2011, Number 4
Bol Med Hosp Infant Mex 2011; 68 (4)
Rendón MME, Serrano MGJ
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ABSTRACTNutritive sucking is the process by which infants obtain their feeding, which may be sucking by breastfeeding or through a bottle. This article summarizes the physiological basis of nutritive sucking in order to establish the normal conditions of this process. In this context it is known that the nutritive sucking consists of three phases: expression/suction, swallowing and breathing. Coordination of the first two phases can provide an adequate supply of food and direct it to the digestive tract without the risk of it passing to the airways. The sequence in which these phases are given varies with the age of the child. Under normal conditions, nutritive sucking is an aerobic process and is accomplished with jaw and tongue movements, which are capable of generating the necessary pressure from a reservoir for the suction and extraction of milk. Thus, lack of coordination of these phases explains the changes in the rate of suction and the appearance of abnormal clinical signs such as low consumption of food, choking, regurgitation, vomiting or respiratory disorders. The construction of clinical scales has been possible by determining the sequence of the different phases of suction. These scales can detect problems with newborns or infants who do not achieve adequate nutritive sucking either by the identification of abnormal clinical signs or because milk consumption is ‹80% of the recommended volume.