Maternal Gaze Behaviors during Latching-On for Breastfeeding

Keiko Kikuchi, Mari Toyota, Keiko Endo, Yasuka Nakamura, Fumi Atogami, Toyoko Yoshizawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Studies in various fields have demonstrated that experts use specific gaze strategies to achieve better performance. Therefore, we hypothesized that mothers familiar with breastfeeding would use a specific gaze strategy to achieve better latching-on. Methods: A head-mounted eye tracker was used to record pupil positions from 14 breastfeeding mothers with 1-month-old infants. Eye gazes were analyzed during the latching-on and assessment phases. Results: During the latching-on phase, participants tended to fixate on their breast, the infant's lower face, an intermediate region between the infant's face and the breast, and the region of contact between the infant's mouth and the breast. Once the infant latched onto the breast, mothers typically assessed the latch by fixating on their breast or the region of contact between the infant's mouth and the breast. The gaze patterns were generally maintained without being influenced by the subtask properties of each phase. Conclusion: Similar to previous studies, we found that mothers fixated on specific locations that were relevant to the current breastfeeding subtask, suggesting that the gaze behavior contributes to the execution of latching-on. Therefore, it is important to consider that successful latching-on is influenced by maternal physical movements and efficient gazing behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-364
Number of pages6
JournalBreastfeeding Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul 1


  • Breastfeeding
  • gaze
  • latching
  • pupil
  • tracking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Health Policy
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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