To ensure successful and effective breastfeeding, mothers need to be educated and equipped with knowledge of the mechanical process underway as their baby feeds. There are various forces involved in extracting milk, including suction, the baby’s tongue movements, peristalsis, atmospheric pressure, the mother’s milk ejection reflex, compression pressure of the lips against the breast as well as jaw and gum closure movements. All of these combine in the process.

In this presentation, Michael Woolridge outlines recent research which utilises the latest 2D and 3D research techniques to examine how the baby sucks and swallows. Based on the clinical evidence, it is reassuring to learn that the standard principles of good breastfeeding technique remain as true today as when they were introduced 30 years ago by the World Health Organisation and Unicef. Enhancing the positioning and attachment of the baby at the breast will have the specific benefit of maximizing mouth to breast apposition. This is fundamental to the efficacy of getting milk from the mother to the infant.

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