Musculofacial Development and Breastfeeding

In addition to all of the other wonderful nutritional and emotional benefits to breastfeeding, another benefit often goes under discussed. There are lifelong musculofascial benefits to the mechanics of breastfeeding. The physical activity of breastfeeding by a baby helps it develop his or her jaw, tongue and facial muscles. This complex coordination of muscles employs different muscles and movement than those required for bottle feeding (or thumb or pacifier sucking).

The act of breastfeeding is a rather sophisticated process that requires physical effort by the baby. Comparatively, bottle feeding requires less effort. Also, when breastfeeding, the baby uses muscles and moves his or her jaw differently than when bottle feeding. This difference encourages proper jaw and palate development, which also encourages correct airway passage growth thereby reducing airway problems now and later in life.

If you are willing and able to breastfeed, you can add facial and jaw development to your list of benefits offered by this beautiful act of mothering. 

Please check out these links if you want additional information on the topic: These dentists do an excellent job explaining the physical process and implications in detail.

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