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December 1963

Infantile Rumination: A Case Report

Author Affiliations

Chief Clinical Resident, Department of Psychiatry, University of California Medical School, Center for Health Sciences; formerly US Naval Hospital, Great Lakes, Ill.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1963;9(6):593-600. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1963.01720180065009

Introduction  Rumination is a well-established syndrome of self-induced regurgitation with attempts at rechewing and partial reswallowing of the vomitus. Much of the vomitus, however, runs out of the corners of the mouth and the majority of the patients, usually infants, suffer from severe malnutrition, dehydration and life threatening electrolyte imbalance. It is a relatively rare syndrome, but recent reports have emphasized the psychosomatic nature of the illness and indicated specific concurrent disturbances in the mother-infant relationship.5,7,9,15The mother-infant relationship during the first six months of life is a critically important one. The development of primitive object relations, the ego, and the physiological patterns of adaptation begin during this time and are primarily modeled on the characteristics of the infant's relationship to his mother. Gastrointestinal processes are of paramount importance in this development and the adaptation of the nutritive process to extrauterine life is one of

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