OBJECTIVE. This study compared bottle-feeding behaviors in preterm infants with and without bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) during the initial hospitalization.

METHOD. Individual sucking characteristics and feeding transitional rates were compared in 41 preterm infants (22 boys, 19 girls) with BPD and 99 infants (44 boys, 55 girls) without BPD. Observations of the first bottle feeding and observations of the last feeding before discharge were obtained from medical records of all infants retrospectively.

RESULTS. On discharge, infants with BPD, unlike those without BPD, continued to have an immature sucking pattern and required longer hospital stays to attain full oral feeding (p < .001). No differences were found between the BPD and non-BPD groups in time needed for feeding and use of oral support.

CONCLUSION. These results suggest that feeding transitional rate, rather than sucking pattern, may be a better discharge indicator for infants with BPD.

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