The objective was to clarify the relationship between tongue movements during suckling and the pressures in different parts of the oral cavity. A modified teat allowed a miniature pressure transducer to be passed through into the mouth. Intraoral pressures were recorded in piglets suckling on the teat attached (1) to a non-vented bottle or (2) to an automated milk delivery system. The movements of the tongue, of the milk and the transducer position were recorded by cine-radiography. In both modes of feeding, waves of elevation on the tongue moved in a pharyngeal direction and rose to contact the mid-posterior palate. Each wave corresponded to a jaw (suck) cycle in which milk was moved into and through the oral cavity. After each wave passed the transducer in the anterior part of the mouth, cyclical negative pressures were recorded. In bottle feeding, the intraoral pressure fluctuations (±2 mmHg) occurred against a background of a gradually developing negative pressure but, when feeding on the automatic delivery system, the same or smaller fluctuations occurred as changes from atmospheric pressure. Where the elevations contacted the mid-posterior palate in each cycle, a seal was formed (contact pressure >40 mmHg), so producing two functional antero-posterior compartments within the mouth; in these compartments pressures were generated independently. With the transducer in the valleculae, no general increase in pressure was recorded as milk accumulated there in each suck cycle but large positive pressures were recorded during the less frequent cycles when the vallecular space was emptied.
- Infant feeding
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