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Publication Date: 
May, 1989
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Babies have been crying at birth for centuries but we have been reluctant to accept their cries as valid expressions of pain which will register in memory. Despite mounting evidence, the characteristic reaction of psychologists and medical practitioners to infant pain has been one of denial. Key myths about the brain have provided the rationale for painful procedures. Against this background, studies of the infant cry prove that crying is meaningful communication. Examples of prenatal and perinatal cries are examined. Evidence for the pain of circumcision is found in personal memories and research findings. A final section focuses on pain in the NICU, the delivery room, and the nursery and concludes with an appeal that all painful procedures imposed on newborns be reconsidered.


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Address correspondence to David B. Chamberlain, Ph.D., 909 Hayes Avenue, San Diego, CA 92103.