Newborns Do Amazing Things

Newborns are outstanding. Dr. Suzanne Colson a British Midwife and researcher gathered data and video taped mothers and babies during the first month post partum and studied the babies movements.  She discovered that many of the reflexes that babies are born with play a key role in breastfeeding. For example the stepping reflex, which occurs when babies feet brush against a firm surface, we thought that it was unnecessary, but she discovered that the baby uses this reflex to push to the breast.  So like the stepping reflex she identified 20 primitive newborn reflexes all of which help the baby breastfeed.  Some reflexes help baby find the breast, others help baby attach to the breast and get milk from the breast.

The key into triggering these reflexes is the feel of the mothers body against the front of the baby’s chin , torso hip, and feet. So research shows that if the mother lays back comfortably in a semi reclined position, like you would if you are sitting in a couch to watch a movie, and her newborn is placed prone on her chest breastfeeding goes more smoothly since with the help of gravity baby achieves  positional stability on top of mothers body and all feeding instincts are triggered that eventually lead to attachment.

Colson, S . D., J. H. Meek and J. M. Hawdon. 2008.  Optimal Positions for the release of primitive neonatal reflexes stimulating breastfeeding. Early Human Development   84: 441-9