Introduction: Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for at least six months in infants and encouraged up to two years of age. However, only 35% of infants are breastfed up to six months in the US. This rate drops down to 16% for breastfeeding at 12 months. Some authors suggest that breastfeeding also plays an important role in optimal musculoskeletal development of the orofacial system in the infant. On the contrary, bottle feeding could negatively affect these musculoskeletal structures resulting in abnormal development of the stomatognathic system. This review aims to answer the question: “What are the musculoskeletal effects of bottle feeding versus breastfeeding in infants’ orofacial development and function?”
Methods: Online databases (PubMed, ResearchGate, Cochrane; ICL, EBSCO, SCielo) have been searched to identify relevant articles. No limit was set for date, study design and level. Results: The search resulted in identifying four systematic reviews and two case control studies. Four literature reviews highlighted great heterogeneity in methodology and findings. Authors agreed that exclusive breastfeeding and breastfeeding duration were associated with optimal development of palate, dentition and myofunctional habits. Bottle feeding, on the other hand, influenced the activity and function of masseter, tongue and temporalis muscles, leading to a V shaped palate and long-term malocclusions.
Conclusion: There were few large-sample high-quality studies focusing specifically on infants’ orofacial development; further research is needed to deepen the knowledge of factors relating to musculoskeletal development during infancy.
Author keywords: Breastfeeding, bottle feeding, orofacial complex, stomatognathic development, infants
This abstract is reproduced with the permission of the publisher. Click on the above link for free full text.