Newborn Nursery at LPCH

Sucking Reflex


video by Janelle Aby, MD

When evaluating the sucking reflex of a newborn, the examiner should note the quality and strength of the suck. Preterm infants are more likely to have a suck reflex that seems uncoordinated or weak. Other infants do more biting initially (making breastfeeding challenging!). Rubbing the infant's palate with the pad of the examiner's finger or firmly stroking in an anterior-posterior direction under the side of the chin may help stimulate a sucking reflex in an infant who is slow to start.

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