Dr Nikki Mills

MBChB, FRACS, Dip Paeds

Nikki is a Consultant Paediatric ENT Surgeon at Starship Children's Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand.  She has a special interest in Paediatric Airway and Swallowing Disorders. Nikki works in a multidisciplinary team assessing and treating babies and children with dysphagia and aspiration. She uses FEES (Fibreoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing) as a routine part of her assessment of babies with swallowing disorders, and has started performing FEES on breastfeeding babies also. Nikki has recently commenced on a Doctorate in Medicine with multiple projects attempting to understand better the functional anatomy of sucking and swallowing in breastfeeding infants. 


Session time:
Monday 27 March: 9:00am - 10:00am

Babies that don't feed well: Trying to "unravel" the relationship between structure and function

A review of the anatomy of breathing and swallowing in an infant, with an emphasis on bio-mechanics and understanding how form affects function. An overview of embryological development of the tongue, palate and mandible, and how these structures are intimately linked in how they affect both breathing and sucking. A summary of how clinically we can assess breathing (and feeding) in infants, including the use of FEES (Fibreoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing). A review of research on tongue movements and how milk extraction occurs during breastfeeding, and how this has revolutionised our understanding of how tongue ties may affect suck bio-mechanics. To summarise with a discussion on how much we still don't know (about the functional anatomy of breastfeeding) and my thoughts on where future research may have a role to answer some of these questions. 

Principal Sponsor