Muscles used when infants feed

The mechanics of suck-swallow-breathe (SSB) are quite complex and many muscles are involved – primary functions and secondary functions. Anything that interfers with the normal phages of swallowing can be problematic .e.g. inflammation of the larynx, as happens with gastric acid reflux. Remember facial muscles come in pairs (usually).

Obicularis oris lips – not a simple sphincter muscle

Buccinator used to flatten the cheeks and pull back the corners of mouth – for sucking (in babies), smiling (at 6 weeks) and whistling (children/adults)

genioglossis chin to tongue

Stygloglossis (3) enables cupping of the tongue

Palatopharyngeus soft palate

Temporalis elevates and retracts the jaw (mandible)

These muscles interact with each other for sucking, there are even more required for swallowing and the cooperation of the muscles is also required. Just to point out to you that sucking is not easy.