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Image J Nurs Sch. 1995 Fall;27(3):195-200.

Neonatal sucking behaviors.

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  • 1University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Philadelphia 19104-6096, USA.


Neonatal sucking responses or behaviors have been of great interest to researchers and clinicians since the early 1800s. Since 1960, there has been a resurgence of interest in the objective study of sucking behaviors in both the psychological and medical literature. The studies have examined both nutritive and non-nutritive sucking measurements. Sucking behaviors have been studied to understand the development of the feeding mechanism as well as to track neurobehavioral development. The relationship between sucking behaviors and behavioral organization of the newborn are considered, along with a historical perspective of sucking measurements, relevant literature on nutritive sucking, physiologic correlates, differences in breast and bottle feeding patterns, non-nutritive sucking, and factors that modify sucking organization. Implications for nursing practice will be discussed.

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