How Babies Suck While Nursing: New Information

I have always understood that when babies nurse they compress the milk out, and don’t actually “suck” like it would.

Looks like we may all be wrong!

Watch this video of an ultrasound showing a baby nursing. The full article can be found at New Scientist.

What do you think about this new information? Will this help lactation consultants better help mothers who have trouble with their babies breastfeeding? Or, will the possibility of a test for babies without a strong enough suction give doctors more power to tell mothers to give up?

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  • Jen

    This is very interesting, however, I do not really see how it could have LC’s help babies with a weak suck – as how do you make a baby sucker harder? Makes sense to me that it is suction that gets the milk out instead of compression though, since that is how a breast pump works. Hopefully with more research, it can be used to help moms and babies that are struggling!

  • Jen

    Fascinating! I think more knowledge is always more power! I realize some people might use it to dissuade mothers from breastfeeding, but people can misuse any knowledge. Besides, I can’t see many insurance companies paying for tests to diagnose a baby’s sucking strength, so there probably won’t be a way to quantify it easily! I don’t know that this info would be any more or less misused than any other info about breastfeeding. And it might just help refine the good advice mothers get about how to help some babies learn to breastfeed.

  • Amy

    very interesting!

  • Erin B

    That’s really interesting to learn. It makes you wonder why they didn’t know this a long time ago?!?

  • This is very interesting. I am not a lactation consultant but an RN whose has worked with lactating moms in the hospital after delivery. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. I’d say the video here is worth ten thousand words. Sometime as simple as this might serve as a teaching instrument.
    .-= T Rex Mom´s last blog ..Rube Goldberg Part 2 =-.

  • probably wont change much. seeing the same that we dealt with in the hospital, the LCs and nurses, while WANTING the early baby to eat well, are pushing formula to hurry up and get the baby out of the hospital. Friend’s baby, same hospital, baby was about 5 days earlier than mine (or so)…I wanted to thump the nurse, she’s like, oh i just went ahead and fed your baby down in the nursery.. grr! I could see the mom was ready to give up, even though as a freaking TEENAGER she managed to nurse her first baby.

    Once the nurse left I told her that we pumped for a long time, but managed to get ours to nurse. I dont think she believed me (much)..then again, a lot going on. I just hope she doesn’t give up.
    .-= Jill´s last blog ..Hi, my name is Jill, and I’m a CD’ing addict =-.

  • I think it’s interesting and good to know, but after I read the new scientist article I became worried. They want to develop a test to measure an infant’s sucking ability? So if the infant doesn’t pass by whatever unnatural standards they set, the mom will be told she needs to pump if she wants her baby to be healthy… and this was at a Medela sponsored conference/research right? I think some moms will benefit from the reassurance that it isn’t “their fault” but I’m worried that some moms will be told to pump that don’t really need to.
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..One year ago… =-.

  • I learned in my BFing class when I was pregnant from a video from the 90s that suction AND compression both were how the baby gets the milk out…