Anatomy of Infant Suck


This module focuses on the complex anatomy of infant breastfeeding, including structures in the suck-swallow-breathe triad: muscles, fascia, and peripheral nerves. Further, this module provides a detailed look at the roles of the sub-cortical and cortical areas of the brain in the coordination and maturation of suck-swallow-breathe.

CEUs: 1.5 L-CERP

Course Price: $25.00 (USD)

Learning Objectives

The learner will be able to:

  • List the various muscles, bones, and fascia used during infant suck-swallow-breathe.
  • Enumerate the functions of the six cranial nerves during infant suck-swallow-breathe.
  • Describe the role that cortical and sub-cortical areas of the brain have in coordinating infant suck-swallow-breathe.

Topics Covered

  • Muscles involved in suck-swallow-breathe.
  • Viscera of suck-swallow-breathe.
  • Fascial connections of various structures.
  • Central and peripheral nervous system innervation.
  • Brain-stem nuclei and coordination between them.
  • Sub-cortical involvement and control.
  • Cortical involvement.

Course/Module Description

This module takes a detailed look at the roles and functions that anatomical structures like the brain, muscles, fascia, central and peripheral nervous systems play in suck-swallow breathe. Learners gain a baseline understanding of “normal.” Given that the driver of the breastfeeding system is the baby, the success of their suck-swallow-breathe coordination subsequently determines the robustness of the maternal milk supply, the health and growth of the breastfeeding infant, and the duration of the breastfeeding relationship. Many factors, including physical, lifestyle, and environmental, as well as cultural birth practices, easily impact the complex and delicate suck-swallow-breathe mechanism. Dysfunctional feeding is commonplace, requiring professionals to have the knowledge and skills to effectively evaluate infants, identify dysfunction, and generate appropriate treatment plans.

The content in this module is re-evaluated every three years in accordance with ANCC criteria. This content will be re-evaluated and updated on or before March 30, 2023.


Dr. Alison Hazelbaker

Dr. Alison Hazelbaker


"Dr. Hazelbaker's knowledge of this topic is unmatched. I have learned so much through this course, it is invaluable as I use it almost every day in my practice !!!"

- Megan - New York