A newborn will suck on anything that touches the roof of his mouth. This infant sucking isn’t voluntary but a reflex that is replaced at about 4 months old by voluntary sucking, a conscious action.
The rooting reflex, when a baby turns toward a brush on the cheek, and the sucking reflex help infants survive since they have the ability to breastfeed before they learn how to do so.
For a mother, breastfeeding is neither instinct nor reflex. She must learn how to breastfeed, and her baby’s reflexes are important to that process since the newborn responds predictably to stimuli. If you brush your baby’s cheek with your nipple, she will turn toward the breast. If you touch your nipple to the roof of her mouth, she will suck.
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