deprivation of these forms of
sensory stimulation, called "Somato-Sensory Affectional Deprivation"
(S-SAD), results in abnormal development and function of the brain…
that accounts for the abnormal emotional and social behaviors that are
a consequence of S-SAD: depression/alienation, anxiety/boredom,
hostility/rage, and violence. --James W. Prescott, PhD - The aTLC Board of Directors

You may be able to get professional advice about your particular
interest by contacting:

Touch Research Institutes
Department of Pediatrics
University of Miami School of Medicine
P.O. Box 016820
Miami, FL 33101

(Located at Mailman Center for Child Development
1601 NW 12th Ave., 7th Floor, Suite 7037)

Phone: 305-243-6781
Fax: 305-243-6488

This is the only Institute in the world dedicated entirely to the
science of 'touch' and its application in science and medicine.

The following websites were used to compose the answer:

"The Legacy of Scientific Motherhood" -

"The Power of Touch" -

"Whatever Happened to Stay at Home Mothering" -
You will find information about Dr. Holt's book about half way down
the page.

"Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children" -

If I may clarify anything, please ask.

Subject: Re: sensory depravaton and infant mortality
From: apteryx-ga on 02 Nov 2003 23:18 PST
What's the question?

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