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  1. Pridham, Karen PhD, RN
  2. Saxe, Robyn BSN, RN
  3. Limbo, Rana PhD, RN


Adequate feeding is an area of concern for both clinicians and parents of very low-birth-weight, premature infants while in the special-care nursery and through at least the first postterm year. How feeding issues are labeled or described may make a difference in the effectiveness with which they are addressed by families and professionals. Internal working models of parenting offer a framework to explore meaning (goals, expectations, and intentions) and to evaluate progress in addressing feeding issues, viewed from the perspective of both the nurse and the family. Three case studies are presented to illustrate the framework, as used by nurses, to assess the adequacy of the infant's nutrient intake in the first year post birth. Questions are raised for further study.