Nutritive vs non-nutritive sucking

I feel I need to add to last nights blog entry.. I did not clearly define the two types of newborn sucking.
Nutritive is fairly obvious. Baby sucks to get nutrition.
Non-nutritive is a little more confusing. This is when baby sucks to self sooth, to relax. Baby will do this himself by sucking his thumb or hand – the reason hands should never be covered!!! Baby will also suck at the breast to sooth, and will usually relax and fall asleep. This worries new moms as they think the newborn should nurse for 20 minutes – or whatever number the nurse says. Please breast feed the baby not the clock.
If baby is nursing well, it is fine to offer a pacifier as this will help to satisfy non-nutritive sucking needs.
Hope that helps to clarify.


5 thoughts on “Nutritive vs non-nutritive sucking

    • When it is time to wean: if she is too young to go directly to a cup, have someone else offer her a bottle – of breast milk, formula or half of each. Have them hold her facing away from them, and maybe walk around (holding her in nursing position will frustrate her).
      Also, a while before you wean, buy her a comfort item – blanket, stuffed animal – keep it small and potable. Have her hold it while she nurses and then transfer it over to bottle feedings.
      Hope this helps a bit

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