breastfeeding vs bottle - they function completely differently?

The discussion of the Time cover on breastfeeding older kids led to a link discussing breastfeeding myths, which made the following statement:

Is this accurate? What is different about the sucking process that a rubber/silicone nipple works differently than flesh? This does not seem right to me.

Obviously, everyone in America who wasn’t breastfed until the age of 4 (ie, virtually everyone) has problems in the muscle development of their mouths leading to permanent speech problems. I mean, it’s apparent every where you look! … Well, either that, or its bullshit.

Also, if this difference does exist, and people are aware of it, why not just make artificial nipples more like real ones?

Until one with experience chimes in here is my description: with the real nipple it is more of a chewing action where the pressure on the nipple, mainly from the lower, jaw forces milk through.

This would not work with a bottle nipple as that chewing action would just move fluid back into the bottle, so a sucking action is required - and is most effective here. If perhaps a one way valve was incorporated into the nipple, allowing it to act more like a pressure activated pump it would be closer to the natural.

Dunno the answer, but that’s a whole lotta "actually"s in the quote up there.

Makes a lot of sense to me.

That would just be obscene!

Does an artificial nipple work completely differently from a real nipple? Of course it does.

Is this fact of any real functional biological significance? I’ve never seen any data to suggest so other than on woo websites and books.

My son’s bottles (he used to get just breast milk in them, but now he sometimes gets formula) are of this type: The First Years Breastflow

The deal with that 2-in-1 nipple is that it’s supposed to require them to use a mouth action more similar to what is required when nursing from the breast. That bottle’s nipple has to be compressed by the jaws a little to allow milk to come out. Only applying suction doesn’t allow the milk to come out very fast.

The idea behind choosing those was that they are supposed to help prevent him from developing a preference for the comparably easier feeding provided by traditional bottle nipples. Some babies learn to only feed from a bottle because it’s easier. It’s often called “nipple confusion”, but I think that’s a terrible misnomer. There is no confusion involved…it’s a clear preference.

Did it work? I don’t know. He’s never had a problem going freely between breast and bottle, so it couldn’t have hurt.

There are MANY bottle nipple designs available!

There’s the “standard” nipple. The second “revolutionary” design in bottle nipples was the Playtex nurser, which debuted in the early 1960s. That looks more boob-like. Playtex claimed this design mimicked the breast, allowing the baby to feed “more naturally,” reducing colic, yadda yadda.

The next big design change came with NUK. That nipple looked like the old standard, but with a flattened side. It was designed by an orthodontist, to allow proper development of the baby’s palate, allowing room for the teeth to erupt and facilitating proper speech.

The designers are still at it.

I think kanicbird summed up the biggest difference between natural and artificial. To get nourishment from Mom, Baby has to WORK for it. It takes the combined action of sucking AND “chewing” to get the breast to release the milk. The human nipple gets flattened and compressed, and MOLDS itself to the inside of Baby’s mouth. The “chewing” action actually happens around the outside of the nipple, where the milk glands terminate to a large pool waiting for transport to Baby.

The shape of the inside of a baby’s mouth changes over time. Nursing influences these changes, but keep in mind a baby sucks EVERYTHING: fingers, toes, fists, pacifiers, teething rings, coffee table corners, dogs’ ears, whatever he or she can grab and stick into the mouth.