Suckling, is the art of administering the maternal milk to an infant, by the breast.

Having already, in the articles Breasts, Milk (vol. iii. p. 202), and Nipples, stated the particulars relative to this important function in the animal economy, we shall briefly observe, that all mothers are by Nature enjoined to suckle their own offspring ; and that they cannot in justice decline such affectionate office, excepting from the most urgent and absolute motives; such as a general diseased habit; want of milk; or a local disease in the breasts. These impediments, however, seldom occur; though many delicate women are apt to assign a variety of other causes, which induce them to neglect a duty, incumbent even on irrational creatures.

If it be true, that milk is secreted in proportion to the quantity drawn, it follows, that by such practice the breast can never be so emptied as not to receive a fresh supply. Hence, the infant should be suckled, and put to the breast, as soon as it evinces a desire, which will be in less than 12 hours after delivery, frequently within an hour; provided no food be previously allowed. Although the quantity of milk thus obtained be very small, yet it is adapted to the purpose ; and will not only afford sufficient nutriment to the child, but at the same time be calculated to produce another useful effect, namely, that of cleansing the bowels, and carrying off the meconium, or the first excrement. For these obvious reasons, we fully agree with the Rev. C. CRuttwell, who judiciously observes, that " at any time when the nipples and breasts are not uneasy, or inflamed, the child may suck without fear; but, if omitted till the breasts become uneasy or inflamed, every effort of the child's inciting will add to the mother's torment, deprive her of rest, and most probably increase the disease."