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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in humans and other mammals, an innate unconditioned reflex that is formed in the fetus during intrauterine development.

The structural and functional mechanisms of sucking develop long before birth, in the early stages of embryogeny. In an 18-week-old human fetus sucking movements of the lips are observed upon the stimulation of the tongue. In the 21st or 22nd weeks spontaneous sucking occurs, and in the 24th week there are distinct seeking and sucking reactions. The sucking function is characteristic even of anencephalics.

Stimulation of the tactile receptors of the lips and the anterior part of the tongue results in the spread of the excitation along the centripetal branches of the trigeminal nerve. The impulses enter the sucking center, which is located in the truncal part of the brain, and are switched to centrifugal nerves, along which the excitation is transmitted to the muscles that perform the sucking (masticatory muscles and the muscles of the lips, mouth, and tongue). The act of sucking begins with the movement of the tongue and lower jaw downward and back, which creates a negative pressure in the oral cavity. The contraction of the lip and mouth muscles causes the squeezing of the nipple of the mother’s mammary gland. The nerve impulses that arise during this process enter the hypothalamus, which the impulses reflexively stimulate to form vasopressin and oxytocin, as well as a releasing factor. The releasing factor enters the pituitary gland and induces the secretion of prolactin, which controls lactation. Oxytocin is transported by the blood to the myoepithelial cells of the mammary gland, inducing the contraction of the glands, the release of milk from the alveoli into the mammary ducts, and the secretion of milk.


Shuleikina, K. V. “Fiziologicheskaia kharakteristika sosa-tel’noi funktsii novorozhdennogo v pervye dni ego zhizni.” In Trudy Per-vogo Vserossiiskogo s“ezda detskikh vrachei. Moscow, 1961.
Barabash-Nikiforov, I. I., and A. N. Formozov. Teriologiia. Moscow, 1963.
Villee, C, and V. Dethier. Biologiia: biologicheskie protsessy i zakony. Moscow, 1974. Pages 545–46. (Translated from English.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
During this period, only nonnutritive sucking training was performed without oral stimulation intervention.
(25) This type of malocclusion has been associated with nonnutritive sucking habits, mouth breathing and hypertrophy of the adenoids and tonsils.
Thompson, "Effects of nonnutritive sucking on behavioral organization and feeding performance in preterm infants," Nursing Research, vol.
Nonnutritive sucking habits are risk factors for the occurrence of anterior open bite and posterior crossbite.
Nonnutritive sucking during tube feedings: Effects on preterm neonates in an intensive care unit.
In conclusion it appears evident that sucrose provides analgesia in neonates and is more effective with the use of nonnutritive sucking (pacifiers) (Harrison 2008a, Taddio et al 2008, Stevens et al 2004, Morash & Fowler 2004, Akman et al 2002).
The nonnutritive sucking enhances the let-down reflex, improves mother-child bonding, shortens the transition time to breast-feeding, and lengthens the duration of breast-feeding, results of studies show.
Encourage a soft diet and avoidance of nonnutritive sucking (digit or pacifier) for 10 days following most dental injuries.
However, bottle-feeding was more frequently observed (78.6%) than pacifier use (53%), indicating that infant feeding with artificial nipples might not always be implicated in the establishment of nonnutritive sucking habits.
Stroking the infants' oral structures was intended to strengthen the oral musculature necessary for adequate sucking, and nonnutritive sucking was intended both to allow the babies to practice using this musculature and to build endurance, said Dr.
Similarly, Levy and coworkers (4) made use of life table analysis to explore nonnutritive sucking and breastfeeding in relationship to childcare attendance.