Does the newborn baby find the nipple by smell?

Lancet. 1994 Oct 8;344(8928):989-90. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(94)91645-4.


We studied the involvement of naturally occurring odours in guiding the baby to the nipple. One breast of each participating mother was washed immediately after delivery. The newborn infant was placed prone between the breasts. Of 30 infants, 22 spontaneously selected the unwashed breast. The washing procedure had no effect on breast temperature. We concluded that the infants responded to olfactory differences between the washed and unwashed breasts.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn / physiology*
  • Nipples*
  • Pregnancy
  • Smell / physiology*