Why Sucking Reflex Is Important For Your Newborn


One of the most important reflexes that develop in infants is the sucking reflex. 
Sucking allows the baby to suck and swallow the milk. Infants start sucking inside the mother’s womb. The only need for a baby at initial months is food. So, sucking reflex helps them get closer to the food (breastfeeding, bottle, spoons, etc.).

Other benefits of sucking reflex:

However, there are other benefits of sucking reflex as well which are of paramount importance. Some of them are highlighted below-

Developing the oral muscle strength- 

The mouth and the oral muscles around it are the major parts of the face. With increasing sucking activity the strength of the oral muscles improves.

Holding the breast firmly-

For breastfeeding mothers, it is a concern for them as every child is not able to hold the nipple properly with the mouth. So, sucking reflex helps in latching the breast firmly into the mouth and getting sufficient milk.

In case of bottle feed and spoon-

Some babies are fed through bottles after delivery, so with accurate sucking helps in fixing and swallowing.

Thumb sucking :

Because of the sucking reflex , a baby starts sucking her thumb which is also a part of the milestone that has its own pros and cons:

  • Sucking helps in tongue-twisting and swallowing the food.
  • The baby’s speaking skill improves through the movement of the tongue that is initiated through sucking.
  • Sometimes the babies suck in-order to get to sleep without taking in milk just for comfort.

How to improve sucking in your baby :

But in case of premature babies, the sucking reflex shows a weak response. In that case you can encourage your baby to initiate sucking by :

  • stroking the side of the mouth (both sides), repeatedly.
  • Placing the thumb, nipple near the mouth.

These can be done as tests as well to check the development of the reflex activity immediately after the delivery.

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