Oral Motor Series
Oral Motor Skills and Breastfeeding
What You Don't Know Could Help You
by Caroline L. Bias, M.S., CCC-SLP, Susan Chick, and Beverly Morgan, IBCLC
Part 1 in a 3 Part series written for MOBI Motherhood International
This article provides basic information about oral motor skills and their relationship to breastfeeding.
Mothers struggling to overcome breastfeeding issues such as low supply, tongue tie, poor latch, slow infant weight gain, breast refusal, etc. may see improvement by addressing their baby's oral motor skills with a specialized therapist. Oral motor challenges often impede breastfeeding relationships and may even lead to their failure. In many cases, oral motor skills can be taught to very young infants. Treatment strengthens the muscles of the lips, tongue, jaw, and cheeks, and coordinates the swallow mechanism for safe and effective nursing. Later in a child's development, oral motor skills are the foundation for a baby to eat solids, drink with a cup, and finally, to produce intelligible speech sounds.