Proper sucking: why is it so important for the newborn

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Sucking indicates the act that the newborn does to suck the mother's milk, that is theingestion of liquid through aspiration with the mouth. For this to happen correctly, it is essential to stimulate the spontaneous sucking of the newborn as soon as possible, immediately after delivery. Let's find out more in detail.

In this article

  • Suction - what it is
  • The sucking reflex
  • Come facilitarla
  • Pacifier or finger?
Read also: Sucking and the natural instinct of the baby

Suction - what it is

Keep the baby in skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible after birth for an hour or more and for as long as you like. Skin-to-skin contact is also important in the following days; do it as often and as long as you wish. Most full-term babies are able to latch on to the breast within the first hour after birth, but during the first day of life, babies spend most of their time sleeping without showing much interest in eating. From the 2nd-3rd day, newborns begin to wake up and "ask" to eat very often, even 8-12 times a day. The infant must suckle for at least 10 minutes, but can continue for up to 30 minutes with the same breast, until it comes off on its own. When he is done with the first breast it is helpful to have him burp and, if necessary, change his diaper before offering him the second breast. In general, the baby remains attached to the second breast for less time or refuses it: leave it free to choose, and offer the second breast first at the next feed.

The sucking reflex

Il sucking reflex in the newborn it is a primary instinct, in fact already in the mother's womb the fetus sucks its thumb. The skin present in the face (usually the cheek) is solicited, this involves the reflex of the child to turn towards the affected part.
It is thought to have the purpose of facilitating the approach to the nipple and consequently breastfeeding. This reaction usually disappears after 4 months from birth, but there are cases where the reflex has disappeared at one year of age. Some studies have tried to understand if there was the possibility that this reflex remains even in adulthood, confirming in any case its disappearance with advancing age.

Some stomatologists and speech therapists claim that suck your thumb or pacifier due to the sucking reflex can create problems for the baby's teeth, with projection of the upper incisors forward and retropulsion of the lower incisors backwards.
This is supposed dental arch development problem however, it has never been scientifically proven and remains a open debate among the experts. The most accredited hypothesis is that it can actually cause damage only if the sucking takes place at an advanced age, that is to say up to six years, when the child is already at second teething.

Come facilitarla

Whenever the baby latches on to the breast and breast, it stimulates your production. The baby's suckling sends signals to a gland in the brain (the pituitary gland) which sends signals to the breast that cause more milk to be produced. So here are some ways to create opportunities for breastfeeding:

  • keep the baby close to you to notice the first signs of hunger and attack him immediately to prevent him from falling back asleep;
  • keep the baby in skin-to-skin contact;
  • uncover or undress the baby (too much heat hinders awakening and makes him drowsy);
  • change the diaper;
  • place the baby on your shoulder and massage his back and body;
  • parlagli;
  • when you bring the baby to the breast, squeeze a few drops of milk on the nipple to entice him;
  • use breast compression during feeding, if your baby stops actively nursing and suckles superficially (i.e. mouth moves but no movement towards temples and ears), use breast compression to keep him awake and to increase quantity of milk she takes.

Pacifier or finger?

Sucking is not only for nourishment, but also has a strong calming effect. So it is clear that if the child gets used to the use of the pacifier he will use it often: to fall asleep, to calm down, sometimes just to calm down in moments of boredom. And many babies who haven't had a pacifier will end up sucking their thumbs to fall asleep.

Article sources: Bambino Gesu Hospital, Health Gov

  • breastfeeding
  • baby
  • newborn 0-3 months
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