Classifying Infant Sucking Problems


What does “normal” look like when it comes to the suck-swallow-breathe triad? This module presents normal, establishes a baseline, and provides a detailed explanation of the differences between oral-motor sucking issues and sensory-based sucking issues. Dr. Hazelbaker outlines five categories of infant sucking pathology. She proposes a classification system to support professionals with assessment so they can determine the best course of action.

CEUs: 2.0 L-CERP/2.0 CE

Course Price: $65.00 (USD)

Learning Objectives

The learner will be able to:

  • List the five categories of infant sucking problems.
  • Describe the attributes of each of the five categories of infant sucking problems.
  • Describe the differences between a motor-based sucking problem and a sensory-based sucking problem.

Topics Covered

  • Review of suck-swallow-breathe physiology.
  • Presentation of five classes of infant sucking problems.
  • Signs and symptoms of each class of sucking problem.
  • Specific breastfeeding deficits associated with each sucking problem.
  • Proposed solutions to each type of sucking problem.

Course/Module Description

Lifestyle and cultural birth practices cause infant sucking problems. Sucking problems have become much more common. Professionals often find it difficult to effectively assist a breastfeeding dyad with sucking issues due to insufficient structural knowledge or an inability to assess/determine the type of sucking problem. This module presents normal suck physiology to establish a baseline. From there, participants learn how disorganized and dysfunctional sucking babies deviate from the norm. Dr. Hazelbaker covers in detail the differences between oral-motor and sensory-based sucking issues; she proposes a classification system to aid with assessment and differential diagnosis.

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 November 30, 2024.


Dr. Alison Hazelbaker

Dr. Alison Hazelbaker