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Clin Perinatol. 1996 Jun;23(2):161-78.

Oral motor function in the neonate.

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Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.


The information in this article illustrates the importance of evaluating oral motor function of the infant, not only as function of his or her own ability but also of external and maternal assistance. The proper development of maternal behavior as a contribution toward the development of sucking behavior may not be readily evident; however, awareness is growing that a close mother-infant interaction can positively affect the infant's ability to feed, as well as his or her psychosomatic development. As a consequence, it becomes essential that the integrity of the nursing dyad be protected. More often than not, caretakers have seen the latter break down when mother or infant becomes too involved. Studies focusing on maternal and neonatal non-nutritional attributes stress the importance of acquiring a better appreciation of the psychosomatic benefits that can be generated by the nursing dyad. With such understanding, interventions may be developed to enhance the expression of these factors to help safeguard mother-infant relationship during difficult times.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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