Why do many moms feel that their babies are more effective at extracting milk than pumps? Biomedical Engineers in Tel Aviv University showed that a baby's jaws, tongue, and lips perform a perfect orchestra to extract and feed on mother's milk. Nature is amazing!
Here is a summary of how the system works:
- During latch-on, the baby closes its mouth on mother's nipple and areola, creating a negative pressure of about −20 mmHg to extend the nipple two to three times longer than the normal size.
- Once the baby starts suckling on the nipple, its lower jaw cycles and tongue moves under the nipple, creating an oscillating vacuum within the −20 to −40 mmHg range to draw milk out.
- Mother's nipple moves inwards towards baby while baby opens its mouth and outward when baby closes its mouth.
- The front of the baby's tongue moves as a rigid body and compresses the nipple periodically against the hard palate. This is the movement that LacTeck's BabyMotion Flange mimics to stimulate mother's nipple and areola. Check out our amazing video here.
- Once milk is extracted, the back of a baby's tongue moves like a wave to swallow without interfering with breathing.
Here is a cool video showing baby's motion by the researchers (David Elad, et.al. PNAS, 2014): Red-Upper jaw, Green-tongue.