This line of investigation continued in a series of experiments at Northwestern University and Chicago's Lying-In Hospital in which newborns were stuck with needles on the cheeks, thighs, and calves. Virtually all infants reacted during the first hours and first day after birth, but the trend, the researchers noted, was toward reaction to stimulation from day one through day twelve. As a physiologic finding, this suggested that, at birth, newborns were not very sensitive, but became so gradually. However, they failed to tell us (and apparently overlooked the possible consequences) that all the mothers had received anesthetic drugs during labor and delivery! For the missing information, we are indebted to psychologist Daphne Maurer.
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A look at the literature on infant pain is both discouraging and hopeful. An analysis of the ten most commonly used textbooks in pediatrics revealed that pain was a topic virtually ignored. In 15,000 pages of text, they could find only three and a half pages devoted to pain. Noted French obstetrician Frederick Leboyer's bestseller, , stands practically alone in its concern for the pain babies feel at birth. In my own collection of journal articles dealing with infant pain, I can count only twenty during sixty years from 1920 to 1980. However, in the 1980s alone, I have collected forty-four studies, reflecting a great surge of interest.