Feeding Development and Difficulties

Reflexes involved in feeding

  • Reflex Stimulation Action - Purpose for feeding Duration
    Rooting Touching of the cheek or side of the mouth Baby turns to the source and opens mouth. Is able to  seek the breast or bottle 3-4 months
    Suck- swallow Touching of the mouth Baby sucks rhythmically on the object – finger nipple or teat.  Sucking is coordinated with swallow Enables infant to feed safely in a very reclined position  3-4 months
    Tongue-thrust Touching of the lips Tongue moves forward out of the mouth. Assists with feeding from breast or bottle but not solid foods. Protects against choking  5-6 months
    Gag Placing an object towards back of the mouth Object is expelled from back of mouth by the tongue. Protects against choking.  Reduces to triggering on the back third of the tongue at around 6 months.

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