When a baby has not yet learned or re-learned the oral grasp of the nipple-areolar complex, a primary and critical recommendation from the clinician is skin-to-skin contact ad lib between members of the dyad. As an IBCLC, I especially appreciate these passages from Saffran & Kirkham on the visual environment, spatial learning, and the impact of anticipatory behavior:
“Learning itself is affected by complexity . . . . infants were as capable in the visual domain as in the auditory domain . . . . However, an important aspect of the ability to perceive the visual environment as coherent and intelligible is understanding objects’ spatial locations and what their present locations might predict about future events. Acquisition of this type of knowledge is essential for motion perception and for the production of action sequences; one has to learn not only which actions are appropriate, but also where and when they should be performed. For example, if, while looking out the window of your house, you see the child walking up the path to the front door, you can reasonably predict that you will see her next in the doorway of your house. You can use this information to guide appropriate anticipatory behavior, such as moving to a location that provides a view of the door to greet your child as she comes inside. In other words, each visual event is temporally related both to the previous event and to the future event and occurs within a spatial context.”
Authors: Jenny R. Saffran and Natasha Z. Kirkham
Journal (review) article title: Infant Statistical Learning.
In: Annual Reviews of Psychology 2018 January 04;69:181-203. DOI: 10.1146/annurev-psych-122216-011805