The Quest for the Perfect Nipple

(Photo: Micah Sittig)

A well-formed nipple can make all the difference. If a bottle's nipple doesn't reflect the action of a baby's mouth or the opening becomes easily stopped, a baby won't eat properly. That's why Pigeon, a Japanese company that makes baby care products, subjects its nipples to high-tech testing.

At its research and development facility north of Tokyo, Pigeon uses 200 mothers and babies to learn more about the biomechanical processes of nursing. Data gathered from ultrasound sensors placed beneath the chins of feeding babies is particularly helpful. Ayai Tomisawa writes for Reuters:

"Babies can't tell us if they're comfortable with the bottles. For babies who can't drink from the bottle well, we can't ask what's bothering them, so we came up with using ultrasound devices," Nakata said.

Babies are born with a natural reflex to help them find and latch on to the mother's nipple which, when it touches the roof of the baby's mouth, triggers rhythmical cycles of sucking - called the peristaltic movement - in which the tongue compresses the nipple.

-via Marginal Revolution

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