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Research article2015Peer reviewed

Weight loss and low age are associated with intensity of rooting behaviours in newborn infants

Takahashi, Yuki; Wibke, Jonas; Ransjö-Arvidson, Anna-Berit; Lidfors, Lena; Uvnäs-Moberg, Kerstin; Nissen, Eva


Aim: Little is known about the developing breastfeeding behaviour of newborn infants. This study describes infants' prebreastfeeding behaviour during the second day of life and explores possible associations with infant characteristics.Methods: We studied 13 mothers and healthy full-term infants after normal births. At 2448 hours of life, the newborns were placed in skin-to-skin contact with their mothers for breastfeeding and were video-filmed. The order, frequency and duration of predefined infant prefeeding behaviours and suckling were coded and analysed using computer-based video software.Results: Prefeeding behaviours occurred in the following order: rooting, hand to mouth movements, licking of the nipple and hand to breast to mouth movements. The infants started to suckle at a median of one to two minutes. Rooting was the most common behaviour, observed in 12 infants. The duration of rooting movements during the last minute before breastfeeding was inversely related to neonatal age (p = 0.001) and positively related to neonatal weight loss (p = 0.02) after birth.Conclusion: Infants exhibited a distinct sequence of prefeeding behaviours during the second day of life, and our findings suggest that rooting movements were governed by mechanisms involved in the regulation of food intake and weight gain.


Breastfeeding behaviour; Infant age; Infant weight loss; Prefeeding behaviour; Rooting behaviour

Published in

Acta Paediatrica
2015, Volume: 104, number: 10, pages: 1018-1023