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Friday, January 25, 2008

Do babies feel more pain?


Do babies feel more pain than adults? I know that most of you don't have a lab with with ready to use experimental machines in your basement (-or at least I'm hoping not), but what do you think?

I do believe that babies feel pain. I believe that babies are a LOT smarter than we give them credit for. But, do they feel more pain? Do they feel it the same? Less?

When your little one gets sick, a lot of the time they'll just carry on with whatever. Sure, they may seem a little less energetic, but they don't just laze around all day whining and carrying on like it's a big production. But, then you get what they had and all of a sudden you feel like you are about to die. You sure as heck don't feel like bouncing up and down on a trampoline or playing video games. You just want to lay down and everyone leave you alone.

So, that brings me to this question. Do babies feel more pain? (or vice versa? or do we feel the same)?

And...perhaps it is just that we cope with pain differently? If pain is truly a perception...then, maybe as we grow older, we perceive it differently?

Or, maybe we're just a bunch of wusses.

What do you think?

12 comments:

Jennifer said...

Funny you should write a blog about this, because Cam and I have talked about similiar observations and curiosities. However, our conclusions... are, well, inconclusive. I have wondered if perhaps it has something to do with their not-quite-mature nervous system. Perhaps they don't feel pain the same way adults do. Perhaps the signals haven't quite connected, so they are spared some of those discomforts. As they are gaining more self-control over things (walking, running, potty-training, feeding themselves), I recall noticing with Xavier, that he also seemed to complain more often "it hurt-ED ma. It hurt-ED." Maybe it's a trade off? Maybe it's a sign of neural development?

pussreboots said...

I think it is the same amount of pain but they haven't been trained to expect easy fixes for pain in the form of OTC or prescription drugs.

suchsimplepleasures said...

i have no idea. my kids, when they were babies...sometimes i wouldn't even know when they were sick...until they were super sick. even with strep. with me, the minute i get a sore throat, i take medicine,whine and go to bed!! but, my kids play, sing, dance...throw up...which was usually the indicator of sickness, in my house!!!
excellent post!!

LunaNik said...

Blog Hoppin'...I vote for choice C...WE ARE WUSSIES!! Totally. Me, hubby, and my two kids were sick on xmas. Hubby was bedridden and whining like a little girl. I was, well, I was not so nice and, honestly, doing my fair share of whining. My kids...like they weren't sick at all. They had fevers and runny noses but they played and danced and sang. Amazing little buggers!

Tara R. said...

When my kids were babies, I could tell the difference between a pain cry and a hungry one, between a "'I'm bored' one and an angry one. I think babies do feel pain, but I also believe that they learn a certain way to manifest that based on how we, parents, react when we think our babies hurt.

Etcetera - blog hopper

Sarabeth said...

Here's the thing for me. Babies and kids feel pain, they just don't experience it the same way we do. Their neurons aren't through maturing and reaching the parts of the brain where they'll end. What, to us, feels like neck pain or whatever is just a new sensation to them, something to discover.

An example, I got a nasty cold, causing my ear drum to pop a hole in it. Every thing I heard, every time I spoke, I was in a tunnel. Echoes were everywhere. I thought I'd lose my mind during the two weeks it took to heal properly.

Two of my children have had the same thing happen. Sure, they yelled when the ear drum burst, but afterwards, they displayed no signs that there were echoes in their heads. It just did not bother them as it did me.

Blog hopping--HP

DrunkenHoney said...

ok--blog hopping, so excuse the nonsense should I post any.

I definitely think babies feel pain. As an ob nurse I regularly see little guys get circumcised. Those that get lidocaine fall asleep, those that don't will cry til they get little bruises on their faces. I think they feel pain just as much as adults. HOWEVER > > > > I think their pain is eased more easily than an adults. I have used sucrose (either medical sucrose or just a plain lollipop) in place of injections of lidocaine for a circ, and it seems to work just as well. Perhaps because like Pussreboots said, they haven't been trained like adults have in their response to pain.

TZT said...

I think the pain is the same, but the shock of it can be greater because they are accustomed to being loved and snuggled and fed and provided for (well... assuming they are fortunate enough to be born into such a situation).

That said, I also think they recover more quickly and the healing ability of little ones' bodies is just astonishing!

Blog hopping,
Tracy

Kathryn said...

I just posted something similar the other day. I got sick after my baby was sick and I couldn't believe what a good sport he had been when he was sick. I felt awful!!!
You ask a good question. And I have no idea. ;)

Sandy C. said...

Great question you ask. In the hospital, many medical professionals seem to think that pain isn't as intense for babies as they are for adults, but I'd have to disagree. I've seen circumcisions with and without anesthesia....BIG DIFFERENCE!

Great post :)

Blog hoppin here!

sam said...

hope all is well, over by you!!
xoxo

Kaila's Mommy said...

I agree you go mama!