Although 95 per cent of women breast-fed their babies in 1910, that figure is a lot lower today. About 90 per cent of North American women attempt breastfeeding in the first month, but by the time the baby is three months old, that figure drops to about 50 per cent; and by the time the baby is 6 months old, the percentage is around 30 per cent.
Sucking is a normal, instinctive behaviour that is essential to survival. The habit is derived from a physiological need for nutrients, and is one of the first neurological reflexes to develop in humans. Generally, sucking habits during the first five years of a child’s life have little or no long term effects. If the habit persists beyond the time the adult teeth begin to grow in, numerous problems in a child’s bite may start to develop. These problems cover a wide spectrum of severity, both in terms of tooth position and jaw development. For this reason, it is recommended that parents have their children examined by an orthodontist around age seven.
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