Feeding is essential to the healthy growth and development of your baby. Successful feeding, however, goes beyond just milk and bottles. Infant feeding happens through a unique interaction of physiology, equipment, and experience, in which both you and your baby equally participate. This guide will help you understand the elements of the feeding process and get you on the right track for success.
All babies are born with the ability to eat. This survival adaptation is known as the sucking reflex and is triggered by anything that touches the roof of a baby’s mouth, like a breast, pacifier, or baby’s own fingers. When baby begins to suck, the infant’s tongue juts forward and gently curls around the milk source. Milk is expressed by a wave-like movement of the tongue, effectively pulling milk into the mouth. As the tongue relaxes into neutral position, milk flow slows. In this way, the infant controls the pace of feeding.
Infants translate this sucking reflex to various feeding styles including breast/chest, cup, syringe and bottle feeding. For parents who choose to use a bottle, choosing a feeding system that is designed to support baby’s natural feeding reflex results in a more comfortable and personalized feeding experience.