New Developments in Term Infant Feeding

  • Description
  • Credit Hours
  • Outline



This presentation examines research that brings to light new ideas about the roles of mothers and infants in the act of breastfeeding. These discoveries can inform strategies for more effective clinical support of breastfeeding dyads and better understanding of infant capabilities from the time of birth.

Starting with research published by Colson, Meek and Hawdon regarding the role of primitive neonatal reflexes during term infant breastfeeding, we will explore the idea that human infants are born to breastfeed and that they are active participants rather than passive recipients in establishing a successful feeding relationship with their mothers. This discussion will continue in an examination of ultrasound research describing term infant sucking dynamics during nutritive and non-nutritive sucking at breast. Lastly, compelling research suggests breastfeeding reduces the risk of obesity later in life. We will review findings from a large study in Ireland that support previous studies on this topic as well as summarize theoretical explanations – both nutritional and behavioral -- as to how breastfeeding might influence an individual’s growth and weight. All in all, our goal is to re-examine the infant’s role in breastfeeding and how we can better support mothers and infants.

1 Hour 0 Minutes
Course ID

Credit Hours

  • Nursing - 1.0 Contact Hours


Section One

  1. Describe the physical differences in mother and infant contact and positioning in “Biological Nurturing” and non-biological nurturing positions.
  2. Identify examples of each of the four functional types of primitive neonatal reflexes.
  3. Evaluate clinical breastfeeding experiences in terms of which primitive neonatal reflexes are exhibited and whether they facilitate or inhibit initiation of breastfeeding.  

Section Two

  1. Identify the role of infant’s tongue in creating an intra-oral vacuum during breastfeeding.
  2. Differentiate the difference between nutritive and nonnutritive sucking in breastfeeding per ultrasound research by Sakalidis and associates.
  3. Discuss major differences between infant sucking dynamics during bottle-feeding compared to breastfeeding.

Section Three

  1. Discuss research findings related to breastfeeding and the risk of obesity.
  2. Explain several nutritional explanations for the effect of breastfeeding on obesity.
  3. Discuss infant and maternal breastfeeding behaviors that might contribute to the influence of breastfeeding on weight later in life.

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