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Rabiger, S. (1987). Breast or Bottle. Brit. J. Psychother., 4(1):114.

(1987). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 4(1):114


Breast or Bottle

Sigrid Rabiger

Dear Sir

My concern is with the interesting idea of having four different commentaries on an Infant Observation (Autumn 1986), and in the original observation the observer wrote: “Jimmy was breast-fed, I think from birth”. Since there follows a complicated description of the mother's method of giving the bottle, I assumed ‘breast-fed’ to be a misprint, and read on. However the various commentators seem to take up the theme of bottle-feeding, without reference to the original breastfeeding, no mention of the important process of weaning, nor why or when it took place, all very significant in an infant's following reactions to feeding, I would have thought? So, a) I am surprised none of the commentators took this inconsistency up but accepted it, b) none of them queried the change from bottle to breast (if at all).

This seems to me lack of attention to editing detail. I should deeply like to know from the original material if this was an oversight. I feel it is all very crucial to the following observation of baby's reactions and responses.

Sigrid Rabiger

[In fact, Sigrid Rabiger is quite right; this is, I am afraid, an editing error of some magnitude. The correct reading is ‘bottle-fed’. Although the commentators did assume the correct meaning, we should have spotted the error. I am sorry about the confusion that could arise, and any limitation to the usefulness of the Commentaries. There are I am afraid no further details of the weaning from the observer.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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