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(1959). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 28:443-444.

(1959). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 28:443-444

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

January 13, 1959. ON THE SELF-ROCKING OF INFANTS. Sylvia Brody, Ph.D.

Three types of rocking—normative, repetitious, and exciting—are described. Normative rocking consists of bouncing or dancing movements which appear spontaneously in most infants. Frequently it appears either immediately prior to or just after some new achievement in balance, such as sitting, crawling, or walking. Often it is intentionally encouraged in social situations. Repetitious rocking is self-initiated, monotonous, may endure for moments or minutes, on casual inspection seems to have no social function, and often leads to sleep. The exciting kind of rocking is rapid, energetic, and fatiguing. The infant is usually completely engrossed in the action and seems to be beyond external influence for the time being. It is with the latter two types of rocking that this paper concerns itself.

The author advances several hypotheses. First, rocking occurs in infants whose object cathexis for the mother is disproportionately intense. Secondly, these infants have had a relatively greater kinesthetic stimulation and more or less restricted stimulation in other modalities. Third, stereotypic rocking occurs in states of tension and represents the infant's effort to re-establish bodily contact with the mother. Detailed observations of two infants are reported in support of these hypotheses. In both cases the mothers were conscientious and efficient and could not in any ordinary sense be said to have deprived or neglected their babies.

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