Breastfeeding and a Baby’s Speech Development

From a previous post, we have learned how truly amazing and beneficial breastfeeding can be to a baby’s overall health and development. Certain areas such as a baby’s brain, stomach, and mouth can be correctly developed to take on each specific role they uphold in the body because of the advances breastfeeding provides. Today we are sharing another: breastfeeding and a baby’s speech development.

 

With further research on the past blog, “Breastfeeding and a Baby’s Oral Health and Development,” we have found this already beneficial incident goes even further and promotes proper language development! When a baby breastfeeds they are strengthening their mouths, specifically their tongue, lips, and jaw, and while they are improving their facial muscles for eating, they are also developing their mouths for correct pronunciation and speech.

As a baby breastfeeds their tongue works hard to pull milk from their mother’s nipple. By means of growing, their appetite will grow as well, and they will pull for more milk, strengthening their tongue and securing it at the back of their mouth. The tongue is significant when it comes to pronouncing specific words and sounds, just like the lips are. When the tongue is able to support itself and move self-sufficiently away from the lips and jaw it can help the child later in life with speech. Furthermore, while breastfeeding promotes oral muscle development, it also strengthens the roof of the mouth, which is a soft cartilage during infancy, but later turns to bone as they grow. As we learned before, a proper arch development of the roof is necessary for correct oral growth, and as a result it’s also essential for speech development.

When compared to bottle feeding, breastmilk needs to be worked for, and this is why breastfeeding builds a strong jaw. Most of the time bottles are far too easy for a baby, and they do not have to squeeze or suck hard enough to eat. The effort needed is then lost, and therefore so is the advancement. In addition, the nipple of the bottle may be too big and the milk may flow too quickly. This causes the baby to push their tongues forward to stop the milk instead of suckling. This can possibly cause problems later, and this could be the reason for some speech difficulties some children face.