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Petö, E. (1949). Infant and Mother—Observations on Object-Relations in Early Infancy. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 30:260-264.

(1949). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 30:260-264

Infant and Mother—Observations on Object-Relations in Early Infancy

Endre Petö

In the following paper I wish to report observations concerning—with one exception—disturbances of feeding in the first three months of life. All these children were observed by me from birth. Moreover, after the cessation of the disturbance I was able to continue observing them and thus able to follow up their further fate. I wish to emphasize that all the infants were healthy, vigorous children and all the mothers had easily yielding breasts and normal nipples.

In pediatric literature the functional feeding difficulties have been treated in a step-motherly fashion in spite of their being encountered frequently in practice—e.g. Peiper (1936) writes in his monograph on Sucking as follows:

'One ought to take a much less serious view of the other (non-organic) feeding difficulties which will be described here, taking Pfaundler's paper as a basis. The infant clumsy at feeding though showing desire for food and taking the nipple eagerly, achieves little by his endeavours then becomes restive, cross, looses the nipple or pushes it out of his mouth, tries to find it again, resumes his attack but without any better result, etc. The child does not lack the sensation of hunger or muscular power. This condition is overcome by learning how to suck. The "child shy of the breast" becomes restless at the breast, turns his head to and fro, throws his whole body backwards, struggles and cannot be made to take sufficient nourishment. Feeding from a bottle usually goes quite well.

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