Sucking technique and its effect on success of breastfeeding

Birth. 1992 Dec;19(4):185-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-536x.1992.tb00399.x.


We investigated the prognostic value of sucking technique (faulty vs correct) during the first week after birth in relation to the long-term success of breastfeeding. At discharge from the maternity ward, 82 healthy mother-infant pairs were observed for assessment of breastfeeding technique and followed for four months by regular telephone checkups. Correct sucking technique was defined as the infant having a wide-open mouth, with the tongue under the areola, and expressing milk from the breast by slow, deep sucks; faulty technique was defined as superficial nipple sucking. The study population was divided into three groups: one in which faulty sucking technique was corrected when observed (n = 29), one with faulty but uncorrected technique (n = 25), and a control group with a correct technique (n = 28). At the four-month follow-up assessment, the faulty but uncorrected group was characterized by a greater proportion of mothers with breastfeeding problems and early cessation of breastfeeding than the other two groups. Regular use of a pacifier (> 2 hrs/day) was more common among those with breastfeeding problems.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal-Child Nursing / standards
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Sucking Behavior*