Understanding Infant Pain
Originally Published In
International Journal of Childbirth Education
Recent research reports that pain is detrimental to infants and they have a worse pain experience than adults or older children. It is often difficult to determine if an infant is in pain. However, studies have demonstrated facial expression changes to pain stimuli are a good indication of pain in infants. The pain expression in infants is characterized by a lowering and bulging of the brows, eyes squeezed shut, deepening of the nasolabial furrow, opening of the lips, vertically stretched mouth and taut, dished tongue. Several nonpharmaceutical methods are discussed that can be used by parents for minor infant pain, such as breastfeeding, kangaroo care, massage, and providing sucrose/sucking via a pacifier.