Abstract

Objective. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of oral support on feeding efficiency in preterm infants who were identified by the medical team as poor feeders.

Method. Thirteen premature infants between 34 and 40 weeks’ postconceptional age were selected from a group of infants at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. They were fed twice within a 26-hr period, once with oral support and once without. The order of occurrence of these two conditions was randomly selected without replacement to assure that an equal number of both conditions occurred during the first feed. Only the first 2 min of the feed were used in data analysis.

Results. A statistically significant difference (z = − 2.62, p < .01, two-tailed) in volume intake occurred between the oral support condition (M = 10.9 cc) and the no oral support condition (M = 4.8 cc).

Conclusion. This study validates the use of oral support as an effective treatment technique to enhance sucking efficiency in preterm infants.

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