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Lancet. 1994 Oct 8;344(8928):989-90.

Does the newborn baby find the nipple by smell?

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  • 1Tartu University Children's Hospital, Estonia.


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.

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