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Observations placeholder

Hack Tuke, Daniel – Sickness - Lactation failure and lactation disorders induced by powerful emotions –Trauma, Shock, Rage and Fear



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

As described in Illustrations Of The Influence Of The Mind Upon The Body In Health And Disease, Designed To Elucidate The Action Of The Imagination - Daniel Hack Tuke, M.D., M.R.C.P.,


The influence of emotional excitement on the secretion of the mammary gland is generally recognized, and there is no difficulty in meeting with cases which forcibly illustrate it. A few striking examples must suffice.

Descuret states that during a period of four years, a young woman suddenly lost her two children and a foster-child from giving them the breast immediately after being in a violent passion (La Medecine des Passions. Par J. B. F. Descuret. 1841, p. 56). He also cites from Parmentier and Deyeux, that after powerful emotional excitement, the mammary gland secretes an insipid yellowish serous fluid, instead of one possessing its normal white saccharine character.

Copland cites from Graeffe the very striking case of a woman who received a fright a week after delivery. This caused complete suppression of the milk, followed by ascites and anasarca.   Paracentesis was performed; "a bucket of fluid resembling whey, and exhaling an acidulous odor, was drawn off. Upon being boiled with dilute sulphuric acid, it furnished a substance resembling casein. When tapped six weeks afterwards, the fluid was of a greenish-yellow, and without the least trace of casein " (Cyclopaedia of Practical Medicine. 3 vols. By Dr. Copland, I, p. 189).

Dr. Kellogg, of Port Hope, Canada West, gives the following cases :

" Not long since, I was called to see a child aged seven or eight months, which up to a short time before my being sent for, had been in a most thriving condition, exceedingly healthy and robust. I found the child in a state approaching complete coma, in a condition much resembling that which results from hydrocephalus, or ansemia of the brain, as the result of some exhausting disease. It had suffered none such, however; and as the coma had come on suddenly, constipation of the bowels only having been observed as its forerunner, I felt puzzled to determine the true cause. After, however, a free action of the bowels, for which large doses of cathartic medicine were required, it rapidly regained its consciousness, and after passing dark green stools for a number of days, completely recovered . The mystery which shrouded this case, and which I was not able to unravel at first, was soon, however, explained, for in conversation with a near neighbour I learned that the mother, who was a woman of very violent temper, had for a number of days been giving way to most intense paroxysms of rage, which had been expended upon her husband for selling a piece of property against her wishes. During all this time she was nursing her child. I immediately requested the mother, if she wished to rear her offspring, of which she was passionately fond, to suspend nursing it under such a state of mental excitement; and if she could not control herself, and make up her mind to be quiet and cheerful, it would be advisable to wean the child, or employ a wet nurse, while giving the reins to her passion, and not allow its force to be expended upon the frail being who was innocently drawing its nourishment from her bosom. She appeared to feel the justice of the reproof and was, doubtless, more careful for the future, as the child did well, though not weaned for several months after this occurrence.

" Another lady of a highly excitable temperament, the mother of three children and who had frequently been under the medical care of the writer, gave birth to her first male child about one year since. The child was healthy, and appeared to thrive well for four or five weeks. Its mother, on first leaving her room, was, as is frequently the case with careful housewives, somewhat excited and vexed with the condition of things in the kitchen, and the 'high life below stairs' which had evidently been led by the servants during her confinement. She was also excited, on the same day, by the arrival of some friends. In addition to this, after retiring to her room, she heard the child next in years to the infant fall down a flight of stairs. She was much alarmed and had the child brought up to her room, screaming, with its nose bleeding and broken. She took it upon her lap, bathed its face, and after stanching the hemorrhage and quieting the child to sleep, she, most imprudently, and, though a highly intelligent person, ignorantly and innocently suffered the infant to nurse after this crowning excitement of the day. Its bowels became immediately deranged, the stools green, high fever and convulsions supervened, and the child died in great agony in less than three days, with all the symptoms of violent inflammation of the bowels" (American Journal of Insanity, April, 1856, p. 313).

Dr. Kellogg observes, " I am confident that I have frequently seen the death of the nursing infant result from ignorance of the mother of the extraordinary influence of mental emotion upon the secretion of milk."

The source of the experience

Hack Tuke, Daniel

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Types of hurt and organs

Activities and commonsteps