Sucking reflex in newborns


During prenatal development in the nervous system, the crumbs form reactions to external as well as internal stimuli, which are called innate reflexes. Without some of them, the infant could not survive outside the womb. One of them is sucking.

Sucking reflex refers to congenital reflexes.

What is it?

The sucking reflex is unconditional and extremely important for the survival of the baby after birth. Its formation begins in the gestation period. Thanks to him, the baby gets food from the mother's breast or bottle. It is most pronounced in hungry healthy toads, and immediately after feeding it weakens for a while.

It is quite strongly pronounced at the age of up to a year and normally begins to fade by 3-4 years of age. If a baby has a heightened degree before the age of one, the baby will often suck the breast, the pacifier and even his fists for a long time.


In order to cause a reflex, an index finger is inserted into the child’s mouth to a depth of about 3 cm. Normally, the baby should begin to rhythmically suck it. If the reflex is strong, it is enough just to touch the lips of the little ones or to stroke the toddler's cheek, as the crumb opens his mouth and starts moving his tongue, as if sucking.

Also in his assessment can be used test feeding - give the baby a breast or a bottle of food, and then observe how vigorously the baby sucks. If it is weak, the crumb will suck sluggishly. In such a situation, an infant can often refuse a breast or bottle, rarely swallow food and fall asleep during feeding.

To check the sucking reflex, you need to bring a finger to the mouth of the crumbs and enter it shallowly

Many mothers make his assessment immediately after birth. See the next video for more details.

Causes of absence or weakening

The sucking reflex may be absent when:

  • Parese facial nerves.
  • Severe somatic illness of the child.
  • High degree of mental retardation.
  • Hypoxia during gestation or childbirth, which caused the central nervous system.
  • Weakening of the muscles responsible for chewing, the muscles of the tongue and mouth.
  • Deep prematurity.
  • Birth injuries of the spinal cord.

To reduce the sucking reflex can lead to diseases such as SARS, stomatitis or runny nose. Also, his weakened degree can provoke mom's flat nipples.

What to do if it is not there or is weakly expressed

To the absence or pronounced weakness of the sucking reflex should immediately respond, because it threatens the baby with malnutrition, as a result of which the baby may lag behind in development. If mom noticed such a weakening, you should immediately consult a doctor. The neurologist will check it and other congenital reflexes of the baby, after which he will monitor the baby or prescribe the necessary treatment.

In a situation where it is not immediately after birth, the baby is fed either through a tube or parenterally (nutrient solutions are injected through a vein). This is especially common in babies who were born prematurely. They are not discharged home until the reflex is sufficiently restored.

How to recover

If the baby sucks very weakly, the question of how to develop it is crucial for its health. This helps the organization of feeding, the use of pacifiers and feeding from the bottle. Also, the doctor will recommend to perform a special face massage before feeding.Of course, for a successful recovery, it is important to take into account the reason for its weakening, so no action should be taken without the advice and advice of a doctor.

You can find out about the benefits of a pacifier in its development by watching the following video.

Information provided for reference purposes. Do not self-medicate. At the first symptoms of the disease, consult a doctor.