Dr. Pamela Smith, ND 

Dr. Pam has a family practice at The Nest Family Wellness Centre which offers naturopathic and midwifery care. She combines science-based natural medicine with conventional medical therapeutics. Learn more about Dr. Pam and the services offered by her clinic here, or book an appointment at www.drpamelasmith.com.

Check out the latest Ask Dr Pam Q&A and posts by topic below as well as her health and wellness posts.

Ask Dr Pam   

Why do babies have a tongue thrust reflex?


Tongue thrust reflex prevents infants from choking on foreign objects and causes them to push food out of their mouths. Prior to 4 months, a baby's swallowing mechanism is designed to work with sucking but not chewing – between 4 and 6 months, most infants develop the ability to move food from the front of the mouth to the back instead of letting it wallow around in the mouth and get spit out.  

A baby's tongue extrusion reflex begins to fade between 6 and 12 months. At this point they have the ability to prepare food in their mouth before swallowing. This is also when they will be able to get a better lip seal around a cup -- prior to this time a bottle or sippy-cup may be a cleaner option.