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feeding behavior, feeding efficiency, feeding outcomes, infant feeding



  1. Pickler, Rita H. PhD
  2. Chiaranai, Chantira MS
  3. Reyna, Barbara A. MS, RN, NNP


Objective: This study examined the relationship between the number of sucks in the first nutritive suck burst and feeding outcomes in preterm infants. The relationships of morbidity, maturity, and feeding experience to the number of sucks in the first suck burst were also examined.


Methods: A nonexperimental study of 95 preterm infants was used. Feeding outcomes included proficiency (percent consumed in first 5 min of feeding), efficiency (volume consumed over total feeding time), consumed (percent consumed over total feeding), and feeding success (proficiency >= 0.3, efficiency >= 1.5 mL/min, and consumed >= 0.8). Data were analyzed using correlation and regression analysis.


Results and Conclusions: There were statistically significant positive relationships between number of sucks in the first burst and all feeding outcomes-proficiency, efficiency, consumed, and success (r = 0.303, 0.365, 0.259, and [tau] = 0.229, P < .01, respectively). The number of sucks in the first burst was also positively correlated to behavior state and feeding experience ([tau] = 0.104 and r = 0.220, P < .01, respectively). Feeding experience was the best predictor of feeding outcomes; the number of sucks in the first suck burst also contributed significantly to all feeding outcomes. The findings suggest that as infants gain experience at feeding, the first suck burst could be a useful indicator for how successful a particular feeding might be.