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Authors

  1. Capilouto, Gilson J. PhD
  2. Cunningham, Tommy J. PhD
  3. Desai, Nirmala MD

Abstract

An estimated 25% to 40% of infants experience difficulties with learning to breast- or bottle-feed. Yet, guidelines and evidence-based support for common feeding practices are limited. The objective of this case report was to quantify the impact of feeding interventions on nutritive sucking performance after discharge in an outpatient setting. This observational case series involved 2 infants. To determine the impact of cumulative interventions, pre- and postintervention effect sizes were calculated. Sucking performance metrics of interest included nipple movement peak sucking amplitude, duration, frequency, and smoothness. Interventions included positional changes and changes in nipple flow rate, among others. For both infants, cumulative interventions had the greatest impact on suck frequency; postintervention, infants were able to increase their rate of nutritive sucking per burst. Other aspects of sucking performance were differentially impacted for each baby. Researchers agree that neonatal and infant feeding has been understudied and that the evidence for common interventions needs to be strengthened. We have demonstrated the implementation of readily available technology that can be used to quantify the direct impact of any intervention on actual sucking performance. In doing so, we can individualize care to support skill development and improve outcomes for infants at risk for ongoing feeding challenges.